The proverb “Mirror Flower, Water Moon” touches on the idea that something so beautiful, like the reflection of the moon on still water, is just that – a reflection. It can’t be attained. Its beauty can only exist as a mirage. The Japanese term Suigetsu particularly captures the phenomenon of the moon’s image on water, and while it may only exist visually, Seiko has recently added a model to the Presage line that can, in fact, be attained. It’s designed after the ephemeral nature of the moon’s reflection in lakes and ponds throughout Japan.
Blued hands are set against a white Arita porcelain dial in the latest addition to the Presage family, the SPB171. Only 2,000 examples of the Arita Porcelain Dial limited edition will be available. The watch uses Seiko’s 6R27 caliber, also used in the recently introduced “Riki” watches in the Presage line.
The Presage line has always been rife with watches that punch above their weight class by incorporating craftsmanship typically reserved for higher price points. The porcelain dial points to the idea that the SPB171 will carry on the legacy of the crowd favorites, the SPB093 & SPB095 released last year. The formula is very much the same: a beautifully designed watch with a robust movement at a price point that represents a lot of value.
The Arita dial production is overseen by craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi at a manufacturer that has been honing the art since 1830. The very nature of producing porcelain dials is as such that machines can only play a role up to a certain point, and the rest relies on the human touch. In short, the creation of porcelain dials is an art unto itself. Arita porcelain is different from conventional porcelain in that it’s a physically harder material, making the need for precision more important when working with it. Hakuji porcelain is used for its pure whiteness, and that creates a drastic contrast between the blue hands and the dial. This specific effect resulting from the bright white and the soft blue is meant to evoke lunar beauty that one would experience during the Suigetsu ritual, which is when one appreciated the reflection of the moon on still water. Oftentimes, it can be a challenge to fully grasp the context and ideology behind Seiko and Grand Seiko models that draw from Japanese tradition so deeply. The wistful nature of appreciating the moon’s reflection on water doesn’t seem to connect to horology and watchmaking, but take a step back, and it starts to make sense. It’s a human experience to appreciate fleeting beauty, and the way we appreciate the beauty of any watch – no matter where it’s from – isn’t so different. The Seiko SPB171 is indeed beautiful, with Japanese cultural context or without.
Even with such a strong emphasis on the aesthetics of the watch, Seiko didn’t skimp on the movement. The 6R27 is a mid-range offering that’s formed a fantastic track record over the years. It beats at 28,800 vph and has a power reserve of 45 hours. While the movement isn’t the focal point of the watch, it certainly bolsters the value proposition.
2,000 examples of the watch land at retailers in July. The Presage line is often cited as a “best-kept secret” within Seiko. There are shared philosophies with Grand Seiko that come through in the watches, but there’s also a certain pragmatism present that Seiko is so good at. Like the evanescent beauty of the sinking moon on a still summer night’s glassy lake, the model will quietly fade from display cases at retailers.
Model: Arita Porcelain Dial Limited Edition
Reference Number: SPB171
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Pure White
Indexes: Roman numerals
Water Resistance: 30m
Strap/Bracelet: Strap, blue crocodile
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, power reserve.
Power Reserve: 45 hours
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 2,050
Limited Edition: Yes, 2,000 examples
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