The Seiko Presage “Cocktail Time” series has become a modern fixture in the dress watch space. After nearly a decade in production, it stands as one of the most influential and popular lines in entry-level watchmaking with its reliable movements, versatile designs, and outstandingly finished dials. Some of the “Cocktail Time” line’s greatest hits have come in collaboration with master bartender Hisashi Kishi, the head of the world-renowned Star Bar in Tokyo’s glamorous Ginza district. These unique limited edition takes on the formula are generally themed around one of Kishi’s signature original cocktails, and for its latest release Seiko delves into the most quintessentially Japanese of all spirits – sake. The new limited edition Seiko Presage SRPH78 takes its inspiration from the sake-based Houjou cocktail, paying tribute to the rice-derived drink with a stunning new custom dial finish meant to evoke the texture of raw sheaves of rice.
The 40.5mm polished gold tone stainless steel case of the Seiko Presage SRPH78 is shared with the rest of the “Cocktail Time” line, with a cleanly elemental dress watch form. The addition of gold tone gives the familiar mix of slim vertical case sides, simple downturned lugs, and a narrow sloping bezel a slightly bolder and more luxe character in images, but the overall focus of the design remains firmly centered on the dial. Like other models in the series, Seiko tops the Presage SRPH78 with a display caseback, giving wearers a full view of the in-house movement within. With that said, the middling 50 meter water resistance rating is unfortunately also shared with the rest of the series.
Like so many modern Seiko offerings, the dial of the Seiko Presage SRPH78 punches far above its weight in terms of detail and finishing. The sharply beveled dagger-shaped indices, faceted dauphine hands, and cocktail stirrer-inspired seconds hand are all fixtures of the “Cocktail Time” series, but the silver dial surface itself stands as one of the series’ most intricate in images. There’s a three-dimensional, fibrous quality to the curving crosshatch texture of the dial surface, which according to the brand is intended to capture the look of sheaves of rice against the golden backdrop of the Japanese countryside. While this may be one of the more abstract visual themes in Seiko’s current lineup, the effect is eye-catching and dynamic, handsomely differentiating itself from the rest of the stable in images.
Seiko powers the Presage SRPH78 with its in-house 4R35 automatic movement. The 4R35 is the movement of choice many of Seiko’s product lines, offering reliable and affordable performance including a 41 hour power reserve at a steady 21,600 bph beat rate. Although the bridges and plates of the 4R35 are cleanly finished with vertical brushing, Seiko embellishes this movement with an ornate gold tone skeleton rotor to give the caseback view a touch of visual drama. Seiko also adds a touch of embellishment to the Presage SRPH78’s strap, complementing the clean teak brown leather with double contrast stitching in warm gold.
With a clean, warm execution and one of the line’s most dramatic dial finishes to date, the limited edition Seiko Presage SRPH78 is a subtle and stylish tribute to sake and its origins. Seiko limits the production of the Presage SRPH78 to 5,500 units, and the watch will be available through authorized dealers in February 2022 at an MSRP of $495. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.