In 1959, Grand Seiko hired a designer who would come to define the brand’s design language: Taro Tanaka. Over the next three years, Tanaka would develop nine standards of aesthetics for Grand Seiko’s watches called the “Grammar of Design.” Fast forward a few more years to 1967 when the brand launched a watch that would become one of its most significant models, one that fully embodied this design code. The 44GS is most notable for its case shape, which is emblematic of the Grand Seiko Style and takes its name from the caliber 4420 movement. In the five decades since its debut, we’ve seen Grand Seiko iterate on the iconic design of the 44GS on numerous occasions from limited editions to brightly colored versions. Today, we get three new versions of the 44GS that are exclusive to the U.S. market.
In 2022, Grand Seiko introduced a new midsized 36.5mm case to the 44GS family, and now, we get three new iterations of this perfectly proportioned size. Each is rendered in stainless steel and features the box-shaped crystal similar to that of the original design of the 1967 44GS. In addition, all three have dials that showcase the brand’s signature Mount Iwate pattern, inspired by the peak that’s visible from Grand Seiko’s Studio Shizukuishi. However, we get three totally unique colorways: pink, green, and blue.
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The pink dial version, the SBGW313, draws from the distinctive hue of cherry blossoms, which bloom against the snow-capped Mt. Iwate late each spring. Alternatively, the green dial iteration, the SBGW311, takes inspiration from “tsuyu,” the rainy season that begins in early summer resulting in a lush and fertile landscape surrounding the mountain. The third colorway featuring a cool blue dial is the most exclusive. This special variation, the SBGW309, is available only to folks in the U.S. GS9 Club, a membership organization for those who have purchased a new Grand Seiko watch from a boutique, salon, or mastershop in the States anytime since March 23, 2017. For this edition, the blue dial shade evokes the ice-covered trees known as “snow monsters” or “juhyo” that take shape in the cold winter months and can been seen from Mt. Iwate on the neighboring Mt. Hachimantai.
Powering each of the all-new 44GS models is the manual-wind caliber 9S64, and each is priced at $5,900. The pink “Hanami” SBGW313 and the green “Tsyu” SBGW311 will be available to purchase beginning this month at Grand Seiko’s physical and online boutiques as well as authorized retailers throughout the U.S. Alternatively, the exclusive blue “Juhyo” SBGW309 is reserved for GS9 Club members, who can purchase through Grand Seiko’s online boutique or at Grand Seiko GS9 Club events.
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