The Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Castle in The Sky offers vintage delights with an animated twistThor Svaboe
Studio Ghibli is a Japanese national treasure in the world of anime with a vast output of traditional animated films. Each one is a very Japanese, deeply immersive experience populated by creatures that would never have made it past a Disney focus group and propelled by a decidedly less commercial set of values. The Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Castle in The Sky is inspired by the animated feature film of the same name, the debut film that spawned an iconic studio and grossed a total of $157 million in box office, home video and soundtrack sales.
I’ve enjoyed the entire 124 minutes of this 1986 opus with the family, observing how the direction of co-founder Hayao Miyasaki and orchestral soundtrack of noted composer Joe Hisaishi create a parallel universe inflected with European inspiration. Laputa – Castles in the Sky (original title) comes with an almost British countryside feel and a large dose of steampunk, proving the Studio’s well-earned Oscar in 2003 for Spirited Away was no fluke.
This combination of Japanese and European heritage inspiration also informs this new and limited Presage reference. The off-white dial is a rich parchment coloured enamel, bringing an early 20th century vibe to a stage set for the distinctive Roman numerals. These are printed in a luscious, almost tropical brown, set inside a sharp minute and second track. The warmth and vintage embrace is matched by an un-Seiko like pair of Breguet hands, delightfully curvaceous and matched with pin-prick accuracy to kiss the base of the Roman hours and minute track. These throwback looks are completed with a loop-ended gold needle seconds hand, a thin inner 24 hour circle, and the charming logo of Laputa, the castle from the Studio Ghibli saga.
The same logo is used for the fresh pop of blue inset into my favourite detail, the rather splendid crown, while the castle itself is represented by a delicate line drawing on the clear case back revealing the 6R31 movement.
This is the 70-hour power reserve no-date version of the strong in-house 6R35 movement in top tier Presage references, in lieu of the lesser 4R36, and makes for an intriguing proposal. The discreetly twisted lugs hold a superb brown cordovan strap with a green lining imprinted with further nods to the animated classic.
There are two ways to view this retro-delight with its 40.5mm case and 100m water resistance. Firstly, it is watch aimed squarely at the devoted fans of Studio Ghibli, and believe me, there are vastly more than the 1200 pieces produced, so they might well nab them all. On the other hand, it is also a tough everyday watch with an in-house movement, and a deep, vintage vibe for those of us reaching our fill of divers and tech-heavy tool watches. You don’t have to be remotely acquainted with anime to appreciate the manifold charms of this watch.
The Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Castle in The Sky, price and availability:
The Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Castle in The Sky is available for $1,450USD, in a limited number of 1200 pieces.
For more information, visit seikowatches.com.