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Editorial - Seiko presents a ground-breaking new artisanal dial

Editorial Seiko presents a ground-breaking new artisanal dial

The Japanese brand gives the Swiss a run for their money with an original new handicraft technique.

After presenting new dials in the famous Arita porcelain at Baselworld last week, Seiko has chosen today to present a new artisanal dial that evokes a part of Japanese culture that is known the world over: the country’s excellent food. Some Swiss brands have incorporated ancient whiskies and cognacs in their dials, while others have produced a concept watch made of plasticised cheese. Seiko now follows suit with its new “Senbei” dial using the Japanese rice cracker.

Like most such creations, the production of such a dial was a challenge both for the watch designers and the artisans themselves as they had to find just the right combination of rice and soy sauce to give the dial its rich taste (sorry, colour) and, like the best recipes for the finest enamels, find just the right firing temperature. Each dial is finished with hand-applied Roman numerals in finely cut nori, which as any fan of Japanese food knows, is the perfect accompaniment to the flavour of soy sauce.

Seiko Senbei

A master craftsman checks the quality of a Senbei dial. © Seiko

Seiko offers the new dial in three variations: a standard “soy sauce” model, with the classic combination of mashed rice and soy sauce; a “sesame” model that combines Japanese black sesame and soy; and a “crystal sugar” variation with the gentle sweetness of the pure transparent glaze used on the rice crackers.

Seiko presents a ground-breaking new artisanal dial

The Presage models with Senbei dials. © Seiko

Fans of Seiko might appreciate the sweeter touch and slightly less threatening design of the new Presage Senbei compared with the menacing Shiruken watch that the brand presented exactly one year ago to the day. Like most of the popular Seiko models, however, they will be hard to get and in this particular case even harder than usual. To find out why, I suggest you double-check the date.

The brand

The history of Seiko is a more than 130 year story of innovation. From the very start, Kintaro Hattori was determined to be at the forefront of the industry and his oft-repeated credo was that Seiko should be “Always one step ahead of the rest.”

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