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GRAMMAR OF DESIGN. THE ANTI-MAGNETIC GRAND SEIKO SBGX089

With an antimagnetic construction and true Grand Seiko design at its heart, SBGX089 delivers incredible durability with an impressive accuracy, simplicity and understated tool watch characteristics that is suitable for both formal and casual occasions.  Released during the summer of 2012, fifty-two years after the launch of the Grand Seiko brand, SBGX089 was a limited edition quartz model of Grand Seiko's "reinforced antimagnetic" model line.  In typical Seiko fashion, they refer to this limited edition model simply by its reference number SBGX089.  Seiko collectors however call them affectionately as the "Grand Seiko Milgauss", a nod to its no-date all black dial with red logo signifying its antimagnetic properties.   

Grand Seiko's reinforced antimagnetic model line was a series of wrist watches that can display accurate time even in environments surrounded by magnetic force.  The importance of knowing the exact time hasn't changed from the past, but in this day and age we can’t escape magnets.  They are everywhere.  Practically everything around us houses a magnetic field: our smartphones, headphones, hair dryers, magnetic car mounts; the list goes on.  A quartz watch may lose time or even stop completely for several seconds when it enters a strong magnetic field without the user knowing.  In order to know accurate time without being concerned about magnetic force, antimagnetic performance of SBGX089 Grand Seiko Milgauss has been designed to withstand 40,000 A/m.

The sculpting and finishing on this watch is a work of art. Look closer and you shall see that the case and bracelet faithfully follow Taro Tanaka's "Grammar of Design" which later became known as the “Grand Seiko Style": 

"First, all surfaces and angles from the case, dial, hands and indices had to be flat and geometrically perfect to best reflect light. Second, bezels were to be simple two-dimensional faceted curves. Third, no visual distortion was to be tolerated from any angle and all cases should be mirror finished. Finally, all cases must be unique for each reference with no generic round case designs."

- Taro Tanaka on "Grammar of Design" for Seiko, 1962.

Not many modern day Grand Seiko models adhere to this design rules to the letter except the SBGX089 Grand Seiko Milgauss. 

There are only a handful of watch manufacturers who still manufacture their own movements in-house and Seiko is one of them. The calibre 9F61 quartz movement is thermo-compensated with accuracy rated to +/- 10 seconds a year. Additionally it has improved second hand precision that achieves greater positional accuracy on the dial against the markers. The sealed structure improves retention of lubricating oils.  

The hands and dial of Grand Seiko  Milgauss are also functional in that they are luminous. This is nothing to boast about but when you factor in that most Grand Seiko models are non-luminous, it is understandable why many consider Grand Seiko Milgauss to be the tool watch of Grand Seiko line.  Its beautifully cut stainless steel case is 38.8mm wide and 10.7mm thick. Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a single layer of anti-reflective coating on the underside makes it incredibly legible and well-protected. Unlike its standard model, SBGX093, the SBGX089 Grand Seiko Milgauss has a black outer rim on black dial, resulting in stunning simplicity with an uncluttered, geometrically perfect black dial appearance. 

In 2013, a year after it was released, the Grand Seiko "reinforced antimagnetic" model line was awarded the prestigious Good Design Award from Japan Institute of Design Promotion. The SBGX089 Grand Seiko Milgauss was a 500-piece limited edition that were available at select Grand Seiko retail partners and Grand Seiko boutiques but it has long since sold out. Even finding one in like-new condition is a rarity. We at NOSTIME was fortunate enough to have one in our selection. Finding such gem is part of our on-going mission to track down new old stock timepieces.

 

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