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For educational purposes I present photos of my new SBGP015 60th Anniversary Quartz that is not finished to Grand Seiko standards.

This is not for Grand Seiko bashing or to speculate on the their quality control. This is an N of 1 in my experience. I own a dozen GS watches and have seen hundreds in person and I've not personally witnessed imperfections such as exhibited here. That said, unless we get data from Grand Seiko on their quality we simply cannot know the rate at which these things happen. This is anecdotal evidence and not necessarily generalizable. I trust they are good people trying to do good work. In this case, however, they missed the lofty mark they themselves have set.

All that said, I wanted to post so that y'all can see what one type of flaw on a GS might look like. In this instance the indices are poorly finished. It is not that there is dust on them. They are roughly finished. This is, of course, visible using a loupe or under macro, but it is also visible to the naked eye. Reflections from well finished GS indices are bright and clean for lack of a better descriptor. One of the consequences of sharp facets and mirror polish is that imperfections become magnified in reflections. The indices of this watch sparkled too much and too unevenly. I could tell right away that things were amiss. The macro lens just confirmed things. The astute will also notice some irregularities on the handset.

The case and bracelet finishing is as flawless as expected. A least I've not noticed anything amiss.

I've other GS watches that fall short of perfection in one tiny area or another. Tiny isolated blemishes that indicate hand finishing whereas others are seemingly totally flawless. This watch, however, has systemic issues and will be going back. It is yet to be determined if the watch will be replaced or repaired and returned to me. This is an LE and is evidently selling well so not many replacements out there. I'll update as things progress.

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Why does it look so...dirty?
 

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I assume this was ordered and sent to you an you did not have a chance to inspect it?

No need to mention the name of the shop it was purchased from, but if this is a place you have worked with in the past it would have been nice for them to inspect this prior to it going out the door. Heck, even if you have never worked with that shop in the past it would have been nice.
 

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At least from your photos, it appears that this issue is not limited to just one of the markers, which makes me wonder whether this is simply a lapse in quality control, or something more disturbing.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I assume this was ordered and sent to you an you did not have a chance to inspect it?

No need to mention the name of the shop it was purchased from, but if this is a place you have worked with in the past it would have been nice for them to inspect this prior to it going out the door. Heck, even if you have never worked with that shop in the past it would have been nice.
Correct. Since Covid I've not visited a watch store much to my chagrin. I noticed the issue pretty much right away. In store I always inspect closely. This particular vendor is important in the GS world and I've purchased many watches from them. Some "blame" resides with them but they are helping me sort it out and I have confidence in them. Things happen as they say.

As an aside I must say that the shift to online purchasing of watches is really unfortunate. Watches simply cannot be assessed adequately in photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
At least from your photos, it appears that this issue is not limited to just one of the markers, which makes me wonder whether this is simply a lapse in quality control, or something more disturbing.
It's hard to say where the issue lies. Take, for instance, the indices themselves. They are made and finished separately by specialized craftsmen. Someone or something else attaches them to the dial. This watch passed (presumably) final QC but also made it past the person setting the indices on the dial, the person setting the hands on cannon pinon, and who knows what other trades. GS builds tens of thousands of watches. Let's say 200 working days per year and 30,000 watches per year. That's 150 watches per day. But that is spread out between two factories, so, on average 75 watches per day or about 9 per hour. Should be able to QC well at that rate. Of course, in business school you learn that if you need to QC the process is already broken. Well, there is a lot of handwork here, a craft approach that introduces the human element. Humans, that is what happened here. Can't live with them, can't have good watches without them! :)
 

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It's hard to say where the issue lies. Take, for instance, the indices themselves. They are made and finished separately by specialized craftsmen. Someone or something else attaches them to the dial. This watch passed (presumably) final QC but also made it past the person setting the indices on the dial, the person setting the hands on cannon pinon, and who knows what other trades. GS builds tens of thousands of watches. Let's say 200 working days per year and 30,000 watches per year. That's 150 watches per day. But that is spread out between two factories, so, on average 75 watches per day or about 9 per hour. Should be able to QC well at that rate. Of course, in business school you learn that if you need to QC the process is already broken. Well, there is a lot of handwork here, a craft approach that introduces the human element. Humans, that is what happened here. Can't live with them, can't have good watches without them! :)
Indeed, what I was alluding to is that this seems to suggest an overall drop in quality standards as opposed to a lapse in quality control.
 

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Looks pretty bad. Very un-GS like. Send it back and have it replaced. If there's none, there are other GS models to choose from. Godspeed.
 

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Thank you for your post. I bought my 4th GS from an AD over the phone yesterday. He sent a thank you email with tracking and I replied with models on my radar. This SBGP015 was next up. He has it in stock and it was going to be my first 9F as early as next week. I bumped my interest up from SBGV245 because of the blue dial and the bracelet. Your post might have saved me some trouble. If I decide to move on it, I'll point the AD to this post to make sure similar issues are not present.
 

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Back at the beginning of the Covid debacle my less than 6 month old GS had the logo fall off the bracelet clasp. I had to wait until last week to be able to move forward on the warranty claim. Close inspection of the loose logo piece showed that their was virtually no penetration / melt during the laser welding process. This is evidence of poor setup of the welding parameters. Is this indicative of a systemic problem at GS ? doubt it, as most everyone that saw my post had never heard seen or heard of such a failure.

How GS responds and corrects their problems is of more interest to me than the escape of a bad part.
 

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That's really bad to be honest, worst than average Seiko! Definitely needs to go back to the AD, and ask for a replacement.

Sent from my Mi Note 3 using Tapatalk
 

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Yeesh. Certainly doesn't look like GS level finishing. Training up a new polisher over at GS or something?
This is one of the things I worry about with GS trying to ramp up production volume, their process seems very labor intensive, and I don't get the sense that they really have that many trained watchmakers that they have significant amounts of excess capacity to draw upon without compromising quality.
 

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This is one of the things I worry about with GS trying to ramp up production volume, their process seems very labor intensive, and I don't get the sense that they really have that many trained watchmakers that they have significant amounts of excess capacity to draw upon without compromising quality.
Yeah these days I'd want to see the watch I'm buying in person before paying for it. As opposed to pre-orders.
 

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Yeah these days I'd want to see the watch I'm buying in person before paying for it. As opposed to pre-orders.
Do you think that their quality standards are slipping?
 

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Wow, the consistency of the issues on those indices is very interesting. Assuming it's all legit, I wonder if this particular dial had simply bypassed a stage of the finishing process entirely?
 
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