Face-to-Face – The Battle of Elegant Time-Solely Watches Half Three – Drive de Cartier Additional-Flat vs. Grand Seiko SBWG231 – The Verdict

There are moments in life that decision for a sublime, time-only watch. Conditions wherein a strapping instrument watch with protruding pushers and a glowing dial received’t look fairly proper. If you’re out there for a good-looking, simple time-only watch we’ve got two very attention-grabbing candidates as completely different in appears as their cultural backgrounds. The Drive de Cartier is a très French tackle class and refinement; the Grand Seiko SBGW231 can be a really elegant and refined watch however interpreted from a Japanese aesthetic. Let’s put them facet by facet and gauge the strengths and weaknesses of every watch earlier than we formulate a verdict.

Case measurement and presence on the wrist

The Drive de Cartier Additional-Flat has a diameter of 39mm and a case peak of 6.6mm, proportions that categorically affirm its standing as a gown watch. The cushion-shaped case of the Drive spells Cartier over and over and appears to have been a member of Cartier’s famend household of formed watches ceaselessly (notice: the Drive assortment was launched in 2016). The case is fantastically proportioned and its clean, rounded edges and mild cambering permit the watch to sit down on the wrist like a second pores and skin. It’s slim however not anorexic like another fashions in the marketplace at this time with sufficient weight and presence to make itself felt. The finishes are passable with a refined bezel and lugs and horizontal brushing on the flanks of the case and sealed case again. Consistent with a really Cartier custom, there’s a blue cabochon within the crown.

The Grand Seiko SBGW231 has a diameter of 37.3mm and a case thickness of 11.6mm. The diameter will please purists though they could argue that the thickness of the case disqualifies the GS as an ideal gown watch. There may be nothing revolutionary concerning the form of the spherical case till you uncover the distinctive finishes of the metallic. Like a gleaming Japanese katana sword, the Zaratsu polished bezel and lugs replicate the sunshine like a mirror, with no distortions.

Conclusion: The Drive de Cartier shows superior design aptitude and proportions however the finishes can’t maintain a candle to the Grand Seiko. The case of the GS is much less authentic, extra conventional and barely thicker than the mandates of a gown watch. Nevertheless, the craftsmanship of Seiko’s artisans brings the metallic surroundings to life with finishes that rival and infrequently surpass the crème de la crème of Swiss watchmakers. Design-wise the Cartier is extra attention-grabbing, finish-wise the GS shows a fantastic deal extra consideration to element.

The face of time

As soon as once more, the dial of the Drive de Cartier is quintessential Cartier and all of the recognizable household traits are on show: the pronounced Roman numerals, the railway minutes observe, the blued-steel palms and the key Cartier signature on the VII numeral. The dial is a beautiful silver-white with a sunburst end that shines ever so barely; a clear, minimalist background for the time-only capabilities.

The dial of the Grand Seiko can be a minimalist, virtually frugal affair impressed by the primary Grand Seiko mannequin of 1960. Along with the hour and minutes, this watch has a central seconds hand. The dial is an off-white color with twelve elongated and utilized hour markers and a easy minutes observe with black markings. The obvious sobriety is countered by probably the most beautiful consideration to element on the hour markers and palms. The sharp faceted edges and the sharpening convey the small print to life as gentle bounces off their edges. The interaction of sunshine and shadow may be very a lot a Japanese aesthetic contact and provides extraordinary quantity and brilliance to the in any other case easy dial.

Conclusion: Two quite simple time-only dials that faithfully replicate their provenance. Even when only a portion of the dial was revealed, you’d have little question concerning the model behind the Drive de Cartier Additional-Flat, and the identical might be stated concerning the Grand Seiko. It too conforms to a set of strict guidelines and design tenets laid down in 1967 by designer Taro Tanaka for the Grand Seiko household.


The Drive de Cartier Additional-Flat is fitted with a hand-would calibre (430 MC) based mostly intently on Piaget’s ultra-thin 430P. Beating at 21,600vph, the ability reserve is of 36 hours. Though you’ll be able to’t see the motion and the ability reserve is on the brief facet, these are a good trade-off for the svelte profile.

The motion of the Grand Seiko is seen below the sapphire crystal case again and is completely made in-house with in-house parts to Seiko’s exacting (above COSC chronometry) requirements. Calibre 9S64 is a hand-wound motion with a Three-day energy reserve calibrated to a formidable precision price of -Three to +5 seconds a day. The steadiness spring is shock-resistant and anti-magnetic and the time setting capabilities are enhanced with a stop-seconds perform. The bridges are adorned with Seiko stripes that choose up the sunshine/shadow theme of the dial.

Conclusion: No debate right here. The Grand Seiko wins palms down on this class providing a superlative manual-winding motion with further stop-seconds performance, longer energy reserve and superlative ornament (however a thicker profile too). If you wish to nitpick, the shortage of an influence reserve indicator on the GS may be a con.

Worth and Availability

The Drive de Cartier Additional-Flat in metal retails for EUR 5,650 or USD 5,600 (excl. gross sales tax). The Grand Seiko SBGW231 retails for USD four,300 and is at the moment fairly onerous to search out in Europe.

Conclusion: The worth of each fashions displays their entry-level standing. Given the status of each manufacturers, the value just isn’t exorbitant in both case.


Editor’s notice: take into account that the decision right here is predicated on Rebecca’s private preferences.

The Drive de Cartier and the Grand Seiko are two ambassadors of exceptionally good style and breeding. They’re merchandise of their respective cultural backgrounds and as such transmit completely different sensations and core values.

If we gauge mechanical prowess, precision, and execution of finishes, the Grand Seiko wins palms down. The watch may look disarmingly easy and maybe a bit chilly at first, however it’s a true consultant of Japanese aesthetic style the place discretion and class are key and craftsmanship a matter of nationwide satisfaction. It’s a watch that must be found and appreciated. I do know that it took me time to heat to its stark aesthetics, however having found the fantastic particulars it has discovered a spot in my coronary heart.

However, and this can be a huge “however”…the final word arbiter on this battle is style. And regardless of how onerous a promote I’ve made for the Seiko, there will probably be lots of you who’re completely happy to swap the technical superiority and superlative finishes of the Seiko for the extra eloquent, stylish fantastic thing about the French candidate.

As you’ll be able to see, the decision just isn’t written in stone for the easy cause that these two watches usually are not meant for a similar sort of collectors/prospects. Their designs will replicate the character of the wearer and there aren’t any unhealthy decisions, simply completely different tastes. I can’t blame anybody for having a choice for the Seiko – the execution and value/high quality ratio are unbeatable. Nonetheless, I can’t blame somebody whose coronary heart cries out for the Cartier because it oozes class and an old-European sense of style. In any case, these two watches are glorious decisions for somebody on the hunt for a sublime, discreet time-only watch with nice pedigree.

Wanting ahead to listening to your ideas on this one!

Related posts

Leave a Comment