INTRODUCING: The Seiko SPB259 & SSA445 140th Anniversary Limited EditionsZach Blass
I’ve got to admit, whenever I see 60th or 140th Anniversary in a press release my first thought is again? I mean this has been a celebration without end but, to be fair, I am all for it because Seiko and Grand Seiko have been serving up some quality releases within this anniversary series. Today is no exception, introducing yet another duo into the 140th Anniversary limited edition collection with the Seiko SBP259 and SSA445 inspired by the Ginza district. Ginza has a deeper meaning for the brand, as it is where founder Kintaro Hattori opened up his first shop selling and repairing clocks and watches in 1881 and remains where the company is located today.
According to Seiko: “Both creations have dial patterns that echo the district’s traditional cobblestone streets but are in a blue-grey tone that also evokes the contemporary feel of the many modern and architecturally interesting buildings which define Ginza today.” The result are yet another two timepieces with intriguing textured dials from the storied Japanese manufacture.
Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation: SPB259
First we have the Seiko SPB259, a modern re-interpretation of the 1959 Alpinist watch that was born as an adventurer’s watch, for hikers and explorers – very much the Seiko alternative to the Rolex Explorer. The stainless steel SPB259 has a case 38.5mm in diameter and 12.9mm thick, with a depth rating of 200 metres. The watch has the air of robust elegance, with a faceted case that plays with light and shadow – brushed and polished surfaces.
The dial retains the familiar 1959 Alpinist modern reinterpretation format, with easy to discern applied indices and a broad hours and minutes handset. The central hours, minutes and seconds hands, along with the hour indices, are all filled with LumiBrite for the utmost visibility in darkness. What is very new and refreshing is its textured blue-green dial that straddles the colour of 2020 and 2021 while paying tribute to Ginza.
While the original watches had less striking dials, modern reinvigoration has led Seiko to introduce added colour and texture that the brand is known for these days. According to Seiko: “The intricate pattern of the dial incorporates two different sunray patterns which, as the viewing angle changes, create ever-changing impressions that capture the texture and feel of Ginza’s cobblestones. The seconds hand pays homage to the district’s history with Komparu, a traditional Japanese color named after Komparu Street, where Ginza’s nightlife was once centered. This blue color with a soft green tone was first used in the middle Meiji era (1868 – 1912), instantly found favor among the many geishas who lived there and then gradually became a popular color among the public.”
Inside the watch, behind a limited edition etched exhibition caseback, is the automatic caliber 6R35 – a robust automatic movement regulated to +25/-15 seconds per day that boasts a market competitive 70 hours of power reserve.
Seiko Presage SSA445
Next we have the Seiko Presage SSA45, an elegant take on what has the aesthetic of a vintage diver. That being said, the stainless-steel case, 40.8mm in diameter and 12.8mm thick is 50 metres water-resistant – so I would stick to surface swimming to be safe. Nonetheless, the watch continues the texture and tone found in the Seiko SPB259, with its cobblestone aesthetic and sunburst effect that makes each of the cobblestones on the dial appear brushed. Where this dial differs is through its “Style60’s” aesthetic, which takes direct cues from the collector coveted Seiko Crown Chronograph from 1964. At 9′ the dial is cut to reveal the heartbeat, technically known as the escapement, of the watch from the dial side, and ever so slightly overlapping it is a register at 10′ which serves as a 24 hour sub-dial. To be honest the day/night indicator is a bit unnecessary for a time only watch, and I would have personally preferred a cleaner dial to keep the pattern uninterrupted, but some may appreciate the novelty of seeing the escapement from the front.
Inside the SSA445 is the in-house caliber 4R39A, which fortunately does not have any etching on its exhibition caseback crystal. It is yet another industrious and reliable caliber that allows Seiko to deliver at the price point they dominate. The caliber shares the same regulation rating as the 6R35, but has a lower power reserve of 41 hours – which while less competitive is still greater than what you would find in a base ETA 2824 Swiss caliber.
Seiko SPB259 & SSA445 140th Anniversary Limited Editions pricing and availability:
The Seiko SPB259 is offered as limited edition of 3,500 and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021.
The Seiko SSA445 is offered as a limited edition of 4,000 and will also be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021.
*prices listed are approximate recommended retail price in Europe
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