INTRODUCING: Seiko get their 140th birthday party started with the Seiko SSH083 & SPB205Zach Blass
Back in November, we were treated to two new releases from Grand Seiko to honour the founding of the Seiko brand. As we covered, 2021 marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of founder Kintaro Hattori and the 140th anniversary of the birth of the Seiko Corporation. Hattori, at the age of 21, would create what would later become Seikosha and eventually the Seiko Corporation we have all become so fond of. Now that 2021 has arrived, Seiko is joining in on the celebration to help kick off the new year – and there is a lot to like about the new Seiko SSH083 and SPB205. The watches each capture picturesque elements of Japan with the SSH083 embodying cherry blossoms lit by the night sky and the SPB205 evoking Tokyo at dawn. Both watches really stand out within the catalogue through their “super-hard black coatings” that result in an appealing stealthy sharpness.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time 5X53 SSH083
The Seiko Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time 5X53 SSH083 is 42.7mm in diameter and 13.3mm thick. The 100 metre water-resistant case is inspired by 1969 Quartz Astron cases, and features Grand Seiko-like geometries with contrasting polished and satin-brushed surfaces. The bracelet is three link, with a satin-brushed top and polished side flanks. The blackened case is not something we normally get to see in the catalogue, but I commend the decision to coat the steel for two reasons. Firstly, it’s different and creates an interesting aesthetic and texture to the sharp geometries of the case. Secondly, it help further tie the watch into the theme of the night sky and really demonstrates Seiko’s desire to have all aspects of its designs contribute to the aspect of nature it was inspired by.
It is no secret I am a fan of cherry blossom dials, and this dial definitely will attract those who are fans of the colour tone as well. The dial is like a Hubble telescope into the night sky that has a gradient dark purple to an almost sunset pink hue that represents the light reflecting off the cherry blossom trees inspring. According to Seiko, “The Japanese enchantment with cherry blossom extends far beyond the daylight hours. Yozakura is the name given to these ephemeral but beautiful flowers when, seen under a star-lit sky, they give an ethereal and magical glow to the space around them. With a black case and bracelet acting as the night sky, the purple dial with its pink hue captures the beauty of Yozakura. This subtly coloured dial becomes darker towards the six o’clock position, adding a mysterious depth and enhancing the illusion that it is a gentle spring evening in Japan.”
The movement, Seiko says, is “the latest and most advanced GPS Solar Dual-Time Caliber 5X53 which adjusts to the exact time anywhere in the world, using just the power of light and offers both high speed time zone adjustment and time transfer functions.” It is accurate to +/- fifteen seconds per month, and offers a perpetual calendar that’ll keep going to February 2100.
Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series SPB205
The Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series SPB205 also features a sharp faceted and blackened case. It is smaller than the SSH083 at 39.3mm in diameter and 11.1mm thick, but is also 100 metres water-resistant. The bracelet is a bit more formal in aesthetic with its five-link configuration that has three broader links satin polished, with two narrower links that frame the centre link high polished. If you’re more of a strap fan, the bonus here is that a black leather strap is also included.
The dial, when you look at the image below the introduction, really matches the tone of the sky between the grey above the buildings and the yellow of the rising sun. The yellow and grey blend to form a brown tone and that is exactly what we see on the hemp leaf textured dial beneath the sapphire crystal. The golden tone hands match the colour of the yellow aspects of the dawn sky and the luminous coatings on the hands almost capture the segment of the sky just above the buildings with a whiteish grey.
Inside is the automatic Seiko caliber 6R35, which has 70 hours of power reserve and a classic beat rate of 21,600 vph. The caliber is visible on the rear of the watch via its sapphire exhibition caseback. Fortunately the watch is still quite thin, but I can’t help but wonder if a solid caseback could have made the watch closer to 10mm thick here.
Seiko SSH083 and SPB205 pricing and availability:
The Seiko SSH083 is a limited edition of 1,500 pieces, and the approximate recommended retail price in Europe is €2,300.
The Seiko SPB205 is a limited edition of 4,000 pieces, and the approximate recommended retail price in Europe is €1,190 .
Both watches will be available in February 2021 at Seiko Boutiques and select Seiko retailers worldwide.