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Comparing the Grand Seiko Seasons Collection “Spring” Edition to the Iconic Grand Seiko Snowflake

We’re comparing two nature-themed titanium watches from Japan’s highest horological house.

May 26, 2020
By: Logan Hannen

Grand Seiko loves nature. We’ve seen this in countless models over the years, from the way Mt. Iwate influences so many of their dial designs to the more recent Four Seasons collection. Within that collection, we have one model, the Spring, that stands out as something particularly special. Its dial is a chameleon, its case a metaphor, and its movement a modern icon. But it isn’t the only one of Grand Seiko’s watches to accomplish this. So too does their legendary Snowflake, and so today, we’re going to compare two nature-themed titanium watches from Japan’s highest horological house and see just how alike (and different) they are.



The Grand Seiko “Spring” Edition and Snowflake (respectively)
Sources: Theo & Harris (left), Monochrome (right)

The cases of both watches at first seem incredibly similar. Both feature a mixture of brushed and polished surfaces, and both are crafted from the same high-intensity titanium alloy used to give the watches a light feeling on the wrist. In the case of the Snowflake, this is meant to mimic the sensation of being light as snow, and with the Spring Edition, we’re looking at a way to replicate the light nature of the leaves of sakura (cherry blossoms) falling to the ground. Where the two watches really differ on the case side of things is both the size and shape. The Spring Edition uses the famed 62GS case shape, a design pulled from the brand’s rich history almost directly, and updated to a modern 40mm in diameter. It’s a very angular case design, with very few, if any, smooth curves to speak of.

Conversely, the Snowflake uses a more modern case shape (one without even a fun moniker), and comes in at 41mm. The 1mm difference between them is minimal, however, and both come in at between 12 and 13mm thick (12.5 for the Snowflake, 12.8 for the Winter). Finishing on both is equally entrancing, using Grand Seiko’s signature Zaratsu polishing technique to create a fine, mirror-like shine throughout the polished sections.



The Grand Seiko “Spring” Edition
Source: Theo & Harris

The dial of the Spring Edition, much like the Snowflake, is meant to mirror the visual appearance of nature’s own random beauty, and it certainly achieves that effect. Here, we see a pinkish hue that is designed to embody the visual of cherry blossom leaves falling from their trees in springtime and landing, haphazardly, on the earth below. It plays with the light beautifully, and is an impressive thing to behold. At the center of the dial we have a set of Zaratsu polished sword hands to match the case, along with an off-center power reserve indicator at roughly 7:30.

The Grand Seiko Snowflake
Source: Atelier de Griff

In a similar way, the Snowflake’s iconic dial was inspired by snow and the unique way it lays after it has freshly fallen. This, in conjunction with the light-weight case, lends the watch it’s name. Beyond the dial’s texture, though, there really isn’t much difference to speak of when it comes to the layout and execution. The sole, and frankly standout difference is the inclusion on the Snowflake of a heat-blued seconds hand at center, where there is only a steel one on the Spring Edition. It makes for a bit more contrast, a bit more going on on the dial, all without taking anything away from the star of the show.



Source: Grand Seiko

Both the Snowflake and Spring Edition are powered by the Spring Drive caliber 9R65. Spring Drive is one of Grand Seiko’s premier in-house contributions to horology. To describe the movement as a hybrid between quartz and automatic would be a tragic oversimplification, but ultimately, the traditional lever escapement has been replaced with a quartz oscillator (Grand Seiko even makes the quartz crystals in-house — talk about vertically integrated). It still features an automatic winding rotor, along with some more traditional movement architecture, and some of the best finishing in the industry to top it all off.


The Damage
The Grand Seiko Four Seasons “Spring” Edition retails for $6,300.
The Grand Seiko Snowflake retails for $5,800.


The Verdict

Source: Theo & Harris

To argue which of these watches is the “better” watch is not only subjective, but also kind of a moot point since most of their differences are purely aesthetic. Sure, the Snowflake is a whole 1mm larger than the Spring Edition, but that probably won’t make or break it for most buyers. So it all boils down to looks, then, and on that front, it’s purely personal preference. However, it would be worth taking into consideration the shapes of both cases, and how they sit on the wrist. Then again, that can easily be said of all watches.

If it were me, and I say this knowing I don’t like titanium as a case metal to begin with, I would probably pick the Spring Edition for the 62GS case design, and because of the case’s connection to the tradition of Grand Seiko as a watchmaker. To my mind, both dials are equally beautiful in their own ways, and while I prefer the Snowflake dial a bit more (though the pink tones of the Spring definitely get me), choosing between the two is not an easy one. But such is the plight of the enthusiast, I suppose.

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