The new watch is part of the ongoing 60th anniversary celebration for the Grand Seiko brand, and the design of the watch is said to take inspiration from armor worn by samurai warlords of the Sengoku period. The deep blue seen on the textured dial is a nod to the traditional “Katsu-iro” color that was favored by samurai in 15th – 17th century Japan, and the rose gold filled grooves of the crocodile strap represent the armor worn by these samurai. It’s all very whimsical, and tells a fascinating story that’s uniquely Japanese, which is part of the reason we love this brand so much. And as someone who grew up on Seven Samurai and other films by the great Akira Kurosawa, a samurai themed watch from Grand Seiko feels like something that was a long time coming.
The case, in rose gold, has the same sporty and angular look that has been creeping into Grand Seiko’s growing sports watch lineup. It measures 44.5mm in diameter and is 16.8mm thick, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the level of complexity of this movement (and Grand Seiko’s propensity of chunkiness in their sportier offerings). That said, I don’t think this is the type of watch someone wears when they’re looking for a little discretion. It’s a big, loud, conversation starter.
Naturally, the SBGC238 is not inexpensive or easy to obtain. It’s limited to 100 examples worldwide, with a retail price set at $44,300. Grand Seiko