Speaking of mvmt-finishes and your initial interest in the SBGA125...

 By: travelller : May 25th, 2017-05:01
...correct me if I'm wrong but the finish is more traditional with the 125's movement, or am I mistaken?

@travelller: both the SBGA125 and SBGA011 use the (exact?) same 9R65 movement with same decoration. The other pic in the link is for the hi-beat. Regards, skyeriding [nt]

 By: skyeriding : May 25th, 2017-09:52
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Well then maybe it's just the angle of the shot...

 By: travelller : May 25th, 2017-13:17

T4S - very interesting to know! [nt]

 By: travelller : May 25th, 2017-04:39
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textured paper

 By: tom2517 : April 18th, 2017-11:42
Correct me if I am wrong, but I read somewhere that someone from GS has indeed said that the dial was originally meant to be a representation of white textured paper. But since the name snowflake was taken on by the market, GS just went along with it. 

The "Snowflake" nickname

 By: cazalea : April 18th, 2017-12:10
GS Dealer 1 says: 

"The dial, for which this reference is monikered, is famous for having undergone a 9-step process to produce a finish resembling fresh snow. However, there doesn't seem to be a pure consensus about the exact inspiration for the dial. Some believe the dial was influenced by the perpetually white capped mountains visible through the windows of the Seiko-Epson Shinshu Watch Studio in the town of Shiojiri where Spring Drive movements are manufactured. Others believe it to be inspired by the fresh snowfall that collects outside of the studio itself, and another camp maintains it was the snow drifts sheltered by the trees in the nearby forest." 

GS Dealer 2 says: 

"Not every watch produced with get a nickname that sticks across collectors globally. We can think of some from one brand in particularly but outside of that very few come to mind. One that stands out is the Grand Seiko SBGA011, aptly named the "Snowflake" -€“ not by collectors but rather by its designers. 

Looking at the dial, the color and texture may remind you of light snow. In fact, the dial was inspired by the snow that falls outside of the watchmaker'€™s workshop. The dial doesn'€™t just resemble the snow, it even looks like it could be a fresh coat of snow! Watchmakers put the dial through a 6-step process to create this unique texture and final look. There is a combination of clear-coating, metallic treatment and paint work. This creates a random pattern on the dial channeling the untamed wild of the winter in Japan." 

GS Dealer 3 says: 

"Master watchmaker from Shinshu Watch Studio, Junya Kamijo, was in store building a Grand Seiko Diver. We noticed on his wrist the pure white dial and asked him to show off the beautiful timepiece. He did not speak very much English, so he had another gentleman from Japan (Kosuke "€œReggie"€ Kiryu) explain how the piece had acquired the nickname €"Snowflake"€ at the factory. 

The watch's inspiration was, in fact, the winters of the Suwa Nagano region of Japan (where Shinshu watch studio was located). The dial resembled the snow fall in Suwa. Since it is in central Japan, with less humidity, the snowfall is light and airy and leaves snowdrift patterns as also seen in the alps surrounding. The titanium case is to make it as light as a snowflake, and blue second hand and text is to give it the cold feel. There was much pride in this piece and one of the top Spring Drive watchmakers considered it his favorite."

Snow on the ground by JoeK at AZ Fine Time

I remember

 By: tom2517 : April 19th, 2017-00:54
the person who said it was based on textured paper was not a GS dealer, but rather someone at the GS manufacture. Anyways it's not important, if one day I ran into that article again I will post the link.

Thanks for a very

 By: halkcb : April 18th, 2017-18:06
incisive and comprehensive report on the "snowflake".
Your photos are so well shot and show such great detail.I wish i could have your skills to highlight the "Blizzard",both in text and photos!
Many thanks once again and enjoy your watch!


Thanks halkcb,

 By: skyeriding : April 22nd, 2017-00:52
I was strongly drawn to the Blizzard over the Snowflake due to the case shape but when I started liking it, it was already long gone...
Nevertheless, I haven't had a watch yet that has given me such pleasure until the Snowflake came along!


 By: Charilaos : April 20th, 2017-10:00
Happy owner of this beauty!!!!!!
Spend most of the time in my wrist and takes out from rotation other "heavy" names!!!!!!

It's amazing, isn't it? Could just keep staring at the dial and sweeping seconds, enjoying that finish all day long. Regards, skyeriding [nt]

 By: skyeriding : April 22nd, 2017-00:53
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Very informative review. A pleasure to read. [nt]

 By: maxfcc1 : April 21st, 2017-01:35
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Much appreciated, maxfcc1. Regards, skyeriding [nt]

 By: skyeriding : April 22nd, 2017-00:53
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Thanks for your delicate review and there's one question

 By: calatravayang : April 28th, 2017-00:24

Hi skyeriding, I'm also a happy owner of this snowflake.........'s brother SBGA001. Although I preferred the snowflake dial quite a lot by many close-up photos, I changed my mind after seeing them in life. The delicate sunbursted cream-colored dial of SBGA001 caught my eyes more. But of course they both show the great execution of Seiko to the dials. I agree with most your descripitions and comments. The lack of "ticks" and the machined finish of movement forced me to seek another watch as a complement(so I'll acquire a Moritz Grossmann soon).

There's one thing bugged me a lot after purchasing this watch - the date disc "moves" often. The date disc of my SBGA001 sometimes sits perfectly central in the window, but in other time(maybe just few minutes later), it sits slightly downward. It occurs at anytime and so smoothly that I can't detect the transition by staring it. I'm sure it's not a printing issue because there're two locations that one numeral sits. Because I just bought this watch for six months and it doesn't truly impair the function, I'm not going to send it to service recently. However, I'm a litte obsessive about the "balance/proportion etc.". So I'm very curious whether your watch has the same issue.

Sincerely, Chia-Ming Yang

Thank you Chia Ming,

 By: skyeriding : April 28th, 2017-09:44
As far as I've had it for the relatively short time so far (around a month), I don't really notice the date wheel shifting around; even giving it a few shakes or nudging it with the quickset date.
I do notice however, that the date wheel sits relative "deep" into the dial - i.e. with the raised date border inset and the actual date wheel sunk it it appears to be "misaligned" at different angles unless you are looking at it straight on.
Unfortunately I don't think I can give an educated advice beyond that. Does the date wheel shift about even if you leave the watch sitting still on say, a table? Or only after moving it around on your wrist?

That's quite strange

 By: calatravayang : April 28th, 2017-16:34
Initially I also thought it was due to a visual illusion caused by different view angles. However, I'm sure it's not soon. It doesn't influence by any motion nor vibration neither. I've tried to "reset" the date by quick-set, but nothing changed. The only explanation I guess is the date changing mechanism mal-engaged intermittently, but I know it sounds quite strange. It's not easy to take photos, but I'll update here if I success.
Regards, Chia-Ming Yang

I had one for about a year - one of the very first SBGA001 - and saw no misalignment that I can recall

 By: cazalea : May 25th, 2017-10:29
The photos from that time confirm this (yes, I was excited to get this watch and drank a great bottle in self-congratulations)

Looking at the layout of the movement I see nothing unusual in the date change mechanism, so either it's a fluke or perhaps the angle of viewing issue mentioned earlier.

If there is a flaw - it's one of these two stations where it happened:


Thanks for your experience sharing

 By: calatravayang : May 25th, 2017-10:49
The only thing I confirmed is the issue I mentioned doesn't result from different viewing angle. I'll point out this issue during maintenance and seek for the answer.

Excellent review - T4S!

 By: travelller : May 25th, 2017-04:10
The SBGA011 (/SBGA211) is on my short-list and this review just moved it a few notches up the list... smile
Awesome photos / macros. I couldn't do without my (Canon) EF-S 60 2.8! 


Thanks travelller

 By: skyeriding : May 25th, 2017-09:57
Best to handle them in person if possible - you'd never know what you'd find that you'll like! Especially with GS and their unique dials, they are appreciated much differently in real life versus still photos. I did manage to handle a SBGH037 which I'd have gotten in a heartbeat if it was a Spring Drive...
If non-spring drive, the flavor of the year seems to be the SBGW253 - which is popular for good reason!
When I think of Canon, I dream of the legendary MP-E 65... that'd be amazing (if not, way overkill!) for watch macro!

New vs Old Dial

 By: benlee338 : May 28th, 2017-04:10
Hi skyeriding,

I am curious to know what is your take on the old vs new dial for this model? As you know, the new dial will only have the GS word and logo. It does have the effect of making the dial looks slightly less balance, as some have opinion. 

I've seen some random pics of the new SBGA211...

 By: skyeriding : May 28th, 2017-11:20
The first time I saw the SBGA211 which will supersede the old one, it was the immediate driving force to jump for the SBGA011.

Now that I look at it again, it doesn't seem too bad but I still much prefer the older dial of the 011. It has a sense of more modest, understated feel with the proud "SEIKO" logo at 12.

Perhaps if the 011 didn't exist and GS began with the 211 I might think differently, but its inevitable to compare both especially if given the choice..


I agree

 By: benlee338 : May 28th, 2017-22:34
The 011 is more "balanced" for lack of a better word.

I only just managed to read your review in its entirety...

 By: rnaden : May 29th, 2017-06:24
Great review, which is what I can say, with some really amazing close ups to illustrate the points. I'm thinking hard about adding a spring drive and this is now at the top of my list, thanks to your very well composed review.

I suppose I have to act fast too, as this model doesn't come along easily anymore and I do agree with you that the new dial layout is a little to sparse.

Thank you Richard,

 By: skyeriding : May 31st, 2017-07:30
To me the grail is still a SBGA125, but that is long gone. Nevertheless, I appreciate the design of the 011 snowflake more and more especially after doing the review.
Give a think about it especially if you want to buy new as I don't know how long before the 211 rolls out!

Thank you for the amazing pictures and analysis!

 By: jh8cw : May 29th, 2017-21:03
I'll try to take a few close up shots with my iPhone 6s and upload some pictures of SBGA211 and provide a few close-ups of dials! The snowflake rotates in with 2 other watches for the working days and is a true keeper!

I originally aimed at trading in a watch for a preowned SBGA011 after much thought. Turns out, the AD was out of 011s and just had a 211 in, which he mentions were getting more inquiries than the Rolex Daytona lately. Given the reasonable trade price he offered for the other watch, decided to go with this watch. I love how the Snowflake looks (both SBGA011 and SBGA211), but there are obvious pros and cons about the dials. 

SBGA211 Dial (Relative to SBGA011) Less words on dial. Minimalistic look. The watch attains more formal / business casual look. Loses symmetry in dial (this does not bother me, many dress watches lack symmetry on dial, like La Lange Sohne Saxonia, etc. I intend on using this watch mostly for work and use another watch for more casual settings, so the SBGA211 dial (although losing some versatility with the loss of the balanced dial) fits my purpose better. I've seen people on forums argue that "Seiko" on dial is more discreet. However, I'd argue that "Grand Seiko" is pretty discreet relative to say Rolex anyways, so this is more of a gripe between watch enthusiasts. 

My only gripe with both snowflake watches is that the casing and the initial links on the bracelet don't seem to transition well. Also, the brushed titanium links are an abrupt transition from the polished case and the transition is a bit rugged. Wished the lugs were not as pronounced, so I can swap easily with leather straps. However, these are minor complaints, akin to the date window on JLC Chronograph. 

Harder to focus on the watch then I thought on the 6S

 By: jh8cw : May 29th, 2017-21:15

I share most of your sentiments jh8cw...

 By: skyeriding : May 31st, 2017-07:49
With regards to case, the lugs definitely are chunky, which is why I feel aesthetically it works better on bracelet than a strap (which might not flow too well given the size). As a strap guy most of the time, this one made me like bracelets - though I may be biased as I don't handle bracelets often. Nevertheless, I think many can overlook these as most focus still goes toward the dial...

Till today, I still haven't tried swapping the bracelet out as I still don't have a dual springbar tool. I do however have a tutorial in the works on adjusting the links, which I'll post up once I get un-lazy and finish it... Thanks for reading!


I own 1 too

 By: William M aka Mr.Lume : May 31st, 2017-17:54
I was blown away by the sheer comfort & level of detail on a Seiko. Never in a million years did I think I would spend that kind of $$ on a Seiko.I took a chance & purchased 1 sight unseen from Toppers & I'm sure glad I did. Like you I'm a strap guy & this 1 stays on the braclet exculsively. The bracelet ,dare I say is out does Rolex by a country mile IMO. & that Blue hand is over the top.Dial is Amazing in person but very hard to capture in a pic , unless like you , myou have a nice camera & macro.

Love how the lighting makes it look like the indices are gold plated! [nt]

 By: jh8cw : May 31st, 2017-18:56
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