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Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

When it comes to affordable, value-for-the-money, damn fine effort watches, Seiko is still the name to beat. Yes, this is true even with the brand’s move upmarket and the growth of the prestigious and very impressive higher-end Grand Seiko watches.  The Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB collection watches (debut here) have a retail price of $425 (on the strap) and are a lot of watch for the money. For some people, this will be the nicest watch they will ever own — and, in this instance, that is not necessarily a shame. While Seiko’s pricier new offerings capture the attention of the watch collecting community, it can’t be said that the brand still has some of the most compelling affordable offerings out there.

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Seiko (along with Orient and Citizen) proved to the world that you don’t need to charge $1,000 or more for a decent, albeit simple, mechanical timepiece. While most rank and file Japanese-made mechanical movements aren’t often as pretty as Swiss ones, they often offer the same or better performance at more competitive prices. Looking through the exhibition caseback window, you can see the in-house time+date Seiko caliber 4R35 automatic movement. This isn’t its fanciest fare, but it looks good and operates at 3Hz with about 41 hours of power reserve. Not the finest movement you can get in a Seiko dress watch at this price range, but a fun one that has real personality.

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There is a reason the Presage Automatic SRPB43 (SRPB43J1 in Japan) and kin are nicknamed “Seiko cocktail time” watches. The playful and colorful sunburst dials are classy-looking and also more expressive than many Japanese dress watches out there, especially at these prices. The SRPB43 has a silver dial with a blue sheen in the light. (Opt for the SRPB41 for a darker blue dial.) Seiko offers the same model in a silver dial, dark gray dial, brown dial, and an ivory white with black hands and hour markers, which is sort of cool. The SRPB pieces are easily the most character-rich among the entire Presage collection today.

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Also, note that Seiko produces the very similar Presage Automatic SSA collection, including the SSA343, which has the same case and dial style, but a different movement — the Seiko caliber 4R57 automatic, which has a large power reserve indicator and a date indicator dial. As I said above, while the dial design is not for everyone, the quality at this price point is really impressive, and the carefully cut hands and pointy hour markers should impress you when you look at it closely.

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

At 40.5mm-wide in polished steel, the Presage Automatic is a medium-large dress watch in a size I believe most wearers will gladly accept. It wears nicely with the relatively thin bezel that maximizes the dial size. The case is also water resistant to 50 meters, while the dial is covered with a Seiko Hardlex crystal. (I still always prefer sapphire crystal.) What makes the dial impressive is really the attention to detail and complexity of the parts, ranging from the curved dial to the curved hands. View too many “simple” dial watches and you’ll come to appreciate what this effort looks like — though I will say that, on this particular SRPB43, even though legibility is still pretty good, in some instances the polished hands are a bit hard to spot against the polished dial, but Seiko made the attractive look about as legible as could be.

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Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Speaking of the dial, I also want to say that, in addition to being impressive, the proportions throughout are appropiriate, something I appreciate. While the hands might appear to be a touch short, it is because of the height of the hour markers, which slope down toward the center of the dial. Given that the minute hand bends down, legibility is really good (when you see the hands, that is).

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

While some Orient dress watches, such as the Bambino have a nice package at a lower price, Seiko offers a more impressive product for the increased price. I will say that, for around $400, this is pretty much one of the most decent type of dress watch you can find in something modern. Seiko offers other newer styles, of course, but I like the Presage SRPB collection because it is a bit bolder in the expression department, though not everyone wants that when buying a watch for their dad.

Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

It wouldn’t be a cool Japanese watch without something quirky going on. What’s with the shiny patent-leather-style black strap with midnight-blue stitching? If you happen to be wearing a tuxedo with matching colors, then the stock strap will suit you well — or if your wardrobe consists of a lot of highly polished black military formal shoes. Otherwise, I think most people interested in this otherwise lovely Presage Automatic with the silvery blue dial will want to start thinking about their ideal strap choice. Black alligator or crocodile wouldn’t be bad. Price for the Seiko Presage Automatic SRPB43 is $425 USD (and similar models on a matching steel bracelet are $495). For more information, visit seikousa.com.

Necessary Data
>Brand: Seiko
>Model: Presage Automatic SRPB43
>Price: $425 USD
>Size: 40.5mm-wide
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for the most interesting yet conservative dress watch $400 can buy.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent quality and materials for the money. Really has that “more expensive watch feel,” but at a remarkably accessible price point. Dials are attractive.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Dials are not to everyone’s taste visually. Movements could be just that much better finished. Strap is amusingly quirky in style, but you’ll likely only use it as a spare.

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  • Swiss_Cheese

    My pick of the ‘CT’ line would be the deep blue one, bought a few as gifts and ended up keeping one because of the dial. As with most sub $1k Seikos, they have notoriously sh*te bracelets/straps, it’s best to factor in a bit extra for an after-market one.

  • Marius

    A fantastic watch and remarkable value. There are some great watches for close to $1,000 or less at the mo. The Tissot Gentleman, which looks like a Datejust only without the ugly cyclops, for $800 is one.

    • egznyc

      Thanks for the tip re: the new Tissot Gentleman. A very good value proposition – though I’m not sure it’s to my aesthetic tastes, which is a shame as there’s a lot of value there.

  • Julie Hill

    The ever faithful 7s26. Bags of character. Not the most accurate but a proven work horse that will happily chug along for decades.

    • What fresh hell is this?

      If it’s anything like old Italian sports cars, “character” is a synonym for unreliable. I don’t want that in a watch.

      These contain the 4r, which like the 7s is a reliable workhorse.

  • Tony NW

    Intelligence/Moods by Species

    I have the SARB065, the ORIGINAL Seiko Cocktail Time “blue”. i.e. the basis for this watch. Bought it early 2017. And it is very pretty, keeps good time. A bit tall. And classier than this one.

    The original has split baton markers at the hours (sort-of a ring cut-away of them, adds more depth/sparkle), says “Automatic” in script rather than “Presage” in block, different raceway and better crown.

    The only nicer things about this remake are that it’s available outside Japan and about 10% slimmer, because the 6R movement is taller than the 4R.

    But… both use Hardlux. Never again. That dings-and-scratches like no other watch I’ve got. Well, actually, about as easily as the all-plastic Swatch Sistem51, but differently. The plastic swatch scuffs, this gets dings. Even my “mineral crystal” watches don’t get marked up like this puppy.

    A great face doesn’t matter when the window to it looks so bad after a bit.

  • Independent_George

    Put me down for the “dials are not to everyone’s taste” club. Cocktail Time watches are fugly. A redneck’s idea of dress watch. “See these here ridges? That there is a sign of gen-u-ine class.” Cletus from The Simpsons’ idea of a dress watch. Over designed crap for the poor and vulgar. The fact that these abominations have a following makes me weep for our future. Prefer yesterday’s Timex, even with the tiny red pimple, which also has a better and more interesting strap. Spend more money and buy one of the enamel dial Presages. Or, if you are poor, buy a Bambino instead.

    • Berndt Norten

      No no no! To have one in hand is to hold one dear to one’s heart. They look so much better in sunlight

      • egznyc

        We’ve got Starlight on the sand
        We’ve got Moonglow on the sea
        We’ve got Seikos and Omegas
        We can pick but they ain’t free …
        What ain’t we got?
        We ain’t got shame!

    • DanW94

      Wake up, Georgie, I think Berndts got something to say to you
      It’s early morning and the watch on his wrist is Cocktail cool
      I know he keeps us amused, but he didn’t pick this Seiko up used
      Oh, George he couldn’t have effused, anymore
      He’s never, ever left home, for fear his SARB is left all alone
      Your post broke his heart and that’s a Timex he can do without….

      • Berndt Norten

        I bow down in the face of your cosmic excellence.

        It’s your destiny
        To be the King of Pun

        King of Pun
        You’ll always be…

        • DanW94

          I have stood here before beside my monitor’s glow
          To read the horological musings of Mister Kenny Yeo
          I guess I’m always hoping not to become Undone
          But it’s my destiny to be the King of Pun, King of Pun
          (Is Bill still on the run?)

          • Berndt Norten

            BiLL on the run
            BiLL* on the run
            And the Sailor Dan
            He had a plan
            He’s searching every pun
            For our BiLL on the run

      • Independent_George

        All I need is a minute, an hour, and a seconds hand,
        But this dial is a mother and brother what a mother it wears me out
        All it does is wreck my head
        Don’t understand what’s with this model’s cred
        Oh Seiko I wish I never seen it’s face.

    • Leonarr

      I too dislike “them ridges”. The SRPC01J1 Starlight Limited Edition I got feels more “bang for the buck” as the dial has a more artisanal and organic feel to it and actually looks quite luxurious (a bit of a Moser dress watch vibe). Personally I wouldn’t consider the sunray dials, just not my thing.

  • Berndt Norten

    I own an earlier version of this watch, the one that doesn’t have ‘Presage’ on the dial. I think that 95% of us would love the dial. In fact on a recent watch buying tour in London I a/b’d the Cocktail Time dial beside watches costing 10 to 20 times more. Nine times out of ten I preferred my Seiko. It’s a work of art. Ariel talks a lot about the meaning of ‘luxury.’ To me, the Cocktail Time oozes aesthetic luxury. The dial is calming, not busy. It’s luxuriant, radiant, smooth, quicksilver-like. It’s mesmerizing, hypnotic, narcotic.

    • DanW94

      It’s automatic, systematic, hydromatic,
      Why, it’s greased lightnin’!!

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    I had thought about the SRPB line for some time. Ended up purchasing a 41, but really thought hard about the 43. Purchase price was $258, new in box with tags. Sorry Timex (which I am a fan of) but Seiko ate your lunch and kissed your mother with this one!
    The 41 oddly is the only SRPB model that comes exclusively on a metal bracelet? I immediately replaced that with a blue buffalo grain strap, as this is a “strap only” watch to me. Looks marvelous.

    I cannot say enough about the SRPB41, and it pleases me in a way that I cannot fully understand. Possibly because it reminds me of one of my vintage Rolex’s (yes Rolex sucks) that has Dauphine hands and Arrowhead markers. Seiko captured something special in this model line, and it pleases and performs beyond it’s purchase price.

    Mrs PBJ humors me and graciously always answers my question as I hold out my arm and look at the 41. What time is it? The answer from her…….. Cocktail Time!

    • egznyc

      I am pleasantly surprised to hear your love letter to this line. I had figured you would be captivated by the dial but unimpressed by the movement within. (I’m a little envious of Berndt, who managed to snag the original Cocktail Time. ;-))

      • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

        The movement could be better, but this package works for me.

  • SuperStrapper

    Mine says hi ?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/484aa6cd070a6711eeb99f605a6f512eedac4cf5dc83210e8e368af8269b35fc.jpg

    Mine is from when the CT was a JDM watch, and is driven by 6r15. At the time I was telling the story of the infamous ‘dent dials’ that were leaving the manufacture and how I thought it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing that you may receive one. A friend ordered one for me as a gift in the hopes it would arrive with a dent dial but it does not. I don’t think it would be a watch I would buy, but it was a very thoughtful gift and I’m actually quite happy to own it, i do wear it. I agree the stock strap was a whiff in both quality and style, although I’m not sure black is the right choice at all: just the easy one. I dressed mine in some horween cordovan in the devine colour #8. I did stick with blue stitching, and with the sewn in brass keeper and unpadded construction i think gives the watch more versatility than a more predictable black would.

    Regardless; fun watch, and a spectacular dial at this price.

    • What you have a keeper and an original rare classic, Mr.Strapper. I think the watch would look pretty classy on Shark Mesh strap

      • SuperStrapper

        Cheers!

      • egznyc

        I’d say the watch is definitely a keeper, and Mr. Strapper’s strap also has a sewn-in keeper ;-).

        Shark mesh sounds excellent IMO.

  • Mikita

    Cocktail Time, is it you? As usual, the dial is pure perfection, while the back reveals poorly finished movement. Either up your game with 6-series caliber or close the back with a solid caseback with a nice engraving.

  • I’m allergic and unlucky with the 4R35 calibre.Twice my Presage was magnetized that I decided enough was enough and sold the watch off. Anyways, The Presage CT is really spectacular in low lighting conditions, like in a nightclub https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/156910e86aec3cb0def970c1a90c82a905ffc4b9fe121938cdf2ff5f2a46d930.jpg
    Megan’s Cocktail Time recommendation https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ff896fc52f598af0bb143b7e8adcf18db0e454951388380369aa68da7798220a.jpg The discontinued original SARB065 with the 6R15 movement

  • DanW94

    Regardless if you like the stlye or not, this line is certainly a good bang for your buck. I have a 6R15 model and the dial is stunning and the overall vibe is affordable classy but as Swiss_Cheese mentioned below, the quality of the bracelet leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Independent_George

    “the overall vibe is affordable classy” . . . “As usual, the dial is pure perfection” . . . ” it pleases me in a way that I cannot fully understand” . . . “It’s luxuriant, radiant, smooth, quicksilver-like. It’s mesmerizing, hypnotic, narcotic” . . .

    WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! HAVE YOU GONE MAD! YOU’RE KILLING INDEPENDENT GEORGE!

    • Berndt Norten

      Independent George is dead
      Long live Independent George!

    • DanW94

      Worlds are colliding! Worlds are colliding here at ABTW!!

      • Independent_George

        A George, divided against himself, cannot stand!

        • Berndt Norten

          In an honest a/b comparison the Seiko comes dangerously close to the JLC

    • Swiss_Cheese

      I think some of the sentiment (at least for me) is:

      Want a JLC MUT Enamel. Turns out it’s LE of 100. All of them are sold out within 30 seconds of release. Defeated, turn around and spend 1/80th of the price on something that is *vaguely* similar which can be binned if it breaks. This get the radial dial bug out of the system without having to spend 30k.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d4fc0ebe050af4c1dc972fd6f7725c009c831db2222fbd2beae1a93e5cadc685.jpg

  • Leonarr

    The sunray dial design isn’t really my thing, which is why I got the
    SRPC01J1, the Starlight Limited Edition with a dark blue dial of uneven “flaky” texture.

    My only complaint about the watch is the bulky crown which kinda “sticks out” of the side of the case a bit too much. I also wish that I could find an aftermarket bracelet for the watch with matching endlinks (as one can find for many other Seiko models). Even original Seiko bracelets are nowhere to be found separately, and I don’t of course want to buy another Presage CT that actually comes with a bracelet just to get one.

    Ok, also the original crocodile-embossed strap was of poor quality, so I got a genuine crocodile strap in navy which matches the dial perfectly.

  • SMB

    I’m a sucker for a silver dial, but even though I’ve tried one of these on I haven’t bought one. I like the dial, hands and markers, but the case and especially the lugs are not as refined as I would like.

  • Sam Soul

    Each time I picture one dress watch, I pick this Seiko and its dial.

  • SamcoSVK

    I have the Fuyugeshiki limited edition and I have say, after wearing it for more, than 9 months, that I am still impressed. They could add the sapphire crystal, but I kind of understand the hardlex choice from the design perspective (look at Omega’s Speedmaster sapphire). The hairspring upgrade would be nice as well, but that would be too much I guess. Still, it’s a stunner.
    Nice review.

  • SuperStrapper

    Many thanks,

  • DanW94

    Don’t be a stranger Berndt. Here’s one last ditty before you go….

    To think that only yesterday
    I was posting cheerful, bright and gay
    Looking forward to Berndt and the rest of the gang
    On the only watch blog that mattered
    But as if to knock me down
    Reality came around
    And without so much as a Spring Driven warning
    Bill left in that Basel morning
    Leaving me to doubt
    If Berndt would stick around
    And in my hour of need he didn’t recede
    Into that Monochrome colored background
    But alas as I found today
    Berndt turned and walked away, Leaving me….
    Alone again, Naturally….

    • Berndt Norten

      Good news for you, Blue Bayou
      That crafty Dar Adal got the prez to throw Saul in the slammer. I’m back, Jack. Let’s do it again

      • DanW94

        Welcome back my friend to the machine.

  • egznyc

    Wow – that watch looks fantastic. The strap is sublime, just divine. May I ask, what IS it?

    • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

      Thank you very much!
      The strap is by Fluco, and is buffalo grain. Made in Germany.

      • egznyc

        Cool; thanks for the tip! Have you bought other straps from them? (I’m always interested in learning about a new strap retailer, and while I want top quality I’m not actually willing to pay too much for something that won’t last forever.) And as Meganfox suggested, I also think a shark mesh would look great here for a little different look.

        • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

          This is my first strap from Fluco. It seems to be of nice quality. Not sure about long term durability yet.

          • egznyc

            Good luck with it (and try not to get it wet ;-)).

  • Leonarr

    I really adore mine too, the dial is just so lively and unlike anything seen in watches of this price-range (as far as I know). The dial just feels so high quality, even if the rest of the watch feels more mid-range.

    • Namrit Joshi

      yeah, absolutely agree with that dial. i just bought while browsing and the watch started having more weekly wrist time compared to way more expensive timepieces i normally wear. it still does and brings joy just by looking at this dial! its kind of magical..

  • TheZondaS

    Ah, I see you’re a man of culture as well. I’ve seen Starlights trading hands at just over $1000, which is insane.
    Glad I got in before prices skyrockted too lol

  • Ary Wisesa

    I haven’t owned a Presage with 4R-Series movement, yet. All my Presage collection either contain 6R or 8R-Series movement. I think I should take a look at the Presage with 4R-Series.

    Just can’t wait for the launching of Spring Drive Presage in my country.

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