The Seiko Presage collection was once overlooked amongst the mania surrounding Grand Seiko and the brand’s more tool-y watches but to those in the know, this collection has developed into a great selection of watches with increasing levels of finishing, workmanship, and prices. Seiko recently released the newest piece to their enamel collection, the Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-Nuri Limited Edition watch. This is not the first moon-inspired piece in the Presage Collection, if you’ll recall the SPB069 in Blue Enamel released in 2017.
The Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-Nuri features three different traditional techniques to create the effect Seiko was going for. The dials themselves are traditional urushi lacquer which, we are told, allows the base black of the dial to have an effect of greater depth. The dials are covered with multiple layers of lacquer by hand, involving a specific technique called byakudan-nuri, and are then polished until the correct depth of black is achieved.
Next, the Seiko craftsman uses a fresh layer of urushi to bind a fine metallic powder to the subdials, which are then covered with a semi-transparent red lacquer. The effect, once achieved, allows the subdials to catch and reflect ambient light – Seiko states that the intention is for the subdials to shine like the sky catching the light of the sunrise. This contrast allows the day/date subdials to subtly pop at a glance.
Lastly, the “moon” is applied using a “maki-e” technique. The crescent outlining the power reserve indicator is coated with urushi lacquer as before, but this time a gilt-colored powder is dispersed across its surface. This results in an arced power reserve indicator that has a shimmering luster to it, and it is reminiscent to the moon – especially if you have read Seiko’s explanation of the design. The hands gliding over the dial are simple elongated teardrop shapes, with a slender elegant seconds hand that features a gold crescent counterweight.
This beautiful and handmade dial is then fitted into the Seiko Presage 40.5mm steel case that has a 100m-water-resistance rating and is covered by a double-domed sapphire crystal. The Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-Nuri Limited Edition is powered by the tried-and-true Seiko 6R21, 29-jewel movement, beating at 28,800 vph, with a 45-hour power reserve, and it is visible through the exhibition sapphire crystal case back. It’s worth pointing out that Seiko has also included a nod to the crescent moon on the case back with a gilt crescent partially encircling the movement. This package is topped off with a black crocodile strap with a three-fold deployant buckle.
Distilling all of that down you’re left with a really elegant addition to Seiko’s Presage line. I have personally always loved these urushi-dialed pieces and this one is no exception. The Presage line can be viewed as a good jumping off point before getting into Grand Seiko, as you get the hand-finishing (or in this case a handmade dial) that Grand Seiko is known for, but without the ultra-premium movements and associated higher prices.
While my preferences tend to drift away from Presage and closer to Prospex, I think I could make a place for an urushi dial in my collection at some point – a fella’s gotta dress up sometimes, right? The Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan-Nuri Limited Edition will be available in an edition of 2000 pieces for €2,500 and will be available in select Seiko outlets worldwide. Learn more at seikowatches.com