Monochrome Watches
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The 2020 Seiko Presage “Riki Enamel” Collection

Minimalism inspired by designer Riki Watanabe's 1970s Steel Clock set off against handmade enamel dials.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 5 min read |
2020 Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic SPB113 SPB115 SPB161 SPB163

Four new models inspired by the minimalism and legibility of designer Riki Watanabe’s celebrated 1977 Steel Clock join the Presage Collection. With beautifully handcrafted enamel dials in blue, brown and white, two automatic models (SPB113 and SPB115) and two automatic plus power reserve indicator (SPB161 and SPB163) enrich a collection renowned for its winning combination of Japanese craftsmanship, Seiko’s technical expertise and great value for money. Using a more basic, less stylized case construction with straight lugs, identical to the Presage Spring Drive models introduced last year, the new Seiko Presage “Riki Enamel” models underscore the essential and minimalist spirit of designer Riki Watanabe to perfection. 

2020 Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic SPB161

Seiko Presage

The Presage collection was a well-kept Japanese secret until it was released worldwide in 2016. Offering the very best Japanese craftsmanship with Seiko’s unquestionable technical expertise and great value for money, the Presage collection proves that you can acquire a beautifully handcrafted Grand Feu enamel dial for under EUR 1,500. Dials enhanced with enamel, Urushi lacquer and even porcelain have joined the growing family. In 2019, the Presage collection was also upgraded on the technical front with Seiko’s proprietary Spring Drive technology.

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the “riki enamel”

Designer Riki Watanabe (1911-2013) is a big name in Japan and founded Japan’s first design office in 1949. His designs, ranging from furniture to wall clocks and watches, were always underlined by an elegant minimalism and created with a desire to introduce well-designed, functional objects into the lives and homes of people. The Riki Steel Clock of 1977 was a quartz wall clock with a simple yet well-studied design that allowed legibility even from a distance. One version of the Riki Steel Clock featured elongated stick indices arranged around ultra-slim hands, the hour hand with a spade-like tip and the central seconds hand matching the colour of the dial.

Mitsuru Yokosawa is another important name. A veteran enamel craftsman, Yokosawa has been working with enamel since the early 1970s and has succeeded in reproducing the highest-quality enamelling techniques, like Grand Feu enamel. The beauty of enamel is its unique personality as the surface is often marked by dimples, tiny dots and rough surfaces.

Automatic models SPB113 and SPB115

Both 3-hand references flaunt handmade enamel dials in white and brown. The white model picks up on the main colour references of Riki Watanabe’s Steel Clock, which was produced in basic black and white dial colours. Instead of the classic Roman numerals of some other Presage models, the dial reproduces the minimalism of Riki Watanabe’s wall clock with straight long stick hour markers and shorter minutes along with the same spade-style hour hand. The central seconds hand is straight although the minutes hand is delicately tapered. There is also a rectangular date window at 3 o’clock with a black background on the brown model and a white background on the white.

The steel cases measure 39.9mm with a thickness of 12.4mm and are water-resistant to 100m. The shape of the case responds to the changes seen on the Spring Drive models introduced last autumn. The straight lugs are not integrated into the casebands like earlier Shippo Enamel or Arita Porcelain models. Simpler, more essential and closer in spirit to Riki Watanabe’s design philosophy. Both watches come on Cordovan horsehide leather straps with external stitching for a more relaxed look.

Both thee-hand-and-date automatics are powered by calibre 6R35, an automatic movement with a 70h power reserve and accuracy rated at +25 to -15 seconds per day. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the design touches on the movement are basic with a brushed finish on the bridges.

Seiko Presage Riki Enamel Automatic SPB113 and SPB115 – 39.9mm x 12.4mm stainless steel – 100m water-resistance – sapphire crystal front and back – white or brown handmade enamel dial – in-house automatic calibre 6R35 – 70h power reserve – black or brown Cordovan leather strap with triple folding clasp – USD 1,100 or EUR 1,200 – available now

Automatic/power reserve SPB161 and SPB163

The new automatic with power reserve and calendar date models come with either a white or blue enamel dial, made in Yokosawa’s enamel studio by hand. Featuring the same minimalist hour and minute markers of Watanabe’s wall clock, you can really appreciate the enamel here as it dips in the centre. Almost like a very shallow bowl, the dial features a central recessed area adding depth to the composition. The power reserve indicator is at 9 o’clock and the date is arranged on a calendar sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The white model is fitted with blued hands while the blue model is fitted with white hands to enhance legibility.

Identical in size to the three-hand automatic, the stainless steel case is 39.9mm with a height of 12.4mm. The straight lugs, which are not integrated into the caseback, give the watch a more restrained, less dressy look, which in turn is underscored by the Cordovan leather straps with stitching that accompany both these watches.

The movement here is the in-house automatic calibre 6R27 with a modern 4Hz frequency, a 45-hour power reserve and an accuracy rate of +25 to -15 seconds per day. Like the simpler three-hand model, the movement is visible through the caseback and finished with basic decorative touches. The automatic with power reserve models won’t be available until June 2020 and will retail for USD 1,300.

Seiko Presage Riki Enamel Automatic/Power Reserve SPB161 and SPB163 – 39.9mm x 12.4mm stainless steel – 100m water-resistance – sapphire crystal front and back – white or blue handmade enamel dial – in-house automatic calibre 6R27 – 45h power reserve – blue or brown Cordovan leather strap with triple folding clasp – USD 1,300 – available June 2020

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