Monday, November 2, 2020

Zaratsu - The King of Polishing

If you're familiar with Seiko, then you surely have heard of Zaratsu polishing.

Zaratsu is a technique where the whole case is polished by hand, to absolute perfection. For a case polisher, it takes decades of practice to master the Zaratsu techniques, and only a selected few top grade Seiko watches are polished this way. Zaratsu is Zen of Japanese watchmaking. But where does the word Zaratsu comes from; In 1951 Seiko made a significant investment into Swiss polishing machinery and they were acquired by Gebruder Sallaz. The workers in the Seiko factory fell in love with them but pronounced Sallaz as Zaratsu. The rest is history - decades of sweat and tears in persuit of perfection.

In our collection we have two Zaratsu Seiko. 

The first one is SLA021J, a tribute to Japan's first diver's watch created in 1965. This special diver's watch is equipped with a high-grade automatic movement, calibre 8L35, which is hand assembled and adjusted by Seiko's master watchmakers at the Shizukuishi watch Studio in Morioka. A resilient one piece structure case, suitable for saturation diving, is hand polished using the Zaratsu technique which accentuates the edges and brings the additional sharpness and beauty to the lugs. 

Each of the three hands has a different design, length, and width and the LumiBrite on each has a distinct shape so that the time is easily read under any circumstances. The dual curved sapphire delivers exceptional clarity from any viewing angle as well as enhanced durability. The differentiated 12, 6 and 9 markers ensure that the watch can be read without error even 300 metres down. The contrast of the dial and special, long lasting LumiBrite allow for legibility even in the darkest environments. The one way rotating bezel ensures the absolute safety that divers require.

The photos of the mirror-finish reflection on the case speak for themselves. I have handled thousands of Swiss made watches and this is something you only see at the very top end of Swiss horology. Even then, Swiss cases are not hand polished, but finished by robots.

No comments: