If you’re into watches and haven’t heard about the Presage Chronograph from Seiko, we’re sorry to be the ones to tell you, but you’ve been living under a rock. It was, without doubt, the winning curveball of 2016, and for good reason. It ticked all the boxes: pedigree, style, mechanics, value and an incredibly handsome dial. The only problem is that it was a limited edition. Well, that’s not the case with the four new regular production additions to the Presage line, still based on Seiko’s historical ‘Laurel’ model, and all featuring lustrous hand-fired enamel dials and classic style, replete with Roman numerals. Here are our initial thoughts on the collection, though we know these will be watches that look even better in the metal, so stay tuned for Baselworld.
Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic Chronograph (ref. SRQ023)
Without doubt, this will be the most popular of the collection, given that it’s virtually the same as last year’s breakout model. The most obvious change is Roman numerals replacing the Breguet-style Arabics. The other changes are the addition of ‘Presage’ dial text at 12, the new typeface for ‘automatic’ and a slightly tweaked hour hand. All small changes, but the overall result is a dressier-looking chronograph. The price has increased by $300, but that still represents tremendous value. RRP $4200
Seiko Presage Enamel Multi-Hand Automatic (ref. SPB045)
Last year we checked out the SPB041J1, which added some complexity to the Presage family in the form of a small second hand and power reserve indicator. The SPB045 follows this same winning formula, but swaps out the herringbone dial for crisp enamel, along with all the same design tweaks we mentioned for the model above. And while it’s always tricky to tell from press shots, we think the result is even more refined. RRP $2150
Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic (refs SPB047, SPB049)
The last two members of the family are these quite conservative time and date options, in round (SPB047) and tonneau (SPB049) cases. I actually think these two watches really let the time-honoured combination of Roman numerals and enamel shine the brightest, especially as the dial text is more evenly balanced. The decision to frame the date window is a smart choice, adding a touch of modernity. And while I suspect the tonneau shaped case will be the most niche in terms of appeal, for me it’s the standout of the collection. SPB047 RRP $1800, SPB049 RRP $2150