Back to the classics - Grand Seiko SBGA407 & SBGW231

Back to the classics - Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGA407, SBGW231

Feeling overwhelmed by the over digitalized world? Endlessly having to chase for technology and high-performance watches can be tiring. If you feel the same way, then it’s time to take a step back to the classics and be aspired by these exquisite timeless dress watches - introducing the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGA407 and Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW231. 

Before we go deeper into the two Grand Seikos, what makes a dress watch? A dress watch usually refers to an elegant watch that is worn with a formal suit or tuxedo. When the first wristwatch was invented in 1812, the watchband is already made of leather. Since then, this tradition carries on, dress watches often come with a classic genuine soft leather watch strap. Leather never fails to project a sense of sophistication and elegance, and a leather watch is nonetheless an excellent dress watch option for formal events. Whereby, true gentlemen should always equip themselves with a classic leather timepiece for special occasions. 

The Seiko Elegance Collection SBGA407 also known as the Blue Snowflakes; as if other Snowflakes, the SBGA407 has a similar snowdrift texture yet in a baby blue tone. The powder blue color has stay devoted to the original inspiration of snow-capped mountains. This novel baby powder blue is less stark than the bright white Snowflake that we have seen; a baby blue dial is unique and uncommon to be found in luxury men’s watches. Indeed, it is softer and more subtle than what you see in printed magazines or stock photos. Yet, you can still see the intricate snowdrift texture when you look closely. Both the hands and hour markers are precisely crafted with fine edges and polished mirror surfaces. Every element on the dial is sharply executed and finely finished like all other Grand Seikos. It is certainly a dress watch that gives an appealing touch when worn with dark-color-tone suits.  

This new SBGA407 Snowflake is also slightly smaller, has a more elegant entirely polished case, and slightly dressier than the original SBGA211. The case is a little over 40mm, actually moderate in size and crucially well proportionate. With the right size and cut angle, the four Zaratsu polished lugs of SBGA407 have added an iconic touch on an old-school watch case. In addition, its crown doesn’t screw down, which makes it easier to set or wind in a dressed-up manner. Other than the size and the thickness, perhaps the biggest difference is that the SBGA407 comes in stainless steel, not titanium as is the SBGA211. Stainless steel tends to be more scratch-resistant, offering a bit of weight that we do not mind at all as the leather strap has compensated the weight of a bracelet. 

Like other Snowflakes, the SBGA407 is part of the spring drive collection with the presence of the extremely popular 9R65 movement. The Seiko Caliber 9R65 boasts quite a lot of advantages compared to other movements in this price range. 


The SBGA407 manages to perform the delightful balancing act of being different enough to position its existence. The defined old-school style case carrying a modern and unusual powder blue dial is an unconventional design for a man’s watch, especially one that leans towards the dress-watch category; however, it works perfectly! The Blue Snowflake SBGA407 ticks all the boxes for an excellent, everyday watch; incorporating enough Snowflake heritage to embrace its namesake, it’s genuinely a great dress watch. 

Before we move to the next dress watch, allow us to briefly explain the stories of the Grand Seiko Snowflakes. The Snowflake series has been one of the most iconic signature dials of Grand Seiko, it’s like the Submariner of Rolex and the Black Bay of Tudor. Unlike some fashion luxury brands, killing their signature products by oversupplying them, Grand Seiko only releases a few pieces of these Snowflakes to keep its novelty and uniqueness. The Grand Seiko Snowflake dial represents a turning point for one of the most important dials available today. If you are interested in the Snowflake dial, you may want to check out the Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Automatic Asia Limited Edition SBGR319, Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Spring Drive Snowflake China Limited Edition SBGA431, Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Spring Drive Titanium Snowflake SBGA211.

Indeed, the Blue Snowflake SBGA407 may be a bit too bold or perceived to be somewhat high profile; let’s have a look at the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW231, this cream off-white color classic no-date dress watch should work just fine for anyone. This SBGW231 has a classic aesthetics case in the perfect dress watch size, the strap is a classic black crocodile leather with a pin buckle and twin-trigger release clasp. Although the overall design of SBGW231 is subtle and not eminent, Grand Seiko is known for its finishing and its impeccable hand-polished features. But believe us this watch is stunningly beautiful and it’s a masterpiece that underlines the Japanese craft master spirits.

The Seiko Caliber 9S64 reveals itself from the mirror-polished case back. The 9S64 is a solid mechanical, manual-winding movement introduced in 2011 by Grand Seiko. The movement is capable of delivering a 3-day power reserve thanks to a thinner and longer mainspring made of Seiko’s proprietary alloy. Seeing the detailed ratchet wheel and feeling the balance wheel oscillating at 28,800 vph from the see-through case back is rather relieving; that’s part of the pleasure of wearing a manual-winding movement dress watch.  

Looking at the dial, the indexes are made of stainless steel that is polished on all sides; it offers great contrast and legibility, it’s a demonstration of luxury. The hands are finished in the typical Grand Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing, it still amazingly sharp and fine polished. The slightly curved downward hands added an extra elegant touch. The lugs simply having a lovely downward slope with a bevel on the outside edges. The case size of SBGW231 is 37.3mm and 11.6mm, with an ideal proportionated box sapphire crystal; it’s just timelessly perfect in size. 

Overall, the SBGW231 is another good demonstration of astonishing Japanese craftsmanship, all elements are just executed beautifully.   

Anyhow, in these modern times, dress watches are no longer formal like the old days. One can wear a dress watch with jeans; as if we often see celebrities walk on white sneakers with their tuxedo. Nowadays, some will find that a dress watch complements the casual look exquisitely. In all respect, a dress watch can instantly elevate the overall appeal, deliberating a modern but refined appearance to any attire. Professional white collars often wear a dress watch for weekdays and weekends; either in their business suits, sports jackets, or polo and jeans. Pretty sure both the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGA407 and the Grand Seiko Elegance Collection SBGW231 are a unique choice for a timeless dress watch. 

We hope you like the two exquisite precious pieces that we recommended. Should you have your personal opinions and would like to share them with us, feel free to drop us a line on our Facebook page. Or email us at