From enamel to urushi lacquer dials, over the past few years, Seiko has created some of the most exotic looking Presage watches that have won the hearts of watch lovers world over. This year the Japanese watchmaker is turning to Arita Porcelain for its two new Presage releases.
Arita, a small town in Kyushu, the third largest island in the southwest of Japan, came to prominence in the early 17th century when clay suitable for porcelain manufacture was discovered and its porcelain products soon became highly prized in Japan for the high quality of their artistry.
Arita Porcelain is extremely fragile and delicate in its natural state, which is why a new type of Arita porcelain, four times the strength of ordinary porcelain, had to be created specifically for this project. Furthermore it also needed to have the strength and flexibility required for a Presage watch dial.
The heritage of Arita porcelain is respected in the color of the dials, white with a trace of blue, which was the color of the earliest Arita porcelain. The dials, which are made in Arita itself, have the rich texture and depth which is the signature of all the finest porcelain.
Hiroyuki Hashiguchi, a master craftsman from Arita, is the mastermind behind the exotic looking porcelain Presage dials. The base material is first put into a special mold which gives dials depth, especially in the version where the power reserve indictor is recessed into the dial with a deep cut. The dials are dried and then fired at 1,300 degrees, to harden and whiten the material. The glaze is then applied by hand, after which the dials are fired again, this time cementing the glaze on to the dial, a process which gives the dials their deep, rich finish and the subtle blue tinge.
The apertures on the dial for the date window and hands are then cut with laser. Finally, the dials are fired again to smoothen the surfaces that have been cut.
Two new Presage Arita Porcelain watches were introduced at Baselworld 2019. One with a power reserve indicator at the nine o’clock position and a date indicator at six o’clock (SPB093) which runs on a caliber 6R27 movement and the other, a three hand automatic watch, which runs on a calibre 6R35 movement; delivering a power reserve of 70 hours. SPB093, measures 40.6mm in diameter with a thickness of 14.1mm while SBP095 measures 40.5mm in diameter with a thickness of 12.4mm. Both watches feature stainless steel cases and come with a crocodile strap with three-fold clasp and push button release.
The exhibition case back reveals the fine finishing of the 6R movements and both versions are 10 bar water resistant. The new Presage Arita Porcelain Dial series will be available from September, 2019 onwards at Seiko Boutiques and selected Seiko retail partners worldwide.
Approximate recommended retail prices: €1,950 (SPB093) / €1,750 (SPB095)