Hands-On With The Seiko Presage SPB163 Enamel Dial Watch
This is one of those brands we all seem to have a thing for. I guess most of our team own at least one Seiko, if not more. And the same goes for me, although I have to admit that all of my Seiko watches are divers. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate other types of watches. It’s always nice to go hands-on with a model that’s not your regular fare. So let’s have a closer look at the Seiko Presage SPB163 from the Presage collection.
For those who aren’t familiar with this Seiko line, we have written quite a few articles about the Presage over the years. So it’s clear that the Presage is quite a popular model and there is little against it, to be honest. Presage is advertised as a combination of Japanese aesthetics with traditional craftsmanship. An all-original collection in which you will find Japanese design, quality, and long-lasting performance. But how are those values reflected in this reference SPB163?
The Presage is inspired by the first Seiko wristwatch, the Laurel, which was introduced over a century ago in 1913. Links to the design of this original can be found in many of the Presage watches. With over 100 years of watchmaking experience, it wasn’t until 2016 that Seiko shared this line with the rest of the world. Within the Presage collection, there is a subdivision between the Basic and Prestige lines. The names are pretty self-explanatory and with its enamel dial, the Presage SPB163 clearly belongs to the latter category.
Many of the Presage models have adopted the dial layout of the Laurel, which can be said to be the origin of Seiko’s watchmaking. At first glance, the glossy blue dial with contrasting white lacquered hands and hour markers catches your attention instantly. Where the original model is known for its roman numerals, on this model they have been replaced by minimalistic hour markers. In-between there are small minute markers for improved legibility.
About the dial
As mentioned, the dial is what catches your attention instantly and is what makes this watch stand out. Considering the retail price of €1,300 it’s hard to believe that it comes with a complicated hand made enamel dial. These dials are prodcued via a multi-step process. Firstly, the dial blank is prepared. Then the enameling process, which comprises four separate phases, can begin. These processes take place under the supervision of enamel craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa who has over 40 years’ experience in the field of enameling.
Inspired by the designs of Riki Watanabe (one of Japan’s most important designers), the minimalistic look is easy to read thanks to the high contrast. Depending on how you hold the watch, the dial can look anything from nearly black to dark blue. At the right angle, the shape of the dial and its variations in depth become visible. Since these dials are handcrafted, not a single one is exactly the same. Perhaps you can see it as the “fingerprint” of the watch world.
Besides the time, the dial features a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a small date at 6 o’clock. Usually, I am not a fan of date windows (yes there are exceptions) so having the date displayed in a subdial makes a great solution for this. Both indications are placed on different levels on the dial which give it great depth.
Combined with a stainless steel case and dark brown horse leather strap definitely makes this a modest-yet-appealing combination. The diameter is just one millimeter short of that I have often stated as the perfect size for a watch which is forty (39mm for anyone without a calculator to hand). Of course, this is a personal preference and it depends on the watch. But the closer a watch is to that number, the easier it is for me to like it. The other way around, when a watch is much bigger or smaller it has to be amazing for me to like it. But chances that I will do so decline rapidly by each step in size.
While many prefer to have a buckle on a leather strap, the Presage SPB163 comes with a folding clasp. To me, this is a big plus. On many occasions when I had to strap an expensive watch to my wrist, the biggest risk is always in dropping it when you try to buckle up. And although this watch is great value for money, I still don’t want to drop it! As such, the folding clasp is a plus in my book. It is well-executed and comfortable on the wrist, which is not a given with this style of buckle.
Visible behind the open case back is the self-winding caliber 6R27 which has a power reserve of up to 45 hours. The accuracy runs within -15 to +25 seconds per day. And although it seems like quite a lot, these are the extremes. With normal use, it should run just fine without too much deviation.
If you’re in the market for a dressier watch, the Presage collection has a lot to offer. Especially when you consider the hand-made enamel dial. Overall this watch is great package with a tempting retail price of €1,300. I could definitely get used to it and for once I actually like an asymmetrical dial layout. Kudos to Seiko for expanding my horizons.