Hands-On (Video) with the Seiko Presage “Cocktail Time” ref. SRPB43

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The original “Cocktail Time” ref. SARB065 was one Seiko’s most popular watches of the last 10 years. Simply put, Seiko nailed it with the 065. The standout, of course, was the dynamic dial, with its unique, gorgeous design that plays with the light like few other contemporary dials do, especially at that price point.

Today, we’re looking at the Presage ref. SRPB43, the successor of the now discontinued SARB065. The SRPB43 is a watch that is, but for a few details, largely identical to the 065. But if that’s true, you may be asking, then why bother releasing a largely identical watch under a new banner?

The answer is largely corporate. Over the last few years, Seiko’s been retooling their catalog—especially on the American side—and we’ve seen the greatest evidence of that through Prospex, Presage, and Grand Seiko (as I write this, I am proudly wearing my double-branded Grand Seiko ref. SBGX061). Despite its near cult status, the SARB065 was never meant for the American market, it’s popularity and accessibility only made possible through a small group of Japanese online vendors flexible enough to ship to The States. The SRPB43, then, is actually the Cocktail Time’s official introduction to America, this time neatly packaged under the bang-for-buck “Presage” banner.
We recently went hands-on with the SRPB43. To see our full thoughts on the watch, check out the video review below.

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$425

Hands-On (Video) with the Seiko Presage “Cocktail Time” ref. SRPB43

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
Seiko 4R35
Dial
White/silver (blue tint in certain lights)
Lume
N/a
Lens
Hardlex
Strap
Patent leather with deployant
Water Resistance
50 meters
Dimensions
40.5mm x 47.2mm
Thickness
11.8mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Push/pull
Warranty
Yes
Price
$425

As you can see from the above specs, this watch and the SARB065 are largely the same, but I did note above that there are some differences. Let’s lay them out here.

The dial has been changed slightly to account for the updated branding. In place of the “Automatic 23 Jewels” we have the words “Presage Automatic.” As far as aesthetic differences go, that’s pretty much it. So far, so good.

The biggest change is internal. The SARB065 came with Seiko’s 6R15 movement, a solid, tried-and-true workhorse that is meant to be a more robustly spec’d derivative of Seiko’s 7S calibers. It features Seiko’s proprietary Spron 510 mainspring, 50 hours of power reserve, a beat rate of 21,6000 bhp, and it hacks and hand winds. The SRPB43 gets a small downgrade. It’s powered by the 4R35 movement, which is a cheaper, lower spec’d caliber from Seiko. It loses about 9 hours of power reserve, and it lacks the aforementioned Spron 510 mainspring. However, just like the 6R15, it hacks, hand winds, and has a beat rate of 21,600 bph. Both are solid movements, but the 6R15 comes out ahead on specs alone. As expected, this downgrade comes with a price reduction. The list price on the SARB065 is $550; the list price on the SRPB43 is $425.Coming back to the dial, I really want to emphasize how nice the execution is here. If this were in a $2,000 watch, you wouldn’t bat an eye. Even at magnification, the dial looks high quality in that there are no visible breaks in the uniformity of the unique sunburst graining. The applied indexes and polished hands further the dial’s play with the light and add to its high-end fit and finish.

My one knock against this watch, and it’s something quite easy to remedy, is the included patent leather strap. Yikes! It’s stiff, it creases in a displeasing way, and frankly looks way too synthetic with that glossy topcoat. For something with a sheen and much more pliability, I’d opt for shell cordovan instead. The included deployant clasp, however, is pretty solid.

Overall, the SRPB43 “Cocktail Time” is a fantastic watch, and it’s sure to be a mainstay within Seiko’s catalog. If this watch is not exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s something like 90% there, then I recommend taking a look at some of the other watches in the Presage range. There is the SRPB41 (blue dial on strap), SRPB46 (brown dial on strap), and SRPB77 (white dial with blue hands on bracelet). Then there’s the SSA343 and SSA346, both of which riff on the Cocktail Time template and add a power reserve and pointer date. Seiko USA

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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