To end 2022, Seiko is tipping their hand at what we can expect in the upcoming year, which marks the 110th anniversary of its very first wristwatch. A series of commemorative watches is promised for the upcoming year, and it all starts with the Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Seiko Presage Limited Edition (reference SPB359), a new entry in the Presage line that pays tribute to the iconic Laurel dating to 1913. We’ve seen Seiko draw inspiration from the Laurel before, usually in a fairly subtle way. The use of Breguet numerals, for instance, or a red accented 12, but this latest release is a fairly faithful recreation of the aesthetic of the original watch. These kinds of faithful but luxurious recreations of important watches from Seiko’s back catalog have become increasingly common in recent years, and it was perhaps only a matter of time before the Laurel got its turn in the spotlight.
Seiko Begins an Anniversary Celebration with a Limited Edition Version of their First Wristwatch
Looking at the original Laurel and images of the new version side by side (check the gallery below for a shot of the original), it’s clear that Seiko took a lot of care in paying attention to small details to get this version just right. The distinctive circular case with an articulating bar style lug attachment at either end has been carried over, and Seiko has even recreated a strap in a similar style to what the original Laurel used over a century ago. The dial, though, is the star of the show here. Like the original, it has been fashioned in white enamel with Breguet style numerals, including the red 12. The hands are extremely thin and in a delicate leaf style, and they’ve been heat blued. Collectors and Seiko history buffs might be most impressed by one of the smallest details: the unusual design of the number 4, which has a distinctive tail.
An obvious deviation from the original Laurel can be seen at the 9:00 position in the form of a power reserve indicator. This is a feature of Seiko’s 6R27 caliber that powers the anniversary model, which also has a date at 6:00 read through a subregister, which is visually similar to the original which has a running seconds indicator in this position. These relatively small changes maintain a nearly identical visual impression to the original Laurel while still getting the most out of a modern movement. The execution of the power reserve is particularly seamless in my opinion, with Seiko electing to forego a full gauge and have the power read instead by simple dots placed discreetly on the dial.
The case measures a conservative 37.5mm and is 12.6mm thick, and is equipped with a box shaped sapphire crystal. Notice as well that the onion crown here is a match for the 1913 Laurel. If for some strange reason you were breathlessly awaiting a recreation of the Laurel that you could take diving, you might have to wait until the next anniversary as this new edition only has 50 meters of water resistance. Remember, this watch is based on the very first wristwatch that Seiko ever made – water sports weren’t exactly on the agenda quite yet.
The Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary Seiko Presage Limited Edition will be made in a run of 2,500 examples, and carries a retail price of $1,800. It is expected to be available through Seiko authorized channels in January 2023. Seiko