“The most popular Rolex models saw their prices falling 21% since the peak in April,” financeyahoo.com reports. You do know they’re referring to pre-owned Rolex, right? You’re also aware that pre-owned Rolex cost more than new Rolex – which you can’t get because they’re sold out. Why are you bothering with a Rolex anyway? A Grand Seiko quartz watch is the way to go.
Start with this: Grand Seiko makes better watches than Rolex. Cases, movements and bracelets. What’s more (for less), Grand Seiko Spring Drive and mechanical timepieces haven’t been subject to Rolexian price inflation. Many of GS’s watches (e.g. the not-ghetto-fabulous Omniwatari) sell at a discount, online, from trusted dealers.
I’m talking about new watches. The Grand Seiko Heritage Collection SBGP005 above lists for $3200. You can buy it box fresh from a Japanese dealer (via chrono24.com) for $2079. Or you could tell that to a Grand Seiko dealer and beat them down on price. Don’t they know there’s a recession on?
I know: watch snobs would rather wear an Apple Watch than a quartz timepiece. Big mistake. First of all, the GS quartz’s case – Zaratsu-polished mirror-finished with “hairline-finished” surfaces – is more fanatically fabricated, more tactile and more beautiful than anything Rolex manufactures.
In terms of movements, don’t mistake a Grand Seiko for a Seiko. The wristwear in question, the SBGP005, is powered by GS’s 9F85 movement. Like their three other battery-powered engines, it’s a breed apart. By design.
For example, to ensure longevity and accuracy, Grand Seiko grows their own crystals for three months, then throws most of them out. Why? Why wouldn’t they?
The engineers at Grand Seiko . . . test each individual crystal for its response to fluctuations in temperature, and then pair each crystal with an integrated circuit that has been specifically programmed to work with the properties of that crystal.
To ensure that temperature is not affecting timekeeping, the movement samples the ambient temperature 540 times a day, and if any deviation from the oscillation frequency is found, then the difference is immediately adjusted.
This gets you incredibly accurate and consistent timekeeping, with Grand Seiko rating their 9F calibers to an excellent + or – 10 seconds a year. As a simple point of comparison, your typical run-of-the-mill quartz movement is rated to about 15 seconds a month.
The ignominiously named dress/casual SBGP005 provides “difference adjustment” (independent hour-hand setting), a Twin Pulse Control Motor (powering the full-size handset and ensuring the second hand hits the indices dead on), shielded construction (against dust during a battery change) and more.
Grand Seiko’s steel watches feel just as luxe on the wrist as any Rolex. Credit GS’s meticulously constructed and perfectly polished bracelets. With push-button clasps that snick home with the satisfying precision of a [modern] Porsche’s car door, GS’s are a joy to have to hold from this day forth.
Testimonial! I backed up my review of the Grand Seiko 60 Anniversary quartz by paying $3800 for the privilege of adding it to my collection. No regrets. My donation to the cause makes the “watch for any occasion” SBGP005 a steel steal at $2049. And you can save a whopping $1,121 off retail.
When compared to Rolex, all Grand Seikos are a bargain. Even at full retail. Sure, wealth recognition and Rolexian gestalt, But again, Grand Seikos are better built and finished than their Swiss counterparts. The difference may require some close inspection and a bit of research, but it’s there, and always will be.
Would I buy a new 44mm Grand Seiko Sport Collection 9r Spring Drive GMT for $5,340 over a new 41mm Submariner Date for $15,495? No, but only because the Sub’s an icon and the GS has an ugly power reserve indicator.
But if I did buy the GS Spring Drive diver, I’d be happy knowing the link above saved me $860 off $6200 retail. Before negotiation. At the same time, favoring Grand Seiko over Rolex would leave $10,155 in my pocket.
Judging from the price differential, Grand Seiko’s entirely undeserved rep as a poor man’s Rolex makes it . . . a poor man’s Rolex. In terms of value-for-money and horological satisfaction, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
Times two if we’re looking at pre-owned Grand Seikos. Times three for new or pre-owned Grand Seiko quartz. So if you’re waiting for Rolex prices to bottom out, don’t. Go on a grand adventure.
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