Hello everyone! In this article, I’ll be shining a spotlight on my recent watch acquisition, the Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun”.
This is essentially a series where I shine a spotlight on my personal purchases. I’ve previously done similar articles on my Kurono Tokyo Toki, IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince, TAG Heuer Monaco CAW211B, Tissot PRX Powermatic 80, Bell & Ross BR 05, the Santos de Cartier, the Tudor Black Bay 58 Blue, and most recently my Ming 17.09. In this article, I’ll showcase my latest purchase – the Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun”.
I recently graduated from university, and wanted to get a watch to commemorate the milestone. I gave myself a budget of $7000, and was initially looking at a Rolex for my grad watch, specifically the Datejust ref. 16234. I went to look at a few examples, but unfortunately was unimpressed by the build quality vis-a-vis the price. Granted, the 16234 is 20-30 years old – but I didn’t feel good about paying an exorbitant amount of money on it. If I’m being honest, the main draw of the 16234 (as compared to its more modern counterparts) was its lower price, but that shouldn’t be a deciding factor as it would have meant settling for less.
As such, I turned my attention elsewhere, and in so doing chanced upon a Youtube video by Teddy Baldassarre (whom I was already following as he frequently covers micro and independent watch labels). I’ve always wanted a Grand Seiko – it’s common consensus amongst watch enthusiasts that Grand Seiko’s level of finishing bests those in its price range (such as Rolex), and measures up to even watches from Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin that are 4-5 times its price. I was also intrigued by the innovation of the Spring Drive movement, a proprietary technology that combines the quartz and mechanical horology to achieve incredible accuracy and a smooth sweeping hand. It’s something that’s unique to Grand Seiko, and as a watch nerd I’ve always wanted to own a Spring Drive watch.
Of course, the most iconic Spring Drive Grand Seiko is the SBGA211 aka “Snowflake”, which was arguably the watch that put Grand Seiko on the radar of watch enthusiasts when it was first released five years ago. Unfortunately, it felt a tad too common for my tastes – if someone owns a Grand Seiko, chances are it’s the Snowflake. I wanted something with a similar dial texture but a little different, and for years lusted after the SBGA407, otherwise known as the “Skyflake”. I found the ice blue dial alluring, and it’s a watch that’s rarely seen in the wild. However, it didn’t have the iconic 62GS case of the Snowflake, which encapsulated the brand’s “grammar of design”. It was also a tad too dressy on the leather strap, and I felt that it didn’t possess the everyday versatility that the Snowflake had.
That changed when I discovered the SBGA413 “Shunbun”. It ticked all my boxes – a Spring Drive movement, a 62GS case, a textured “flake” dial, and a unique dial colour that separates it from the rest of Grand Seiko’s catalogue. It’s a watch that’s relatively uncommon, and I personally don’t know of any enthusiasts owning this particular piece. I also loved the titanium case and bracelet, which made it very comfortable on the wrist. Honestly, it was love at first sight/wear. There are certain pieces that just speak to you, that you resonate with – the Shunbun was one of them for me.
For one, I love its pink textured dial. The Shunbun was first released in the US in 2019 as part of a “Four Seasons” collection, with the SBGA413 representing Spring. I imagine it evokes the cherry blossoms that bloom then, though I have no point of reference since I reside in tropical Singapore. Still, I found the pink dial to be eminently striking. It’s a light pink hue that morphs in different lighting conditions, and I enjoy its subtlety. It’s also the first (and probably only) pink dial watch that I own, which separates it from the rest of my watches. Of course, there’s the brand’s trademark Zaratsu finishing on the case, hands and indices, which have all been finished to an insanely detailed degree. I won’t be posting macro shots here, but if you’re interested plenty of videos – including one by Watchfinder – are available on Youtube.
When I started searching for a graduation watch, I wanted to find a timepiece that I resonated with, one that would remain in my collection for a long, long time. The Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun” is the perfect representation of that. It packs value in spades – the level of finishing punches way above its price point – with a beautiful dial that’s enticing but also subtle. It’s underrated by the mass market, but admired by true enthusiasts. In other words, it’s a watch that you buy for its inherent beauty and craftsmanship, not one you buy because of the hype, brand name, or market value. And as such, I’m confident it’s a watch I’ll love for many years to come – it pairs well with my pink outfits too!
Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun” – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the watch, do watch my Youtube review of the Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun” below:
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P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.