In terms of value for money, it really doesn’t get any better than Seiko. From the humble Seiko 5 to the mighty Grand Seiko, no manufacture offers quite as much bang for your buck as the Seiko Watch Corporation. And, arguably, the best “bargains” to be had are the enamel dial versions of its Presage watches.
Launched in 2016, the Presage collection concerns itself with mechanically driven, accessibly priced, classically styled, everyday watches and has seen the production of a fair few limited editions with both lacquer and enamel dials. Seiko itself describes the collection as: “Fine watchmaking from Japan, perfect for the well-dressed gentleman.”
And now, to rapturous applause, Seiko has released the Presage SPB075 with its enthralling Shippo enamel dial. Shippo enamel was developed during the 17th century in Japan and is set apart from the vitreous enamelling used on most Swiss watches by its final polishing method. The SPB075’s dials are made by craftsman Wataru Totani, who works for the Ando Cloisonné Company, a renowned 140-year old cloisonné enameller in Nagoya whose work can be found in the V&A. A specially developed lead-free glaze is used, complying with Seiko’s stringent ethical standards as well as the European Union’s RoHS Directive, which Totani applies by hand to a raw guilloché engraved dial. The dial is then fired at 800 degrees Celsius and the whole process is repeated until things meet Totani’s high expectations. At this point the dial is polished just so, exposing the engraved pattern.
The depth and warmth of colour against the intricate engraving is truly beautiful – it really has to be seen in the metal to be fully appreciated. Aesthetic charms aside and according to Seiko, the dial is also a reference to the ocean and its importance to Japan as an island nation, with the ultramarine blue reflecting the Pacific Ocean’s colour and the engraving reflecting its waves and rippling movement.
The SPB075 is a classic three-hander with date window at 3 o’clock, housed in a polished 40mm stainless-steel case water resistant to 100 metres and supplied on a blue crocodile-leather strap. An open sapphire crystal caseback displays the watch’s proprietary Calibre 6R15 self-winding movement. A total of 2,500 examples of the SPB075 have been produced, priced at a remarkable £1,250.
Automatic Calibre 6R15
40mm stainless steel; sapphire-crystal caseback; water resistant to 100m
Blue crocodile-leather strap with a three-fold clasp and push button release