Discussion of Seiko watches
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2018 marks a small, but very important, year for Presage, Seiko’s brand of elegant, but well-priced, dress watches. Presage focused on just three watches this year, at least so far, but I’ve always preferred that approach to releasing a dozen new colors of each existing model.
Remember to click here to see more about any of these watches, or to pre-order one for yourself.
Let’s kick it off with the flagship of their Baselworld release, the stunning SJE073. One thing I always pay attention to during Basel is not merely whether or not I like a given model, or even if it’ll be popular, but whether it’s important. Does it have an impact on the brand or is it another nice watch in a sea of nice new watches? The SJE073 is the former.
And the reason is made clear here, with the profile view of the watch. Namely, the popular, if ubiquitous, 6R15 has been swapped for a new movement, the 6L35. Very little is known about this new movement, other than some basic specs. The most important ones are dimensional, namely that at 3.7mm, it’s an impressive 1.3mm thinner than the 6R15. It’s accurate to +15/-10 seconds per day, which, while fairly unremarkable, is nonetheless a significant improvement over its predecessor. We’ll have to wait a little while to know more, but one alleged image I’ve seen of the watch immediately reminded me of the Seiko 4L25, another thin automatic. Of course, who knows if the image I saw was even real, or if it is, if the movements are anything other than aesthetically similar. Regardless, this is going to be a big upgrade.
But let’s get out of the weeds for a moment to appreciate just how good this watch looks. Aesthetically, it’s clear that it didn’t deviate much from the SARX055 (the so-called “Baby Snowflake”), but resembling the Snowflake is far from a bad thing. If anything, the dial reminds me of an icy window more than a snowdrift. This new version also has blue Presage/Automatic writing on the dial.
The external differences between the watches is more than just a little blue writing, however. The pièce de résistance of the model is its thinness, so naturally, it gets a different case. Unlike the titanium Baby Snowflake, it gets a stainless steel case, and, of course, it’s also about 1.25mm thinner. There’s actually a lot more going on in this case than I have time to get to, so that’ll have to wait for a later article, but it’s also interesting to note that this watch receives Grand Seiko’s zaratsu polishing.
Internally, of course, you also get a much more accurate movement (-15 to +25 on the SARX055 versus -10 to +15 on the new movement).
This new model may mark a shift in Seiko’s attention towards Presage, devoting more of the company’s formidable resources to growing the brand and giving it more of a unique identity in the overall Seiko hierarchy. The SJE073 is limited to 1,881 pieces. The price isn’t yet known to me, but I’ll update this when I get an official number.
The next two watches released so far are known as the “Shippo” watches, after the unique Shippo enamel used for the dials. This enamel is known for its (relative, I presume) transparency and the way it’s polished.
The rather beautiful color is inspired by the ocean, but more remarkable is the way the texture of the dial creates a fairly convincing illusion of waves. I’m no enamel expert, but suffice it to say that it’s (A) very beautiful and (B) another sign that Seiko is interested in making enamel dials part of the identity of the Presage brand.
The first of the two new Shippo watches is the SPB073, which is distinguished by its power reserve.
The second is the SPB075, a simpler date-only model.
The Shippo watches might not have quite the impact of the SJE073 with its new movement, but they are quite beautiful and promote a brand identity of enamel-dialed watches, something I can certainly get behind.
They’re both 40mm (well, the SPB073 is 40.5mm) and are limited editions of 2,500. I don’t have prices for these yet either, but you can pre-order them here.
There may yet be more Presages to cover, so check back for updates, as well as pricing.
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Love the look and profile of the SJE073. I think I read somewhere it's over $2K, which may be a hard sell for Presage, but I'm sure they'll sell the limited number.
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