A few weeks ago, we published an extensive review – a written one, that is – of one of the most impressive new watches we’ve seen this year. Not only the design was more than convincing, but the watch came with an incredibly detailed dial and a movement that is packed with technology and, rarer for the brand, some charm. This watch is the Grand Seiko White Birch SLGH005, a piece that represents the new expression of design and watchmaking for the brand, a new step in the Grand Seiko’s production. We thus decided that this new White Birch deserved even more attention, and to be seen in action. So here’s a video review of this impressive watch.
There’s no turning around… The White Birch is a very, very convincing watch and it features one of the most impressive dials we’ve seen recently. It also has mechanical noblesse, slightly renewed design language merged with respect to the brand’s traditions and superlative finishing. The White Birch is also rather important as it’s the first time the Calibre 9SA5 finds its way in a watch from the permanent collection. This watch is actually a stainless steel, non-limited version of the limited edition gold SLGH002 launched in March 2020. It was followed by a limited steel model in late 2020, the SLGH003.
The White Birch SLGH005 is a watch with a lot going on. There’s no forgettable parts, no side of this watch that can be overlooked. Everything is special, but it’s not overdone either. The case, for instance, is showing the new design language of the brand, with slightly updated shapes. Of course, it is still ultra-sharp and superbly executed with brushed surfaces and distortion-free polished details (the famous Zaratsu polishing). It really feels like a proper luxury watch and is a pleasure to look at. Proportions are great too, with a 40mm diameter and a slightly reduced height of 11.7mm. The shape makes the watch comfortable, as it hugs the wrist. There are sapphire crystals on both sides and the water-resistance is 100 meters.
The big deal with this Grand Seiko is its dial, with a stunning texture and colour… Named Shirakaba, or white birch in English, it once again shows that the brand masters the dial making techniques. The dial has a strong silver, metallic colour that reflects the ambient light, and creating a coherent feeling with the metal case and bracelet combination. The texture itself is impressive, extremely detailed when looked closely and, thankfully, less blatant when worn on the wrist and seen from a distance. The rest of the dial is typical Grand Seiko. The hands and indexes are some of the best-executed you’ll find on the market. Ultra-sharp, with near-perfect polished bevels, they are also new to this series of watches and bolder than before. A thin blued seconds hand breaks the monochromatic look of this watch. And a 3 o’clock there’s a date window with a metal frame.
What’s important with this watch is its new movement, the calibre 9SA5, with serious watchmaking credentials. It indeed comes with Grand Seiko’s innovative escapement, the Dual Impulse. Not only it has a high frequency of 5 hertz, but it also comes with an unprecedented geometry developed by Grand Seiko. Without going into too many details in this video, the main concept behind this Grand Seiko Dual Impulse Escapement is that the locking and impulse functions are dissociated. This means fewer frictions and thus the escapement is more efficient (less friction means less energy required) and more wear-resistant. And it also has a new free-sprung balance, all of that resulting in great chronometry with a movement rated for +5 to -3 seconds per day. And if you want even more details on exactly how this new escapement works, check our in-depth article here.
The calibre 9SA5 is also slimmer than previous movements, it features two barrels for 80 hours of power reserve, and it features a transversal bridge for better stability. Finally, the decoration has been upgraded and the movement is warmer, less technical and has more charm than before.
The Grand Seiko White Birch SLGH005 is worn on a brushed stainless steel bracelet, that is 22mm in width. This wide profile makes it certainly comfortable but also might feel too large for some… and that watch would maybe look even better on a leather strap.
The Grand Seiko Hi-Beat White Birch SLGH005 is now available from retailers and is priced at EUR 9,500 (with taxes) or USD 9,100 (without taxes). Enjoy the video and for more details, please visit www.grand-seiko.com.
Technical specifications – Grand Seiko Hi-Beat SLGH005 “White Birch”
Case: 40mm diameter x 11.7mm height x 47mm lug-to-lug – stainless steel case, Zaratsu polished and brushed – Box sapphire crystal with AR coating, sapphire caseback – 100m water-resistant
Dial: silvery-white textured dial inspired by “Shirakaba” or white birch trees – faceted and bevelled hands and applied indexes
Movement: calibre 9SA5, in-house – automatic – 47 jewels – Dual Impulse Escapement and Grand Seiko free-sprung balance – 36,000 vibrations/hour – 80h power reserve – accuracy of +5 to -3 seconds per day – hours, minutes, seconds and date
Bracelet: 3-link stainless steel bracelet, 22mm, brushed and polished – folding clasp with push-button release
Availability: Now available, as part of the permanent collection
Price: EUR 9,500 (incl. taxes)
USD 9,100 (excl. taxes)