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Best Grand Seiko Hi Beat watches

Anytime class and precision are required, Grand Seiko is instantly the name that comes to mind. Grand Seiko produces some of the best watch movements. Additionally, the brand produces timepieces that are as unique as they are superior to others.

Although all Grand Seiko wristwatches have excellent movements, one that has caught our eye is the Hi-Beat. One may ask, what is a Seiko Hi-Beat? We will tell you everything you need to know about the best Grand Seiko Hi-Beat watches and what they mean to watch lovers. 

What does Hi-Beat Mean in Watches?

Hi-Beat movements, like all others, were discovered due to the watchmakers’ zeal to attain supreme accuracy. The Hi-Beat movement was first introduced in the 60s when its frequency was about 18,000 BPH. Nowadays, watchmakers have refined the movement to enhance precision. Thus, you will find that Grand Seiko Hi-Beat wristwatches have a frequency of 28,800 BPH. 

What is a Seiko Hi-Beat?

The Hi-Beat is a type of mechanical movement like the spring drive watches. However, Hi-Beat automatic watches give rise to fast-ticking timepieces. Consequently, Hi-Beat movement watches have higher precisions compared to spring drive timepieces. 

The mechanism of Hi-Beat wristwatches resembles that of chronographs. As well all know, chronographs are mostly used by pilots, astronauts, doctors, and race drivers. All these people have one thing in common; they depend on time. Hence, you can also use Seiko Hi-Beat watches because they offer excellent precision. 

Although it was not Seiko that pioneered these Hi-Beat movements, the brand has adopted the movement and customized it since its adoption. The 5740C was the first Seiko Hi-Beat movement. This movement powered the renowned Lord Marvel, released in 1967. Interestingly, the timepiece vibrated at 36,000 BPH. About a year later, Grand Seiko released its first Hi-Beat timepiece called the 61GS with a 6145 automatic Hi-beat Caliber.

Now that we know what the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movement is and how it came about, we can proceed to look at some of the best Grand Seiko Hi-Beat timepieces. Read on to find out some of the best timepieces with the Hi-Beat movement from Grand Seiko.

10 Best Grand Seiko Watches

Many Grand Seiko high-beat automatic watches perform better than Rolex wristwatches. Here are the ten best Grand Seiko watches with Hi-Beat movements you can count on.

  1. Grand Seiko (Mt. Iwate) SBGJ201
  2. Grand Seiko SBGJ237
  3. Grand Seiko SBGH271
  4. Grand Seiko (White Birch) SLGH005
  5. Grand Seiko SBGM221
  6. Grand Seiko (Elegance) SBGW231
  7. Grand Seiko SLGH009
  8. Grand Seiko (Elegance) SBGJ219
  9. Grand Seiko SBGH001
  10. Grand Seiko SBGJ227

1. Grand Seiko SBGJ201

Grand Seiko SBGJ201

The Mt. Iwate timepiece or Grand Seiko SBGJ201 is a great choice if you pick your first wristwatch from Grand Seiko. The wristwatch has several unique features that make it one of the best Hi-Beat wristwatches. This affordable high-beat Seiko watch resembles other models but stands out differently.

One main thing you will notice about this timepiece is its blue GMT hands. Additionally, you will notice the little structure in the dial. The watch stands out even further because it has that design from Grand Seiko’s 44GS. Inspired by Shizuku-Ishi’s Mt. Iwate, this timepiece has a thick diameter of 40mm. 

The watch has a stainless steel bracelet matching the GMT function and adding some thickness to the watch. The Hi-Beat movement makes the timepiece perfect for those who love accuracy in their timepieces. The wristwatch has a white dial with a date window at the three o’clock dial marker. You will also find the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 inscribed just above the six o’clock hour marker.

2. Grand Seiko SBGJ237

Grand Seiko SBGJ237

The Grand Seiko SBGJ237 has unparalleled functions, making it one of the best Hi-beat movement watches you can obtain from Grand Seiko. The timepiece has a 24-hour bezel that displays three different time zones simultaneously. Additionally, the design gives off a traditional yet classic outlook.

This round-shaped timepiece has an analog display type and an anti-reflective sapphire dial window, making time-telling easier. The stainless steel case matches the silver band color and blue dial. Furthermore, the blue and white sapphire-made bezel makes the watch one of the most attractive on the market. 

This timepiece has a case diameter of 44.2mm,, making it suitable for persons with big wrists. Thus, if you have a small wrist, you may have to choose another wristwatch. The Grand Seiko SBGJ237 has a date calendar at the three o’clock marker and a power reserve of approximately 55 hours. You also stand to enjoy a water resistance of 200m, which makes it enough for swimming and showering. 

3. Grand Seiko SBGA231

Grand Seiko SBGA231

There’s much detail on this watch that makes you doubt if the pricing is correct. This special edition watch has a summer dial and is comparably the cheapest 36,000 BPH watch you will find from Grand Seiko. The Japan Four Seasons Special Edition Rikka has a rich green dial that reminds you of summer. Additionally, the timepiece is quite popular for its interesting features.

It is no surprise that this round-shaped wristwatch has an anti-reflective sapphire on its dial window and an analog display. Furthermore, the timepiece has a deployment clasp that works perfectly with the stainless steel band. If you have a moderately big wrist, this watch will suit you since it has a case diameter of 40mm. 

One outstanding feature of this timepiece is its gold indices which make time-telling easier. Also, the 36,000 BPH movement makes for more accurate time-telling. If you want to enjoy a simple yet classic watch that matches the four seasons, this Grand Seiko timepiece is all you need. 

4. Grand Seiko SLG005

Grand Seiko SLG005

This timepiece takes its name from its brilliantly deep-textured dial. Watchmakers were inspired by the white birch trees near Grand Seiko’s studio in Shizukuishi. This timepiece has an Evolution 9 style that gives off a practical and sporty vibe. Interestingly, the timepiece also has a refined and elegant design introduced to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary.

The brand used its new Hi-Beat 9SA5 movement to mark this special edition. Thus, this watch has a dial impulse with better efficiency compared to a Swiss lever. Consequently, the watch has an increased 80-hour power reserve. 

While you may argue that the silver indices do not contrast properly with the silvery-white dial, the brushed and polished finishes make the watch one of the best. Moreover, the wristwatch has a sporty case and a water resistance of 100m. Hence, this unique timepiece can withstand swimming and light showers. 

5. Grand Seiko SBGM221 GMT

Grand Seiko SBGM221 GMT

One thing we love about Seiko is their ability to produce timepieces for big and small wrists. This particular timepiece, the SBGM221 GMT, is a 39.5mm wristwatch for travelers. An outstanding feature of this timepiece is the well-crafted and proportioned case. The case has faceted and sharp lugs accompanied by the popular Zaratsu finishing. 

This wristwatch’s dial is as beautiful as they come. The dial has a warm ivory color contrasting with the zaratsu-finished hour markers. Additionally, the dial contrasts against the heated blue hand and the 24-hour inner track. Overall, the dial is a beautiful sight to behold. 

Another impressive thing about this design is how the flat, sharp edges transpose with the smooth, polished, curved surfaces. The juxtaposition creates a timepiece case that is as beautiful as it is comfortable. Furthermore, the watch has the 9S66 automatic movement, enhancing this timepiece’s power reserve. Thus, you can enjoy a 72-hour power reserve when using this timepiece. 

6. Grand Seiko SBGW231

Grand Seiko SBGW231

We know everyone says nothing is perfect. However, Grand Seiko’s Elegance SBGW231 is as near perfect as they come. With a 37.3mm diameter, this timepiece uses the caliber 9S64 mechanical movement, ensuring high accuracy. Interestingly, this is the cheapest 36,000 BPH watch on our list.  

The wristwatch’s dimensions are as tasteful and classic for watch lovers. Also, the design philosophy is written all over the dial and case. Firstly, your attention will always go to the simple yet classic ivory dial. The dial sits inside an angular abd beautifully finished case. Moreso, the dial houses hour markers that do all the talking. 

You must hop on this one if you have a thing for skeleton watches. This timepiece has a see-through case that allows you to see the movement. Also, the wristwatch has leather straps that contrast amicably with the dial, case, and hour markers. Overall, this timepiece is one you cannot pass the opportunity to obtain. 

7. Grand Seiko SLGH009

Grand Seiko SLGH009

Grand Seiko released this timepiece to celebrate its 55th anniversary. The brand got the design inspiration from the 1967 model and made a few modifications. Moreover, this timepiece has a 40mm case and an 11.7mm height. You will also find large shoulders and polished surfaces typical of the 44GS.

One interesting feature of this wristwatch is its Ever-Brilliant Steel alloy. This steel is resistant to corrosion, thus extending the timepieces’ durability. Furthermore, the brilliant-white hue matches the finely polished Zaratsu-treated surfaces. 

Like most Grand Seiko Hi-Beat wristwatches, this timepiece has a sapphire crystal dial window. The anti-reflective coating on the see-through sapphire crystal makes it easier to see the elements in the dial. 

8. Grand Seiko Hi-Beat SBGJ219

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat SBGJ219

Grand Seiko’s SBGJ219, otherwise known as the Grand Seiko Elegance, incorporates the Caliber 9S86 movement. This high-level movement offers the same accuracy (-5 to +3 secs a day) and power reserve (55hrs) compared to the core Caliber 9S85. What makes this timepiece superior is its GMT function. 

First introduced in 2019, this timepiece has made an everlasting impression. The wristwatch has a round anti-reflective sapphire window that houses an analog display dial. Furthermore, the timepiece features a three-fold clasp that contains a push button release that fits perfectly with its stainless steel case. This timepiece is perfect for you if you have a small wrist. The case diameter is 39.5mm, while the thickness is about 13.9mm. 

Grand Seiko’s SBGJ219 houses a date calendar at the three o’clock hour marker. Also, the timepiece has an automatic movement with a manual winding capacity. This timepiece is your surest bet if you need a low-budget, high-performance luxury watch.

9. Grand Seiko SBGH001

Grand Seiko SBGH001

If you don’t like unnecessary decorations on your wristwatch, Grand Seiko’s SBGH001 is for you. The timepiece is an embodiment of simplicity and elegance. This timepiece comes with a stainless steel case and a Seiko 9S5B 37-jewel movement. 

Grand Seiko uses a dual curved Sapphire with a high-quality anti-reflective coating. Furthermore, the wristwatch has a tri-hand analog display function and a date window near the three o’clock marker. This analog display and its engravings sit graciously on the white dial that contrasts with the stainless steel case. 

10. Grand Seiko SBGJ227

Grand Seiko SBGJ227

The Grand Seiko SBGJ227 was first introduced in 2017 with 700 pieces. This Hi-Beat GMT timepiece comes from Grand Seiko’s Heritage collection and has a normal movement and case style to other timepieces in the collection. However, what makes the wristwatch stand out is its peacock-inspired dial. 

This timepiece has stamped pattern and green lacquer color, allowing it to utilize light beautifully. The colors from the dial almost resemble those on a peacock, hence the color description. Furthermore, the timepiece has a 40mm casing and a unique zaratsu finishing.

What to Consider When Buying Grand Seiko Timepieces

Buying the right Grand Seiko Hi-Beat wristwatches could be confusing even for enthusiasts. We have outlined a few things to help you pick the best Grand Seiko Hi-Beat timepieces.


While most modern timepieces spot sunburst or matte dials, Grand Seiko watches usually have different dials from each collection and model. Before purchasing any wristwatch, you must check for the textured dial that suits your taste. Something you can check from the dial is the indices.

Some models have Roman numerals for hour markers, while others have Arabic numerals. It is best to choose the dial markers that sit right with you. Additionally, you can check if the dial has a date window or other features like the GMT function, which you may need. 

Check Your Budget

While you may find several Hi-Beat wristwatches on the market, your budget is one factor you cannot ignore. Thankfully, Grand Seiko has the cheapest Hi-Beat watches. With Grand Seiko, you will find the cheapest 28,800 BPH watch, and even a 36,000 BPH watch at an affordable price. Ensure that you go for a wristwatch you can afford to avoid financial issues in the future.

Finishing and Movement

Several brands have different finishings. For Grand Seiko, their trademark Zaratsu polishing is rampant. Although you will find other finishings, this is the most common among Hi-Beat wristwatches. Additionally, you will find several movements when purchasing a Grand Seiko wristwatch. However, the Hi-Beat mechanical is one of the best and offers accuracy like none other. To enjoy accurate time-telling, utilizing the Hi-Beat movement timepieces from Grand Seiko is best.


Grand Seiko has some of the best and most affordable Hi-Beat wristwatches. Our review has outlined ten of the best wristwatches with Hi-Beat movements. You can use this list and our buying guide to pick the wristwatch that corresponds with your taste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are high-beat watches more accurate?

High-beat wristwatches have higher frequencies, allowing you to enjoy more accuracy than lower frequencies. Summarily, the higher the frequency of your Hi-Beat wristwatch, the more accurate its time-telling capabilities.

Which is the cheapest Hi-Beat watch to buy?

Many brands offer affordable Hi-Beat wristwatches. However, Grand Seiko offers some of the best and most affordable Hi-Beat timepieces. To enjoy classic designs, you need to consider this brand.

Does Grand Seiko have Hi-Beat watches for all wrist sizes?

Yes. Grand Seiko has Hi-Beat watches for small and big wrists. We have listed the best Grand Seiko Hi-Beat watches for big and small wrists. You can visit our list to see which of the timepieces matches your wrist size.

grand seiko vs omega brand comparison

An overview of the Grand Seiko brand

Grand Seiko is a Japanese watch brand that was started in 1960. Both the Seiko and Grand Seiko brands existed under one umbrella until 2017 when the Grand Seiko became an independent brand. A good comparison would be automobile manufacturer Honda Motor Company. Both the Honda and Acura brands are owned by Honda but are two distinct entities.

Just as the Honda brand appeals to the everyday driver, the Acura brand is a higher-priced luxury offering for a more sophisticated consumer. Think of Seiko as Honda, and the Grand Seiko as the Acura. The Seiko watch corporation has accomplished much during its relatively short history. From Seiko’s inception, they were manufacturing highly precise mechanical timepieces.

In the 1960s, Seiko beat out many high-end Swiss brands at Observatory Competitions in Switzerland, often placing in the top five for mechanical accuracy. In 1969, Seiko invented the very first quartz movement. The original model was the Seiko Quartz Astra. The accuracy of these movements was +-5 seconds per month.

Far more accurate than the mechanical wind and automatic movements that were being produced. This level of accuracy in a wristwatch was unprecedented. The other great draw to the brand was its affordability. The quartz introduction would provide a great challenge to the established Swiss watch brands.

The follow-up introduction of the Twin Quartz and the Superior Twin Quartz models would further Seiko’s success in delivering highly accurate movements. The “Twin” refers to the two quartz oscillators that were incorporated into the movement, one compensating for the other during temperature changes. The Twin Quartz introduced in 1978 was accurate to +-10 seconds per year and the Superior Twin Quartz to +-5 seconds per year.

Over the past sixty years, Seiko has improved upon many previous watch manufacturing processes. In 2020, Grand Seiko created the T0 (T-Zero) movement which was the world’s first. Amongst the innovations achieved, a totally different approach was applied to the manufacture of the movement’s gears. Gears are vital in the precision of the movement.

Whereas previously gears were machined, Grand Seiko employed a process known as MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems). This technique is employed for making semiconductors. Metal films are layered like plating to produce perfect gear teeth. Gear teeth precision is measured in microns. This process was also used to manufacture Grand Seiko’s pallet fork and escapement wheels.

The T0 movement features a fully integrated constant force tourbillon on the same axis in the movement. Constant force preserves power in a small spring called a constant force spring which is different from a mainspring. It uses the repulsive power of the small spring to power a pendulum or balance. The constant force mechanism ensures stable torque which increases accuracy.

The Grand Seiko collection is comprised of five sub-collections. These are Masterpiece, Elegance, Evolution 9, Sports, and Heritage. The starting retail price for a Grand Seiko is $2200.00. Every Grand Seiko watch houses one of three types of movements The “9S” is a mechanical movement that offers Grand Seiko Specification Standards of the accuracy of +4/-2 seconds per day.

These standards are achieved over seventeen days of testing in six different positions and at three different temperatures. The “9S5A” movement is the automatic version with an accuracy of +8/-3 seconds per day. The second movement is the “9S”. This movement is based on the unique technology of a spring drive.

This technology combines electronic and mechanical watchmaking methods within one movement. Watches carrying these movements are accurate from a minimum of +-.5 seconds per day to +-15 seconds per month.

Lastly is the “9F” which is a hand-assembled quartz movement. Most quartz movements are machine manufactured, so this is a very unique feature. These watches also boast accuracy readings of +- 10 seconds per year.

3 Grand Seiko Watches

The Omega watch brand

Omega is a Swiss luxury timepiece that is counted amongst the ten most recognizable brands worldwide. Omega was founded in 1848 by Louis Brandt in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland. The watch company did not incorporate the “Omega” name until 1903 and even then it was known as a combination of Brandt and Omega. 

The major feature that distinguishes Omega watches from other brands is that each is a master chronometer. To achieve this classification, the movements are not just certified chronometers by the COSC (Swiss chronometer testing institute) for accuracy, but they are then put through more precision testing by METAS. METAS is the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology.

The movements are put through eight additional tests and must fall within certain parameters of accuracy. Whereas the COSC accepts results of -4/+6 seconds per day after the METAS tests the range is 0/+5, 0/+6, and 0/+7 seconds per day depending upon the caliber size of the movement. The Omega watch line offers over 500 models and has a starting retail price of approximately $5000.00.

A basic “Rail Master” is about $4900.00. and a basic divers watch will run you about $5100.00. Women’s watches start at approximately $6000.00. There is great depth to the women’s selections with styles ranging from classic models to models adorned with diamonds and gemstones in solid gold. There are four distinct subgroups within the collection. Seamaster, Speedmaster, Constellation, and Deville.

These groups are also made up of subgroups of assorted styles with choices that most would find appealing. Omega has many notable inventions and patents it has acquired during its history. The company created the first Master Chronometer Tourbillon and presently offers four models that range from $137,000.00 to over $700,000.00 retail.

These handcrafted watches come with either manual winding or self-winding movements and range in case size from 38.7 mm. to 44 mm. These models are inspired by the first tourbillon wristwatch caliber Omega created in 1947. Unlike the conventional tourbillon movements where the cages rotated once every minute, the Omega rotated once every 7.5 minutes. This provided greater accuracy leading to the movement being recognized as the most accurate recorded timepiece in 1949.

Another iconic chapter in Omega’s history was the development of the “Moon” watch. This watch was launched in 1957. In 1962, it was the first watch in space when Wally Schirra wore it for the Mercury Mission on Oct. 3, 1962.

Nasa subsequently qualified the watch for manned missions in 1965, and astronaut Buzz Aldrin wore it when he walked on the moon on July 21, 1969. Thus Omega became known as “The First Watch on the Moon.” Omega offers a five-year warranty on all of its timepieces making it comparable to Rolex in this respect.

Is the Grand Seiko watch technically better than Omega?

Both brands offer excellence in both watchmaking processes and innovation. Grand Seiko has made significant technological strides in incorporating semiconductor manufacturing practices in the production of its watch components and materials. Also, in the field of combining both mechanical and electronic movement technology, Grand Seiko has achieved world-class results for accuracy.

Grand Seiko is also one of the only watch brands that offer a hand-assembled quartz movement. This coupled with a virtually “Blink of an eye” date change function are significant advancements. In most watches, when the date is going to change at midnight, the numeric function is either gradual or can be viewed in real-time. The Grand Seiko anticipates the coming midnight hour and changes at the precise moment the day turns over quietly and with seamless aplomb.

In the discussion of high-end complications, both companies have made contributions and advancements concerning the incorporation of the tourbillon. Omega with its Master Chronometer Tourbillon and Grand Seiko with its T0 (T Zero) Constant Force Tourbillon. When comparing both brands for technical prowess, you have a long history of Swiss movement development and innovation juxtaposed with a virtual newcomer to the watch world in the Grand Seiko brand.

I believe the Japanese work ethic and ability to approach watchmaking with a new and fresh mindset have contributed to their success in producing watches that have the ability to compete with many Swiss luxury brands based on technical features.

Omega Aqua Terra vs Grand Seiko Sports collection

Omega Aqua Terra vs Grand Seiko Sports

The Aqua Terra is part of the Omega Seamaster collection. These models are water resistant to 150m. (approximately 500 ft.). Cases are constructed of 316L stainless steel and available in either a 41mm. or a 38mm.cCase. They house a caliber 8900 self-winding (automatic) movement with a power reserve of 60 hours with transparent case backs. These watches are highly shock resistant and are tested with results that are equal to 5,000g (1g is equal to the force of gravity at the earth’s surface).

Each Aqua Terra also benefits from the best antimagnetic resistant rating among all watches. Omega had set the new standard for this measure in a wristwatch. These watches are antimagnetic to fields reaching 15,000 gauss. A quick overview concerning this feature is as follows.

The International Standard (ISO769) defines basic magnetic resistance for watches as they must resist exposure to direct magnetic fields of 4,800 A/m (Amperes per meter). This is a minimal level and equivalent to about 60 gauss. Gauss is a measure of magnetic resistance that takes into consideration the magnetic permeability of the material being tested. Technically, this is called magnetic flux density.

The Aqua Terra is rated at 15,000 gauss (1.2 million A/m). To put that measure in perspective, it is the magnetic field given off by an MRI scanner. The starting retail price for the Aqua Terra is $5400.00 for a strap model or $5700.00 for a model with a stainless steel bracelet. There are also several styles available for women starting at $5700.00.

For the Grand Seiko collection, I have chosen to use the SBGE201 model from the Sports styles. Granted, this is a GMT model but I wanted a model with a comparable price point and features. This model boasts 20 bar or approximately 660 ft. of water resistance. The case measures 44mm. and is outfitted with a 30 jewel caliber 9R66 SpringDrive movement (see above for the definition of a spring drive movement) with a power reserve of 72 hours.

It has a sapphire crystal and offers an accuracy of +-15 seconds per month (approximately +-1 second per day). Magnetic resistance comes in at 4800 A/m. A vast difference when compared to the Omega. I believe Omega holds a slight advantage over the Grand Seiko when comparing features. The Omega, as a Swiss luxury watch, has a more prestigious cache attached to its name. The Grand Seiko is a solid quality watch but has less perceived value than the Omega brand.

Difference between Seiko and Grand Seiko

As referenced in this article, Seiko and Grand Seiko have existed together under the same roof, so to speak, until recently when the Grand Seiko brand has become its own distinct entity. Each may share the Seiko name but they are distinctly different. You can purchase a Seiko for as little as $100.00 at retail. Given their massive distribution and easy availability, prices may vary considerably. If you are in the market for an accurate everyday watch that looks good and tells time, then this brand fits the bill.

If you don’t care if your watch is of Swiss or Japanese origin, any Seiko watch is a good choice. Grand Seiko would be your choice if you wanted a more sophisticated timepiece that reflects the highest level of Japanese watchmaking. The finishes and materials, as well as the quality of the movements position these models in the luxury watch market.

Is Grand Seiko a luxury watch?

2 Grand Seiko Watches

I believe Grand Seiko is a luxury watch. Albeit a more fair question would be, what level of luxury? Unfortunately, the luxury watch market is dominated by Swiss brands that have been around for far longer than Grand Seiko, and have built brands and names that are highly sought after and in demand. I will also make the assumption that when wearing a Grand Seiko, anyone noticing the watch might have the immediate observation that they are looking at a much more luxurious Seiko watch.

In the U.S. market and others, the name Seiko would not elicit thoughts of luxury. A consumer needs to be educated that the Grand Seiko, though carrying Seiko in its name, is unlike the Seiko of their father’s generation. No one mistakes the prestige of a Rolex or an Omega, for instance. These brands are easily recognizable and reflect the wearer’s taste and success.

Omega vs. Grand Seiko vs. Rolex

For this answer, I deflect back to the sentences at the end of the last paragraph before this question. Rolex is the most recognizable of the three brands with Omega second. Both of these brands have built solid reputations for producing high-end Swiss luxury timepieces. I believe a consumer seeking a Rolex or Omega will choose to stay on that path and not consider a Grand Seiko as an alternative choice. The Grand Seiko, though an excellent watch, does not offer the allure of a Rolex or Omega.

How does Grand Seiko compare to Tudor?

For those that are unfamiliar with the Tudor brand, Tudor is essentially the sister company of the very successful and popular Rolex brand. Based in Switzerland and founded by Hans Wilsdorf, both continue production today managed by the Wilsdorf Foundation. With this in mind, both collections share many of the same attributes and innovations exclusively developed by Mr. Wilsdorf and his team of artisans.

For many years, Tudor was viewed as a poor man’s Rolex. Tudor, at the time, seemed to be more of a stepchild than the sister company it truly was. There seemed to be somewhat of an identity crisis. Fortunately, with the relaunch of the Tudor brand in the United States approximately ten years ago, the brand has made great strides to present its uniqueness and appeal.

With the addition of exclusive in-house movements manufactured by Tudor and not customized ETA movements, the move towards a more distinct brand identity is well underway. The Tudor brand offers a wide array of choices for both men and women. The entrance price at retail for a gents watch is $2475.00 and $1750.00 for a basic lady’s timepiece.

All of the Tudor watches have self-winding mechanical movements and are COSC Swiss-certified chronometers, with most movements exceeding the COSC standards. There are some very unique pieces within the Tudor collection that have movements that are  Master Chronometer Certified (METAS Certified) just like the Omega collection and as explained earlier in this article. These models are also antimagnetic to 15,000 gausses.

The Grand Seiko collection offers far more sophisticated movements in many of its models. The Tudor models house movements that are manufactured in-house and are high quality in their own right but lack the sophistication of Grand Seiko’s complicated models. The Grand Seiko also looks and feels more luxurious. In this respect, the Grand Seiko has the edge over the Tudor brand.


In conclusion, both the Omega and Grand Seiko brands are of very high quality. Omega has a distinct edge because of its long history and the reputation it has built during that time. The Grand Seiko timepieces are great reflections of superior Japanese watchmaking but lack the cache and luxury brand recognition that Omega enjoys.

If you are not pre sold on a particular brand and are open-minded about your next luxury watch purchase, make part of your due diligence a trip to your jeweler or watch shop to try on and learn more about what the Grand Seiko has to offer. You might pleasantly be surprised.

grand seiko vs rolex

Grand Seiko and Rolex are both big names in the global watchmaking industry. The two brands compete in the luxurious watchmaking segment. However, this is not enough to make a comprehensive comparison between the two brands. Grand Seiko and Rolex both offer different value propositions to their buyers. Rolex rules when it comes to brand awareness, while Grand Seiko takes the crown in craftsmanship, so the Grand Seiko vs Rolex debate becomes difficult to crown a winner.

Having a Rolex watch goes beyond just wearing a luxurious watch. The brand represents a celebration of professional achievement and a declaration of one’s social status. Owning a Rolex watch goes just beyond having an elegant timepiece, but it is more related to what the brand describes as “living an experience.” The brand has several partnerships, which support challenging scientific innovations and endeavors. These scientific innovations have been significant milestones in watchmaking history. The brand describes their collections as “Every Rolex tells a story.

When looking at Grand Seiko, you see a different approach. This Japanese watchmaking brand focuses more on confidence attributed to offering the best craftsmanship in the watchmaking industry. Grand Seiko hasn’t hired any brand ambassadors or influencers. Instead, the brand has been primarily focusing on coming up with the best watch for its buyers. The Grand Seiko uses a specification sheet as its number strategy when marketing its collections. With a foundation dating back to the 1960s, the brand has worked hard at coming up with great innovations and creations in watchmaking craftsmanship.


Grand Seiko vs Rolex: History

What is the history behind Grand Seiko and Rolex?


Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko Brand

Grand Seiko made its debut in 1960. The Japanese brand had a determination to excel in all segments of the watchmaking craftsmanship. Seiko, the parent company, had already gained much popularity at the end of the quartz crisis. With the ability to specialize in quartz movements, Seiko was able to achieve affordability to most of their models. When coming up with watch models for the Grand Seiko collection, Seiko focused on easy to wear models, durability, and values of precision. The Grand Seiko Caliber 3180 movement used in the first Grand Seiko model was the first to meet the standards of excellence and be compliant with the Bureaux Officiels de Contrôle de la Marche des Montres. Since 1960 the brand has shown ever-improving mechanical skills in watchmaking, winning awards in Geneva and the Grand Seiko calibers, becoming some of the world’s best watch movements.



Rolex Logo

At the young age of 24, Hans Wilsdorf had a vision for the Rolex Company, founded in 1905. Hans Wilsdorf wanted to prove to the global watchmaking industry and watch connoisseurs that his watches were elegant in style and promised reliability. Wilsdorf equipped his models with innovative movements, which were manufactured by a Switzerland Bienne-based watchmaking company. In 1910, Rolex got the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision. Nine years later, the company was based in Geneva, and its dials were encrypted with the brand’s iconic crown logo. Rolex created its first waterproof watch in 1926. Shortly after, it created the first timepiece to have an automatic date on the dial. Rolex has continued to set the standards of excellence high for other Swiss luxurious watchmaking brands.


Grand Seiko vs Rolex: Style & Design

It’s crucial to have a detailed analysis when looking at the two brands’ styles and designs. Grand Seiko has a classic looking luxurious timepiece, but when you look at Rolex, the brand screams of luxury and elegance in every essence. However, a closer look at the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat and the Rolex Datejust, you will notice varied aesthetic and technical differences, making the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat superior in craftsmanship. Both of these brands produce very high-end and exquisite watches.

Grand Seiko 9S86 Hi Beat Movement
Grand Seiko 9S86 Hi Beat Movement

Grand Seiko has been exploring new designs and styles. Recent models come in new styles and are introduced with fantastic new dials. The brand has been fully utilizing the Shizukuishi Watch Studio, which has a savoire-faire in watchmaking craftsmanship, far superior to Rolex’s. The Grand Seiko production stage can be described to be at the stage of a boutique level. The brand enjoys tens of thousands in production.

The models produced by Grand Seiko offer the highest refinement when it comes to mechanical performance and case finish. The Grand Seiko Spring Drive technology and Zaratsu polishing are just some of the top tier design and styling hallmarks, making the Japanese brand stand out as a luxurious watchmaker. This has shown the brand’s long-term commitment to offering watches that target the finest watch connoisseurs.  Grand Seiko models’ build quality exceeds many luxurious watchmaking Swiss brands and is at par with some of the top Swiss high-end luxury watches.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Movement
Grand Seiko Spring Drive Movement

Over the years, Rolex has upgraded and updated its models. They communicate even minor product changes to continue being the best at making luxurious watches. Omega seems to be the other brand that has followed this strategy of revolutionized communication. Rolex is a large scale high-end manufacturer with in-house calibers that are not only aesthetically less refined but technically competent as well.

Grand Seiko vs Rolex: Pricing

With as little as $5,300, one can buy a Grand Seiko watch mode like the Grand Seiko ref: SBGR055, which has automatic movement. Grand Seiko also has mid-ranged luxurious models like the Grand Seiko Snowflake, which costs around $5,000. The top-end models from Grand Seiko have higher price tags, like the Grand Seiko Spring Drive watch ref: SBGC221 priced around $9,300 and a more costly Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 Professional 600m Diver’s watch ref: SBGH255 priced at around $12,000.

Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211
Grand Seiko Snowflake SBGA211

Compared to the Japanese brand, Rolex has more expensive watches. Most of the models from Rolex cost double or triple the price of top-end Grand Seiko models. In the 1960s, Rolex became a status symbol, and it was when the Grand Seiko sub-line was being born. Lower end models from Rolex like the Air-King and Explorer (ref: 214270), have a much higher price tag when compared to the Grand Seiko’s Sport watch collection, which has durable cases and rugged aesthetics. The most expensive Rolex watch retails at close to $30,000. 

Rolex Explorer 214270
Rolex Explorer 214270

Indeed, the two brands are priced differently depending on their buyers’ various value propositions. The Rolex vintage models have a higher demand compared to the Grand Seiko vintage models. This has caused the Rolex vintage models to have very high prices, both new and pre-owned, unlike their Japanese counterparts. This immense popularity and demand for vintage Rolex models have increased the Rolex brand’s desirability in the global market. Grand Seiko is a young brand. It’s hard to predict which of their first collections will be highly sought after in the future. This will be greatly determined by how much the Grand Seiko brand is willing to invest in this watch collection sector.


Grand Seiko vs Rolex: Conclusion

Grand Seiko has worked hard to attain its current status as a top global luxurious watchmaking brand. This can be attributed to the fact that Seiko (the parent company) had created an extensive portfolio of affordable watches since it was founded in 1881. Seiko models have varied price range, spanning from simple models priced at just a few hundred dollars to prestigious designs found in the Grand Seiko collections, which cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, it’s evident that Grand Seiko, a luxurious brand of Seiko, would be compared to a bigger luxurious global brand, the Rolex.

Grand Seiko and its Swiss counterpart, Rolex, have both specified in refining their art of manufacturing their in-house mechanical movements. These two brands have very popular models, which offer very impressive features to buyers: Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 Professional 600m Diver’s watch, Grand Seiko Snowflake, Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Spring Drive Chronograph GMT, Rolex Daytona, Rolex Submariner, and Rolex Datejust. You can buy all these watches at Exquisite Timepieces. You can buy both new and pre-owned models of Grand Seiko and Rolex watches at Exquisite Timepieces.

Rolex Daytonas

Depending on a buyer’s preference for style and functionality, the two luxurious brands stand out. It narrows down to what you prefer as a collector, if you are more inclined to the refined state of the art in-house movements presented by Grand Seiko or if you like the prestigious and luxurious status brought about by owning a timepiece like the Rolex Paul Newman Daytona. Whether you prefer Grand Seiko or Rolex, you can purchase both new or pre-owned models of your preferred brand at Exquisite Timepieces.

In this video: Grand Seiko SBGH273 Four Seasons “Fall” 

In this video: Grand Seiko SBGA413 Four Seasons Spring

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