Introducing The New Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series SPB415 And SPB417
Seiko releases the Sharp Edged Series SPB415 and SPB417 today. We get two additions to the popular series, this time with the new caliber 6R5J. There is a new 24-hour function as well as new decoration in the open heart at 9 o’clock. But there is more to these sharp new Seikos.
The Seiko Sharp Edged Series is beloved for its finishing, giving aficionados a taste of Grand Seiko at a much kinder price level. These two new models are no exception, offering that razor-sharp look, but this time with a new movement, dials, hands, and crystals.
Featuring the new caliber 6R5J
Let us kick things off with that new movement first. The 6R5J is the latest addition to one of the most common lines of calibers within the Seiko family, the 6R. It still has the extended power reserve we saw with the jump from 6R15 to 6R35. This 70-hour power reserve is reflected on the dials of the SPB415 and SPB417 as “Automatic 3 Days.” The 6R5J also retains the 21,600vph frequency of its sibling calibers.
Things change when you look at the 6 o’clock position of these new dials. There we see a 24-hour indicator in a sub-dial. This is not for displaying another time zone. Rather, it functions merely as a 24-hour display of the main hour hand. It is not a function that I have much use for, but it will be good for Seiko to experiment with the possibilities. I can see the brand pairing this with a date complication, making it easier to set the time and date combined.
By itself, the complication is limited in its function. Except, that is, if you live in the Arctic or Antarctic Circle or spend extended amounts of time on submarines or in space. “Slightly niche” is what I would call that market.
The updates continue on the exterior of the SPB415 and SPB417. For starters, we get a new crystal. The Sharp Edged Series models previously had flat sapphire crystals. These new additions now feature a double-domed sapphire. The dome is subtle and even rather than a more vintage-style box crystal. The long seconds hand is now curved downward and fitted with a new balance design as well. It does, in all its subtlety, enhance the watch’s overall feel of refinement. I like it!
There is another aesthetic update to the case. This time, we have an additional polished facet between the top and side of the case. Not only does it add visual interest, but it also further refines the overall profile of the watch. And yes, it is also a tad more Grand Seiko-esque.
Open-heart dials for the SPB415 and SPB417
I have saved the most noticeable changes until last — the new dials of the new SPB415 and SPB417. You can have your pick of a white dial (SPB415) or gradient blue (SPB417). The white dial is called “Shironeri,” inspired by unbleached white silk. The blue is called “Aitetsu,” inspired by indigo iron.
Both share the familiar Asanoha pattern found on many Sharp Edged Series watches. The hour markers, however, have received an update. They take on a new shape with ridged finishing and nicely shape-matched lume sitting behind them.
But it is the open heart at 9 o’clock that probably draws your eye in first. The aperture in the dial is decorated with a pattern that Seiko describes as inspired by a hemp leaf. Defying my overall preference for simplicity, I do appreciate this decoration. The 6R calibers aren’t the last word in fine finishing, and open hearts always looked a bit coarse as a result. This nicely detailed decoration makes it look significantly more refined.
After the introduction of the Sharp Edged Series in 2020, Seiko has continued to expand it and understandably so. The series offers much of what is admired about higher-end (Grand) Seiko watches at a price that speaks to a wide audience.
The SPB415 and SPB417 now bring further refinements to an already-attractive series. I particularly like the domed sapphire and the additional facet on the case. Although open-heart watches do not generally speak to me, this is a marked improvement over earlier executions. Ultimately, it is still the finishing that makes these watches attractive. And that extra facet along the case flank truly does lift that finishing another level still. It is great to see that Seiko isn’t resting on its laurels here.
Both models are priced at €1,300 and will become available worldwide as of June 2023.
What do you think of the new Seiko SPB415 and SPB417? Let us know in the comments below!
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