Is Grand Seiko SBGA011 “Snowflake” a luxury watch to get?

1695304805 Is Grand Seiko SBGA011 Snowflake a luxury watch to get

After trying to figure out which will be my first Grand Seiko watch, I decided to look for the “Snowflake,” specifically the SBGA011. There was something about this timepiece, and I wanted to experience. Just doing a quick google search and YouTube search, I have quickly found out that the watch is trendy, and I need to get to understand why.

It took me a while to get one as a complete set because the original Grand Seiko SBGA011 is not in production anymore and that was the one I wanted. 

The “Snowflake” was released on October 2005 with Calibre 9R65 and the second generation is currently in production with the reference number of SBGA211 which retails for $5,800.

When I was trying to figure out what the current retail price is I was kind of shocked that the price is very close to the original MSRP. Before I purchase the watch, I have seen watches listed from anywhere $5,000 to high $8,000. I was hoping that I will be able to get the watch closer to $5,000 than $8,000. You understand why.

Judging by the different prices, I believe that the demand is heating up for this hard to get Grand Seiko which will be even harder to get later on. 

What’s so special about this watch?

When I looked at the various blog post and videos, everyone mentioned two things: the Spring Drive movement and the “Snowflake” dial. After getting the watch, I quickly understand what they are talking about it. I have never seen anything like that before, and I was happy to experience it in person.

The Spring Drive Movement

This Grand Seiko SBGA011 “Snowflake’ used the Caliber 9R65, which is exclusive to Grand Seiko and went in production in September 2004. The exhibition case-back shows the movement, and the bridge and gear train are shaped to reflect the mountains around the Shinshu Watch Studio, where every Spring Drive watch is assembled by hand. The movement is fascinating, and I have never seen anything like that. When you see it smoothly rotate, you wonder, how everything works. No wonder why many watch enthusiast wants this watch.

The Snowflake Dial

When I look up the “snowflake’ on the official Grand Seiko website, I have found out that the dial was introduced with the Spring drive model SBGA01. Yes, the exact watch I wanted to get hands-on. Lucky me to get the first type of the watch which had this dial. The watchmakers wanted to express the beauty of the Shinshu region, which showcases the granular snow resulting from extremely cold temperatures. Supposedly, to make the dial requires many steps.

When I got the watch in my hand for the first time, I was fascinated, by the dial. When you move the watch in the natural light, you will be able to see the different shades and patterns of the Snowflake dial. I have a friend who told me that the watch is fantastic and a lot of people have no idea about the beauty of the dial. When you are looking on the dial from different angles, you will notice, the different grains and patterns. 

When you look at the hour markers, you can see the precision and high quality. I have seen many watches, but the accuracy and quality surpassed my expectation. The focus on details is remarkable, and you would not expect this timepiece to be offered by Authorized dealer for only $5,800. Yes, it is a lot of money, but I have seen these details only in more expensive watches. 

When it comes to the blue second hand, it is very sharp and highly polished, which makes it even easier to see it gliding. The blue color matches the snowflake dial very nicely, and you can keep on staring at it for hours.

Just look at the short video of the smooth gliding, which is thanks to 9R65 Spring drive, which is an automatic movement with the accuracy of quartz. Super impressive.

Just the details of the dial are amazing, and I can tell why people like to get the Grand Seiko Snowflake. 


The watch case which is 41mm is made of from “high-intensity” titanium which is patented by Grand Seiko. The result is a remarkable strength which is slightly stronger than steel but much lighter. I can attest you do not feel the watch on your wrist and it feels very comfortable with on your wrist. I was wondering how is possible that the watch case is so shiny, and I have found out that is due it the Zaratsu polishing technique which gives it a mirror-like steel appearance. 

Is it worth to buy Grand Seiko SBGA011

Is Grand Seiko SBGA011 Snowflake a luxury watch to get

If you are looking to purchase a highly collectible watch, the Grand Seiko SBGA 011 would be the watch you should get. Many horology enthusiasts love to look through the magnifying glass at this watch to exam all the details which are super sharp and precise. 

When it comes from an investment point of view, that chance that the watch will go up in value, especially for a full set is higher due to its discounted nature. Because the second generation of this watch has slight different dial markings, I would say this will become even harder to get watch later on. 

The watch blog was written by Honza Hroch the Founder of Value Your Watch Marketplace.

1695304804 339 Is Grand Seiko SBGA011 Snowflake a luxury watch to get

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