Seiko definitely knows a thing or two about how to do affordable mechanical watchmaking correctly and the brands Presage collection is a testimony to this. Featuring high quality robust in-house movements, stunning dials and nicely finished cases these watches punch way about their weight and class making them highly sought after in the value-oriented watch market. During last year’s Baselworld event Seiko released two stunning limited edition Shippo enamel based Presage models and for Baselworld 2019 the brand is following up by adding another two new watches featuring beautiful white Arita porcelain dials to their Presage line up. But before we take a look at the individual references let’s have a brief look at the intricate process that leads to the creation of their breathtaking dials.
Arita is a small town in Japan which is popular worldwide for producing some of the finest porcelain products. To produce the dials on these watches Seiko collaborated with Master Porcelain artist Hiroyuki Hashiguchi who along with his team makes these dials using an extensive three-stage process. The first step involves putting the base material inside a mold to achieve the desired depth and then kiln firing it at 1300 degrees to harden it. Following this, the hardened product is glazed by hand till the time the desired deep rich glossy finish is achieved. And finally the holes for the hands and date are cut out by laser and the dials are fired once again to smoothen out the surfaces which have been cut. Onto the watches now.
Featuring a recessed Power reserve indicator at 9 and a date subdial at 3, this new model best exhibits the depth and smooth flowing nature of porcelain. The Roman numerals provide a nice dressy vibe to the watch and have been presented in a deep shade of blue except for the numeral at 12 which has been painted in red. On the outer periphery of the dial is a finely printed minute track and time can be read easily using the blued leaf style hour and minute hand along with a slender stick style seconds hand which has a crescent-shaped counterbalance. Powering this watch is the brand’s in-house automatic caliber 6R27. It operates at a frequency of 4Hz and offers a power reserve of around 45 hours. The stainless steel case is nicely sized and measures 40.6 mm in diameter with a thickness of around 14.1mm. There is a dual curved sapphire crystal on top and a mineral crystal exhibition glass at the back to view the movement. The case is water resistant to a healthy 100 meters.
This is the simpler of the two models and features a three hand setup along with a date. And while the beauty of porcelain might not be immediately apparent out here as compared to its elder cousin the SPB093, on closer inspection you will find some interesting details such as the smooth curves along the edges of the date window at and circular central hole. Once again you have classic Roman numerals for hours, a printed minute track on the outer section of the dial and an elegant looking blue leaf-shaped handset. Powering this watch is the new in-house automatic caliber 6R35. It operates at a slow frequency of 3Hz and offers a massive power reserve of 70 hours. Made out of stainless steel the case on this watch is 40.5 mm wide and 12.4mm thick. It has a dual curved sapphire crystal on the front and a mineral glass see-through case back at the rear. Water resistance is still marked at a sufficient 100 meters.
The SPB093 and SPB095 Arita porcelain watches are great looking timepieces which are an amalgam of traditional Japanese craftsmanship and fine mechanical watchmaking. Both watches would come attached to a brown crocodile leather strap and would be available September 2019 onwards. The SPB093 would retail at USD 1800 whereas the SPB095 would be priced at USD 1600.