Grand Seiko Unveils the Spring Drive GMT SBGE307 “Tokyo Lion”

A bold, stylised Grand Seiko.

Following last year’s SBGA481, Grand Seiko continues to expand the Sport Collection “Tokyo Lion” series inspired by the big cat in the Grand Seiko emblem. Like its predecessor, the Sport Spring Drive GMT SBGE307 “Tokyo Lion” sports a stylised, angular titanium case inspired by a lion’s paw and a textured dial modelled on a mane, now joined by a red GMT hand.

Initial thoughts

The “Tokyo Lion” is one of the most distinctive case designs in Grand Seiko’s large catalogue, and also the flagship given its complex finishing (and accompanying price). While most Grand Seiko watches opt for patterned dials and conservative, even bland, case styles, the “Tokyo Lion” makes a statement with its is generous dimensions and angular styling. The design is also particularly suited to Grand Seiko’s signature flat-polishing technique. With their wide, flat surfaces, the claw-inspired lugs are an excellent medium to showcase zaratsu polishing.

It is, however, a large case at almost 45 mm wide and 15 mm high, so it’s catered to someone seeking a bold sports watch, and not an old-school Grand Seiko dress watch.

The texture of the dial is striking, even though Grand Seiko has no shortage of dial patterns in its offerings. The dial artfully mimics a lion’s mane, giving it more visual depth than the typical Grand Seiko dial. Though few, the red accents on the dial add just enough colour and complement the ivory dial well. The dial might have been slightly dull without the subtle red touches.

Overall, the SBGE307 is a well executed, practical iteration of the “Tokyo Lion” design. It does come along with a hefty price tag of US$10,700. That’s almost double the lowest-priced Grand Seiko with a 9R Spring Drive movement. But aside from the 9R movement, the SBGE307 is entirely different from an entry-level model. Most notably, the case is a proprietary titanium alloy while dial is elaborately textured.

The GS lion

The SBGE307 case is in high-intensity titanium, a proprietary alloy that’s harder than usual and notably brighter in finish, giving it an appearance that’s closer to steel than conventional titanium. Large at 44.5 mm in diameter and 14.9 mm in thickness, the SBGE307 is nonetheless lightweight due to the metal. Despite the large case, the “lion claw” lugs are relatively short, allowing it to sit reasonably well on even medium-sized wrists. The case is water resistant to 200 m, and features a screw-down crown.

Modelled on a lion’s mane, the dial texture resembles random, tiny brushstrokes up close. The finish gives the dial the appearance of volume, although it is flat.

The indices, as well as the hour and minutes hands, are milled with a diamond-tipped tool, giving them sharp edges and a mirrored surface. They are also filled with Seiko’s own luminous compound, Lumibrite, as are the GMT hand and numerals on the bezel. And the 24-hour scale on the bezel sits under a sapphire insert.

The GMT hand and text on the dial are in red for contrast

The see-through case back reveals the Spring Drive cal. 9R66. As a “true” GMT movement, the local time hour hand can be independently adjusted backwards or forwards, with the date moving in sync. The red GMT hand stays stationary, allowing it to show home time.

The cal. 9R66 boasts three days of power reserve and is accurate to within 15 seconds per month thanks to its hybrid technology that incorporates an electronic regulator powered by a mechanical going train. Equipped with a flywheel spinning in one direction, instead of a balance wheel that oscillates back and forth, the Spring Drive movement drives the second hand with a perfectly smooth, “glide” motion, one of the distinguishing features of Spring Drive.

Key facts and price

Grand Seiko Sport Spring Drive GMT “Tokyo Lion”
Ref. SBGE307

Diameter: 44.5 mm
Height: 14.9 mm
Material: “High-intensity” titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. 9R66
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, GMT and power reserve indicator
Winding: Spring Drive
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Matching titanium bracelet

Availability: Available at Grand Seiko boutiques and retailers starting August 2024
Price: US$10,700

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