Grand Seiko Snowflake Review: Spring Drive Movement & More

The Grand Seiko Snowflake and its hand applied lacquered dial makes for one beautiful watch. Combine the snowflake dial with the 9R65 Spring Drive movement and the Grand Seiko Snowflake might be the perfect watch.

Grand Seiko Snowflake

As a watch brand, you know you’ve struck gold when one of your watches receives a nickname. That is exactly what happened with the Grand Seiko Snowflake. What’s unique about the Grand Seiko Snowflake is that its dial appears to look like a fresh blanket of snow. The inspiration came from a Grand Seiko employee looking out his window admiring the beauty of untouched snow.

That idea became a reality and now the Grand Seiko Snowflake is the most popular watch not only in the Heritage Collection but the entire Grand Seiko lineup. It also doesn’t hurt that the Grand Seiko Snowflake houses the 9R65 Spring Drive movement which might be one of the most accurate movements in history.

Our Grand Seiko Snowflake watch review is going to cover what makes the SBGA211 so enjoyable. Let’s dive in and review the Snowflake’s dial, movement, material, and finishing.

For a detailed Youtube video review, check out our Grand Seiko Snowflake Review video.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Dial

Snowflake Dials

It would be hard to do a Grand Seiko Snowflake review without starting with the snow powdered dials. The Snowflake’s dial is the most recognizable feature of the watch and the reason it got its name.

What many people don’t know is that the Grand Seiko Snowflake comes in two different dials. The most well known is the white dial reference but once you see the blue dial it’s like opening Pandora’s box, there is no forgetting it.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Watches

Grand Seiko Snowflake White Dial

The White dial appears in the SBGA211 & SBGA259. These references are the original Grand Seiko Snowflake because of the pure white dial that reminds us all of a fresh blanket of snow. The two dials differ with the color hour markers and seconds hand. The SBGA211 has silver tone hour markers with a blue second hand and the SBGA259 has yellow gold hour markers with a yellow gold second hand.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Blue Dial

The newest reference to the “Snowflake” series is the Grand Seiko Snowflake Blue Dial. This reference is part of the Elegance Collection instead of the Heritage Collection that the other two references belong to. The SBGA407 has a baby blue white dial, silver tone hour markers, and a blue second hand.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive Snowflake

Grand Seiko traditionally has taken innovative leaps in accuracy performance and they’ve done it again with the caliber 9R65 Spring Drive movement. The Grand Seiko Snowflake can boast of a watch accuracy of +/- 1 second per day (+/- 15 seconds per month) and has a power reserve of 72 hours.

The Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement is a mechanical watch that uses a quartz crystal as its oscillator. Essentially the Grand Seiko Snowflake movement is a hybrid between a mechanical and quartz movement. The 9R65 maintains all the complexity and artistic values that you would expect a high end mechanical movement to have combined with the improved accuracy of a quartz movement. 

When we were doing our research for our Grand Seiko Snowflake review, we were blown away by the true sweep of the seconds hand. The blued seconds hand has zero indications of a tick or signs of a high beat movement. It’s really a marvelous feature to see in person.

Grand Seiko Spring Drive 9R65

Zaratsu Polished Finish For The Grand Seiko Snowflake

Some might say that Grand Seiko is most well known for their craftsmanship and attention to detail of their finishing techniques. The case and bracelet for the Grand Seiko Snowflake are finished with a master Zaratsu polishing technique. This technique is unique to Grand Seiko and is known for creating sharply defined edges and mirror finish.

When we got to hold one of these watches in person for our Grand Seiko Snowflake review, the quality of the case material combined with the detail of the Zaratsu polishing really stood out. Considering where the Grand Seiko Snowflake is priced, you’ll find it difficult to find another luxury watch finished to this level at this price point.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Price

You can purchase the Grand Seiko Snowflake for $5,800 MSRP at an authorized dealer. Considering their popularity, don’t expect a discount or at least much of one when purchasing the Grand Seiko Snowflake new.

Does The Grand Seiko Snowflake Hold Its Value

The Grand Seiko Snowflake is the most popular watch in all of Grand Seiko’s collections. After researching the pre-owned market it’s safe to say that the Grand Seiko Snowflake holds its value on the pre-owned market and sometimes commands prices above MSRP.

Specs & Technicals For The Grand Seiko Snowflake

It’s clear after spending time with this watch for our Grand Seiko Snowflake review that the manufacturer has clearly put thought into every aspect of this watch. To say we are impressed would be an understatement.

High Intensity Titanium

Titanium in and of itself is a very strong and lightweight metal. That wasn’t good enough for the Grand Seiko Snowflake. Grand Seiko went a step further and manufactured what they call “High-Intensity Titanium”. This high-intensity titanium used in the SGBA211 is scratch and corrosion resistant and weighs 30% less than it’s steel counterpart. If you’re looking for a more durable and lightweight watch, you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative.

Power Reserve Indicator

It’s not easy to pull off a power reserve indicator on a dial. Oftentimes it takes up too much of the attention or just makes a dial seem too busy. The power reserve indicator on the Grand Seiko Snowflake has been perfectly executed and is a great tool to know exactly where you’re watch is at within its 72 hour power reserve.

Clasp

The clasp on the Grand Seiko Snowflake is very minimal. Small in size and hidden in design might be the best way to describe it. Although we are sure it’ll do its job, we didn’t get the same confidence we usually do with other clasps at this price point. It would be the one thing we think can be improved on the Snowflake.

Case Size

We are looking at a 41mm case and 12.5mm thickness for the Grand Seiko Snowflake. The watch neither wears small or large, more like just perfect on wrists of every size.

Accuracy

The accuracy of the 9R65 Spring Drive movement for the Grand Seiko Snowflake is amazing. Rating on this watch is +/- 1 second per day and +/- 15 seconds per month.

Grand Seiko Snowflake Specs

Case MaterialHigh-Intensity Titanium
Glass MaterialDual-Curved Sapphire Crystal
Glass CoatingAnti-Reflective Coating: Inner Surface
Case Diameter41mm
Case Thickness12.5mm
Clasp TypeThree Fold
Caliber9R65 Spring Drive
Power Reserve72 Hours
Accuracy+/- 1 Second Per Day
Water Resistance10 Bar
Jewels30
Case BackSapphire
CrownScrew Down

Summary Of Our Grand Seiko Snowflake Review

Some people may not give Grand Seiko a look because it’s not Swiss made or that because the 9R65 movement isn’t 100% mechanical. I think those people need to open their minds up to other alternatives across the globe. This Japanese watch maker has been innovating and at times outperforming their Swiss counterparts for decades. Seeing is really believing with the Grand Seiko Snowflake. It’s unique enough to get someone curious but once you hold it or try it on, you’ll be hooked.

The Grand Seiko Snowflake is often compared to the Rolex Datejust 41 and I see how that is. It is very comparable outside of the club you join when you own a Rolex. If that is something that you don’t care about and am just into the horology of the watch, the Snowflake is a wonderful alternative at a significantly lower price point.

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