It’s little wonder that when Seiko released its Presage Cocktail Time watch to the international market last year (until then it was available only to the Japanese domestic market) it was an immediate hit. The gorgeous, sunray-patterned dial, the chic colours, the tremendous value for money … Although pitched as a men’s watch, it gained legions of female fans – although for many it provoked a severe case of FOMO or, more accurately, KIMO (know I’m missing out). That’s because although the watch is perfectly proportioned, its 40.5mm diameter is just too big for women with tiny wrists.
Seiko must have been listening because – hurrah! – we have a new collection, identical to the original Cocktail Time except for its 33.8mm diameter. Now, I’m no fan of the “shrink it for the ladies” school of watch design (or, rather, failure-to-design), but here’s a notable exception: It Totally Works.
There’s no compromise on the details, no gratuitous adding of diamonds (“Because that’s what the ladies like”, supposedly); the movement is the same super-reliable and robust self-winding calibre 4R35 as the men’s; and the scaled-down proportions are spot-on. The size hits that Goldilocks spot for a modern woman’s watch — not too small and dinky; super-comfortable on the wrist, while big enough to have real visual presence (I would wear the metal bracelet a shade loose, for a more modern feel).
That visual presence is thanks to the dial, which was inspired by the collaboration with the world champion cocktail barman Hisashi Kishi, of Tokyo’s celebrated Star Bar, which triggered the original collection. The three colours of the new collection – a rich carmine red, an icy almost-silver white, and rich cream – are each inspired by one of Kishi’s classic wine-based cocktails.
The dial’s deep, pressed sunray pattern has been finished with multiple layers of gloss, so it looks almost alive – especially when the light plays on it from different angles. That doesn’t just mean the dim lighting of a sexy cocktail bar – the really cool thing about these watches is their chameleon-like ability to work from day to night, casual to dressy. This is as good as desk-to-dinner-to-weekend style gets. And although the design is classical, it happily morphs to modern with a more edgy outfit.
Here are some of the ways we would do Cocktail Time – without necessarily drinking cocktails:
White dial, steel case and bracelet (ref. SRPC 855)
This classic combo will take you from over-sized winter-white knits and pale grey flannel to summer linens or floaty florals; from denim shirt or washed-out jeans to black leather biker jacket – not to mention being a perfect companion for a discreetly elegant LBD.
Cream dial, gold-tone case, brown leather strap (ref. SRPC 852)
At first sight, this says ‘autumnal tones, tan leather, tweed …’ All very traditional and low-key. But wait – think animal-print chiffon, summer whites with neutral accessories, a big statement white blouse … and that almost-vintage look is perfect for the old-new/high-low mixing that we love.
Red dial, steel case (ref. SRPC 853)
Here’s a watch that says, “I’m confident, take me seriously but don’t expect me to be conventional” (perfect for the boardroom, in other words). That red begs to be a bold accent against evening monochrome, too – think ‘funky black’ more than LBD – and it’s just made for denim – all denim, from dark indigo to summer white.
Lifestyle images via net-a-porter.