Latest from the Seiko press office – we love the Presage model, a good value everyday automatic that competes with entry level Swiss auto from Tissot and Hamilton. This hand-crafted porcelain dial model is something quite different from the mainstream however.
In March 2019, two creations in the Presage collection won high acclaim from watch lovers worldwide for their Arita porcelain dials. Today, a new Presage creation features another Arita porcelain dial whose design is inspired by the Japanese tradition of Suigetsu, which celebrates the beauty of the moon when it is reflected in water.
The strong blue hands and hour markers stand out against the delicate white texture of the dial to give the watch a unique beauty. Once again, Presage enshrines the very best of Japanese craftsmanship in a prestige automatic watch.
Suigetsu. A thousand-year love affair with the moon
During the Heian age, from the late eighth to the early twelfth century, Japan enjoyed a long period of prosperity during which a large part of the nation’s cultural identity was forged through prose, poetry and painting. A favorite pastime among the leisured classes was Suigetsu, the enjoyment of the moon’s reflection on the lakes and ponds in their gardens, a sight that appealed because of its ephemerality and unattainability and that has inspired Japanese art ever since.
Suigetsu is a Japanese word whose Kanji characters signify water and the moon. This fascination with the moon continues in Japan to this day and is brought to life in this new Presage creation with the highest levels of traditional Japanese hand craftsmanship and mechanical watchmaking reflected in every detail.
The production of each watch dial is a multi-stage process that requires several phases of firing and involves great skill and patience. The dials are produced by master craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi and his colleagues at an experienced manufacturer in Arita that has been making porcelain since 1830. To give the dials the strength required for a watch, the craftsmen use a type of Arita porcelain specially formulated to be harder and more durable than traditional porcelain. A very precise casting mould is used to achieve the difficult task of giving each dial the precise dimensions required to fit perfectly into a wristwatch.
While in traditional Arita porcelain a special glaze is applied to create its distinctive subtle blue sheen, a clear, transparent glaze is used for the dial of this new watch to allow the natural whiteness of the porcelain material to shine through. This pure white porcelain, called Hakuji, echoes the delicate reflection of the moon on water, and creates a sharp contrast with the blue of the hands, roman numerals and sub-dials. The combination of the blue color with the white Arita porcelain lends the watch a uniquely Japanese aesthetic that captures the transient yet memorable beauty of the time-honoured tradition of Suigetsu.
This limited edition watch carries Seiko’s high performance Caliber 6R27. Its 28,800 vibrations per hour can be seen and enjoyed through the exhibition case back. The crystal is a dual-curved sapphire that delivers high legibility from any angle. The watch is 10 bar water resistant and is presented on a crocodile strap with a blue tone that echoes the color of lakes and ponds illuminated by moonlight. The sub-dial at six o’clock shows the date and the one at nine o’clock, the power reserve in hours.
This Presage Arita Porcelain Dial Limited Edition will be available from June, 2020 at Seiko Boutiques and selected Seiko retail partners worldwide as a limited edition of 2,000.
This craftsmanship doesn’t come cheap of course with the Ariti model on offer at £1740 at Jura watches online.
That may seem a great deal of cash for a Seiko watch, but try to imagine how much Bremont, Omega or Audemars Piguet would be asking for something with a porcelain dial, assuming they could find the skilled artisans to carry out the painstaking work? Yep, about £5000-£15,000 most likely.