Grand Seiko’s Latest Watch Pays Tribute To Australia’s Bushfires

An Australia-only watch inspired by one of Australia's most bittersweet phenomena.

Grand Seiko’s Latest Watch Pays Tribute To Australia’s Bushfires

The cult-favourite Japanese watch brand has just unveiled its first-ever Australian exclusive limited edition – and it’s not only stunning but has a very fitting, very Australian backstory.

It’s called the Grand Seiko SBGJ269, and it features a unique pink dial inspired by the pink flannel flower (Actinotus forsythii), a rare perennial flower that’s most commonly found in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. It’s a somewhat obscure Australian native, but one that’s highly symbolic.

As Grand Seiko themselves put it, “the pink flannel flower is a symbol of the Australian spirit of resilience. It blooms under rainfall in the season following bushfires to bring new life and new colour to landscapes scorched at the hand of bushfires. It is a sign of rebirth and renewal that showcases nature’s ability to overcome adversity.”

We think that’s a beautiful sentiment, as well as one that’s really representative of Australia. It’s a touching and solemn tribute to the agony we as a nation experienced during the recent 2019-2020 bushfires… Beauty out of adversity.

We Aussie Grand Seiko fans have been lusting after our very own limited edition release for years – so to have one that’s so considered; so appropriate for Australians, is a real gift.

The Grand Seiko SBGJ269 on its optional grey crocodile strap.

Aesthetically, the SBGJ269 (might just be easier to call it the ‘Pink Flannel’) is a knockout. Grand Seiko do dials better than any other watchmaker, and the Pink Flannel’s is lovely: subtly textured and coloured, at some angles it appears almost white, but then the light catches it and the vivid pink shines through.

The pop of red from its GMT hand, which reflects the colour of pink flannel flower buds just before they bloom, is a lovely contrast… As is the mirror shine of its softly contoured 39.5mm stainless steel case, which has been Zaratsu polished to a distortion-free finish.

A GMT complication is also perfectly suited to Australia, too. Not only do we love to travel, but we’re a multicultural nation – most of us have family overseas many time zones away, so to have a uniquely Australian watch we can use to stay connected to loved ones across the globe is very fitting.

Under the hood beats Grand Seiko’s in-house Caliber 9S86: a high-beat conventional automatic movement with a 55-hour power reserve and 30m of water resistance. Unlike many Grand Seiko models, there’s no graphic adorning the sapphire crystal caseback, which means you can fully admire the brilliantly-finished movement in all its glory.

The Grand Seiko SBGJ269’s exhibition caseback, which proudly shows off its stunning Caliber 9S86 movement.

Now we Aussies are a canny bunch, so I suspect you want to know the price. It’s AU$10,600, which actually is rather reasonable. Honestly, it just ticks all the boxes as far as I’m concerned.

There’s only one negative about the Pink Flannel: it’s limited to only 50 pieces. We guess if you’re going to make a limited edition, it truly has to be limited… But seeing how strong demand was at the launch event for the watch (a sumptuous dinner at the Sydney Opera House’s famous Bennelong restaurant, probably the most iconic restaurant in Australia), we’d be very surprised if all 50 weren’t already accounted for.

This landmark Grand Seiko Australian exclusive will be available from October 24th at Australian Grand Seiko boutiques and select Australian retail partners. It’s currently live on Grand Seiko’s online boutique if you want to have a geez.

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