Seiko Brings the “Cocktail Time” to Presage and Expands the Line With New Models and Colors

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One of the great joys of the Seiko world (or great struggles, depending on your tolerance for jumping through hoops) are region-specific models. Some of the brand’s best current and recent models are Japanese-market only, so for us Americans the only option has been going through an intermediary like Seiya or Rakuten. However, one of the most popular of these Japanese-only designs, the SARB065 “Cocktail Time,” has just been reworked and released for the global Presage line. This new iteration comes in a wide array of variants, but how does it stack up against the original? Let’s get right into it.

This new line includes two separate models: the three-hand SRPB series, which consists of the deep blue dial SRPB41, silver/ice blue dial SRPB43, gold case/champagne dial SRPB44, and rose gold case/brown dial SRPB46; and the all-new SSA series, which adds a central power reserve along with an elegant pointer date at six. The SSA series also includes four color ways: the white-dial SSA341, the silver/ice blue dial SSA343, the black-dial SSA345 and the rose-gold cased/white dial SSA346.

Introducing the SRPB43, Seiko’s reintroduction of the iconic “Cocktail Time” through Presage.

The case design for both lines cleaves close to the original SARB065. The simple polished bezel, tapering polished lugs, and midsize 40mm dimensions are a solid formula that required no messing with, and they present here attractively. The biggest change to the case for these new models is the redesigned crown at three o’clock. In lieu of the original’s smallish pillbox, the Presages come with an easy-to-grip cupcake crown with far more presence. Around back, both the SRPB and SSA models offer a Hardlex see-through case back with a view of the line’s new movements (more on this later).

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The new expanded cocktail series: From left to right: SRPB43, SRPB41, SRPB44 and SRPB46.

The dials, on the other hand, are where these new Presage Cocktail Time models really start to diverge from their predecessor. Firstly, let’s handle the SRPB three-handers. The SRPB43 is undoubtedly the most like the original, with its silver-blue patterned sunburst dial, but even here there are some small key changes. Chief among these is the dial text: gone is the swoopy “Automatic” script at six, replaced by a bolder Presage marking. Some have already called this out as a loss relative to the SARB065, but to my eye the Presage branding is attractive enough, and certainly makes more sense from a marketing point of view. The other, subtler difference to the SARB065 comes in the hour markers. While the new Presage has identical faceted wedges at six, nine and twelve, the rest of the hours track has been slightly simplified. The original Cocktail Time featured two-piece applied indices, with faceted arrowheads being augmented with small squares embedded in the minutes track itself. The new design is much cleaner, featuring just narrower versions of the wedges at the cardinal hours positions. It’s a discreet change, one that could be easy to overlook at a glance, but one that helps to streamline the overall design and lift what little visual clutter might have affected the first iteration. The other, new colorways for the SRPBs show the impressive versatility of that basic design as well. The SRPB46, with its rose gold hardware and coffee brown dial seems especially interesting, and this is coming from someone who dislikes most rose gold pieces.

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The SSA series also includes four colorways. From left to right: SSA341, SSA343, SSA345, and SSA346.

The more ornate SSA models add a few bells and whistles to this basic formula, but sacrifice very little balance in the process. Of course, the biggest draw for this model is the central 41-hour power reserve, sweeping across the dial from 12 to just past four o’clock. This addition takes up surprisingly little real estate on the dial, eschewing the widening swath of some indicators for a sophisticated, thin line. That said, the endpoint being just past the four o’clock marker is a bit of a niggling issue that throws off dial symmetry somewhat.

The other major addition is brilliantly executed. Taking up just the right amount of space at six o’clock, the date sub-dial with complementary colored pointer is a classical touch that feels right at home in a design like this. In addition, the contrasting snailed texture of this recessed sub-dial gives an already dynamic surface even greater play in changing light. While the SSA variants don’t show quite the same range as their three-hand counterparts, all four are handsome options as well.

The interiors of the new Presage Cocktail Times, however, are something of a point of contention. Both the SRPBs and SSAs are powered by versions of Seiko’s mid-range 4R movement (4R35 for the SRPB, 4R57 for the SSA), as opposed to the 6R15 movement in the SARB065 Cocktail Time. The tolerances between the two movements are nearly identical and most specifications are shared as well. Both beat at 21,600 bph, both hack and hand wind, and both feature similar finishing. That said, there’s a noticeable gap in materials quality between the 4R series and the higher-end 6R, as well as a sizable reduction in power reserve from 50 to 41 hours. This might come in as a deal breaker for some, but it’s a reasonable cost-saving measure that shouldn’t impact performance too harshly.

In terms of straps, the new Presage Cocktail Time line offers a wide assortment from polished bracelets to contrast stitch leather straps, but perhaps the real winners are the dramatic alligator straps. The texture adds an extra dash of old-school class to a design that’s already awash in it, while the three-fold butterfly clasp ensures the whole package feels suitably luxurious. Wearability has changed slightly as well from the SARB, although in an easily overlooked direction. The modern-dress 40mm diameter of the original has stayed, as has the 20mm lug width, but the use of the 4R movement has changed the watch’s thickness a surprising amount. While the original Cocktail Time came in at a surprisingly chunky 13mm, the 4R35-powered SRPB three-hander trims 1.3 millimeters of that bulk, bringing it down to a manageable 11.8mm. Meanwhile, the added complexity of the SSA’s 4R57 movement leaves it even thicker than the original, stretching out the case to 14.5mm.Lastly, we have to address the issue of price. While the gray market SARB065 usually hovers around $500, depending on availability and exchange rates, the three-hand Presage replacement starts at $445, with the top of the line SSA models starting at a hair under $590. $55 isn’t a massive savings, to be sure, but coupled with the lack of importing hassle it makes a sizable difference. Overall, these new Presage Cocktail Time models may prove contentious among the JDM Seiko faithful, but for those new to the design or hesitant to jump into the murky waters of watch importing, they’re a brilliant set of designs for a very reasonable price.


For Seiko’s catalog, visit Seiko US.

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.
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