Exhibition: Seiko Revives the “Power Design Project”

An exhibition of avant-garde ideas.

First conceived over two decades ago, Power Design Project was an exercise in avant-garde watch design. After a 14-year hiatus, it has returned with Rebirth, an exhibition that will run until February 19, 2023, in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district.

An annual affair centred on a specific theme each year, the original Power Design Project was an experimental programme spearheaded by independent industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. Intended to inject new energy and ideas into the Seiko’s offerings, the original project invited designers, both in-house and external, to reimagine the concept of timekeeping. The project gave birth to unorthodox timepieces, including one that was a lightbulb with the filament forming the hands.

The project has been revived with a showcase of seven timepieces, each originally an iconic brand design that has been reimagined for today – hence the exhibition theme, “rebirth”. By exploring the possibilities of a watch in both design, purpose, and function, Seiko is perhaps giving us a peek into the future of its watchmaking in the decades to come.

For instance, Seiko’s famous “tuna” dive watch has been transformed into a watch for children. Presented in three colourways, blue, pink, and yellow, the “tuna” for kids is scaled down and made into robust watch for active children, echoing the purpose of the deep sea-diving original.

“Shikakuro”, a modern take on the “Monaco” chronograph from 1971

“Radiant Time” is a King Seiko with a twist – the case is made up of 20 polished facets executed with the Zaratsu technique

Power Design Project: Rebirth takes place from December 21, 2022, to February 19, 2023, at the Seiko Seed Harajuku, an exhibition space owned by the watchmaker.

It’s open to the public from 11:00 am-8:00 pm daily (with the last admission at 7:45 pm), except for Sunday and public holidays when it closes at 5:00 pm. Admission is free.

Seiko Seed Harajuku
1-14-30 Jingumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

For more, visit seiko-seed.com.


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Zenith Introduces the Defy Revival A3691

Ruby-red retro.

Last year, Zenith debuted the Defy Revival A3642 – a vintage-remake sports watch with an octagonal case and tetradecagonal bezel – to the delight of enthusiasts who were excited to see the return of this distinctive design. The only problem was the fact that it was limited to 250 pieces.

Now the brand has introduced its regular-production version with the Defy Revival A3691 which has a ruby-red dial. Identical to the limited edition in form and dimension, the A3691 is a sturdy three-hander with a faithful vintage feel at an attractive price point.

Initial thoughts

Finally the Defy Revival is in regular production. With its vintage proportions and affordability, the watch was on my wish list as an alternative to mainstream sports watches, so I hope last year’s limited edition wasn’t a one-off. Seeing it make a comeback is a good thing, and the red dial certainly makes it more striking. 

While some may argue – with good reason – that this is merely a rehash of the original in a different colour. It is, but the A3691 is still a good product in terms of price-performance ratio.

At US$6,900, the A3691 is well priced relative to the competition, both from other brands and even Zenith itself. Its modern equivalent, the Defy Skyline, costs about 20% more, albeit with a more refined case and bracelet. For anyone who wants a sports watch with a retro flavour and in-house movement that stands apart from mainstream offerings, the A3691 is a good contender.

Last year’s limited edition Defy Revival A3642 with its taupe dial

Ruby red

The Defy Revival A3691 is a faithful copy of the original model from 1971. It retains the signature octagonal case, similarly rated to 300 m like the original, as well as the “ladder” bracelet made by Gay Frères for Zenith that was also found on the El Primero chronograph.

The main differences between the remake and the original lie in the dial and the open case back. With its deep red, textured finish, the dial has a more vibrant colour than the original, which was a darker shade of red. Meanwhile, the remake does away with “28800” underneath 12 o’clock, leaving the dial less cluttered. 

Like last year’s limited edition, the A3691 has a display back to reveal the Elite 670 with its star-shaped oscillating weight. Small and flat, the Elite 670 is the brand’s workhorse automatic calibre for its smaller watches. While robust and proven in terms of reliability, the Elite 670 has a power reserve of only 50 hours, which was generous at the time of its introduction in the mid 1990s.

Key facts and price

Zenith Defy Revival A3691
Ref. 03.A3642.670/3691.M3642

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 300 m

Movement: Elite 670
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds and date
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Steel bracelet with folding clasp

Limited edition: No
At Zenith boutiques and retailers beginning January 2023
Price: US$6,500 before taxes; or 10,200 Singapore dollars including GST

For more, visit Zenith-watches.com.


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