Thursday, April 15, 2021

If it’s perfect then we don’t want it.

A few years ago I've attended Geneva Watch manufacturing fair - an annual event known as "the largest international trade show dedicated to high precision". Even back then, when times were 'normal', this largest fair of it's kind attracted no more than a few hundred exhibitors and a few thousand visitors. Independent horology is a rather modest affair - there are hardly any Swiss makers or artisans that have not been already bought into big brands.

A small stand that really grabbed my attention was a porcelain and enamel dial maker. The whole business is one man show- a Swiss craftsman in his late 70s with an amazing display of hand made, one-off dials. We struck conversation quickly - he was interested in Australian watch brand story and was very keen to make a small batch of rebelde enamel dials. There was however one small problem: at around $400 per dial, we simply could not afford his craftsmanship - at that time, at least.

Enamel dials are next level in dial manufacturing, and only top Swiss makers offer with such unique, hand crafted dials.

The Japanese tradition of enamel work has a long history. With its unique sheen and warm feel, enamel creates a captivating watch dial with beautiful colour fidelity that can last more than a hundred years. And thanks to Seiko’s venture into the field of enamel and it’s collaboration with Japanese masters like Mitsuro Yokosawa, enamel dial Seiko watches are now the pride and joy of watch enthusiasts worldwide. At the price anyone can afford.

“For almost half a century, Mitsuru Yokosawa has been expanding the boundaries of enamel, mastering time-honoured techniques and gradually creating new ones. As his experience broadened, the layers of enamel he was able to apply became thinner and thinner. He is now able to apply a flawless enamel coat just 0.1mm thin. Such precision requires not only exceptional visual acuity, but also the seemingly magical ability to make minute adjustments to the enamel composition based on fluctuations in humidity and weather conditions. Aptly, it would take the skills of a magician to create the face of the new Seiko Presage.”

On today’s offer we have a Seiko SPB047J- made in Japan. This is the most affordable enamel dial watch in the Presage range and probably my favourite.

Why? Because I get a real kick looking for “imperfections” in the enamel layer. The more I find, the more I like it! Because those small imperfections are what gives enamel watches their own, unique, unmistaken character; the masters touch of humanity.

On this particular example, there is a tiny line which goes along the edge of the calendar window. Of course, it so not visible by naked eye- only under high magnification. But if you know where to look for it, you’ll find it. And because of it, your SEIKO Presage is truly your watch – a unique piece you can tell apart from every other Presage out there. (Is your new Rolex different or special in any way than any other Rolex?)
I couldn’t resist but to take the mechanism out of the case. And there it was – a whole world of “imperfections”. Hidden from the eye, the dial edge is left in it’s raw state, visible only for watchmakers to admire.  
Should you invest in Seiko? Yes, but only if you feel special.
Seiko Presage Special Edition SPB047J

40.5mm case size. Stainless steel case and black leather crocodile strap. White enamel dial. Sapphire crystal. Automatic movement - calibre 6R15. Water resistance 100M. 

Price: $1,800

No comments: