In 2016, Seiko positively surprised collectors with the international launch of the Presage collection, a lineup of only mechanical and classical watches, clearly intended to please watch enthusiasts usually more inclined to buy Swiss high-end pieces. In just a few months, Seiko Presage has taken center stage, being very well received. Also, at Baselworld 2016, Seiko presented the widely acclaimed and superb 60th anniversary chronograph with an enamel dial. Today, Seiko announces the launch of a new range, the Seiko Presage Enamel Collection, using the same high-end dials.
Seiko Presage is a collection rather apart in the Japanese brand’s portfolio, which is more inclined to do technical and sports watches, or very high-end pieces (Grand Seiko / Credor). Presage sits in the middle and uses traditional watchmaking codes, mechanical movements only, vintage inspirations and relatively accessible prices, in order to attract new collectors, more inclined to buy Swiss. Everything really started in 2016, when the collection was internationally launched (previously Japan Domestic Market) and with a blast, the superb 60th anniversary chronograph with an enamel or urushi lacquer dial.
This limited edition, most probably sold-out since months, combined an in-house, automatic chronograph movement (column wheel, vertical clutch), hand-made enamel or lacquered dial, a slightly vintage look, for a price of only 2,500 Euro… We told you at that time, a real bargain. Aware of the success of these watches, the brand now enlarges the portfolio with the Seiko Presage Enamel Collection, using the same enamel dials, mechanical movements, classical designs and still very competitive prices.
The Presage Collection is based on vintage watches made by Seiko. While the first Presage collection was based mainly on the 1913 Laurel (the brand’s first wristwatch), with the white enamel dial with Arabic numerals (including the red 12), the second collection still relies on this noble material but also look at a 1895 pocket watch, the “Time Keeper”, for the Roman indexes.
As for the material chosen, enamel is one of the most noble type of material that can be used for dials. It is also one of the strongest and more resistant options, as many antique watches with such dials are still in perfect condition. Fired enamel (what Swiss name Grand Feu) is obtained only by hand, after a complex process where enamel powder is dropped on metallic plates and then fired at very high temperature to obtain a vitreous and almost unalterable surface.
At Seiko, the dials of the Presage Enamel Collection are made by the master craftsman Mitsuru Yokozawa and his team. The hour markers are painted no fewer than ten times to lift them in relief from the dial. The tips of the hands are curved by skilled craftsmen to follow the contours of the curved sapphire crystals. All of that for watches with reasonable prices… Impressive.
The first of the Seiko Presage Enamel Collection is the Automatic Chronograph SRQ023. This watch is fundamentally the same watch as the 2016 limited edition, differing only by its Roman numeral (instead of the Arabic, Laurel-inspired numerals of the limited edition). For the rest, we have the same 42mm steel case, the same 8R48 movement (integrated, automatic chronograph, in-house produced, 4Hz frequency, vertical clutch / column wheel architecture, 45H power reserve) and the superb fired enamel dial (what Swiss call Grand Feu enamel), with blued hands.
The best news concerning this new Seiko Presage Enamel Chronograph SRQ023 is that it is no longer limited in production. It will be available in September 2017, at a price of 2,650 Euro. That is really amazing value for money.
The second watch to receive a fired enamel dial is the Seiko Presage Enamel Multi-hand Automatic SPB045. This watch is based on the Seiko Presage SPB041J1 that we reviewed for you here – a watch that was also part of the 2016 inaugural collection. it uses the same 40.5mm case with nicely shaped lugs, satined and polished surfaces, and elegant proportions. The movement is again in-house produced and automatic. It displays the date at 6 and the power reserve.
Still showing beautifully crafted blued hands, the textured dial has been replaced by a enamel plate, again in milky white. Seiko Presage Enamel SPB045 will be available in September 2017, and priced at 1,300 Euro (vs. 899 Euro for the standard version).
Last but not least are two very classical watches, both using a 3-hand automatic movement, the Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic SPB047 and SPB049. The first one (SPB047) is a very conservative watch with 40.5mm round case and enamel dial showing black Roman numerals, with blued hands and date at 3. The case is shared with the Multi-Hand version above. This Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic SPB047 will be priced at 1,100 Euro (a price that is simply impossible to imagine from Swiss brands…)
The second and more unusual version is a tonneau-shaped version (SPB049). It measures a reasonable 46mm x 35.9mm and features the same automatic movement as the round version (calibre 6R15, 4Hz, 50h power reserve). The dial is also made out of white fired enamel and shows Roman numerals and blued hands. The Seiko Presage Enamel Automatic SPB049 will be priced at 1,300 Euro.