For some years now, Seiko has been demonstrating its savoir-faire in other areas than the classic sports watches – which can be found in the Prospex collection. With its Presage range, the Japanese manufacture went on a mission to explore traditional artistic crafts of its country of origin, releasing watches with enamel, Urushi lacquer, guilloché with translucent enamel and finally so-called Arita porcelain dials. Today, Seiko is expanding its “Prestige Line” sub-collection, destined to differentiate these watches from more accessible Cocktail models, with the addition of a new Arita watch with a light blue dial and a steel bracelet. Here’s the Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Blue Dial SPB267J1.
Arita porcelain is an ancient Japanese craft, named after a small town located on the Japanese island of Kyushu. Towards the end of the 16th century, porcelain clay was found in the vicinity transforming the area into a hub for Japanese porcelain. Early wares used underglaze blue decoration, but by the mid-17th century, Arita was at the forefront as Japan developed overglaze “enamelled” decoration in a range of bright colours. It wasn’t long before the porcelain products made in Arita became prized all over Japan for the high quality of their artistry. By the 19th century, it was being exported all around the world, dispatched by sea from Arita’s port of Imari. Although porcelain is also made elsewhere, porcelain made in Arita is uniquely Japanese, and so it seems fitting that Seiko has chosen to use this material for the dials of its new Presage watches.
The watch we’re looking at today is an evolution of other limited edition models launched already with Arita porcelain dial, such as the SPB171J1 with its milky-white dial and blued accents, or the SPB093J1 that was the first of its kind for Seiko. In this instance, the new SPB267J1 model is basically the same watch, with a different dial and the addition of a casual/sporty touch thanks to a bracelet replacing the traditional leather strap.
The whole idea with this new Presage Arita Porcelain was to present this ancient technique under a new colour, which is here a desirable, uneven light blue background that reflects the manual work involved in the creation of the dials. It here recreates the faint lapis lazuli colours created by a traditional dyeing technique called ruri zome, which is traditionally applied to large tripod dishes from Kyushu decorated with heron designs. The dial requires skills and technique, as a glaze unique to Arita porcelain is applied on their surface, giving not only this milky, light blue colour but also a glossy surface as well as a dye effect with the periphery of the recessed areas showing a lighter colour. This gives the Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain SPB267J1 richness and uniqueness, as well as a strong feeling of manually-crafted object.
For this edition, the brand still relies on its complex display composed of central hours, minutes and seconds, with additional complications found at 6 o’clock – the pointer date – and 9 o’clock – the power reserve indicator. To match with the light blue background of the dial, all the elements – hands, markers, tracks, logos and Roman numerals – are executed in dark blue. The result is both elegant and fresh, with a certain boldness – or at least, some originality with a colour that feels different from the crowd of dark blue dials.
For the rest, no surprises with this Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain SPB267J1. The steel case is the same as previous editions, with its comfortable 40.6mm diameter but a rather hefty thickness of 14.1mm – which is obviously too much for such a dressy, elegant watch. On the other hand, the watch is water-resistant to 100m and features a dual-curved sapphire crystal on top, as well as a see-through caseback. The shape and the finishing are pleasant, with a combination of curves and facets, highlighted by brushed and polished elements.
Inside the case is the in-house calibre 6R27, a classic of the brand that powers (in this form of its classic 3-hand version) most of the Presage Prestige Line watches. Running at a 4Hz frequency, this automatic movement stores 45 hours of power reserve when fully wound and the view through the caseback reveals a neat decoration with stripes and brushed surfaces.
Another new element of this Light Blue Arita Porcelain SPB267J1 is the presence of a stainless steel bracelet, replacing the more formal leather strap used on previous editions. Given the more colourful dial, this choice makes this blue limited edition more casual, less strict than before and thus more versatile. Plus, nothing prevents you to switch to a nice dark blue leather strap to get a different look.
Availability & Price
The Seiko Presage Prestige Line Arita Porcelain Dial Limited Edition SPB267J1 is a limited edition of 2,000 individually numbered pieces, which will be available as of January 2022. It will be priced at EUR 1,950. For more details, please visit seikowatches.com.