INTRODUCING: Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Seiko Presage Limited Edition SPB359
Seiko kicks off 2023 with a remarkable revival of its first wristwatch.
2022 and 2023 are big years for Seiko – this year is the 130th anniversary of the Seikosha manufacture, and next year marks the 110th anniversary of the very first wristwatch made in Japan by Seiko. The ‘Laurel’, as it was called, used a movement designed for small pocket watches and required Seiko to develop new machining and assembling tools to produce. The watch took the company forward beyond its competitors, fulfilling Kintaro Hattori’s (the brand’s founder) vision of Japanese watchmaking since Seikosha’s establishment in 1892.
The Laurel was created in 1913 and designated as one of Japan’s ‘Mechanical Engineering Heritages’ by the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers in 2014. So the company is presenting a revival of the watch with the Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Seiko Presage Limited Edition SPB359. This re-issue brings forth a nostalgic vibe of the old times in today’s watchmaking scene.
The original Laurel had what is known as ‘Senbai’ or swinging lugs, where the two ends are welded to the case, with a loop to attach a wrist strap. Slightly later editions had fixed lugs with a stirrup-style bund leather strap. The watch cases were produced in silver, gold, shakudō (an alloy of gold and copper) or nickel. The new limited edition closely resembles the fixed lug models, with some differences.
The case is now in stainless steel and sized at 37.5mm. It retains the shape and design of a pocket watch like the original, including the large onion crown. It’s covered with a bevelled boxed-shaped sapphire crystal, creating a nice depth to the display. The dial is in pristine white enamel with a sunk-in centre, created by master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa. The italic numerals dictating the hours have a small detail on the number four, which originates from the Eastern Arabic numeral system, and the 12th hour is in bright red. Its spade-shaped cathedral hands and the needle-like second hands are in a retro metallic deep blue colour.
Powered by the reliable Calibre 6R27, the SPB359 has a small date dial at the 6 o’clock position and a power reserve indicator at the 9 o’clock position, instead of the original Laurel’s small seconds sub-dial or even a modern date window. The brand’s loyalists would recognise that the dial layout resembles that of the Presage Multi-hand Enamel Automatic. It features 29 jewels and runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4Hz) with a power reserve of 45 hours. The movement has a precision of -15/+25 seconds per day, which is standard for the 6R range of calibres. The watch has a water resistance of 50m.
The SPB359 comes with articulated swing lugs, a contemporary twist to the vintage design. Attached to the lugs is a two-piece combination of a bund strap and a narrow pull-through strap, providing maximum comfort while paying tribute to the original. Made out of dark brown deer leather, the strap has fine sewn finishing and closes with a stainless steel pin buckle. It will be released in January 2023 at the price of USD$1,800. This is a collector’s piece not to be missed and is limited to only 2,500 pieces worldwide. If you’re a Seiko fan, this is the perfect watch to start the year on a high note.
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