This is likely to be unlike any other Seiko Ananta watch you’ve ever seen before (or will ever see). For 2011 Seiko worked with a Japanese “conceptor” to create this limited edition watch called the Ananta NS_Concept (ref. SPB023J). The watch uses an existing Seiko in-house made movement but offers a new modern design that I think works.
If you had to describe this timepiece on paper I don’t think I would like it, but in person I do. Really it is all about the interesting dial. Basically it is a re-imagined use of the in-house made Seiko caliber 6R21A automatic movement in a case that is much larger than the caliber. The design leaves the movement sort of floating in the back with the dial connect to the case via a few spokes. Sandwiched between two sapphire crystals, you can see right through the watch. Like I said, cool in execution but you really need to show the final product to people for them to get it.
The “NS” part of the name has do to with Naoki Sakai, the well-know designer that worked with Seiko on this watch. Sakai as worked with Seiko (in 1989-1990 in the Seiko Asterisk) before as well as a series of other major brands. What fascinates me about the dial is the mixture of modern and classic elements, as well as symmetry and asymmetry. For example., look at the font used for the minutes – very classic. The design of the case, very modern. The hour indicators and hands are almost Omega Speedmaster Professional era classic, while the different looking sections of the dial is a modern though. You have complete symmetrical scales, but you have asymmetrical dials and design. See what I mean? Sakai makes it work, and I am not sure how he did it. The gunmetal color mixed with white and that bluish gray is also interesting. The only thing I would change about the dial is the hands – they are too short.
For a Seiko the case is large at 46mm wide and it is in steel. The steel is gray colored and according to Seiko uses a type of PVD process for the coating. Such a gray color is often the look of DLC coatings, but I don’t think that is the case here.
The caliber 6R21A has the time with central seconds, power reserve indicator, date dial, and day of the week dial. It is essentially a complex looking day/date watch with a power reserve indicator. It is currently used in other Ananta collection pieces. You can really see the movement well in the NS_Concept watch. The neat looking Ananta katana rotor is still used in this piece. Through the back of the watch you can see some red from the retention ring that looks pretty sweet.
Seiko will make 1000 pieces of this limited edition watch – and I believe it is confirmed that some of them will make it into the US. Price will be 262,500 Yen. Over the last year or so Seiko has been getting much better about releasing some of their more unique timepieces here in the US, that traditionally would have never made it (officially) out of Japan and perhaps Hong Kong. Though I am still waiting for the Seiko Izul to come to the US.
A few of these pieces will come to the US and will be exclusively available at Arizona Fine Time.