For all the commotion around affordable GMT watches in the last few years, it’s frankly surprising that we haven’t seen a glut of them from Seiko. Could there be a more wide open lane for the brand to hang out in? Imagine the hysteria that would ensue over an affordable travel watch with Seiko quality, value, and style? They did introduce a few Landmasters in 2018 for the Japanese market with a GMT complication, but if you’re familiar with the Landmaster line, you likely recognize that it’s a behemoth, and perhaps not the crowd pleaser a more refined all-purpose travel could be. Well, if you’re a Seiko fan hoping to travel again in 2021 (aren’t we all) and in the market for a new watch to accompany you on your next trip, Seiko (finally!) has you covered with a set of new watches in their Presage line featuring an honest to goodness mechanical GMT complication with – you guessed it – local jumping hours. Let’s take a look.
These new GMTs are part of the Seiko Presage Sharp Edge series, which we first reported on last year. The Sharp Edge series, in a lot of ways, is exactly what it sounds like. They have modern profiles with wide facets and a high polish but maintain a more formal style you expect under the Presage banner. There are hints of Grand Seiko design in the cases, for sure, and the watches have a crispness to them that the more rounded and contoured cases elsewhere in the Presage line lack.
For the GMT watches seen here, the dials have been given a Asonoha, or hemp leaf, pattern. Seiko tells us that this type of pattern has been seen in Japanese crafts for over a thousand years, so in spite of the watch’s modernist case shape, there’s some real history here as well. The dial has been finished in such a way that the texture is meant to change as light reflects off of it at different angles. Four dial variants will be available at launch, all based on colors used in traditional Japanese craft: Aitetsu (indigo, SPB217), Tokiwa (green, SPB219), Sumi-iro (black, SPB221), and Hihada-iro (brown, SPB225).
The watches run on Seiko’s caliber 6R64, a GMT movement with local jumping hour capability, a date display via a 6:00 subdial, and a power reserve indicator at 9:00. Combined with the sharp geometric pattern, the additional dial information on these watches results in a display that’s somewhat busy, but not in a way that’s overbearing. All functions are immediately legible (and useful) and appear to be executed quite well, even if some might object to power reserve breaking up the dial’s symmetry.
Something that sets these watches apart from the Landmasters that previously housed this movement is their wearability. The case measures 42mm in diameter and is 13.7mm thick, which is not small by any means, but Seiko has a way of building cases in such a way that their thickness is hidden by the facets along the caseband. These watches also come on a bracelet that has been engineered specifically for the Sharp Edge product line, and is noticeably sleeker than the bracelet you’d find a typical Seiko dive watch, for example.
The Sharp Edge GMTs will be available in June, with a retail price of $1,400. Seiko