Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial Spring Drive SNR037 & SNR039
The Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial Spring Drive is available in two dial options, black (SNR039) & white (SNR037). As Steve Ashby explains, the Japanese marque has once again employed traditional artisanal crafts to glorious effect. Moreover, this is the first time Seiko has endowed a Presage model with its venerated Spring Drive movement.
The house of Seiko has never been one to do things by half. The peerless craftsmanship that goes into each and every watch is clear to see. The brand has gained a well-deserved reputation for producing accurate and reliable timepieces. Combine that with second-to-none artisanal prowess and it’s not difficult to see why so many aficionados have multiple Seiko watches in their collections.
In 2016, the Presage series was unveiled and it quickly became what is now one of Seiko’s most sought after lines. Renowned for presenting a varied range of classic designs, paired with a generous helping of supremely engineered components, the Presage collection has had no difficulty in comfortably matching and sometimes surpassing costlier models from competing brands.
Image – Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial Spring Drive SNR037
However, in an unexpected twist, Seiko has given its fans the news they have long been waiting for, placing its coveted Spring Drive movement into a Presage timepiece for the first time. Two to be exact. Allow me to introduce the SNR037 and SNR039.
Image – Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial Spring Drive SNR039
The new Presage watches incorporate tasteful, understated aesthetics and are available in two dial variants, black or white. The pieces look very different from the more widely recognised Presage watches with their sunburst or lacquered dials. Instead, the Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial models feature dials produced using fired enamel, giving them a luxurious, warm sheen. They also pay a respectful nod to some of Japan’s traditional artisanal techniques. Indeed, each dial is made by master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa and his colleagues, providing a fitting enhancement to these inaugural Presage Spring Drive models.
The watches offer the wearer a subtle date window at the 3 o’clock position and a power reserve indicator at 8 o’clock. The Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial models are housed within 40mm stainless steel cases, featuring a ‘Super Hard’ coating, imbuing the surfaces with a lasting allure. As always with Seiko, the finish of each external surface is wonderfully refined, pairing a mirror-like polished steel bezel with contrasting brushed steel lugs and case sections.
Readability is excellent thanks to the uncluttered appearance of the dial. The watches have been stripped of excess décor and the hour numerals, either black on white or white on black, give the watches a timeless charm. Seiko designed these pieces to eschew the unnecessary, indicating purely the essentials while at the same time showcasing the enamel porcelain in all of its glory.
Of course, with the main headline of these watches being the movement, it’s no surprise that Seiko has chosen to exhibit the calibre via an exhibition case back, proudly showcasing the extraordinary beauty within.
Marking the 20-year anniversary of the Spring Drive, the new watches house Seiko’s signature 5R65 movement. This movement was previously only found in select Grand Seiko timepieces. It’s similar to the caliber 9R65, often found in Grand Seiko Spring Drive timepieces, but lacks the high-end finishing synonymous with the GS logo. Nevertheless, the absence of some finishing details doesn’t detract from the the Presage’s near-perfect timekeeping (accuracy of ±1 second per day).
The only movement to surpass the precision of the caliber 5R 65 movement is Seiko’s 9R15 caliber, which boasts a stated deviation of just ±0.5 seconds per day. However, even within the exalted heights of Grand Seiko ownership, this movement is seldom used within entry level pieces and is reserved for Grand Seiko’s premium models.
With all of its cultured aesthetic elements and the smooth gliding motion of the central sweep seconds hand, these Spring Drive models will sate the desires of most ardent watch fans. At this juncture you may expect the inclusion of a Spring Drive movement to attract a higher asking price and certainly you wouldn’t be wrong in making this assumption. The asking price of €4,650 is clearly higher than many other Presage models.
The prices of both pieces are comparable to some of Grand Seiko’s entry-level Spring Drive models. However these Grand Seiko options would typically feature simpler dials, forgoing the Presage’s fire enamelled dial in place of the oh-so-desirable Grand Seiko logo. It’s not foolish to assume that a Grand Seiko Spring Drive with a fire enamelled dial would cost substantially more.
While I normally prefer watches that are a little more conspicuous, there’s a certain elegance to these watches that I find irresistible. The sweeping seconds hand synonymous with the Spring Drive movement never fails to gain my attention, so these watches were always going to be an easy sell. However, it’s the combination of the movement and the incredible appearance of the porcelain enamel that, for me, is a match made in heaven. The finishing is unmistakable and the hour numerals in Didoni font and the poire-style hands instantly bring to mind the very first watch bearing the Seiko logo (1924).
The introduction of these Presage models is particularly exciting, suggesting a high probability that we will see more Seiko watches featuring the Spring Drive. Indeed, the Japanese brand unveiled the Seiko Prospex LX Series earlier this year which also uses the 5R65 movement (Or 5R66 in the case of the GMT variants). Hopefully this trend will continue.
I would not be surprised, and I am certainly hoping, to see a number of Spring Drive watches appear over the next year. Seiko Presage was created to showcase traditional Japanese artisanal techniques, so I am eagerly waiting to see them pair up the Spring Drive movement with beautiful Shippo enamelling, previously seen on the extremely popular SPB073 and SPB075 limited editions unveiled last year.
I’ve got my fingers crossed!
- Model: Seiko Presage Prestige Line Enamel Dial Spring Drive
- Case: Stainless steel case with super-hard coating
- Functions: Hours; minutes; day; central sweep seconds; date window; power reserve
- Movement: Spring Drive Caliber 5R65; 30 jewels; power reserve – max. 72 hours
- Strap: Black or brown cordovan strap with three-fold clasp and push button release
- Price: €4,650 (RRP as at 7.9.2019)