Are you a fan of the Grand Seiko â€œSnowflakeâ€? If youâ€™re a watch geek and youâ€™re breathing, chances are you probably wouldnâ€™t kick the Snowflake out of bed, right? Unfortunately, even as an â€œentry levelâ€ piece to the world of Grand Seiko, the Snowflake remains firmly in the would-love-to-own-it-but-canâ€™t-afford it bucket for the vast majority of us. Until now. Well, kind of.
Recently released as a JDM model, the SARX055 (as part of the Presage line) has already been dubbed the â€œBaby Snowflakeâ€ by Seiko fanboys. And to their credit, theyâ€™re not far off. At five feet, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the 055 and the much-more-expensive Grand Seiko. It has a beautifully textured, minimalist white dial, a simple and elegant titanium case, and a blued second hand that pops off the dial.
Move in and youâ€™ll start to notice the differences. The craftsmen in Grand Seikoâ€™s studios use a proprietary process to create the snow-mimicking effect on the dial of the Snowflake. Itâ€™s quite astonishing up close, and Iâ€™m hard pressed to argue that it doesnâ€™t, in fact, resemble freshly fallen snow. The 055, on the other hand, looks more like small bits of spray-on fiberglass have been shot at the dial, which is then coated with a layer of white paint. It creates a very nice effect in and of itself, but is a step down from the Grand Seikoâ€™s mesmerizing dial.
The applied indices are intricately faceted and polished, giving a similar shine and glint to the dial that youâ€™d get from the 055â€™s more expensive cousin. The minute and hour hands are likewise faceted and polished to a brilliant sheen, and while likely not heat-blued, the second hand still pops and offers a fantastic contrast to the snow-white dial beneath.
The 41mm titanium case has a mixture of polished and brushed surfaces, and is coated with Seikoâ€™s Dia-Shield coating, offering a super hard, scratch resistant surface. The same treatment is applied to the titanium bracelet. Powering the watch is Seikoâ€™s 6r15 movement, considered a small step up from the entry level 4rxx series that powers much of Seiko’s Prospex and Presage lines. The 6r15 offers 50 hours of power reserve and runs at a steady 21,600 beats per hour. The see-through case back offers a glimpse of the mostly undecorated movement.
Coming in at right around an even $1,000, the new â€œBaby Snowflakeâ€ is by no means cheap. But if youâ€™ve been lusting after the Grand Seiko, this may be the perfect solution to get that look on your wrist for thousands less. Keep in mind youâ€™ll need to hunt for this one online given that itâ€™s only being made officially available in the Japanese market. And youâ€™d better hurry. Itâ€™s likely to sell out very quickly.Â seikowatches.com
- Material: Titanium
- Size: 40.8mm x 11mm, 46.3mm lug-to-lug
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Case Back: Titanium, screwed, sapphire exhibition window
- Water Resistance: 10 atm/100 m/330 ft
- MOVEMENT: Seiko 6R15 Automatic Mechanical, 23 jewels
- Functions: Hacking and Manual Winding with date
- Beats Per Hour: 21,600
- Power Reserve: 50 Hours
- Material: Titanium
- Clasp: Locking deployant