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The 10 most elegant Seiko Presage watches

Posted on August 18 2020

The 10 most elegant Seiko Presage watches

 

Fine mechanical Japanese made timepieces

 

If you’re looking for a fine mechanical Japanese-made timepiece, then it’s Seiko’s Presage line that you should turn to. The Presage line is Seiko’s exclusive lineup of Japanese made, mechanical timepieces that offer enthusiasts a good taste of what Japanese watchmaking is all about.

Combining the Japanese aesthetic sense with traditional craftsmanship and Seiko’s watchmaking skills, what we have is a lineup of watches that not only offer unique and original designs but with the quality and performance to last for a very long time as well.

if you’re looking to get into the world of luxury mechanical watchmaking that’s a little different from the Euro-centric playing field that’s been dominated by mainly the Swiss and the Germans, then the Presage line is certainly worthy of your consideration.

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SRPE17J1 MEN'S WATCH

 

What would a list of the best watches for men be without including a simple, traditional dress watch? So that’s what we’re starting off our list with today, a simple three-hander that tells just the time and the date.

Though, as it is often the case with us, even our simple and understated watches come with a twist and with the Seiko Presage Cocktail time SRPE17J1, that case is certainly true here. On paper, everything seems in order; a simple 3 hander with nothing but the date window at 3 o’clock invading the otherwise symmetrical smoky grey dial.

The dial, of course, is where our twist comes into play. The more observant of you might have noticed watch’s dial comes in a shimmering, gradient sunburst smoky grey with spear-shaped indexes along the edges inspired by the stems of cocktail glasses, polished Dauphine hands and a greyed out second hand.

The beautiful grey dial is undoubtedly the star of the show, with its easily recognizable and well-defined sunburst effect playing differently under different lighting and angles, all of which can be enjoyed under a vintage-style box-shaped crystal.

Powering the watch is Seiko’s proprietary caliber 4R35B movement, with brushed and bevelled edges here and there and a golden rotor weight to add a touch of flair to the otherwise spartan looking movement.

The power reserve is a respectable 41 hours and frequency is at a reasonable 21,600VPH (3Hz). If you’re looking for a simple, traditional dress watch but want something with a touch of subtle flamboyance then the Presage Cocktail time SRPE17J1 is just the watch for you.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel bracelet and case
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching gradient sunburst smoky grey dial
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE URUSHI BYAKUDAN NURI SPB085J1 LIMITED EDITION MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-urushi-byakudan-limited-edition-spb085j1-mens-watch

 

The dress watch as I mentioned previously, is a staple in every man’s wardrobe. After all, it’s the most quintessential timepiece a man could ever own. It’s a traditionally simple piece, telling nothing but the time and not even the seconds. But if you’re the sort who has ever looked at a dress watch and wondered: Is that all? Then fret not because the Seiko Presage Urushi Byakudan might just be the saving grace to your woes.

With a dress watch conventionally having only two hands, and simple markers on a simple dial, the SPB085J1 would seem to be, on paper, the antithesis of a conventional dress watch, and you’d be right. With more hands than a monkey, it might seem like a really complicated and expensive watch (which it actually is), what you’re looking at really, are just the hours, minutes, seconds, days, date and power reserve.

It’s a properly functional and legible timepiece with contrasting markers and dials, but functionality isn’t what we’re here for, at least for most of us. As the name suggests, this watch has an enamel lacquered dial and not just any old form of lacquering, but the most complex.

The dial is subjected to 2 forms of lacquering. First, the Urushi technique is applied, using a jet-black lacquer that is directly painted on the metal base of the dial, the subdials are then sprinkled with a fine metallic powder and are subsequently repainted with a red-tinged semi-transparent Urushi lacquer again.

The process is repeated until the required effect (a deep red tone) is accomplished. As for the Byakudan-Nuri technique, the crescent power reserve indicator is first coated with a layer of Urushi lacquer which acts as an adhesive to the fine gilt-coloured powder that is then sprinkled and dispersed over the crescent.

The surface is then perfected by the master craftsman and the result is nothing short of stunning. Each dial alone is the result of painstaking efforts over a number of weeks because of the immense complexity and artistic skill set required for the completion of such a dial.

Meant to reflect the colours of the sky and the moon just before dawn, I’m genuinely impressed by the creativity and imagination Seiko has with its names (remember the Snowflake on Mt. Iwate?). The SPB085J1 isn’t just a tool that tells the time, it’s a testament and a love letter to the fine and coveted art of Japanese watchmaking.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case with black alligator leather strap
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching and complex enamel dial
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Dependable and higher-speced decorated automatic caliber

 

 

 SEIKO PRESAGE SRPD05J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-srpd05j1-mens-watch

 

We all know what makes a traditional dress watch--3 hands, telling just the time and a simple clean uncluttered dial, preferably without a date window to maintain perfect symmetry. Sounds easy, yet you can’t help but wonder why this is so difficult to pull off without looking “boring”.

If you’re looking for a dress watch, a classic dress watch that is a bit more left-field, yet still retains a sense of traditionalism, then the Seiko Presage SRPD05J1 might be the answer to your prayers. On paper, all seems to be in order, a basic 3 hander set against a white dial, telling just the time and a date window at 6 O’clock for good measure, and practicality.

But the case is where things start getting funky. It’s a Tonneau-shaped case, and for the most part Tonneau shaped cases these days aren’t really anything to shout about with the likes of Franck Muller and Richard Mille popularizing and modernizing this particular case design. Though when most people think of Tonneau-shaped cases, they tend to think of large, brash and sporty designs, but it is actually a traditional design used for dress watches of old.

A few notable modern Tonneau shaped dress watches would have to be from Vacheron Constantin and Cartier, to say the least. But if we’re here, we’re obviously not looking to blow tens of thousands of dollars on a watch, or even hundreds of thousands in the case of Richard Mille and Vacheron Constantin.

The Seiko with its uniquely textured dial that gives it an almost three-dimensional effect when viewed at certain angles and its polished Tonneau shaped case certainly gives an air of high-quality watchmaking that we’re looking for, but only for a few hundred dollars. The watch is powered by Seiko’s workhorse 4R35B calibre beating with a respectable 21,600 VPH (3hz) frequency and with a nice 41 hours of power reserve. It may not be Swiss, but it certainly stands tall on its own stage as well.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel Tonneau shaped case with black leather strap
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching textured and patterned white dial
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SRPD42J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-srpd42j1-mens-watch

 

If you’re looking for a classic dress watch with an air of elegance and luxury, the Seiko Presage SRPD42J1 might just be for you. First of all, it’s a basic 3 hander with nothing but the date, on its stark white textured dial and is cased in a rose gold stainless steel case giving it an added flair of subtle luxury. The silver-tone of the dial, in combination with golden hands and indices, makes for a visually appealing viewing experience.

Matching rose-gold markers are applied as well, giving an added depth to the overall minimalistic dial, but that’s where the strengths of the SRPD42J1 really lie. For such a simple and unfussy watch, the devil is often in the details and this watch, thanks to Seiko’s immaculate production techniques and attention to detail, is one that can stand up strongly to scrutiny.

There is a small date window also at the 6 o'clock position, which again shows a mix of traditional and modern sensibilities. 41 hours of power reserve and 4R35 automatic movement are the other sides. The watch also comes with a sapphire crystal, meaning that you don’t have to worry about scratches.

The round case of about 42mm diameter rests well on any wrist and is only 12mm thick so, you’ll hardly feel that it’s in the way. Its butterfly buckle clasp, in-house made caliber decorated with a golden skeletonized rotor weight are subtle reminders of Seiko’s attention to detail and that this, otherwise simple and unassuming looking watch, is one of the finest dress watches that you can get without having to break the bank.

 

Key features

  • High polished PVD Rose-gold stainless-steel case and brown leather strap
  • Timeless dressy design
  • Eye-catching textured white dial with applied indexes
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SSA413J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-ssa413j1-mens-watch

 

Coming in at a dainty 38mm in diameter, the SSA413J1 Zen garden is certainly the smallest watch on the list today but it is one of the most gorgeous too. Right off the bat, let’s get the name out of the way. For those who are not familiar with what a Zen garden is, it is a creation of miniaturised stylised landscapes made with rocks, water features, moss and uses raked gravel or sand to symbolize ripples in water.

Being often referred to as a place that gives you a peaceful state of mind, it should come as no surprise that the SSA413J1 comes with a timelessly elegant, uncluttered and clean design. The first thing that you’ll notice right off the bat will be the circular graining on the dial, that is done in resemblance to the aforementioned raked sand that replicates water ripples in a Zen garden.

The watch carries with it all the attention to detail that Seiko is so well known for and it executes its concept effortlessly and beautifully. The applied and polished indexes and hands, like landscapes on the rippling sand, and the show-cased beating escapement at 9 O’clock, adds much more visual weight to this otherwise beautifully finished dial.

The watch is powered by Seiko’s 4r38, so there should be no questions about its reliability and performance. With a frequency of 3Hz, 41 hours of power reserve and hacking and hand winding, what you’re getting with the SSA413J1 is the elegant and refined execution of traditional Japanese watchmaking with modern-day reliability, and that makes it one of the best dress watches that you can buy today.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case with brown leather strap
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching circular-grained dial with open-heart
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SSA397J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-ssa397j1-mens-watch

 

 

If you’re looking for a dress watch that has a bit more to offer besides simply looking good and telling the time, then the Seiko Presage SSA397J1 is definitely for you. It is a classic dress watch made entirely in-house by Seiko and features an impeccable unique textured green dial meticulously crafted in Japan.

The Seiko Presage Automatic Power Reserve “Moss Green" SSA397J1 measures in at 40.5mm in diameter and 14.4mm in height, making it an excellent choice for watch enthusiasts who are looking for an elegant timepiece. Furthermore, this green Presage features an old-school box hardlex crystal that adds a charming vintage touch.

The SSA397J1 shares the same design cues as its predecessors, with changes made mainly to the dial. As the name suggests, it features a textured deep green dial that is certainly the main feature of this timepiece. What is unique about the SSA397J1 is the pointer date sub-dial at 6 o'clock that’s deep-set into the dial and finished with a sunburst effect that gives the already very multi-dimensional dial a sense of depth.

Another impressive design element is the power reserve indicator that spans from 12 to 4 o'clock, which is further deep-set into the dial. Although it might sound like a lot is going on in the dial, it never looks too busy or overdone. Instead, it exudes an air of uplifting luxury; the multifaceted applied indexes probably play a major role in that too.

Overall, if you are looking for an everyday watch with a dress watch with a unique touch, more than three hands, a little "complication" to play with and with fine finishing that will not break the bank, the Presage Automatic Power Reserve “Green Moss” SSA397J1 is undoubtedly worth your consideration.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching textured moss-green dial
  • Power-reserve and pointer-date indicator
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SSA395J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-ssa395j1-mens-watch

 

The Seiko Presage line has always been known fondly as the ‘Baby Grand Seiko’ and for good reason. Similar to what its big brother has done for the luxury watch market, the line provides unparalleled quality and finishing for a relatively reasonable price. The Seiko Presage line is the closest thing we can ever get to ‘affordable luxury’ a term that is an oxymoron in itself considering that what makes luxury is a certain level of inaccessibility, but this watch is an exception to the rule.

And this is the exception--the Seiko Presage SSA395J1 Zen garden. The watch, keeping to its namesake, with its stark white textured dial set against satin-brushed and polished indexes gives it a minimalist and well, Zen vibe to its overall design. The dial captures the magic of the bright light on a clear winter’s day, with its bright white and textured dial set against dark accents.

Powered by Seiko’s in-house caliber 4R57a movement, featuring a centrally-mounted power reserve indicator, meant to be read along the periphery of the dial, a date sub-dial and of course the time, with a 42-hour power reserve and a smooth 21,600VPH (3Hz) frequency. But it is unquestionably the dial that is the watch’s party piece, beautifully finished and applied hour markers shaped set on the stark white snow-like dial with Grand Seiko-esque lance-shaped hands gracing across, albeit not with the same execution (the difference in price obliges).

For under a thousand dollars, this might easily be the best luxury watch you can get and is certainly a great contender to be the much anticipated ‘Baby snowflake’ that Grand Seiko enthusiasts have been waiting for.

 

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching textured white dial
  • Power-reserve and pointer-date indicator
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE SSA405J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-ssa405j1-mens-watch

 

If you, like me, are a fan of Seiko Presage’s “Cocktail Time” line of dress watches, then you’re in for a real treat with this one. This is the Presage SSA405J1, and there’s no other way of saying this, it’s a beautiful watch. I’ve always been a fan of the “Cocktail Time” line, and I’m writing this as my personal Cocktail Time SSA343J1 Skydiving is on my wrist and it’s easily one of the nicest looking watches I’ve owned so far.

This piece features a deep blue graduated dial that plays beautifully under the light, with applied diamond-shaped indexes and sharp sword-like hands polished to a mirror finish shining like jewels beneath the crystal. Oh, and not forgetting the watch’s open-heart on the left of the dial showcasing the beating escapement which certainly gives the watch an incredibly strong visual impact.

The watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house 4r38 caliber, featuring hand-winding, hacking and 41 hours of power reserve. It tells only the time, without even making do with a date window, but that’s what makes this watch works so well. If a classic three-hander is what you’re looking for, why not consider this? It looks elegant, features an in-house made caliber that is assembled in Japan and is both stunning and intriguing to look at.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case and leather bracelet
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching patterned blue dial with open heart
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE AUTOMATIC SRP468J1 STAINLESS STEEL MEN'S TWO-TONE WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-automatic-srp468j1-mens-watch

 

While all the offerings that we’ve seen so far have been subtle, classic dress watches (albeit some with a bit of a flamboyant flair), we haven’t really touched on something a bit more casual, and perhaps more suited for daily wear. Enter the SRP468J1, Seiko’s answer to our calls for a classic Japanese made sports watch.

Now, Seiko does make proper sports watches, their Prospex and Seiko 5 range can attest to that. But this SRP468J1 is a very different type of sports watch, coming in a relatively slim polished and brushed stainless steel case. 43mm in diameter and with an integrated bracelet design, it harks back to the angular and unconventional sports watches from the 1970s that saved the art of mechanical watchmaking from the quartz crisis.

Now, before you roll your eyes thinking: “Oh, this is just another Royal Oak clone”--it’s not. The SRP468J1 still has all the design characteristics that distinctly makes it a Seiko but melded with the defining features of a 1970s sports watch, namely the sharp angles and the integrated bracelet.

What we’ve ended up with is a stunning daily wearer with classic Japanese design proportions and practicality with the radical and unconventional Genta-esque aesthetic. And if that doesn’t make you want one already, perhaps the inclusion of an in-house caliber assembled in Japan will be enough to sweeten this already sweet deal. 

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Unique vintage sports-watch design
  • Eye-catching textured white dial
  • Rose-gold and silver two tone colourway
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor

 

 

SEIKO PRESAGE AUTOMATIC SPB043J1 STAINLESS STEEL MEN'S SILVER WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-presage/products/seiko-presage-automatic-spb043j1-mens-watch

 

Now, if you’re looking to spend upwards of a thousand dollars on a watch, chances are you’ll be looking at the Swiss or even the Germans. And they would seem to be the obvious choice to go for, right? After all the Swiss watch industry is home to many powerhouses when it comes to watchmaking, Tissot, Oris, Longines etc. Germany as well, with their stark, no-nonsense manner of making and designing watches, with brands such as Nomos and Sinn falling in this price range.

Well before we look too far off, let’s look at somewhere closer to home. Our contender for the Europeans, the Seiko Presage SPB043J1, is a watch with such vintage style and flair, it doesn’t look that Japanese, in fact, it could almost be mistaken for a Swiss. First off, its design harks back to the 1913 Laurel, Seiko’s first ever watch and you can certainly see remnants of its design language here as well, with its vintage-styled hands and of course, the Breguet Arabic numerals as well.

The watch has a date sub-dial at 6 o’clock and a power-reserve indicator at 9. The dial is beautifully textured and being a Seiko of course, the same can be same for the level of finishing on the case and the movement as well, with the case being done in a lovely high polish and the movement, with some neat bevels and brushes here and there.

The movement, is Seiko’s in-house, higher-end 6R27 featuring Seiko’s Dia-shock anti-shock system, the efficient magic lever winding system and use of the Spron 510 alloy in the springs.If you’re looking for an entry into the world of luxury watches but don’t want to contribute to the vast ocean of Swiss watches in the market, then the Seiko SPB043J1 might just be for you.

 

Key features

  • High polished stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Vintage European dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching textured black dial
  • Power-reserve and pointer-date indicator
  • Hardlex crystal
  • Dependable and higher-speced decorated automatic caliber

 

 

The perfect blend of artistry and engineering

 

And so here we are, our ten most elegant timepieces from the Seiko Presage line. Having handled countless amounts of Presage watches from the affordable to the not-so-affordable, and having first-hand experience in owning one too, I’d like to think that I have enough insight to say that these are genuinely well-made and stunning watches to have.

Whether you’re looking for something a little dressier to sharpen out your outfits without having to break the bank, or for something that’s a little more special that blends artistry and engineering in a beautiful and reliable package, you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to do better than a Seiko Presage.