Seiko’s Presage collection is one of the best kept secrets in watchmaking. While Grand Seiko and Prospex get the attention, Presage continues quietly delivering incredible value and beautiful styles without batting an eye. Today Seiko has announced a new addition to the Presage collection, a set of four simple watches each bearing a hand-made enamel dial with elegant Roman numerals. Let’s take a closer look at these new watches and what they bring to the table.
Just a few months ago we got a limited edition watch for Presage’s 60th anniversary, but earlier in 2016 Seiko introduced a pair of chronographs to mark the same occasion. One had a black Urushi lacquer dial, but the other had a bright white enamel dial. It’s this latter watch that serves as a jumping off point for the collection we have here today. All four of these watches are united by their steel cases and fired white enamel dials (sort of the Japanese equivalent of the Swiss grand feu), which have inky black Roman numerals that are painted at least 10 times over on each dial to achieve the visual depth necessary.
You can learn more about Seiko’s enamel work here. But on to the watches themselves.
Presage Enamel Automatic Chronograph
We’ll kick things off with the most complicated watch of the bunch. The Automatic Chronograph is exactly what it sounds like. The three-register dial layout is familiar from last year’s limited edition, but a number of aesthetic changes have been enacted as well. The hour markers are now Roman numerals instead of the Breguet-style numerals and there are no red accents to be had at all. On the sub-register there are Arabic numerals for legibility’s sake. Tucked between four and five o’clock is a small date window that’s discreet enough that it shouldn’t ruffle too many feathers. The watch is 42mm across and 14.9mm thick, so it’s on the large side but still remains very wearable.
Powering this watch is the Seiko caliber 8R48. It is an automatic movement with a 45-hour power reserve that runs in 45 jewels. The chronograph counts up to 12 hours and has both a column wheel and a vertical clutch system, making it a great reliable, workhorse chrono movement.
The Presage Enamel Automatic Chronograph will retail for €2,650 (approximately $2,815 at time of publishing).
Presage Enamel Multi-Hand Automatic
This watch once again probably looks a little familiar, this time recalling the other limited edition 60th anniversary Presage from 2016. It shows the hours, minutes, and seconds with centrally-mounted hands, and then adds a power reserve indicator at nine o’clock and a sub-dial to show the date at six o’clock.
Inside the 40.5mm x 12.8mm steel case is the caliber 6R27. It’s a 4 Hz movement with 29 jewels that packs a 45-hour power reserve. The way it displays the complications – themselves not that unusual at all – is definitely a-typical, and it looks a little cluttered at first. But, the more I’ve soaked it in, the more I’ve come to like it.
The Presage Enamel Multi-Hand Automatic will retail for €1,300 (approximately $1,380 at time of publishing).
Presage Automatic, Round And Tonneau
Finally we have the basic automatic models – and there are two of them, and they offer two very different looks. The first, the reference SPB047, is round and comes in at 40.5mm in diameter and 12.4mm thick with 100-meter water resistance. The second, the reference SPB049, is tonneau-shaped and measures 46mm x 35.9mm and 12.5mm thick with 50-meter water resistance. Both have sapphire crystals front and back, and come on crocodile straps with folding buckles.
Both watches also have the same movement inside. The caliber 6R15 is relatively straightforward automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve that runs in 23 jewels. The balance beats at a very traditional 3 Hz, which is slightly slower than the 3.5 Hz that is more common these days. Both watches are also anti-magnetic up to 4,800 A/m and come with steel folding buckles instead of simple pin buckles.
The round Presage Enamel Automatic will retail for €1,100 (approximately $1,170 at time of publishing), while the tonneau version will retail for €1,300 (approximately $1,380 at time of publishing).
These watches will all be available around September 2017, and, unlike last year’s chronograph, they’re additions to the main collection, not limited editions. For more, visit Seiko Presage online.