November 13, 2008
by Ariel Adams
“How momentous this chemistry between you and me;” ” Before the brilliant day changes to just one day in my life;” “Move on silently. Walk down towards the place each must go.” What does these statements mean? I have no idea, but these statements are part of Seiko’s Galante watch marketing materials. Shoddily translated Japanese to English is an amusing element of our American love for Japanese culture, but we can look beyond the silly phrase to the products underneath.
Seiko likes to separate their products into lines and model families. The Galante is just one of these many lines, and is a totally upmarket line from the Japanese watch maker. In fact, the Galante lines are only sold at select Seiko “Master Shops” of which there are only a handful in Japan. Of course there are also some online sales. The Galante line embodies the Seiko Spring Drive movement which is excellent. I simply cannot wait to get my hands on one of these. I’ve written about the Spring Drive movement a lot, so you can perform a search on my site to read more about them if they are new to you. In essence, they are a hybrid of mechanical and quartz watches which are almost entirely mechanical (spring barrel, automatic winding, etc..), but utilize a special type of quartz regulator. Thus, the watch is entirely mechanical with the accuracy of a quartz, and still has a sweeping seconds hand.
There are at least three functional models in the Seiko Galante line; a three hand, a GMT, and a chronograph. As is the case with the Spring Drive movement, each model features a power reserve (which is a healthy 72 hours for this movement). The models also vary in style – a lot. I am more taken by the Gothic font styled models, versus the roman numeral styled versions. However all are very nice. The Galante watches are on the large side at 43mm which is becoming increasingly common in high end Japanese watches, especially as most of the round dialed Citizen Campanola watches are 45mm wide. On both sides of the Galante watches are sapphire crystals, of course. These purely luxury watches even though they have a sportiness to them in design. You might be unsure of how to assess these watches because the design combines so many styles. Consider this, Japanese design is very different than the American and European designs you might be used to.
I notice that Japanese luxury design embodies a lot of the manicured organic look. This is a tough concept to define, but think about the traditional art of Japanese flower arrangement. The idea is to make a natural looking display, but completely human made. A beautiful organic scene, though totally artificial. Take that concept and apply it to the design of the Galante, and it begins to make sense. The craftsmanship is very good. A bit different than European watch making, but inherently really nice. There are also all the little touches that make high end Seiko watches endearing. Look at the crown for example and notice how the teething is angled to help desired manual winding just a little bit. There is also the immaculate surfaces and polishing that should never be overlooked.
The case is intentionally complex. Taking a round dial, four large mounting screws, and then a tonneau caseback with a display window. These shapes are typically not used together, but they are here, and it seems to work. In addition, gold is used on some models for a very appealing contrasting look. Then of course there is the dial itself, which is of course different given the model. A common element among all of the case is the use of well faceted components and hands which give the face a high quality, three dimensional look. Seiko is known for their use of innovative and functional hands. This watch is no different, and no matter how luxurious a watch is, they never want to sacrifice and legibility or usefulness. Note the curved (“katana”) seconds hand. Remember that the seconds hand sweeps, and the graceful curvature of the purple colored hands add to smooth movement and a particular charm not found in most Seiko watches.
While there are several different Seiko Galante watches pictured here, the black and purple three hand version with a rotating bezel (Seiko Galante ref. SBLA0007) is available on eBay right now for about $4,000. The retail prices for these are about $6,000- $7,000, but they can be found online for around $3,500 – $,5000 depending on the model. One thing you can always count on a Seiko watch for is reliability and longevity, especially at these prices.
See Seiko Galante and Spring Drive watches on eBay here.See Seiko Spring Drive watches on Amazon here. [phpbay]seiko galante | seiko spring drive, num, “”, “”[/phpbay]