INTRODUCING: The Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series delivers exquisite dials in porcelain, enamel and lacquerFergus Nash
- Seiko are celebrating their 110th anniversary of making wristwatches.
- The Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series pays tribute to traditional Japanese techniques.
- The four dials cover enamel, porcelain and lacquer.
Most people would know that Seiko is a Japanese brand, however, their ties to their country of origin run much deeper than the majority of watch brands. They are an industrial powerhouse with sub-brands within sub-brands, but the same patriotic streak runs through every facet of the business regardless of price range. Their latest nod to Japanese heritage is the Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series, with four watches each using a different traditional technique for dial-making. The release coincides with 110 years since Seiko first produced a wristwatch in 1913, making it the perfect opportunity for a limited-edition run of tradition-embracing references.
White enamel is the first decorative technique to be featured by the Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series, and probably the most recognisable as a staple in both watchmaking and clocks. The enamel is laid out on the dial and fired at high temperatures, resulting in a glossy finish that softly reflects the surroundings of the printed markings on it. The SPB393 pairs the pristine white with blue hands and a red Roman numeral at 12 o’clock. The SPB395 takes things in a much more romantic direction with Urushi lacquer — a naturally derived finish from Poison Oak tree sap that has been in use since at least 7000BCE. The result is a reddish brown dial which looks wonderfully warm against gold details and a brown leather strap.
Similarly to enamel, the SPB397’s ivory Arita porcelain requires kiln-firing to achieve its exquisite shine. The warmth of the off-white colour is representative of the Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field in Arita that has been producing porcelain for over 400 years. Lastly, the reference SPB399 has a gloriously intricate take on a wave dial, achieved through the artisanal polishing of a 1mm thick blue enamel layer inspired by Owari Shippo enamelware.
The Seiko Presage range was introduced as a higher-end arm of Seiko’s catalogue, usually taking on inspiration from some of their vintage dress watches and even pocket watches. They typically include some of their more premium movements too, making for an enticing taste of luxury watchmaking at an attainable price. The Craftsmanship Series introduces a new case shape with a classic and honed look, sharpening some of the curves to feel slim and defined on the wrist without becoming a distraction from the dials. There are two movements used across these four models, which we’ll come back to later, but there are two sets of slightly differing dimensions to accommodate both. The diameters are 40.2mm (SPB393/395) and 40.6mm (SPB397/399), and case heights are 12.8mm (SPB393/395) and 14.1mm (SPB397/399). Both watches have a lug-to-lug length of approximately 48mm, making them comfortable to wear on a smaller than average wrist without looking diminutive on a larger one.
The white enamel and Urushi lacquer dial watches are the two references which are powered by the Seiko calibre 6R24, with a glamorous retrograde date display as the main dial feature at 6 o’clock. There’s also a power reserve indicator at 9 and a retrograde day display at 3, ultimately transforming the traditional style of the Roman numeral dial into something that feels quite high-tech. It also provides a smooth 28,800vph sweep of the seconds hand, while granting a decent 45 hours of power reserve with automatic winding. The Arita porcelain and Shippo enamel watches sport slightly less radical features with a pointer date subdial at 6 o’clock and a similar power reserve at 6, allowing for more focus to be put on the dials themselves. The calibre 6R27 otherwise has the same 28,800vph beat rate and 45 hour power reserve.
The Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series pricing and availability:
Each watch in the Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series is limited to 1,500 pieces, with the exception of the SPB399 Shippo enamel dial which is limited to just 800. Price: €1,650 (SPB393) / €2,000 (SPB395/397) / €2,250 (SPB399)
|Presage Craftsmanship Series SPB393/SPB395/SPB397/SPB399
|40.2mm x 12.8mm (SPB393/395) / 40.6mm x 14.1mm (SPB397/399).
|White enamel, Urushi lacquer, Ivory porcelain, Blue enamel
|6R24 (SPB393/395) / 6R27 (SPB397/399)
|Limited to 1,500 pieces (SPB393/395/397) / Limited to 800 pieces (SPB399)
|€1,650 (SPB393) / €2,000 (SPB395/397) / €2,250 (SPB399)