Seiko’s Latest Presage is a Porcelain Dialed Watch that Recalls Gazing at the Moon

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I think that most watch guys have probably had the experience at one point or another of being asked for advice on a watch purchase from a friend who might not be as well versed in the minutiae as the typical watch obsessive. It makes sense – this is an area where if you don’t know the language it’s easy to become overwhelmed after a simple Google search. When I’m asked a question about what watch to buy, or what watches represent a great value, I don’t necessarily have a stock answer. I always try to dig a little deeper and find out what this person is really looking for in a watch, and what they find important. Many times, regardless of what they tell me they’re looking for, I find myself recommending watches in the Seiko Presage line, a series of watches that impress on many different levels. They offer incredible value, feature true artisanal craftsmanship, and are far more unique and interesting than typical mass produced fare. And even though they’re on the dressy side, they’re fitted with rock solid and durable movements that can stand up to years of regular use. The newest watch in the Presage line, the SPB171 with an Arita porcelain dial, is a great example of the type of watch I love to recommend to people just getting into the hobby, and it has a ton to offer seasoned collectors as well. Let’s get into it.


Seiko Presage SPB171

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Porcelain
  • Dimensions: 40.6 x 14.1mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire        
  • Water Resistance: 10 bar
  • Crown: Push/pull                      
  • Movement: Caliber 6R27
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather
  • Price: $2,050
  • Reference Number: SPB171
  • Expected Release: July 

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Readers of this site and fans of Seiko and Grand Seiko are likely aware that many of their designs take inspiration directly from the natural world. The SPB171 is no exception, and was inspired by Suigetsu, which refers to enjoying the reflection of the moon on a body of water. Suigetsu has inspired Japanese art for centuries, and the moon remains an important part of Japanese culture to this day. The somewhat whimsical idea behind this watch is that the white of the dial represents the bright white moon, with highly reflective blued hands used as accents that recall water. Like I said, it’s whimsical, but also totally in step with the types of watches we’ve seen pop up in the Presage line over the last few years – Seiko designers clearly have a fondness for embracing the abstract. More than that, though, it speaks to a genuine affection for these cultural touchstones. It’s apparent these watches hold a deep meaning to Seiko as a brand and are a point of pride in a way that few other watchmakers, at least at this price point, can replicate. 

The key to this watch, both thematically and in terms of its appeal simply as a watch, is the porcelain dial. We covered the initial series of Presage watches with porcelain dials here, and the SPB171’s dial is created using the same artisanal techniques. Dials are hand glazed and fired multiple times to create the unique sheen that is common only to porcelain, and can’t be achieved with modern manufacturing shortcuts. One of the reasons a watch like this gets my recommendation for new enthusiasts is the simple fact that anything approaching old world hand craft is incredibly rare these days, and in my mind tends to be one of the most rewarding aspects of watch collecting. You can get a strong taste of that with many of the watches in the Presage collection. 

The SPB171 is powered by Seiko’s Caliber 6R27, a solid automatic movement with a date display at 6:00 and a power reserve at 9:00. The SPB171 will be available through Seiko retailers in July at a suggested retail price of $2,050. The SPB171 is limited to 2,000 pieces worldwide. Seiko

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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