I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I champion affordable luxury brands over anything else, so, on the 60th Anniversary of the Seiko Automatic, I want to talk to you about two new Limited Edition Presage pieces just released. The new Presage collection clearly draws inspiration from their heritage in mechanical watchmaking stretching back to the original release of Japan’s first ever wristwatch, the Seiko Laurel in 1913.
Seiko Laurel in 1913
What’s Is Presage?
Seiko really understand how to embrace their heritage, breathing life into these very special Limited Edition Automatic Chronographs. The design is a classically refined approach echoing the design cues of the original 1913 Laurel, retaining the time-honored Japanese traditions and artistry, to produce one enamel and one in Urushi lacquer timepiece.
Seiko Urushi Lacquer & Enamel
The two share the same in-house automatic 8R48 caliber movement utilizing a vertical clutch and column wheel system, that incorporates Seiko’s unique three-pointed hammer to ensuring perfect synchronization of fly-back. This mechanical chronograph is built using 311 parts including the column wheel providing superior durability and operability, plus the “three-pointed hammer, the mechanism Seiko use to return the stopwatch to the zero position. So, let’s take a closer look at both of these beauties.
Seiko Urushi Lacquer
These very special dials of a pure, deep black are created by hand in the studio of master craftsman Isshu Tamura, to produce high a quality ‘urushi’ lacquer with a deep black luster.
It takes a great artist to create the Urushi lacquer and if you are not familiar with this art no-one will hold it against you. The term ‘urushi’ is used for both the lacquer itself and the art of Japanese lacquer work that dates back thousands of years.
It is challenging work carried out by master lacquer artist Isshu Tamura who trained in the traditional Kaga Maki-e gold lacquer technique, and enjoys worldwide acclaim for their elaborate detail and beauty in the creation of luxury fountain pens and wristwatches. Through this time-consuming process, the dials are painted and polished by hand several times before passing inspection.
When you look closely at the enamel it is evident how much hard work and craft went to its production. Indeed enamel Craftsman Mitsuru Yokozawa is a veteran craftsman who began working with enamel in 1968. Over 40 years he has developed a system that can reproduce high-quality enamel work allowing for millimeter accuracy in application.
The difficulty in laying down layers of enamel that can so easily be affected by weather and humidity is done by hand to meet the highest standards, and its the years spent honing his skills, the color of the enamel will last for decades, just as the dial on the original 1913 Laurel has done.
Even though Seiko are celebrating 60 years of the Presage and releasing these beautiful hand crafted pieces, they still aim to make them democratic and affordable as an entry level luxury timepiece. And even though you would expect the attention to details in the enameling from brands such as Patek Phillipe and Chanel, Seiko still offer this attention to detail and craft for a fraction of the cost.
With this craftwork and in-house movement, the Presages collection represents fantastic value with a price range between $1,170 to $2,815, which firmly places the collection the aspirational market.
The Take Away
I like these, I really like these! I guess if you have been reading my posts you already know I like Seiko amongst other well-known Japanese brands, so I am a little biased. Having said that, what more can you ask for? You get an in-house movement that’s tried and tested, a hand-crafted dial finished by master craftsmen, and name you can trust for a price you can’t argue with. My advice? See where the market goes with the prices and then strike when the price is right!!
What do you think of the Limited Edition Seiko collection? Did you like this post? If you did, please share or like it so others know about it. If you don’t like it please tell me why. I’d love to know what you think.