In the world of watches, few timepieces hold as much appeal as GMT watches. Without overcrowding the look of the watch, this complication offers a unique ability to track time in different time zones, making them a favorite among travelers, business professionals, and watch enthusiasts alike. Today, we're delving into the fascinating realm of GMT watches to compare two standouts in this category: the Grand Seiko SBGE285 and the SSK001 GMT.


Source: Deployant


For those who appreciate the intricate blend of functionality and aesthetics that watches can offer, the Grand Seiko SBGE285 and the SSK001 GMT are no doubt intriguing choices. These watches go beyond mere timekeeping; they represent the artistry and precision that define the horology of Seiko.

In this exploration, we'll turn our focus to these two timepieces and the distinct qualities that set them apart. Both watches come from reputable sister brands with a history of craftsmanship, but each brings its own character and strengths to the table. From design elements to material choice, we'll uncover what makes the Grand Seiko SBGE285 and the SSK001 GMT worthy of attention.


Source: Fifth Wrist


This is by no means an attempt to convince you of which watch is better. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison after all - each watch is made for different target markets, and what is good, is subjective. This is simply a look, a harmless observation between 2 GMT watches.

Let’s begin with examining their case materials.


Titanium Case vs Stainless Steel Case

Source: Monochrome Watches


If you’re one of our newsletter subscribers, you’ll remember that we previously claimed this: “If watch brands didn’t cut corners, all divers will be made of Titanium.” With so many astounding qualities, including its lightweight comfort and beautiful, natural finish to list a few, Titanium has become a material reserved for the best watch models, and is the case material for the SBGE285.

This isn’t to say that Stainless Steel is a material that’s only used for low end models though, or the Patek Philippe Nautilus would not exist. The new GMT kid on the block, the Seiko SSK001, certainly carries itself well in its stainless steel case with brushed lugs and polished sides. There’s a familiar heaviness and sheen that makes it just right for the SSK.



But what if you want to give your SSK a case upgrade to Titanium? After all, this material is perfect for diver watches for its corrosion-resistant properties. If you do want to change to a Titanium case, you can check out our NMK933 case bundle which is made of Grade 5 Titanium, the same material used in rocket ships. It’s pricey, but worth every penny for the exotic look and the better durability that it’ll give your SSK watch.


Mist Flake Dial vs Sunburst Dial

Grand Seiko watches have always had beautiful dials, so when you’re telling the time, you’re also glancing at a piece of art. The SBGE285 dial features a texture that evokes the look of an early morning mist during the wintertime. It’s a look that fits well on casual trips and professional settings, and the pattern also complements the vertical brushing on its 24hr bezel and the Titanium case.


Source: Seiko Watches


The SSK001 dial is much simpler, having a sunburst finish that plays in the light and looks different depending on the way you are looking at the watch. It features large hour markers, as befitting a diver watch, and displayed on the top part is the Seiko 5 logo while below the hand posts are the Automatic GMT labels. Not groundbreaking by any means, but iconic all the same, following the design of its SKX predecessor.

Now, let’s get into the meaty part.


9R Movement vs 4R Movement

Source: Grand Seiko


The Seiko 9R66 Spring Drive movement ingeniously merges traditional watchmaking with modern technology for outstanding performance. While powered by a mainspring like conventional watches, its standout feature lies in the "tri-synchro regulator," which converts the unwinding mainspring's energy into electricity. This electrical power then drives an electronic circuit functioning as a sophisticated brake, meticulously regulating gear movement for exceptional precision and seamlessness. This results in a smooth, and elegant gliding motion (as opposed to the more common ticking motion) of the hands, and a very impressive accuracy of ±15 seconds per month.

The Seiko 4R34 movement is an automatic movement used by Seiko Watch Corp. in their own branded watches. As part of the 4R family of movements, the notable feature in the 4R34 is the GMT complication in such an affordable workhorse, while keeping the caliber’s form factor to around the same thickness. This movement is found in the Seiko 5 SKX Sports Style GMT lineup, with the generic version, NH34, releasing soon after to the delight of watch modders. The 4R34 movement is a reliable and robust movement that offers a power reserve of approximately 41 hours and is capable of keeping to an accuracy of +45 / -35 seconds per day between temperatures of 5 ºC and 35 ºC.


Wrap Up

Source: WatchClicker


In the world of GMT watches, the Grand Seiko SBGE285 and the SSK001 GMT stand as compelling exemplars of Seiko's craftsmanship and innovation. While the SBGE285's mist-inspired dial and Titanium case highlight luxury, the SSK001's sunburst dial and Stainless Steel case evoke iconic style. They’re both at the extreme ends of the price spectrum while being excellent in their respective categories.

In the end, it's not about one being better than the other. It's more about enjoying and recognizing the special designs, tech, and uniqueness in these awesome watches. This lets fans really understand the different sides of Seiko's watchmaking history.

August 20, 2023 — Jeremiah A

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