Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Seiko Presage Craftsmanship SeriesMarch 14, 2023
While Prospex is the collection for Seiko’s sports and professional watches, Presage can be seen as the dressy, classic collection of the brand. Divided into four sub-collections – Sharp Edged, Cocktail, Style 60s and Craftsmanship Series – it’s the latter that will be the centre of attention today. To celebrate 110 years of watchmaking, a reference to the launch of Seiko’s first wristwatch, the 1913 Laurel, the brand is presenting four Presage Craftsmanship Series watches that pay tribute to traditional Japanese handcrafts. Decorated with Enamel, Urushi lacquer, Arita porcelain and Shippo enamel, here are the new Presage SPB393, SPB395, SPB397 and SPB399.
Before we move on to discover these watches in detail, a few preliminary notes. First of all, these four limited-edition Seiko Presage watches all feature traditional Japanese decorative techniques that we’ve seen in past collections: enamel, Urushi lacquer, Arita porcelain, and Shippo enamel. All are a strong tribute to the country of origin of Seiko, and this has long been the objective of this Presage sub-collection. Elegant, refined, relatively accessible and yet demonstrating beautiful handcrafts, this new 2023 Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series also introduces a new case shape. Slightly more angular than before, with straighter lugs, the proportions have been redefined too, with a dual-curved sapphire crystal that sits closer to the dial to bring attention to the craftsmanship on display. The brand also indicates that the structure of the case offers “a slimmer look on the wrist” (to be confirmed once we see these watches, as the specs indicated heights of 12.8mm and 14.1mm – not the thinnest).
This new collection can be divided into two groups defined by the movement inside. The enamel SPB393 and Urushi SPB395 use a triple-retrograde display, while the Arita porcelain SPB397 and Shippo enamel SPB399 rely on a date and power reserve display. All feature a newly designed dial, too, with alternating Roman numerals and baton markers.
The first two models in this collection are built around the same technical base. The first model flaunts a classic style with a pure-white vitreous enamel base created by master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa and his team. The 12 o’clock marker is picked up in red, while all hands are blued – a style that evokes the original Laurel watch, and that’s also familiar to previous enamel models in the Presage collection. Worn on a black strap, the SPB393 is the most classic of all four models.
Next in line in this 2023 Craftsmanship Series is the reference SPB395, which has a dial made using the Urushi lacquer technique. Made by Urushi master Isshu Tamura and his team, it is presented in a bold and unprecedented coppery brown hue, which also includes an innovative new method employed to achieve a flat surface. This brown tone is complemented by white markers and hands, as well as gold-toned accents on the XII and sub-hands. It is worn on a matching brown leather strap.
Both references, SPB393 and SPB395, are housed in a 40.2mm x 12.8mm steel case with brushed and polished surfaces, as well as super-hard coating, with a sapphire crystal on top and a see-through caseback. Water-resistant to 100m, they are secured to the wrist thanks to a three-fold clasp with push-button release. The display consists of retrograde indications of the date and the weekday and a power reserve indicator. Power comes from the automatic calibre 6R24, a 4Hz movement with 31 jewels and a 45-hour power reserve.
The two other models in the 2023 Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series are powered by a slightly different technical base. The first model features an elegant ivory-coloured porcelain dial, which recalls the Izumiyama Ceramic Stone Field in Arita, a small town in Saga Prefecture where for more than 400 years, Arita porcelain has been crafted. Made by master craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi and his team, the dial relies on a multi-stage process that requires multiple firings in a scorching kiln to lock in rich colour, texture, and depth for years to come. The beige colour is complemented by black hands and markers, as well as gold-toned accents on the XII and subsidiary hands. This model is worn on a brown leather strap. While the Arita porcelain technique is familiar in Seiko Presage’s collection, the style used in this reference SPB397 is unprecedented.
Last but not least, the reference SPB399 brings back a relatively rare style for the Presage collection, which should also be regarded as the most complex of them all. It uses the Shippo enamel technique that consists of a textured lower plate (guilloché with a wave pattern) and a polished translucent blue enamel surface on top. Made by master craftsman Wataru Totani and his team, it relies on a multi-step process of glazing the surface of the dial by hand, firing the dial, and polishing its surface to bring out the distinctive wave pattern underneath. The deep blue dial of this Presage model is complemented by white markers and hands, as well as gold-toned accents on the XII and sub-hands. It is worn on a matching blue leather strap.
Both references, SPB397 and SPB399, come in a 40.6mm x 14.1mm steel case with brushed and polished surfaces, super-hard coating and sapphire crystals on both sides. The cases are water-resistant to 100m and secured to the wrist with a three-fold clasp with a push-button release. The display here consists of a sub-dial at 6 o’clock with a pointer date and a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock. These are powered by the in-house automatic calibre 6R27, again a 4Hz movement with a 45-hour power reserve.
To celebrate the 110th anniversary of the first Seiko wristwatch (Laurel, circa 1913), the Japanese watchmaking house has proposed various commemorative editions. The latest addition to this line-up is the Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series, comprising four special timepieces showcasing traditional Japanese handcraft combined with the company’s mechanical watchmaking skills.
The history of Seiko began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened a shop in Ginza to repair and sell timepieces. In 1913, his company produced Japan’s first wristwatch, the Laurel, and has advanced the art of watchmaking in the ensuing years through both technology and craft.
Today, four special timepieces join the Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series and commemorate the 110th anniversary of Seiko watchmaking. Each showcases a traditional Japanese handcraft combined with Seiko’s mechanical watchmaking skills, creating a unique balance of beauty and precision.
The Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series shines a light on traditional Japanese crafts through vivid watch dials. With each of the four crafts, a different master and his team demonstrate the painstaking skill required to practice their technique on the miniature canvas that is a Seiko Presage dial. For this special anniversary series, Seiko is presenting a limited-edition Presage watch in each of the following four materials: enamel, Urushi lacquer, Arita porcelain, and Shippo enamel.