By now, the story of how a certain Kintaro Hattori opened a shop selling and repairing clocks and watches in 1881, a shop that will later become one of the most prominent watch companies in the world, under the name Seiko, is well known. And this year, Seiko has been hard at work to celebrate the 140th anniversary of its foundation, paying tribute to Mr Hattori with multiple limited editions models. Today, it’s the Tokyo district where the Seiko story began and where the company is still located – Ginza – that is at the centre of two new limited editions. Here are the Ginza-Inspired Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Editions Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation SPB259 & Presage SSA445.
The Ginza district in central Tokyo has special importance for Seiko. It was where the company’s founder, Kintaro Hattori, founded his watch business in 1881, first selling and repairing clocks and watches. Later, young Hattori will create his own watches and will establish one of the most important Japanese watchmaking companies, Seiko. Even more surprising, this Tokyo district is still where the brand operates and, for more than 120 years now, a Seiko clock in Ginza has kept Tokyo on time. Today, the Seiko clock looks down on Ginza’s most famous crossroads from the roof of the Wako store where one of the world’s largest Seiko flagship stores is located. And nearby are other Seiko establishments, including the Seiko Museum, a boutique dedicated to Seiko Prospex and Seiko Dream Square, where people can experience each collection.
So, what’s better than a couple of watches inspired by this district for the 140th Anniversary celebrations. Both watches are based on existing models in the collection, yet updated with a specific dial pattern that echoes the district’s traditional cobblestone streets, but with a touch of modernity in the colour scheme used, being a blue-grey tone that also evokes the contemporary feel of the many modern buildings, which define Ginza today.
Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation SPB259
First in line in this new series of watches for the 140th Anniversary of Seiko is a watch based on the Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation SPB241J1, SPB243J1 and SPB245J1. launched in March of this year, watches that pay tribute to one of the coolest sports watches of the Japanese brand, a watch that is based on what used to be Seiko’s first sports watch, yet with a more contemporary approach.
Contrary to the faithful and compact re-edition SJE085J1, the 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation is, as you’ve probably guessed, an inspiration, an evocation of the past, housed in a modern package. If the overall specifications of the watch are identical to the classic models in the permanent collection, this Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist SPB259 shows an entirely different dial. The signature applied markers of the collection and the sharp hands have been kept, but are now combined with a blue-grey dial, with a sunray-brushed effect and mainly, Ginza’s cobblestones texture engraved on its surface. Surprising, it seems that the brushed pattern has been well conceived so, depending on the angle, the small block appear under different lights.
Also, the seconds hand pays homage to the district’s history with Komparu, a traditional Japanese colour named after Komparu Street, where Ginza’s nightlife was once centred. This blue color with a soft green tone was first used in the middle Meiji era (1868-1912). Other than this, we find back the same stainless steel case with great proportions – 38mm diameter x 12.9mm height – equipped with a domed sapphire crystal, a see-through caseback, a screw-down crown and capable of 200m of water-resistance.
This Ginza-inspired 1959 Alpinist SPB259 is worn on a 3-link stainless steel bracelet with three-fold clasp and push-button release. It is powered by the well-known calibre 6R35, which delivers a power reserve of 70 hours and beats at a 3Hz frequency. It is offered as a limited edition of 3,500 pieces and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021. It will be priced at EUR 750.
Quick facts: 38mm x 12.9mm – stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, see-through caseback, screw-down crown, 200m WR – grey-blue textured dial – calibre 6R35, 24 jewels, 3Hz frequency, 70h power reserve – steel bracelet on folding clasp – ref. SPB259 – limited to 3,500 pieces – EUR 750
Seiko Presage SSA445
The second watch offered as part of the Ginza-inspired collection for the brand’s 140th anniversary is based on recently-launched models in the Presage collection, namely the Open-Heart Presage Style60’s. These new pieces were modelled after a historically important watch, the Seiko Crown Chronograph of 1964. Yet, once again here we’re talking about a source of inspiration and not a one-to-one reproduction of a vintage watch.
Just like the watch above, the new Seiko Presage SSA445 utilizes the specifications of an existing watch, meaning a case measuring 40.8mm diameter x 12.8mm height and equipped with a cool external black aluminium bezel with a 60-minute scale. It has a box-shaped Hardlex crystal and see-through caseback, and is 50m water-resistant. It is worn on a 3-link steel bracelet with three-fold clasp and push button release. Inside is the calibre 4R39, a robust entry-level automatic movement with 3Hz frequency and 41h power reserve.
What really matters with this new SSA445 is the dial, and once again here Seiko has been playing with textured and colours – the same Ginza’s cobblestones texture and grey-blue colour with a sunray-brushed effect. Hands and applied indexes are identical to existing models in the permanent collection, and so is the presence of an aperture on the dial revealing the balance, next to a 24h indicator.
The Ginza-inspired Seiko Presage SSA445 140th Anniversary will be offered as a limited edition of 4,000 pieces and will also be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in October 2021. It will be priced at EUR 590.
Quick facts: 40.8mm x 12.8mm – stainless steel case, Hardlex crystal, see-through caseback, 50m WR – grey-blue textured dial – calibre 4R39, 24 jewels, 3Hz frequency, 41h power reserve – steel bracelet on folding clasp – ref. SSA445 – limited to 4,000 pieces – EUR 590
For more details, please visit seikowatches.com.