Monochrome Watches
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The Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori SPB441, Tribute to the First Watch with Seiko on the Dial

A retro-styled, compact watch with enamel dial and a lot of charm.

| By Brice Goulard | 3 min read |
Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SPB441

Earlier this year, Seiko paid tribute to what’s certainly its most important wristwatch, the first of an extremely long lineage, a watch born in 1913, the Laurel. This elegant and surprisingly retro Presage watch, the reference SPB359, impressed by its combination of antique design (something that isn’t common in vintage-inspired watches), its compact case and refined enamel dial. In the same vein, the Japanese brand now honours the first watch to bear the Seiko name on its dial, a watch created in 1924 that summarized founder Kintaro Hattori’s philosophy to be “Always one step ahead of the rest.” Let’s take a look at the new Seiko Presage SPB441.

The 1913 Laurel might have been the first wristwatch created by Kintaro Hattori’s company – Seikosha – however it wasn’t yet showing on the dial the name that is now known by all as Seiko. This only happened in 1924, right after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 entirely destroyed the Seikosha factory. This watch signified the beginning of the Seiko brand. Next year, 2024, marks the 100th anniversary of this landmark event. The celebration starts with a new creation from the Presage collection that pays homage to this milestone, the Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SPB441.

The resemblance between the first watch with Seiko on the dial (above, left) and the new SPB441 is obvious. Of course, it’s all about the looks, as this new Presage creation is, without a doubt a modern watch to evoke the past and not a 1-to-1 recreation (for the best, surely). However, there are certain elements of this new watch that do surprise, starting with the shape of the case and its deliberately small proportions. Like in the old days, the SPB441 comes in a fully round case that reminds us of the times when wristwatches were still more or less converted pocket watches, on which lugs would later be attached. This 35mm watch (yes, that’s compact) features movable lugs that are linked to an original pull-through leather strap.

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Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SPB441

This new Presage is topped by a box-shaped sapphire crystal, reminiscent of antique glass and the back is closed, engraved with the trademark “S” that Kintaro registered in 1900 as a symbol of the Seikosha factory – the crown also has that same logo. At 12.3mm in thickness, and adding to that the strap under the case, it’s not a thin watch but combined with the small diameter of the watch, it has true charm. It’s a watch with a lot of character and a pleasantly outdated look. And on the wrist, it’s a lovely little thing to wear.

Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SPB441

The dial, which is made of glossy white enamel, is also an evocation of the past. Not entirely faithful to the original model, this Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori SPB441 features a modern display with central seconds and a 24-hour indicator replacing the small seconds of the original watch. Still, the blued hands, the Breguet-styled numerals and the font used in this additional counter are creating the illusion. And, of course, the Seiko letters at the 12 o’clock position are modelled after what was used in the 1924 watch.

Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori Limited Edition SPB441

This Presage SPB441 is powered by a new version of the 6R calibre, the automatic 6R5H with a 3Hz frequency and a comfortable power reserve of 72 hours. The watch is delivered in a special presentation box that also evokes antique ones.

Released as a limited edition of 1,000 pieces, the Seiko Presage Kintaro Hattori SPB441 will be available from January 2024 at Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners. It will be priced at EUR 2,000. For more details, please visit seikowatches.com.

https://monochrome-watches.com/hands-on-review-seiko-presage-kintaro-hattori-spb441-reissue-1924-first-watch-seiko-dial-specs-price/

4 responses

  1. I feel like I’m the only one who hates the 24 hour sub dial. I would prefer small seconds Every. Single. Time! I like subdials to tell me things I don’t already know. I don’t see the need for a 24 dial on a watch, especially on a 3 hand’er. Small seconds looks so much more sophisticated than a useless 24hr subdial.

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  2. Agree with Joe P, I hate the superfluous 24hr sub dial and I would much prefer a proper small second hand. Oh, and if it was manual wind too I’d definitely buy it.

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  3. How can this be 2000€? Please your are Seiko not Longines.

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  4. This is an absolutely gorgeous watch and I have just purchased one. My other watches include a De Bethune DB8, a couple of Pateks, a Vacheron 1921 Tank American and a Credor Eichi ll. Saying that, this enamel dialed Seiko with stunning hands is to me excellent value for what it offers and will not be out of place in my small collection. And for the record, I would buy a Seiko any day if I was given a choice between a Seiko and a Longines!

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