Seiko has announced details of two new Presage models which will carry special appeal for fans of the brand, as they are powered by spring drive calibres for the first time.
We heard in autumn 2018 that it would not be long before the hybrid movements would be seen more frequently outside of the Grand Seiko range, and so it has come to be. To be precise, these are not the very first non-GS watches to use spring drive calibres - there have been a couple of limited edition divers including the 2013 "Golden Tuna" and there is the "elite collection" Prospex LX too. And outside of the UK, spring drive movements have been widely used in the Ananta family as well as core collection Seiko watches. But it marks their first use in the Presage collection, and we expect more non-limited spring drive watches to follow in the coming months.
The spring drive combines the basic principle of an automatic mechanical watch with the high frequency and accuracy of a quartz oscillator, which replaces the traditional mechanical escapement. The watch is therefore still powered by the movement of your wrist, but regulated by what Seiko calls the "Tri-synchro regulator", a system that balances the mechanical, electrical and electro-magnetic energies at work to regulate the movement. It was invented in 1977 but not commercialised until 1999, and remains one of the most inventive developments in the history of watchmaking.
The new Presage pieces are reference SNR037 and SNR039, and are identical save for the dial colour. Measuring 40mm across, they use calibre 5R65, which offers 72 hours of power reserve and daily accuracy of +/-1 second a day. That is the magic of spring drive - an automatic watch with COSC-crushing daily rate variation and a very respectable power reserve. For those wondering, the difference between calibre 5R65 and the better-known Grand Seiko calibre 9R65 comes down to the level of hand-finishing.
Like previous Presage models, one of the standout features is the use of enamel dials. The dial design is described by Seiko as a homage to designer Riki Watanabe, who worked extensively with Seiko before he died in 2013. The use of the Didoni typeface for the numerals as well as the minimalist layout and double-curved sapphire crystal are all called out as specific references to Watanabe's work.
The new Presage models are cased in stainless steel with a super-hard coating. They have sapphire casebacks, water resistance of 100m and come on cordovan leather straps with deployant clasps. They are priced at €4,650.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.