A Western allure from the East

Seiko has always been known to offer some of the best value watches in the market, and they have been for many years. From entry-level affordable mechanical tool watches like the legendary SKX to truly up-market and niche horological masterpieces like the Credor Grande Sonnerie, Seiko has them all. But what about something in between? Something that offers you a flavor of that high-end Japanese watchmaking, but without costing an arm and a leg?

Well, it’ll be to the Presage line that we look to then. Seiko's Presage line has always been the brand’s exclusively mechanical line of timepieces, mostly made up of vintage styled dress pieces that look back at the brand’s rich history. There are two tiers in the Presage line—the entry-level Basic line, and the Prestige series—and that is what we’re here to look at today with the Seiko Presage SPB043J1.



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. After all, the Swiss watch industry is home to practically all the powerhouses when it comes to watchmaking: Tissot, Oris, Longines etc. Germany is home to many as well, with their stark, no-nonsense manner of making and designing watches, with brands such as Nomos and Sinn taking up this price range.



Well before we look too far off, let’s look at somewhere closer to home, and who knows, we might find something interesting here too. And without having to look too far, here’s our contender for the Europeans—the Seiko Presage SPB043J1. An automatic watch with such vintage styling and flair that it doesn’t look that Japanese. In fact, it could almost be Swiss. In this design, we can see Seiko’s desire to become more international and to gain more popularity and favor in the western market.

First off, the SPB043J1’s design harks back to the 1913 Laurel, Seiko’s first ever wristwatch, and you can certainly see the resemblance in 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, sporting a deep rich pattern that keeps the otherwise stark and simple watch from looking too plain. Being a Seiko, of course the same can be said 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 utilizing Seiko’s Dia-shock anti-shock system, the ever-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, and want something a bit different, the Seiko Presage SPB043J1 might just be what you’re looking for. It may not be Swiss, but it certainly stands tall in its own right.



Key features

  • High polished and brushed stainless-steel case and bracelet
  • Timeless dressy design with a modern twist
  • Eye-catching black patterned dial
  • Extremely durable sapphire crystal
  • Dependable and rugged automatic caliber with a decorated rotor