A Traditional Porcelain Dial for the Seiko Presage SPB445

Affordable and artisanal.

Seiko’s Presage Craftsmanship Series is all about dials finished with traditional artisanal techniques from urushi lacquer to enamel matched with affordable price tags. That continues with the Presage Craftsmanship Arita Porcelain Dial SPB445, a time-only watch with a 24-hour indicator.

Initial thoughts

The Presage Craftsmanship models in general are easy to like because they have classic styling, affordable prices, and unusually fancy dials for the price point. The SPB445 is exactly that, but visibly improved over earlier generations of the model.

The dial is a little bit more elaborate with a recessed sector that delineates the chapter ring for the hours, while the case has been reworked to be more refined in terms of style. It’s still a fairly thick watch relative to the design at 12.5 mm high, but the new case helps with that. The only thing I would change is the 24-hour indicator, which isn’t really useful and interrupts the clean layout of the dial.

At US$1,900, the new Presage is priced almost identically to the equivalent model from four years ago – despite the upgrades – and remains a good value proposition.

An affordable artisanal watch

The dial in the SPB445 is a bright, nearly-pure white porcelain with a clear glaze layer on top that is known as hakuji. Seiko once again turned to Shingama Kiln, a porcelain maker established in 1830 that’s still run by the founding family.

Located in Arita, a town on Kyushu historically known for its fine porcelain, Shingama has been responsible for Presage porcelain dials for several years, including the “Suigetsu” edition of 2020 and the minimalist time-only models from two years ago. Dial production is overseen by Hiroyuki Hashiguchi, Shingama’s chief artisan.

Hiroyuki Hashiguchi, chief craftsman of Shigama. Image – Seiko

Each dial blank is formed in a mould with porcelain powder, then fired at 1,300°C and glazed, followed by printing of the markings. The resulting dial has a domed chapter ring for the hours and raised central section, with the two separated by a recessed border featuring a subtle fluted surface. Although simple, the dial has a surprisingly degree of depth due to the curvatures of each section.

Though the dial is new, the case is almost identical to the most recent iteration of the Presage. It’s slightly larger at 40.5 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm high in order to accommodate the porcelain dial. The steel case has been treated with a “super hard coating” that enhances scratch resistance and matched with a five-link bracelet.

The SPB445 is driven by the cal. 6R5H, a variant of the more common cal. 6R55. Featuring a 24-hour indicator synchronised to the hands (that’s not independently adjustable), the cal. 6R5H is a self-winding movement with a three-day power reserve.

Key facts and price

Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series Arita Porcelain Dial
Ref. SPB445

Diameter: 40.6 mm
Height: 12.5 mm
Material: Steel with super-hard coating
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 200 m

Movement: Cal. 6R5H
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, and 24-hour display
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet

Limited edition: No
Availability: Available at Seiko boutiques and retailers starting July 2024
Price: US$1,900

For more, visit Seikowatches.com


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