After debuting two Arita porcelain dial watches at Baselworld last year, Seiko now introduces a new iteration today. The new Presage Arita Porcelain Limited Edition (Ref. SPB171) has a pristine white dial meant to invoke the beauty of the moon as reflected in water.
The moon has had a deep influence on Japanese art and culture. Since the traditional Japanese calendar was based on the lunar calendar, daily life was inextricably linked to the phases of the moon. The moon is a common motif in Japanese woodblock prints, screens, lacquerware, poetry, and literature. During the Heian period (794-1185), Japan’s reverence for the moon’s beauty saw the creation of the Tsukimi ceremony wherein Japanese nobility would gather in the open air when the moon was at its height and recite poetry that extolled the beauty of the full moon. In 2017, Seiko introduced a blue enamel dial that inspired by the this ceremony.
Enjoying the reflection of the moon on the surface of lakes and ponds is part of a Japanese tradition known as Suigetsu. This practise also alluded to the fact that beauty is ephemeral and one couldn’t hold on to it forever; as much as the moon looks attainable in the water, one can’t grab it from the surface. It is this tradition of Suigetsu that has inspired the white Arita porcelain dial of the Ref. SPB171.
The watch has a 40.5-mm-wide stainless steel case typical of the ones used in the Presage line and features a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. It is fitted with a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and a sapphire crystal caseback. The watch is 14.1 mm thick, unusual for dress watch, and has a water resistance of 100 meters. The extra thickness is probably to accommodate the porcelain dial because the Caliber 6R27 movement used in this watch is 5.32 mm thick.
Arita porcelain is a broader term for porcelain that comes from the Arita town in the Hizen region. The crafting of the dial is a multi-stage process and that involves patience and skill. The dials are the handiwork of master craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi and his colleagues who work out of an atelier that’s been making porcelain ware since 1830. A special formulation is used to create a dial harder than traditional porcelain.
While traditional Arita porcelain has a blue glaze, this dial has a transparent glaze to let the whiteness of the dial shine through from the surface. This pure white porcelain dial is known as Hakuji and is meant to show the shimmering reflection of the moon on water. The dial has blue printed Roman numerals and a minutes track, a small seconds dial at 6, and a power reserve indicator. Blued steel hands that stand out against the pristine white porcelain dial to indicate the hours and minutes.
As mentioned earlier, Caliber 6R27 is a 4 Hz movement with a power reserve of 45 hours and is visible thanks to the exhibition caseback. The watch is paired with a blue alligator leather strap with a deployant clasp with push button release. This Presage SPB171 is limited to 2,000 pieces and is priced at €2,100 (AED8,678).