The Grand Seiko White Birch, first of its identify, the model with a Hello-Beat Automated motion identified beneath the reference SLGH005, has been an immense success since its presentation in early 2021. Clearly, with its newly designed case, its good-looking silvered and textured dial, and its mechanically spectacular motion, there’s rather a lot to like on this watch. A few weeks in the past, Grand Seiko launched a sister watch, this time geared up with a Spring Drive motion, beneath the identify Grand Seiko White Birch SLGA009. And this might have been considered one of our shortest articles… However (as a result of there needs to be one), issues are a bit extra advanced and the brand new White Birch Spring Drive is not only a distinct motion. So, let’s have a more in-depth have a look at this new SLGA009 and see what modifications in comparison with the SLGH005. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be geeky…
As mentioned, the article to current the brand new Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 might have been extraordinarily brief. “Meet, the brand new Spring Drive model, it has this new Calibre 9RA2 and all the remaining is an identical. For extra particulars, examine our evaluate of the Hello-Beat Automated SLGH005.” Effectively, the fact is a bit completely different, and encasing a distinct motion in an current watch is rarely simple. As such, one might have anticipated some slight variations within the case dimensions of this new SLGA009, which is in reality true. And perhaps, a number of the dial components might have modified too, attributable to a distinct place of the date window or completely different stem for the arms. Additionally true. After which, the remaining would have been the identical.
Besides that this new Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive goes a bit deeper into the modifications… Absolutely, we’re speaking about refined modifications, and the general look stays very comparable. But in addition, along with having a completely completely different calibre – we’re speaking a couple of utterly completely different expertise – there’s one thing to the dial of the SLGA009 that makes fairly a distinction with the SLGH005. And once you mix these two evolutions, you find yourself with fairly reverse watches.
Notice: earlier than shifting into the main points, take into account that each watches have been photographed in numerous environments, explaining the necessary distinction in the way in which the dials are reflecting the ambient mild. Each have silvery-white dials, with the Spring Drive SLGA009 showing considerably extra white than the Hello-Beat SLGH005 and its pronounced silver color.
White Birch SLGA009 vs. SLGH005 – The information
Earlier than shifting into the true deal and reviewing this new Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009, we thought it might be attention-grabbing to have a brief abstract of the similarities and variations between the SLGA009 (Spring Drive) and the SLGH005 (Hello-Beat).
- Case diameter an identical, at 40mm
- Barely longer lug-to-lug – 47.6mm (+0.6mm) – on the SLGA009
- Case thickness is 11.8mm for the SLGA009 and 11.7mm for the SLGH005
- Identical total case form and ending, from the Evolution 9 assortment, 100m water-resistance and screw-down crown for each watches
- Identical bracelet on each watches, with 3-link development, brushed surfaces, three-fold clasp with push-button launch
- Slight modification of the profile on the SLGA009, the place the bracelet meets the case, between the lugs (bigger polished band)
- Crown is taller on the SLGA009
- New texture for the dial of the SLGA009, showing much less pronounced however extra structured, extra of a recurring sample
- Internal flange is barely wider on the SLGA009
- No extra black painted marker subsequent to the date window on the SLGA009
- Hours and minutes arms are an identical
- New “capped” seconds hand in blued metal for the SLGA009
- Barely bigger date window on the SLGA009
- A brand new Spring Drive motion for the SLGA009 (clearly, and it’s the primary distinction)
The Case of the White Birch SLGA009
At first sight, it might have been honest to suppose that each watches have been sharing the identical case. Besides that, as mentioned, it’s not that simple to encase a brand new motion in an current case. Some changes needed to be made. Wanting on the SLGA009, at a look, the general design and the fundamentals are an identical. The diameter, as an illustration, nonetheless is 40mm and is kind of compact. What modified on paper is the thickness, with an especially necessary (probably not…) distinction of 0.1mm, which is concerning the thickness of a human hair. Probably not vital, proper? In the identical vein, the lug-to-lug is introduced now at 47.6mm, versus 47mm for the SLGH005. Once more, 0.6mm isn’t one thing you’ll discover. So, on the wrist, virtually nothing has modified.
The design, once more at first sight, is identical too. Now we have right here the brand new technology of circumstances from the Evolution 9 assortment – watches with the brand new 9R or 9S actions – with a extra curved profile, extra brushed elements, thinner polished bevels on the edges and a newly designed bezel, barely extra pronounced than common and with a flat floor on high that’s vertically brushed – one thing that barely reduces the diameter of the dial and by the way the perceived dimension of the watch. And whether it is nonetheless compliant with the so-called “Grammar of Design” established in 1967 with the 44GS, this new case feels extra trendy and brings recent air to the gathering.
So what modifications, then? There are two noticeable variations between the White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 and the Hello-Beat SLGH005. First, the polished band the place the bezel and the bracelet are linked, between the lugs. It’s wider on the SLGA009, making the case visually a bit extra prolonged and giving the polished bevels contained in the lugs a bit extra depth. Second, the crown of the SLGA009 is taller and perhaps marginally bigger (we’re speaking tenths of millimeters if ever there’s a distinction) making it simpler to make use of, however barely much less elegant.
The remainder of the case seems an identical, with the identical dual-curved sapphire crystal with efficient anti-reflective coating on high, a screwed caseback with a see-through crystal, a screw-down crown and a snug 100m water-resistance. The ending, which mixes skinny hairlines with mirror, distortion-free (Zaratsu) polished surfaces remains to be the identical too, and thus nonetheless extraordinarily exact and visually interesting. The case stays made from chrome steel and thus has a sure heft. Grand Seiko broadcasts 176 grams with the bracelet for this White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009, whereas the Hello-Beat SLGH005 is given for 178 grams. Once more, insignificant variations.
In the identical vein, Grand Seiko retains the identical brushed chrome steel bracelet for its newly launched White Birch SLGA009. It thus retains its 3-link development, with a three-fold clasp and push-button launch. Two feedback. Contemplating the completely different connection between the case and the bracelet, it is perhaps that the end-links have been marginally redesigned. Second, we nonetheless miss the practicality of a micro-adjustment clasp on this in any other case well-crafted and comfy bracelet.
The Dial and arms of the White Birch SLGA009
Okay, that is the place issues actually change between the SLGA009 and the SLGH005. Whereas each watches are nicknamed “White Birch” (or in Japanese Shirakaba, if you wish to showcase a bit in society) they’ve truly fairly completely different dials. When the Hello-Beat SLGH005 has been launched and proven in dwell pictures, many have been impressed but additionally famous the very “silver metallic” really feel of the dial, perhaps not solely in step with the precise identify and inspiration of the watch.
The brand new Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 modifications (corrects, in case you desire) issues right here, with a model new dial. To start with, in comparison with the SLGH005, the feel is pretty completely different. The Hello-Beat watch has a tough, uneven texture with a grainy, virtually rocky floor that’s fairly deeply embossed into the dial’s plate. The brand new White Birch SLGA009 has a texture that based on the model is “extra refined and delicate (…) in contrast to the deep waves of the SLGH005.” Taking a look at close-up pictures, you’ll instantly discover a texture that’s extra refined, thinner, and principally has much less depth within the embossing. It’s additionally much more structured than earlier than with a recurring motion within the sample.
This new texture not solely provides to the class and refinement of the watch – a minimum of, in my eyes, this texture is extra nice and its repetitive, much less deep carving is extra suited to a daily-oriented watch. As well as, there’s the way in which the dial displays the sunshine. The dial of the SLGA009 seems extra matte, much less iridescent too. It has much less of the metallic, silvered really feel of the dial used on the SLGH005. That being mentioned, having completely different textures and having photographed the watches in numerous environments isn’t the simplest strategy to actually outline the exact color utilized by Grand Seiko. What I’d say is that this; the feel seems thinner, much less pronounced. The dial is extra matte and has much less shininess. The color feels whiter on the SLGA009, which is extra interesting (private opinion, in fact) and higher matches the precise identify of the watch.
There are much more apparent evolutions to be seen on the SLGA009. First, what doesn’t change are the daring and bevelled hours/minutes arms with a central matte hairline for the hours’ hand, the utilized emblem, and the fonts. The textual content at 6 o’clock is completely different, reflecting the brand new motion inside, and the font appears a bit extra condensed. The utilized markers, additionally bolder and distinctive to the Evolution 9 assortment, have been retained too. What modifications first within the Spring Drive SLGA009 is the date window, which is now wider – a specificity of the Calibre 9RA2 – and in consequence, the small black marker on the fitting of the window within the SLGH005 is now gone.
One other distinction on the SLGA009 is the angled internal flange, which is now wider too, and the black minute monitor printed on its matte floor seems barely completely different, with taller markers. Lastly, the blued central second has a central polished cap, which is perhaps a requirement of the Calibre 9RA2.
The principle distinction is the Spring Drive Calibre 9RA2
In fact, that is the place each watches differ most. The SLGH005 was geared up with the calibre 9SA5, a contemporary automated motion with twin-barrel, 80-hour energy reserve, slimmer profile and principally, an modern high-frequency (36,000vph) Twin Impulse escapement. The brand new SLGA009 switches the normal mechanical engine for the model’s proprietary expertise, a.okay.a Spring Drive. A system that mixes the perfect of mechanical and quartz actions, it depends on a extremely mechanical structure with mainspring barrels wound by an oscillating weight, benefiting from the perpetuity of an automated watch. But, it replaces the normal regulation of a mechanical watch by a quartz crystal inside a module named the “Tri-synchro Regulator.”
The motion discovered within the Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 is predicated on the model’s newest developments on this discipline, as launched in 2020 with the Grand Seiko Skilled Diver 600m SLGA001. The brand new Calibre 9RA2 is produced within the Grand Seiko Studio Shinshu, whereas the motion of the SLGH005 is produced Grand Seiko Studio Shizukuishi – and the distinction in location might be seen within the ornament of the motion, reflecting the precise environment of every studio.
This Calibre 9RA2 is a robust improve over earlier actions, such because the 9R6x structure. It improves all components – dimension, efficiency, ornament and performance – and units a brand new normal for any spring-powered watch. The motion is slimmer and but packs 5 days of energy reserve (vs. 3 days prior to now) with twin barrels. It additionally encompasses a a lot quicker date mechanism and even higher accuracy (±0.5 seconds per day or ±10 seconds per thirty days). The Calibre 9RA2 additionally has enhanced rigidity and shock resistance because of the brand new structure of the gear prepare. Lastly, the ornament has been redefined with frosted plates/bridges contrasting with the blued screw and the diamond-cut edges. And the facility reserve is now discreetly seen on the again, thus leaving the feel on the dial intact. Extra particulars concerning the motion on this article. And, as all the time, Spring Drive brings the good thing about an ultra-smooth sweeping seconds hand.
Ideas on the White Birch SLGA009
To start with, it’s a smart determination for Grand Seiko to have each an automated and a Spring Drive model of the White Birch watch within the assortment. I believe they’re clearly not meant for a similar sort of buyer. The Spring Drive expertise isn’t meant for a similar typology of watch fanatics, as I imagine that it requires much more data in watchmaking to really perceive its advantages and to overpass the “quartz” connection right here. Additionally, it’s a reasonably good thought from the model to supply its latest SLGA009 a barely completely different dial, simply to keep away from confusion.
Now, in case you ask me which one I’d select, my coronary heart tells me to desire a Hello-Beat mechanical engine over GS’s hybrid Spring Drive expertise. However, as I don’t (but) personal a Spring Drive watch myself and being now very aware of the advanced expertise behind this proprietary structure, and likewise seeing all the advantages, I’d be joyful to decide on the SLGA009 over the SLGH005. And the brand new, extra refined, “extra white” dial solely helps me in selecting the brand new one. I’ve to say that it is perhaps much less placing, however as soon as the wow-effect of the SLGH005 is gone, I believe that the restrained dial of the SLGA009 will likely be simpler every day. And because the worth isn’t a query on this duel, my alternative is thus simpler.
Availability & Value
The Grand Seiko White Birch Spring Drive SLGA009 is launched within the everlasting assortment and isn’t restricted in manufacturing. It will likely be accessible in early February 2022 (it’s doubtlessly already accessible in sure markets in the intervening time of publication) and is priced at EUR 9,500 (incl. taxes) or USD 9,100 (excl. taxes), thus precisely the identical worth because the White Birch Hello-Beat SLGH005.
For extra particulars, please go to www.grand-seiko.com.