The Seiko Presage Classic Series is silky smooth and a versatile pleasure

The Seiko Presage Classic Series is silky smooth and a versatile pleasure

Buffy Acacia

Considering the rising prices of Seikos over the last five years, it has been getting harder to talk about them as bargains. Instead, Seiko has maintained its value-for-money argument by improving movements, and most notably, the dials. The Presage line contains many of their higher-end watches, and the new Presage Classic Series introduces yet another archetype of class which can still be worn on a daily basis. Plus, the first batch of releases comes with a beautifully textured dial inspired by silk fabrics.

The case

Seiko Presage Classic Series Black Case 1

Versatility is one of the most underrated aspects when considering value, because you’ll be able to wear the watch more often. Many people wouldn’t be comfortable wearing a pure dress watch every day, so the Presage Classic goes for a more well-rounded approach. The way the lugs slope into the case is sleek, with no harsh facets to distract or jar the viewer. The brushed surface also knocks back the dressiness, while the polished bezel and case sides retain some sophistication.

Seiko Presage Classic Series Black Case 2

At 40.2mm in diameter and 46mm in lug-to-lug length, Seiko ensured a comfortable fit for a large array of wrists. The thinness of the bezel means the dial opening is quite big, and that helps the watch have much more presence than its measurements suggest. The unisex appeal is clear, and the 100 metres of water resistance means that going for a swim isn’t ruled out. Despite not being an outwardly sporty watch, it is actually more capable than you’d think. The total thickness is 13mm, but the way the caseback tucks up underneath the case sides makes the profile appear slender.

The dial

Seiko Presage Classic Series Salmon Dial 1

Seiko has always been ahead of its time with textured dials, and the Cocktail Time collection which debuted under the Presage brand really cemented Seiko’s legacy as dial experimentalists. The Presage Classic Series however blends elements of vintage watchmaking with their contemporary approach to texture. The effect is subtle initially, but once you notice the convex curvature of the dial, you can start to appreciate the depth and elegance of it. You can also tell just how thick the dial itself is from the deep bezel of the date window. The applied baton indices are devoid of faceting in a similar manner to the alpha-shaped hands, which lets their polished surfaces reflect lots of light and be easily legible.

Seiko Presage Classic Series White Dial 1

A trend which seems a little bit inescapable is applying elaborate stories to watch designs to validate what is already an aesthetically pleasing design. Seiko does this regularly, in tying many of its new releases to some part of Japanese culture or nature. The Seiko Presage Classic Series claim to be inspired by traditional Japanese silk fabrics, but as someone who loves making garments with silk, I find that connection a little bit lacking. Silk can be woven into any kind of fabric and dyed any kind of colour, and there’s not much detail on these dials which could be linked a specific Japanese weave. In any case, the textures are beautiful regardless, and the assortment of warm-toned colours are subdued, yet expressive.

The strap

Seiko Presage Classic Series Bracelet 1

Paired with the Seiko Presage Classic Series is a stainless steel, seven-link bracelet which has a slight resemblance to a Jubilee, but much less ostentatious. Again, the goal seems to be a watch which can pass in almost any setting while keeping a baseline level of respectability. The lug width is 20mm, so you can easily swap it out for a leather strap if you want to dress it up a bit more, or other options for dressing it down.

The movement

Seiko Presage Classic Series Movement

The calibre 6R55 occupies the mid-range of Seiko’s catalogue, with better specifications than the budget 4R movements. For example, the power reserve is extended out to a full 72 hours for a weekend-proof experience, with the beat rate still at 3Hz. The accuracy ratings are quoted within -15/+25 seconds per day, but Seiko movements are also easy to adjust for better accuracy with a watchmaker. They have minimal decoration and a gold-coloured winding rotor which you can see through the display caseback.

The verdict

There really isn’t any shortage of smart-casual watches out there, but the Seiko Presage Classic Series hits a certain kind of nail on the head in a way which many others don’t. The attention to detail is fantastic, and no elements feel like an afterthought. It’s worth noting that these also come with open-heart dials, but the time-only models truly capture the spirit of Seiko in 2024. The retail price is US$950, and that does reflect Seiko’s trend of recent price increases, however finding one on sale though a boutique or authorised dealer shouldn’t be too difficult in time.

Seiko Presage Classic Series pricing and availability

The Seiko Presage Classic Series is now available. Price: US$950

Brand Seiko
Model Presage Classic Series
Reference Number SPB463 (Cream)
SPB465 (Black)
SPB467 (Salmon)
Case Dimensions 40.2mm (D) x 13mm (T) x 46mm (LTL)
Case Material Stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres, screw-down crown
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Grained texture in cream, black and salmon
Strap Seven-link stainless steel bracelet, butterfly clasp
Movement 6R55, in-house, automatic
Power Reserve 72 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Availability Available now
Price US$950