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Founded in 1881, Seiko is Japan’s leading watch company and one of the world’s largest in-house watch manufactures. In addition to Seiko branded watches, they also produce high-end timepieces under the Grand Seiko and Credor labels.

ADVENT CALENDAR 2016: December 18 – The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017

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“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…uhhhh, what are you doing on this Grand Seiko dial??” Seiko must have been in the Xmas spirit when the dial of this Grand Seiko was in development. Of course, the story goes that it’s actually a fir tree, which is celebrated in the Onbashira Festival that’s held in Suwa, near where the watch is produced. This racy Grand Seiko has very little chance of going unnoticed on the wrist. Not only does it feature a sporty new case shape, Seiko has also made it using a modular technique. Look out Hublot / TAG Heuer! The outer case elements are glossy black ceramic, and the inner case is lightweight and tough titanium. Who should you buy this for: The person in your life that told you Grand Seiko was “too boring and conservative” for them. Just watch their face when they open the box. Bang!   What’s the damage: Under $17k The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017 Australian pricing The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017, $16,500

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IN-DEPTH: The Seiko Prospex ‘Turtle’ Diver

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The story in a second: The Seiko Turtle offers a winning combination of heritage and quality at a supremely wallet-friendly price. Seiko dive watches have a massive – at times fanatical – following. It’s these guys and gals who are responsible for giving the brand’s cryptically coded watches their colourful nicknames – the Tuna, Monster, Sumo and, in this case, the Turtle. Officially, the Turtles we’re looking at here are known as SRP775 (black gilt dial on bracelet), SRP773 (blue dial on bracelet) and SRP777 (black dial on silicone). From now on, collectively, we’ll just call them Turtles. But wait, there’s more. These SRP77 divers are actually reissues of the original Turtles – historic divers from the 6309 family, produced from 1976 until 1988. Not only is this new version a faithful homage to the original, it also represents nigh-on-unbeatable value for money. The case It was the broad, cushion-shaped case that inspired the watch’s nickname, because if you look at it from a distance and squint a little it resembles the shell of a turtle. Of course, the broad sides have a functional purpose as well, the ample flanks serving to protect the case, as well as the crown. As you might expect… Read More

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INSIGHT: The most impressive quartz watch in the world and 3 other surprising things I learned about Seiko in Japan

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I’ve always liked Seiko. One of the first watches I ever bought was a Black Monster, followed by an ever-rotating roster of rock-solid SKX divers as well as the odd vintage piece including an original Turtle, a 6139 ‘Pogue’ chronograph (sadly missed) and not one but two 4006-6031 Bell-Matics (neither of which are currently running, but that’s a different story). So when Seiko Australia invited me to tour the company’s Japanese production facilities (wearing an Astron), I jumped at the chance. It’s fair to say I had some pretty solid preconceptions about what I’d experience. I was super-pumped to see the Micro Artists Studio, and Morioka, where Grand Seiko is assembled. Turns out I was not prepared, at all. My ideas about Seiko were not wrong, exactly, but they certainly fell short of capturing the scale of the operation. Day one’s hour-long presentation outlining the corporate structure made that crystal clear. The multiple factory tours and huge rooms full of people and equipped with machinery both modern and ancient sealed the deal. So, in no particular order, here are four things I learned from my visit. There’s quartz and then there’s quartz I don’t think I’d be the only person reading this who could be… Read More

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ADVENT CALENDAR 2016: December 18 – The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017

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“Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…uhhhh, what are you doing on this Grand Seiko dial??” Seiko must have been in the Xmas spirit when the dial of this Grand Seiko was in development. Of course, the story goes that it’s actually a fir tree, which is celebrated in the Onbashira Festival that’s held in Suwa, near where the watch is produced. This racy Grand Seiko has very little chance of going unnoticed on the wrist. Not only does it feature a sporty new case shape, Seiko has also made it using a modular technique. Look out Hublot / TAG Heuer! The outer case elements are glossy black ceramic, and the inner case is lightweight and tough titanium. Who should you buy this for: The person in your life that told you Grand Seiko was “too boring and conservative” for them. Just watch their face when they open the box. Bang!   What’s the damage: Under $17k The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017 Australian pricing The Grand Seiko Spring Drive Chronograph SBGC017, $16,500

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OPINION: We need more watches like the Seiko Presage

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Cutting through the noise and sheer volume of watches released at Baselworld is no mean feat. Overwhelming attention is focused on a handful of models from a few brands, and often it takes weeks and months from some of the hidden gems to reveal themselves. Nevertheless, every year the chatter in the halls seems to amplify around a few key models. And this year the buzz was strongest around Rolex’s new Daytona (of course), Patek’s World Time, TAG Heuer’s Monza and Seiko’s Presage Chronograph. The first three are pretty safe bets, but the Seiko? No one  saw that awesomeness coming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Seiko’s work, and they’ve got a great reputation. But most of it concerns itself with the Grand Seiko. No one had any notion the well priced, vintage styled Presage Chronograph was coming. But we should have, because it’s the perfect watch for right now; it’s precisely the sort of watch we should be seeing more of. “I think our timing was very good. Many consumers these days are looking at what we call the prestige segment – fine quality that’s more affordable than luxury. And in this the price-to-quality ratio of Presage matches their hopes.” Seiko President and… Read More

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IN-DEPTH: The Seiko Presage SPB041J1- a lot of watch for $1500

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The story in a second When it comes to value, it’s hard to beat Seiko, and this Presage is no exception. If you ask any watch lover worth their salt to describe Seiko in five words or less, we’re willing to bet you’ll hear a phrase that’s a variant of ‘great value!’ This is true from the brand’s more accessible offerings – such as their famously indestructible divers – all the way up to the Grand Seiko and Credor lines. The Presage collection is no different, but until now, the well priced, 100 per cent mechanical line was only available only in the Japanese market. 2016 is the year Presage goes global, offering a great alternative to the usual suspects in the competitive $1-2K price point. And while the 60th anniversary chronograph has hogged the limelight, the entire collection is strong, with the slightly complicated SPB041J1 hitting the sweet spot in terms value and quality. The dial The first thing you’ll notice about the Presage SPB041J1, or indeed any of the models in the Presage Prestige (try saying that fast 10 times) collection is that they look quite vintage, and far more Swiss than we’re used to seeing from Seiko. I mean,… Read More

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GONE IN 60 SECONDS: Automatic for the people – the Seiko Presage SPB039J1 video review

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At their packed Baselworld press conference Seiko announced that 2016 was to be the year of their middle-tier Presage collection. The lion’s share of attention has been on the truly excellent limited edition Presage Chronograph, but there’s a lot to love in the rest of the collection too. Presage honours the spirit of fine mechanical watchmaking that Seiko is well known for, but at a price point that’s far from prohibitive. Take for example the good looking three-hander that is the Seiko Presage SPB039J1 – not only do you get a quite handsome dress watch (with such a catchy name!), you get all the advantages of Seiko’s ‘Trimatic’ technology. This comprises of the magic lever (for efficient winding), Spron alloy (for stronger and longer lasting springs) and Dia-Shock (Seiko’s shock resistance technology). The watches in the Presage collection are a cut above Seiko’s popularly priced mechanicals in terms of movement quality and finishing, but the pricing, as you can see, is still highly competitive. Seiko Presage SPB039J1 Australian pricing Seiko Presage SPB039J1, in steel on leather, $1250.

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