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Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Dial

by Chester Lau on July 20, 2019

Presage Arita Porcelain Dial

The Presage collection has positioned itself as the collection that matches artistic craft with mass market affordability. Seiko rides on the mystic of its Japanese heritage, tradition and craft-culture to create watches with intriguing dials; from enamel to Urushi lacquer. 

In Basel 2019, it released a new set of porcelain dial watches, and brings to life another expression of Japan’s rich cultural heritage.

The new release features two automatic watches with dials made of porcelain from Arita, a town which, for over 400 years, has been the home of porcelain in Japan. 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. 

Arita, a small town on 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 there and its porcelain products soon became highly prized in Japan for the high quality of their artistry. 

Today, Arita porcelain is still highly prized worldwide and many porcelain makers still thrive in the town of just 20,000 people, thanks to its long tradition of craftsmanship, to the rich variety of its products and to the uniquely Japanese sensibility that they embody. 

A new type of Arita porcelain material, created just three years ago, was made specially for Presage dials. This new porcelain is more than four times harder than the usual material and has both the strength and flexibility required.

A multi-stage production process is required to produce the dials.

First, the base material is put into a special mold which gives dials depth, especially in the version where the power reserve indicator is recessed into the dial with a deep cut. The dials are dried and then fired for the first time at 1,300 degrees to harden and whiten the material. Hashiguchi and his craftsmen then apply the glaze 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. Next, the holes for the date window and hands are cut by laser. Finally, the dials are then fired again to smoothen the surfaces that have been cut.

The new Presage series comprises two interpretations of the design, both of which are powered by Seiko’s 6R series calibers. The first offers caliber 6R27, with a power reserve indicator at the nine o’clock position and a date indicator at six o’clock. The second offers a new caliber, 6R35, which delivers a power reserve of 70 hours. 

The crystal glass is a dual-curved sapphire, the exhibition case back reveals the finishing of the 6R movements and both versions are 10 bar water resistant.

The watch measures 40.5 mm in diameter and 14.1 mm thickness. It is water resistant to 10 bar and anti-magnetic to 4,800 A/m. Perhaps the only peeve that one could have with the watch is its relative thickness, considering that it is a dress watch. Understandably, this is necessary for the dial thickness – a thicker dial to prevent breakage or bending during manufacturing. That said, a thinner case profile would make the watch significantly more elegant. 

The Presage Arita Porcelain Dial series will be available from September, 2019 at Seiko Boutiques and selected Seiko retail partners worldwide. Approximate recommended retail prices in Europe: €1,950 (SPB093) / €1,750 (SPB095)

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