Tag Archives: japan

Anime: Maybe It’s Just a Japanese Thing

Maybe it’s just me, but the whole Japanese Anime thing passes me by, in fact it’s a bit Jeffrey Epstein in many ways.

Anyhoo, Seiko has a new Presage watch out now, which celebrates a famous 1980s Anime movie. Here’s the press info;

Today, Seiko introduces into the Presage collection a creation inspired by the now-classic fantasy-adventure Japanese animation film “Castle In The Sky.” This is the first animation feature from the world-renowned Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, whose works have won the favour of animation fans worldwide for their imaginative, other-worldly settings, distinctive visuals and masterful storytelling.

The watch is powered by a new version of Seiko’s high-performance 6R35 movement, Caliber 6R31. Like Caliber 6R35, the movement delivers a power reserve of 70 hours and shares the same performance attributes, but without a date window.

Every aspect of the watch reflects the care and craftsmanship for which Presage is renowned. The crystal glass is a dual-curved sapphire and is treated with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface that delivers high legibility from any angle. The exhibition case back reveals the fine finishing of the movement, and the watch is 10 bar water resistant.

The watch will be available as a limited edition of 1,200 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide in July 2021.

Orient Star 70th Anniversary Edition

Orient is a sub-brand of mighty Seiko and sadly, they don’t seem to get the investment that the brand deserves, given its heritage. The latest Skeleton Star model, a tribute to the Star from 70s years ago is a case in point.

It actually looks like a Chinese clone, nothing like the original Star. Here’s the press info from Orient;

The new Skelton ( yep, they couldn’t even spell check skeleton) is featuring a new hand-wound movement with 70 hours of power reserve. The latest in-house 46-F8 series movements, feature longer power reserves of 70 hours, making them more practical than ever before.

The longer running time is achieved thanks to the new silicon escape wheel which is lighter and processed with higher accuracy. Beside, it has longer running time as well as a high accuracy of +15 to –5 seconds per day even with the ultimate skeletonisation.

The escape wheel visible through the watch’s skeleton structure uses Epson’s MEMS technology to control the film thickness at the nanometer level to adjust its light reflection, resulting in an eye-catching blue.

DUDE, DID YOU JUST SAY CROC LEATHER?

The vivid blue and a unique spiral shape evokes the Milky Way Galaxy, and the movement part at the nine o’clock position in the shape of a comet with two tails, symbolising the universe-inspired design theme. The model uses high-quality SUS316L stainless steel for the case, and comes with a hand-stitched, genuine crocodile leather strap.

Yes, they did say crocodile. In a woke era it is astonishing that Seiko-Orient think this won’t attract activists on social media keen to cancel their brand.

Classic Orient Star, with dial that changes from black to deep blue.

MISH MASH APPROACH

On the upside this 38mm watch has a sapphire crystal, front and back, but bafflingly it’s only got 50 metres of water resistance. So why not fit a Hardlex then?

70 hours of power is great but it’s hand-wound, mechanical, not auto. Again pointless. This mix of prestige features with some really dull aspects of the Star means it’s unlikely to attract many buyers. To be fair there are some better looking Star models in the range, including some with sub-sec dials that capture the early 50s spirit of the original. But this thing looks like a Thomas Earnshaw.

Sad times.

 

Zenith Chrono Revival Keeps The El Primero Flame Alive

News from Zenith earlier in October – new watch model to celebrate the Japanese store opening. We love the Zenith A series revivals of the famous El Primero watch, but that said, Zenith need some big new models to capture the interest of collectors who now have some superb Rolex Oysters, Breitling Top Time, cool TAG Carrera retro iterations etc to consider. Here’s the word from Zenith;

The doors of the new Ginza Boutique officially opened, unveiling the new Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – 2nd Edition and introducing Zenith Icons, a curated selection of restored vintage watches.

The new Ginza location is Zenith’s first flagship boutique to showcase the brand’s new concept, placing storytelling as a central element and offering visitors multisensory experience. Ideally situated on Namiki Street in Ginza district, Tokyo’s premier luxury shopping area, the Zenith boutique stands out with its atmosphere as well as the services it provides.

The new Zenith Ginza Boutique is also the first to host Zenith Icons, a new concept offering the possibility of acquiring a curated selection of iconic and highly sought-after vintage Zenith watches sourced, restored and certified by the Manufacture and sold exclusively at Zenith’s boutiques. Emblematic chronographs can be expected, with all details of each watch’s provenance thoroughly researched and documented by the Manufacture’s Heritage department.

In 2019, Zenith launched a watch that one could say was nearly 50 years in the making, the Chronomaster  A384 “Lupin The Third”, the first watch ever made to be inspired by a Japanese anime series. After the overwhelming success of the first series and the fact of a second Zenith watch appearance in the anime series Lupin The Third, Zenith is proud to unveil the Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – 2nd Edition.

Seiko Astron GPS: Hattori Edition is Understated Brilliance

It was a watch that shook the world. The Seiko Astron was the first mass-produced quartz watch that really won over huge sections of the public. Price matters – it does now, and it did back in the latet 60s too, which is why the average person decided that buying an Astron, at a price well below a Swiss watch, was a smart move.

So today, Seiko celebrates the life, career and achievements of Kintaro Hattori, with a limited edition Astron GPS Solar watch.

In 2012, Seiko demonstrated its leadership in high technology watchmaking with the world’s first GPS Solar watch. By connecting to the GPS network, Astron adjusts at the touch of a button to every time zone on earth and, by taking all the energy it needs from light alone, never needs a battery change. It offers local time with atomic clock precision on your wrist, wherever you are on earth.

Today, eight years on, the latest generation of Astron GPS Solar technology powers the new Kintaro Hattori 160th Anniversary. It’s a different piece of tech compared to the world’s first quartz watch from 1969, but the aim is the same; total accuracy when it comes to timekeeping.

Seiko Astron GPS Solar watch Hattori edition

The watch case and bracelet are in titanium with a scratch-resistant hard-coating. The bezel is made from Zirconia ceramic and has sixteen facets, one for each decade since Kintaro’s birth. With its deep black tones, gold tone accents and high gloss bezel, the watch has a commanding presence on the wrist that befits its heritage. You also get a croc leather strap as part of the package.

Limited Edition Details

The case back carries Kintaro’s name and three reminders of his legacy. The trademark “S” that he registered in 1900 occupies the center of the case back. His motto “One step ahead of the rest” appears above it and the name Seiko which was first used in 1924 is on the rim.

We absolutely love the gold pushers, crown and hands – they really stand out from the black dial and bracelet. It’s a classic combo and we reckon it’s a tool watch that will suit many enthusiasts. Great everyday timepiece.

The watch is offered in a special presentation box with a commemorative “S” badge and includes a card carrying a message from Kintaro’s great-grandson Shinji Hattori. It will be available in October, at Seiko Boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide.

 

Sharp Edged Seiko Presage Offers Stand Out Style, Japanese Reliability

The Seiko Presage is one of my fave watches, in fact I bought one last year. The case size is just right, the later Seiko movements can be wound rather than shaken into life, and I love the play of light on the dial. The Presage shimmers a bit, and for an everyday dress watch, that’s an extra touch.

So the new Presage Sharp Edged models just released are interesting, in that the dial gets a much more aggressive look. Definitely sharper, with more angles and hollows to catch the eye. It’s good that the bracelet finish has been upgraded too as the one on my 2019 Presage feels a bit £100 watch, rather than a £300 model.

Here’s the word from Seiko;

The Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series case and bracelet incorporate many flat surfaces that have a modern sharpness that allows the watch to shine and sparkle from every angle. Three of the four watches in the new series have a super-hard coating that protects the case and bracelet from scratches and also endows it with a long-lasting brilliance.

The precisely engineered and polished surfaces and the crisp edges of its silhouette contrast with the subtle hairline finish to create a pleasingly multi-dimensional effect.

Seiko-Presage-Sharp-Edged green

The dial incorporates a Japanese Asanoha or hemp leaf pattern, familiar in Japanese culture for its use in design since the Heian period over a thousand years ago. The fibers that make up the plant’s stem were traditionally used to make fabrics and the leaf pattern holds a special importance in Japanese culture as it symbolizes rapid, strong growth and was thought to bring good health, especially to the young. The rich texture and intricacy of the dial’s sharply edged geometric pattern create a subtle color gradation as they play with the light at different angles.

Seiko-Presage-Sharp-Edged four colour range

 

Four interpretations reflecting the craftsmanship of Presage

The series comprises four new watches, each offering a dial with a different traditional Japanese color; Shironeri, an unbleached silky white, Aitetsu, or indigo iron, Tokiwa, the color of evergreen trees and Susutake, a brown-toned smoked bamboo. The watches are all powered by the 24 jewel Caliber 6R35 which delivers a power reserve of 70 hours. The glass material is sapphire crystal, and the exhibition case back, also in sapphire, reveals the delicate finishing of the movement. All four watches will be available from September 2020 at Seiko Boutiques and selected retail stores worldwide.

 

Grand Seiko Offer Two Special Soko Editions for US Market

The Grand Seiko tradition is all about bespoke watchmaking craft and aiming for perfection. You may think that a Grand Seiko is somehow less special than a Swiss watch, which in terms of future auction value might be true, but when it comes to build quality we rate GS as being right up with Rolex frankly.

These two special edition models are`Soko’ themed watches, capturing the Autumn vibe, with understated looks and inspired by bamboo forests in Japan.

The vertical texture of the dials reflects the majestic stalks of the bamboo, says Seiko. Together, the timepieces pay tribute to this moment in nature, when its green hues are dramatically enlivened in the contrasting expression of “light” – silver dial of SBGA427 and “shadow” gray dial of SBGA429. These remarkable timepieces display the deeply satisfying beauty created by the highest level of Japanese craftsmanship.

Inside the watches you’ll find the famous Spring Drive movement. The Spring Drive 9R65 Calibre is designed, adjusted and assembled by hand, by acclaimed craftsmen and women at the Shinshu Watch Studio in Japan. In that respect, we say the GS watch is a bit more special than many Swiss watches which often have a bit more robot assembly than human input.

Grand seiko soko seasons limited edition

Spring Drive, recognized as one of the great innovations in modern watchmaking, is a spring-driven movement with a state-of-the-art electro-magnetic regulator that functions without an external power source. Its sole power source is a mainspring, which drives a series of gears as a traditional mechanical watch, and delivers a precision of one second a day, a rate unprecedented for a watch powered by a mainspring.

Case size is 39mm making this a classic dress watch option. There’s a steel bracelet and croc strap included as an alternative fitment. You get 30 jewels in the Spring Drive movement and a 72 hour power reserve, with a retro style power indicator on the dial face. It’s a nice touch, bringing a bit of 1940s/50s styling right up to date.

RRP on both these babies is $5,000.

Sayonara Pulsar; Best of The Pulsar Watch Bargains Online

Seiko are pulling Pulsar out of the UK, with the last deliveries taking place early in 2020. That means remaining stocks are being sold off fairly competitively by UK retailers, large and small. We take a look online to cherry pick some of the bargains.

RUBICON WATCHES

This online retailer based in the UK has some nice examples of the PU2 Chronograph series, with one rose gold and blue dial model (pictured) catching our eye at £79.99. A WRC chrono in black and gold is another winner, especially at £69.

We bought a new Pulsar chrono recently from Rubicon and it arrived packed in the inner/outer boxes, all paperwork correct, tags and stickers protecting the dial, case and links too. Pro outfit 😉

pulsar PU2 chrono

THE JEWEL HUT

This online branch of TH Baker jewellers has a selection of models, including a PS9 Pulsar with a white dial reduced to £55. (see pic below) If you feel like splashing out just under £63 then there’s a handsome military GSTP style Pulsar, with big numerals set on a black dial, plus that distinctive Brit forces arrow. Nice vintage look on that one.

pulsar white dial PS9 model summer sale

A Solar Red Accelerator at £155 is another great deal in our view, as you get that long life solar cell/battery, saving you battery replacement costs every three years or so, plus limi dial and hands.

H SAMUEL

Looks like all H. Samuel Pulsar models are sold out.

Pulsar-Accelerator-Solar-Steel-Mens best price

EDMONDS JEWELLERS

Edmonds have got a couple of PT3 chrono models, including a nice black and gold model on offer at £50. That’s a big reduction on the original £150 RRP. They also have a handsome blue dial PZ6 chrono, with solar power, at £146, along with a few Solar Pulsar watches. Basic quartz models start at about £75 on their website, good selection in stock right now.

HOLLINS AND HOLLINSHEAD

Another good range of Pulsar watches with decent reductions at UK stocks are being cleared. Who can argue with a solar powered PX3 model at just £66? Not us, we think that is great value. We also spotted a Solar Accelerator model at £95 – has to be worth a look.

WATCH NATION

This Chester based business has a physical shop in the suburb of Hoole, or Notting Hoole as it’s known locally, but also do a great deal online, ship UK-wide, and specialise in clearance lines and discontinued models.

Great news for Seiko and Pulsar fans here as we saw plenty of bargains. We spotted a blue dial, steel case, Solar PX3 model reduced to £73, while a PG8 black dial, blue and silver bezel quartz captures the Seiko 5 feel for under £58. The thing we like about Watch Nation is that their website has a Make Offer button, so you can bid a few quid less and try your luck – handy if you want to price match.

Enjoy the bargain prices as come late 2021, when Pulsar watches have to be bought from overseas sources in the main, there’ll be extra import taxes and postage charges on some popular new models, depending where you purchase from of course.

 

 

 

Orient SuperKing Revival Captures That Seventies Feel Perfectly

One of the most interesting brands within the Seiko group is Orient. Many watch fans will know the traditional 3 star automatics, which are still plentiful on ebay and start at about £25 for a slightly rough example. The Worldtimers, especially with the graduated green or brown dials also look fantastic, although you might pay £100 to secure a decent example.

But those older Orient watches have quite basic movements inside – we have cleaned up a few and they’re fairly utilitarian inside. Like an older Seiko 5, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Orient have some very cool retro 70s style watches on their website right now, as the revival thing is really driving many watch companies to re-issue older models, or more commonly, update the old watch, make it wider, fit a modern machine-assembled movement in there, and do some marketing.

Orient 70s sk purple

Here’s the spec on the re-issued SuperKing model, which comes in three different dial colours;

This is a revival of a 1970s era, popular diver style model “469135A”. Characteristic case shape with 4 nailed pins, rotating bezel, logos, and wrapped metal band. Every detail is carefully revived. It is ORIENT 41.7mm Sports mechanical watch with day and dates  Features an attractive see-through case back, which enhances the refined aesthetic.

The refined timepiece supports water resistance of 50 meters – says Orient, which is impressive.

Inside you get a modern automatic movement, which can be wound up, as well activated via wrist movement. We are guessing it’s based on the Seikio Presage 4R35 movement, but without seeing inside the SuperKing we don’t know. We love the day/date window, which is pure timeless Seiko design.

We found Sakura watches in Japan selling these watches at just under 200 euros. Orient are NOT officially imported into the UK, so be careful where you buy one from. Be lucky glam rockers!