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Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko has been on a real kick celebrating their own history over the last few years. Perhaps I’m just starting to notice it, but they seem to be taking playbook cues from the Swiss a bit too enthusiastically. Our beloved Seiko should never forget that so many watch lovers enjoy the brand and their many good products often very specifically because they aren’t European. My complaining aside, all this has thus far been good news for consumers because it means a lot of cool watches like these limited edition Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph reference SRQ019 and SRQ021 watches that honor very (very) early Seiko timepieces.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

I like these watches quite a bit, but I want to take a moment and discuss that above situation as we see it. Over the last few years, Seiko has been releasing more and more of their high-end watches to an adoring public around the world that has been more than happy to have more access to Grand Seiko and other higher-end, $1,000-plus Seiko watches previously sold only in Japan. In just a few years, Seiko has quickly developed much more distribution as well as products for “watch collectors.” I more or less define these consumers as people who want nicely made watches for purposes a bit more than mere functionality or basic style.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Laurel watch from 1913

High-end and limited edition Seiko watches continue, nevertheless, to represent only a small percentage of their overall production, but in watch enthusiast circles (and watch trade shows) it is the high-end models that get all the noise (mostly because it is what we watch writers like to cover). In the process of making more of their high-end watches available, Seiko has been understandably pushed to create new models, and lots of them, to satisfy the larger distribution of their high-end timepiece products. Seiko, as a Japanese watch maker, can scale production like the best of them, and continue to offer rock-solid quality and consistency. With that said, from a “why does this product exist” perspective, in my opinion, they are looking to celebrate a few too many anniversaries and historical occasions in a way that I feel may tire out collectors sooner rather than later. Again, it isn’t an issue with the products – because so many of them are cool – but I feel that they need to be careful of “crying wolf” when it comes to the “reason for the season,” or else collectors might take the brand’s communication efforts progressively less seriously as time goes by. Just some helpful feedback to a brand we clearly love.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As I mentioned above, the result at this time of offering generous servings of new limited editions is a great plethora of interesting watches coming out all the time. One of the (many) limited edition watches for 2016 in honor of the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s first automatic mechanical watch in 1956 are these two chronograph models with dials inspired by a Seiko watch from 1913, all under the Seiko Presage family of products that, starting in 2016, will finally “officially” see its way out of Japan to global Seiko markets.

Seiko Presage includes a rather impressive range of more classically inspired watch designs. Aside from these chronograph models is the also new Presage Multi-hand Automatic SPB041 which has a power reserve indicator and is pretty neat. For now, let’s look at the two enamel-dialed SRQ019 and SRQ021 watches.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

As the dial color of each is different, so are the techniques used to produce the dials themselves. With that said, which one you choose is a matter of taste since the prices are the same. In 1913, Seiko came out with its first collection of watches that used the “Laurel” brand name. I’ve seen a few of these at Seiko and they are really cool – especially given that they are over 100 years old. The original Laurel dials were white with a red 12 o’clock indicator that is emulated in the Seiko Presage SRQ019.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

That white dial is actually enamel, which means it is oven-baked. You can see the interesting contours of the dial which are common of the enamel look, and these contours do not really exist on the black-dialed version. This white enamel Seiko Presage SRQ019 model is perhaps the most “historically significant” of the two, even though Seiko decided to include a chronograph complication to the theme. It’s a lovely-looking watch and one of the benefits of enamel is that the color remains true for a very, very long time. Seiko points out that they have assigned the production and oversight of the Seiko Presage enamel dials to the skilled enamel craftsman Mr. Mitsuru Yokozawa.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

The other of the two limited edition models is the Seiko Presage SRQ021. The dial looks black but is actually a deep reddish purple that you’ll recognize as traditional Japanese urushi lacquering. This is a different technique than enamel baking, and of course, more culturally Japanese (which is fitting for a pretty nice Japanese watch). These dials are produced for Seiko by master craftsman Mr. Issu Tamura in the city of Kanazawa. They point out that each dial is painted and polished by hand a few times. Seiko has offered a series of urushi dials over the years, most of them being modern in style. This is one of the few “traditional-looking” urushi-dial Seiko watches which I think will make it a winner for many people.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

I happen to like this dark urushi face a lot because of how nicely the solid white hands and Arabic numeral hour markers visually pop from the dial, resulting in a great look and excellent legibility. Also, the white enamel-dial Seiko unfortunately uses coated blue hands as opposed to flame-blued hands. The latter forms an actual blue color on the base metal where the former, which Seiko uses, essentially paints the underlying hand blue. This doesn’t offer as crisp a look, and when looking very closely at the hands, you see the bleed of the underlying hand color in the edges were the paint material is thinner. The urushi dial uses white hands which, in my opinion, make for a better quality look.

The Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph limited edition watches come in polished steel cases that are 42mm wide and 15.2mm thick. A bit on the large side for a dressy watch, but they are worth it, and of course, they are automatic chronographs… The case is water-resistant to 100 meters and is topped with a domed sapphire crystal. You can see the movement through a sapphire exhibition caseback window.

Seiko Presage Automatic Chronograph SRQ019 & SRQ021 Limited Edition Watches Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the watches is the in-house-made Seiko caliber 8R48 movement. A very popular high-mid-range automatic chronograph movement, it operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a power reserve of 45 hours. Chronograph complication enthusiasts will enjoy that the chronograph is both column-wheel-based and has a vertical clutch transmission system (tends to make operating the chronograph more precise). These all add thickness to the movement which is why the case is a bit over 15mm thick. The movements offer the time, date, and 12-hour chronograph.

Attached to the Seiko Presage SRQ019 and SRQ021 watches are black alligator straps and each of the watches is limited to 1000 pieces. Price for each is 2,500 euros. seikowatches.com

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  • Chaz

    I really wanted the black dial version when I first read about it on the Seiko website a couple weeks ago. The traditional Japanese lacquer work combined with a most traditional Japanese brand. The price was definitely right for what you get. Even had a friend get in touch with an AD near Osaka that I bought from before and my guy there said he could get it for me if I wanted.

    BUT…then…over time…I lost interest. I have to say the styling is quite plain and forgettable, regardless of all the pluses. Elegant, dressy look but on a large-ish sporty chassis. I think the sweet spot would have been 39mm.

    Just glad I didn’t have it available nearby, buy it, then wonder what the f**k I was thinking!!

    HOWEVER…I may yet regret NOT getting it for some reason. Jeeeez.

    • G Street

      You WILL regret, as will I because I very much doubt I’ll get my hands on one given the extensive coverage received….if you really have the opportunity, go for it.

  • John Effing Zoidberg

    Not wild about the punched-looking dial.

  • Marius

    According to this article “Seiko is looking to celebrate a few too many anniversaries and historical occasions in a way that I feel may tire out collectors sooner rather than later.” Interestingly enough, I didn`t see ABTW make the same comment about Brewmont, a brand that doesn`t even have 1% of Seiko`s history and pedigree, yet is constantly celebrating some sort of historical occasion and brand partnership.

    Regarding this watch, I have to say it is a very good offering. I`m not a big fan of Seiko; however, it`s hard to overlook the great value that this watch offers. It has a very elegant case, a great dial (enamel or laquer) and a solid column wheel/vertical cluth chrono movement. For 2,500 Euro it`s virtually impossible to find a better watch. Granted, you might buy a Nomos, but not with this dial and chrono movement. Personally, I`d much rather buy this Seiko than most mid-tier Swiss watches. In fact, even watches costing around $5,000 can`t really compete with this Seiko. A Brewmont chronograph, for instance, uses an inferior 7750 movement and doesn`t have such a great dial, yet costs over $6,000.

    • Ariel Adams

      Bremont has never celebrated its own history in a watch. It has chosen to produce watches inspired by particular events or things – anniversary or otherwise. It’s just an imprecise analog.

      • Marius

        You mean imprecise ANALOGY.

        • laup nomis

          Curse of the auto-carrot (auto correct).

        • TrevorXM

          Have to agree completely with your posts on this. This Seiko is worthy of respect even from a non-Seiko person. Like me.

          Bremont is trying to use a super-hype propaganda strategy and somehow has managed to come up with a massive budget to grease the palms of watch blogs and/or send them on trips and whatnot. Seiko is celebrating their history; Bremont is trying to give the impression it has a history it doesn’t have by association with other histories in advertising. It’s disingenuous. But it’s working with watch bloggers. In a way Bremont are trying to follow a Rolex model of hype and advertising — however, completely unlike Rolex, Bremont doesn’t have ANY real innovative features, doesn’t even have their own movement, and isn’t even doing anything fairly new that’s following the leader(s) ASAP the next year with a rival product (a Rolex classic move). Bremont also doesn’t have any real original style of their own or iconic design in the making.

          • DebugOutput

            I’ve never heard such ridiculous hyperbole in my life – “super hype propaganda” LOL! Its called marketing. And why have you and Marius got your knickers in such a twist over Bremont when this is a Seiko article? Would you like to give any examples of the “associations with other histories” that you find so appalling? Did Ben Saunders not wear a Bremont when recreating Scott’s trek to the South Pole? Either way, its clear you are rather ignorant in these matters. Bremont’s trip-tick case and rubberised movement mount are both proprietary and enable the high shock absorption qualities needed when strapped to the wrist of someone ejecting out of a plane. They also use a special hardening process making their cases more then twice the hardness of Rolex. No, they don’t have their own movement because they have only been around for 14 years, but they are on that path. I disagree about the styling but that is a subjective point.
            Try to be a little less snobbish the two of you. If you don’t like Bremont, don’t buy one. But bashing them in an article about Seiko is just plain pathetic. As Timestandstill said, the lady really does doth protest too much.

          • G Street

            To be fair trevorxm and Marius are the same person.

        • Sevenmack

          Here is where I will disagree with you: Bremont is merely creating its own history and heritage by producing watches that hearken to historical events.. Nothing wrong with that. Part of building a legacy starts by doing exactly that – and Bremont is doing this honestly.

          Consider in contrast Rolex’s dubious association with Sir Edmund Hillary’s climbing of Mount Everest or Breguet’s ties to past glories despite being a zombie brand for a period of time. That, yo me, is pretending. Again, nothing wrong with that, either. Marketing is marketing.

          • Dinkee, H. O.

            Ehem. Rolex actually was one of the official sponsors of Sir Edmund Hillary’s history making expedition and earned their marketing. There was no pretending.

            Meanwhile, Bremont has yet to buy ad space on Hodinkee and will soon be banned from coverage unless they shape up.

          • Sevenmack

            Not true. Hillary himself noted that he didn’t wear a Rolex during his expedition (which was led by John Hunt) and Rolex didn’t sponsor it; Smith’s did. Tenzing Norgay did wear a Rolex and that was because it was one he had gotten as a result of his participation in the Raymond Lambert expedition to Everest a year earlier in 1952; Rolex did sponsor that expedition.

            This has been discussed widely (http://forums.watchuseek.com/f508/sir-edmond-hillary-rolex-smiths-watch-969754.html and http://www.qualitytyme.net/pages/rolex_articles/everest.html to name two sources) and that fact is the reason why Rolex doesn’t directly link itself to Hillary or the expedition. Now go back and dance with Ben and John and the rest of them.

          • Shinytoys

            You are indeed correct and spot on…that’s the true story…

        • PeteNice

          No analog works here.

    • Chaz

      Why are we dragging Bremont into an article about the venerable Seiko? I feel so dirty now…

      • Shinytoys

        dirty and cheap ??? 🙂

    • Timestandsstill

      What the heck does Bremont have to do with this review and why does it keep coming up so much? If you don’t like Bremont don’t buy a Bremont. Personally I couldn’t care one way or another about the brand. They certainly have their followers and as business they can choose to market their product anyway they like. And people can either take it or leave it.

      To quote Shakespeare; “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”

  • Sevenmack

    Absolutely gorgeous! Enough said.

  • laup nomis

    I love this watch, either colour. Everything is just right, for a vintage inspired look, very harmonious. Okay at 42mm its not dress watch perfect, but then its a chronograph, so for me that’s fine.
    For its price they’ve had to make a couple of short cuts, as Ariel pointed out.
    I entered a competition recently, and one of the questions was, what’s a watch you’d be happy to wear for the rest if your life. Okay, impossible question. Instead I thought I’d just put an interesting, and less common watch as my answer. So I put this one.

  • SuperStrapper

    Very nice. I prefer the idea of an urushi dial, but my goodness that pilloy-soft looking anamel dial is just lovely, and oozes with personality.

    Considering the historic nod and LE, one might have wished that they had done more with this movement over just putting it into a new watch. Maybe a slight finishing about Seio’s standard spartan looks, or even just a rotor done up with some elaboration.

    Regardless, a fine watch anyone should be happy to enjoy.

  • iamcalledryan

    Like this alot! the dials are lovely. However the case is too thick. A column-wheel and vertical clutch does not necessitate extra thickness, so perhaps its because this movement is modular? Anyway, I like them…

    No idea why people are taking the opportunity to complain about Bremont in this particular instance…

    • Sevenmack

      Because they can.

      • Berndt Norten

        And because we can’t escape Bremont. Witness the two page ad in the most recent edition of “1843”, the arts magazine produced by The Economist. Even Richard Mille is in there but with just one page

  • Larry Holmack

    Really nice, and the fact that it has no bezel to speak of, will make it wear larger than a 42 mm watch…which is nice. Maybe if I can sell a few more paintings in the next few months…I’ll be able to afford one. I would love to add a Seiko auto chronograph to my collection!!

  • John William Salevurakis

    While I would STRONGLY prefer Seiko deleting the date window, I think the black faced model is gorgeous and might just be the best “value for money” chronograph on the planet.

    • mtnsicl

      Watches have dials, people have faces.

      • John William Salevurakis

        Pedantic much?

        • Shinytoys

          hee hee…

      • Berndt Norten

        And some have eyes without a face!?

        • DanW94

          les yeux sans visage, you’re eyes without a face…..

  • cg

    Very nice that white face is a particularly classic rendering. On the purchase list for sure.

  • Beefalope

    This is probably the best value in chronographs out there.

  • I’m apparently immune to the charms of a blobby dial and quaint numerals. Hopefully this spawns more future mechanical chronos with differing styles. Eliminate the enamel and the limited edition price factors and offer this as a contemporary sporting chronograph under $1000 and you’ll have my rapt attention. I loved the Seiko Brightz SDGZ013, but again the limited edition availability / pricing scuttled my ownership plans.

    • Chaz

      Perhaps vintage Seiko chronos from the 70s will fit the bill then? They’re quirky, fun and horologically significant.

      • SuperStrapper

        Best pat is that thanks to researchable serial numbers, you can buy one that is manufactured in the same month and year as you, if you were born within the range. Which I was, and the cost of a professional service still gave it great overall value. I might like a running seconds, but it’s certainly no deal reamer.

  • DanW94

    When I think classic dress chrono I think of the Altiplano, but this one artfully walks the line between dress and sporty. Great looking dial, nicely done vintage feel and a 100 meter WR to boot. Great movement and no cause to take up the pitchforks and torches price wise either. I really like it.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    I am not a fan of Seiko, but these two are very nice, either white or black. They balanced the elegance and sportiness very well. Looks like a quality watch, the only thing that disturbs me is the date window, somehow it looks like it doesn’t belong there or something. Like it was made with a paper puncher.

    • Shinytoys

      it’s too small to read…

  • Shinytoys

    Ariel, Ariel, Ariel, you silly rabbit…you can NEVER have enough Seiko’s. I do love this offering!

  • spiceballs

    I can appreciate its (relative) classical simplicity, and I’m not a chrono fan.

  • Mr. James Duffy

    “Attached to the Seiko Presage SRQ019 and SRQ021 watches are black alligator straps”

    The SRQ19 with the white enamel dial is actually on a dark brown strap which is a great combination. These look nice and seem like a good value according to what most folks are saying but it still too rich for my blood.

  • HectorAsuipe

    Date window is a bit small, but the date is aligned vertically! Hooray!
    I do like this watch as an attractive semi-formal chronograph; however, I have no idea what occasion it would serve in that capacity with its size.

  • Urushi makes me ureshii

  • Manufacture movement, handcrafted dials, limited editions for a touch of exclusivity, Seiko quality in construction, 10 bar, see-through back… all of that for half the price of your average Valjoux 7750 watch. What is there not to like?

  • cluedog12

    Great photos, can see the thinning blue colour at the edges of the hands.

    These watches remind me of the Logines Monopusher Chronographs, although the Seiko dials have their own unique aesthetic. The dial, including an unobtrusive date window, is beautifully designed.

    The mechanical watch is an anachronism,so the deluge of heritage pieces doesn’t really bother me. Thanks to Omega’s One of 7007 shenanigans (and similar), the “limited edition” designation elicits nothing more than a sardonic smile.

    • Too bad you can also see the poor application of the enamel around the date aperature 🙁

  • funNactive

    This may just be my perception but I have viewed Seiko as a lower end company. (Love my Seiko Monster) As I have started to study watches I understand Grand Seiko but the idea in my head is I want separation in tiers with the name. [ex. Honda & Acura (not Grand Honda)]
    This watch seems above the average Seiko & below the Grand Seiko – in terms of pricing, but all I see on the dial is Seiko. (it’s like having a Kia from an entry level model up into the high end luxury)
    & to me, this looks like a low end printed dial. I like to see depth, some applied indices on my dials, especially when the price point is above several hundred dollars. I do like the placement of the date window.
    – My view may be off, but this is my knee jerk reaction.

    • “… placement of the date window. – My view may be off…” *very quiet snicker*

    • SuperStrapper

      Grand Honda? You mean Acura.

      • funNactive

        No, a name change is my argument. Seiko is low end. Having a different brand for the high end would make sense. Instead, they just add Grand in front. Honda & Acura are different brads for different tears. Instead, Seiko just added Grand in front. This is like having Honda & Grand Honda instead of the Acura brand. Grand Seiko should be a different name/brand entirely.
        Just recently, at least they have started using Grand Seiko as the main logo rather than Seiko at the top & grand seiko at the bottom of the dial.

        • SuperStrapper

          Honda and acura may have different brands for differet tiers, but when you open the hood of an acura the engine parts say honda on them.

          Seiko is not ‘low end’. That doesnt qualify.

          • funNactive

            So your argument is for Honda / Acura to take a Seiko business model. They are so similar that Acura should be eliminated because it’s just a Honda. There is an $18,000 Honda and a $120,000 Grand Honda.

          • SuperStrapper

            They already do. The acura brand only exists in north america because those consumers see value in a different name that carries a higher perceived prestige. The acura brand does have its own exotics and oddities but acura models are sold in japan badged as honda.

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