Introducing the Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-nuri Ref. SPB085

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While Grand Seiko is home to the Japanese manufacturer’s most revered techniques and materials, in 2016 the Presage line went global to offer up some high-end features at more attainable price points. Like Grand Seiko, the Presage line builds on the Japanese tradition of art imitating nature, and the 40.5-millimeter SPB085 takes inspiration from those serene moments when the moon is still shining at dawn.

Employing three age-old lacquer techniques called Urushi, Byakudan-nuri, and Maki-e, the dial of the SPB085 combines a deep black lacquer with rich chocolate-burgundy sub-dials showing the day at three and the date at nine o’clock, while an amber-gold crescent adorns the power reserve indicator at nine o’clock. To achieve this lacquer combination, Seiko employs master artist Isshu Tamura, who lacquers these dials by hand.

Introducing the Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-nuri, Ref. SPB085.

Tamura starts with many layers of the deep black background using the Urushi technique, then he applies the ruddy sub-dials using the Byakudan-nuri technique (requiring metallic powders and layers of red-tinged lacquer), and finally he sets up the moon-colored crescent using the Maki-e lacquer technique (gilt metallic powder that imitates the pocked lunar surface). Tamura’s handwork takes weeks to complete, and the warm ambiance of the finished dial is well worth the trouble.

Atop that dial we find the typical Presage Roman numerals and leaf-type hands. Once nice touch here is that the tail of the seconds hand is a crescent moon.

The rest of the watch is also going to be familiar, as it uses a familiar polished stainless-steel 40.5-millimeter case with 100 meters of water resistance, as well as the automatic 6R21 movement with 45 hours of power. Decorative striping keeps the rotor interesting when viewed through the rear crystal, and the black crocodile strap completes the classic look.

Master artist Isshu Tamura.

Seiko will issue just 2,000 of these watches, and pricing will be around $2,500, landing the SPB085 at a compelling tier within Seiko’s catalog. The SBP085 will be available in early December from select retailers just in time for the holidays. Seiko USA

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At age 7 Allen fell in love with a Timex boy's dive watch his parents gave him, and he's taken comfort in wearing a watch ever since. Allen is especially curious about digital technology having inspired a revival of analog technology, long-lasting handmade goods, and classic fashion. He lives in a one-room schoolhouse in The Hudson Valley with his partner and two orange cats.
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