“The power of a beautiful face transports me to heaven,” Michelangelo said. Since it is believed in the watchmaking world that a dial is the face of a watch, which model would the famous sculptor, painter and poet of the 16th century have chosen to wear on his wrist? If the Japanese house Seiko, founded in 1881, had appeared three or four centuries earlier, perhaps it would have had its favors. Because the brand that popularized the quartz movement and signed many major technological developments during its long history also has a singular talent: that of concocting dials whose texture and color often make them true works of art. , thanks to know-how combining traditional artisanal methods and high-tech processes.
Prospex Save the Ocean model SPB297 watch. Steel case. Diameter 40.5mm. Caliber 6R35 automatic movement. Power reserve 70 hours. Water resistant to 200 meters. Metallic bracelet. €1,300.
The Prospex Save the Ocean, for example, echoes the collection’s polar roots by sporting a dial reminiscent of the different shades of ice, from white to dark blue, passing through light blue. The version presented above is directly inspired by the first Seiko diver’s watch from 1965. A timepiece which had the opportunity to prove its reliability when it was selected to equip the members of the Japanese research expedition in Antarctica, from 1966 to 1969. Water-resistant to 200 meters, its steel case with a particularly hard surface houses a caliber 6R35 automatic movement with proven reliability and a comfortable 70-hour power reserve. Note that the domed sapphire crystal protecting this particular dial benefits from an anti-reflective treatment which allows it to be admired from all angles.
Presage Cocktail Aviation watch. Steel case and bracelet. Diameter 39.5mm. Caliber 4R35 automatic movement. Curved Hardlex glass. Transparent background. Water resistant to 50 meters. €450. © DR
The inspiration that led to the design of the dial of the Presage Cocktail Aviation model is quite different. As its name suggests without ambiguity, it is a question of honoring a famous cocktail created in 1916 whose blue evokes the sky. Reproducing on a watch the color of Blue Moon, Margarita, Manhattan, Tequila Sunset, Negroni and other Mojito is a great specialty of Seiko. With the Aviation featuring an automatic movement, the Presage collection further expands its “map” of dials browsing the long list of fine drinks to be enjoyed in chic bars in Tokyo and beyond. Very sober, the lines of the 39.5 mm diameter steel dial highlight the blue gradient, to be consumed (with the eyes) without moderation.
Astron Solar GPS watch. Limited series 1,500 copies. Titanium case and bracelet. Diameter 42.7mm. Caliber 5X53. Water resistant to 100 meters. €2,600. © DR
Connoisseurs no longer need to be convinced of the practical interest of a watch like the Astron GPS Solaire. “It connects to the GPS network and adapts, with the precision of an atomic clock, to all time zones at the touch of a button and drawing all the energy it needs from light”, specifies- do we at Seiko. In short, this watch is aimed at globetrotters who are sensitive to the environment. Among the four new pieces in the GPS Solaire collection, all crafted in titanium, one of them stands out for its dial. While three versions present a monochrome face in silver, blue or black, the fourth version, offered in a limited series, has a unique striped textured dial. Its horizontal bands alternating different shades of gray enhance the techno-futuristic aspect of the watch.
Presage Sharp Edged watch. Steel case and bracelet. Diameter 40.2mm. Caliber 6R38 automatic movement. Power reserve 70 hours. Transparent background. Water resistant to 100 meters. €1,000. © DR
Launched two years ago, the Presage Sharp Edged collection aims to combine traditional mechanical watchmaking with modern Japanese design. Four new pieces enrich this Seiko family, including a model with a dial that reveals the movement through an opening drawn within it. This evokes the deified nature in Japanese culture. The entire surface of the dial is in fact decorated with an Asanoha pattern, or hemp leaf, used since the Heian period, more than a thousand years ago, to adorn fabrics. In Japan, the hardy, fast-growing Asanoha plant is a symbol of health and vitality. We should add that the color of this dial, reminiscent of unbleached silk, is called “Shironeri”.
Presage Craftmanship watch with Arita porcelain dial. Steel case. Diameter 40.5mm. Caliber 6R31 automatic movement. Power reserve 70 hours. Transparent background. Water resistant to 100 meters. Leather bracelet. €1,750. © DR
The new Presage Craftmanship watch owes a lot to a small town named Arita, located on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan. This city became famous from the beginning of the 17th century when clay suitable for making porcelain was discovered. Objects made of this material, which are particularly beautiful, quickly acquired great notoriety in Japan. “Our Arita porcelain dial, four times harder than conventional porcelain, goes through a very high precision molding process, then it is fired at 1300 degrees, before being enameled and fired again several times to complete this extremely complex process,” says Seiko. Very thin, this dial covered with a soft and shiny glaze is approximately 1 mm thick, curving from the indexes towards its center to create an effect of depth.
Prospex Speedtimer Automatic Chronograph Oregon watch. Limited series 400 copies. Steel case and bracelet. Diameter 42.5mm. Caliber 8R46 with vertical clutch and column wheel. Power reserve 45 hours. Transparent background. Water resistant to 100 meters. Additional black leather strap. €3,200. © DR
Providing sports timing devices since the 1960s and enjoying official timer status for the World Championships in Athletics since 1985, Seiko will again officiate July 15-24 at the 2022 events held in the United States, Oregon. It is in homage to athletics that the dial of the new Prospex Speedtimer was designed, produced in a limited series of only 400 copies: its ashen texture evokes running tracks. As for the second hand and the 30-minute counter hand, they are adorned with yellow, the color of all Seiko timekeeping and measuring devices.
This high-level sports watch is a new hobbyhorse for the Japanese house, which has just paid a fine tribute to Paris: after having already hosted the brand’s first boutique outside Japan in 2004, the capital will become the headquarters of a newly created entity, Seiko France becoming Seiko Watch Europe (36 countries, 210 employees, 2,000 points of sale, including 9 exclusive boutiques). After occupying the head of Seiko France for three years, Isabelle Couturet takes over the general management of Seiko Watch Europe. “Beyond France, Europe is one of the most important markets for us: we are proud to see that our watches there benefit from a recognition that has greatly increased and that they are widely acclaimed by the watch community,” said Aiko Naito, President of Seiko Watch Corporation. There is no doubt that we should continue to see new dials appear in the future, just as spectacular as today.