Fancy lad dress watch
I’d not exactly categorise myself as the strong silent type, but it’s a fine line to me, getting a watch that is slim and pretty and with an expressed purpose to catch your eye in the light. With fine line, I mean it’s not what I thought I’d be wanting in my collection nor would it particularly suit my personality.
That said, I work in a corporate job and travel a fair bit, mixing with customers. It made sense to me to at least start thinking about something that would easily slip under a shirt cuff.
So, a few years ago I started researching and almost immediately came across the Seiko line of Presage watches, nicknamed ‘Cocktail time’. At this point I had never owned an open back watch and this was the ultimate automatic watch feature to me, after all, what’s the point of having this amazing bit of machinery there if you can’t see any of it! Also, I do like cocktails so there’s another nickname I can get behind.
Next up, what model? In the relaunched Presage line at that stage, there were really only a few available. I kept reading about the blue one and how people just seemed to be drawn to that dial, reflecting the light with its intricate pattern and the lovely silver details.
Right about then, (curse you, forums) I came across a whole bunch of people that wrote about the previous Presage line being much better, how nobody likes the contrasting Presage/Automatic printed on the dial etc. This is as per usual with any Seiko models, I know now, but it did delay my purchase a tad. I wanted to be sure before I spent a fair amount of money (to me).
Eventually, I pulled the trigger at a Myer sale (large department store here in Australia) and went to pick it up. Amazingly, asking for the SRPB41J1 did not lead me towards the washing machine department.
My impressions after two years of wearing the watch.
I’ll start with the box. It’s the usual drab affair with Seiko. A plain white box and inside, a fairly un-inspiring blue box holding the watch. What really annoyed me at this early stage was that the included manual was for ‘Analogue Quartz solar’ Seiko models. A complaint to the place of purchase was never responded to. I decided not to pursue, it’s not exactly a model that’s particularly difficult to operate.
You’re read this time and time again about this Presage line. The dial is truly something to behold. I wear my watches on my right hand and whilst driving, it’s very hard not to stare at that lovely blue reflection (I mean, never happened, Officer). I’ve tried to capture it in my photos but if you’re considering one, I recommend trying it on before committing, you will fall in love very quickly.
The applied indices are polished and look very exclusive, they also catch the light in a very eye catching fashion. The hands follow the same design language and I want to call out the seconds hand as particularly delicate and beautiful. It’s a ridiculous thing to say but I often just looked at that making its way around the dial.
The date window has the same polished silver, in the square framing the date. The crown guard is branded with the Seiko S and it’s easy to grip and has a good feel. It is quite interesting to read about the intricate polishing techniques that Grand Seiko use, particularly when a watch that cost 1/10th of the price is this well finished. It’s truly beautiful.
So on to the Seiko logo and Presage & Automatic on the dial. I do agree with others where the font used doesn’t really seem to fit with the rest of what watch.
The logo is the logo but I do feel like everything else would probably look better in cursive writing or something more akin to old vintage models. Looking at newer Presage models, this seems to be the case now and it fits better with the overall design in my opinion.
Flipping the watch over, you find a movement that looks nice and clean with a gilded rotor that has the logo and movement printed. This was my first open back automatic watch and I thought it was beautiful. Sure, it’s no A Lange and Sohne…but really, for the price and also the target market (past me, early collector), this is an excellent feature.
It is lovely to see a movement for the first time, fascinating in fact. Watching things spin and cogs move, never gets old regardless of how much gold or ‘jewels’ that are visible.
Back to my first concern about buying a dress watch. Is it too pretty? Yes, initially I found it hard to really gel with. I loved the dial but it was all just a bit too…glittery. My beloved teased me gently when wearing it and I couldn’t quite get used to it on my wrist.
In the end, the problem for me was the bracelet. It’s pretty good and I have no complaints about it, but changing it over to a suede band just made the watch absolutely spot on to me. I’d definitely consider that over the metal bracelet if you are similar to me.
A few months into my ownership – disaster strikes. I scraped the Hardlex crystal on a brick wall. It made me grumpy for a whole week, ‘why me’ etc. I am so particular with everything I own and I hate scratches and dints.
The Hardlex cystals are a bit more scratch prone which is well known. A sapphire crystal will shatter easier but resists small dings.
So now I had a scratch on the top part of the dial. I took it to Seiko who said replacement is the only way, can’t be polished. I couldn’t afford that at the time and just did my best to polish it out and almost succeeded! In the end, I was the only one that knew it was there so I did eventually get over it (like a big boy).
Learnings from that? I strongly feel that scratches and dings are harder to cope with on a dress watch since they are really there to be pretty and flawless on your wrist – so be careful.
So what’s missing? There is no lume at all on this watch so telling the time in the cinema will require you to catch reflections from existing lights. Also, waterproofing is a bare minimum of 50ATM. Ie. Rain should be fine but no taking it in the shower or snorkelling (but really, why would you with this watch).
This really is a beautiful watch, that dial in particular is absolutely stunning and I truly love it. That said, to be perfectly honest, I recently sold the watch. I have a few more dress watches now that are a little more retro style which really suits me and my taste better.
That said, it was actually very hard to pack up the watch and send it away. Even seeing it for the last time, my final thought was ‘am I doing the right thing here?’. It came down to the slightly incohesive (to me) overall look with the logo/writing on the dial and the rest of the watch, just never quite gelled for me.
The new Presage models have modified the fonts used slightly but they’ve also added some ‘open heart’ movements which is very odd to me. Why mess up the best part of the watch (the dial) with more complications?
Would I buy it again? I tell you what, the stunning finishing of the watch opened up the world of Grand Seiko to me and whilst I may never be able to afford one of those, I would definitely think long and hard about attempting to save up for one should I be in the market for another dress watch from our friends at Seiko.
Here's a good start to buying your own model.
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Did you enjoy this review? Coffee fuels my night time ponderings.