When designing watches, many watchmakers draw inspiration from the various places a person might take their watch or the activities they might do while wearing it. The watch world is filled with models like this—dive watches built for scuba diving, watches that draw style inspo from race cars, and military timepieces that evoke the rugged tools of decades past. But watches can also take inspiration from the natural world, too. That’s the case with the new Grand Seiko SBGW279, which is available only in the U.S. It’s a handsome dress watch with a prominent blue dial that gets its color from a migratory songbird.
Every year, the Oruri songbird travels from Southeast Asia to spend the summer in the mountains of northern Japan. With their striking blue plumage, these birds are a beautiful sign of the new season. Those blue feathers are also the point of inspiration for the SBGW279. The main highlight on the watch is its deep blue dial, and the rest of the timepiece has an understated elegance that allows the dial to shine. (It also evokes that minimalist styling of the original Grand Seiko watch from 1960.)
The dial features an unfussy layout with no date window and simple block indices arrayed around the perimeter. At 37.3mm, the stainless steel case has a comfortable size that isn’t overbearing, though it does feature one surprise: Flip it over, and the see-through case back gives a glimpse of the watch’s movement.
The watch is topped with box-shaped sapphire crystal for durability and legibility, and it’s matched with a complementary brown crocodile leather band. The band pairs well with the watch’s restrained styling, and overall the Grand Seiko SBGW279 makes an appealing dress watch that’ll work with a wide range of outfits, whether you’re heading into the office or going out on a date.
On the inside, the SBGW279 is powered by a 9S64 mechanical movement. In keeping with its throwback looks, it’s an old-school hand-wound movement, so you’ll need to give the crown a few twists every now and then. But that won’t happen too often: The movement features a hefty 72-hour power reserve. Better yet, it’s accurate to within -3 or +5 seconds per day.
With its refined aesthetic and no-nonsense mechanicals, the Grand Seiko SBGW279 is the opposite of ostentatious. It’s eye-catching without looking overdone—what else would you expect when it’s modeled after Mother Nature?
[$4,600; grand-seiko.com]Get it
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