I think the vast majority of us probably remember watching our first Studio Ghibli film – a gateway into a world of animated wonder, heart wrenching storytelling and beautiful art. For most I imagine that first film would be something like Totoro if you were particularly young or if you were an adult probably Spirited Away or Howl’s Moving Castle. For myself though, it was Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the hard-hitting eco-drama about a badass princess saving the world through science and empathy. So, imagine my excitement when Seiko announced the new Presage Studio Ghibli Nausicaä.
To give the watch its full name it’s technically the Presage Craftsmanship Series Studio Ghibli Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Collaboration Limited Edition. But that’s more of a mouthful than Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and that’s saying something! Rather than talking endlessly about how much I love this film, which I could do for hours, let’s cut to the watch itself.
From the front, it appears like a fairly conventional take on the Presage. The case measures 40.5mm in diameter produced in stainless steel with a classic round shape and sweeping lugs. However, look closer at the case and you’ll notice some custom elements exclusive to the Seiko Studio Ghibli Nausicaä, most notably the crown which is now oversize and features a blue glass crystal. The design of this is inspired by the eyes of the Ohm, giant insects from the film that represent nature’s anger with mankind for the way it’s treating the planet.
Another deviation from the typical case design of the Presage is the fact that the new watch has a gold-plated caseback. This is another reference to the film, as denoted by the quote engraved into the back, “Clothed in blue robes, descending onto a golden field,” one of the key quotes and visual metaphors of the film. While we’re dwelling on the caseback, you can see that the exhibition window is decorated with Nausicaä’s helmet and mask, and the watch’s self-winding rotor below is also golden.
There are so many interesting little details with the case that we haven’t even touched on the dial yet, which is beautifully simple and classy. It’s produced in enamel by Seiko’s master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa and his team, giving it a beautiful matte finish and rich colour that’s a precise match to Nausicaä’s dress. At 6 o’clock is the white and red symbol that’s emblazoned across her chest in one of her outfits. Like the crown and caseback, it’s a pretty subtle reference that only major Ghibli fans will notice.
Part of me almost wishes that the references to the film were a little more overt. If I had my way, we’d end up with a Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers level depiction of the Valley of the Wind with its many windmills and bright horizon. However, on the whole I am satisfied with the design, the purity of the enamel contrasting well with the white hour markers, white hour and minute hands and gold seconds hand.
Powering the Presage Studio Ghibli Nausicaä is the new Seiko 6R51 automatic calibre. It’s an updated time only version of the high performance time and date calibre 6R55. Specs-wise it has a 72-hour power reserve, 4,800 gauss magnetic field resistance and is rated to -15/+25 seconds per day. It’s one of Seiko’s top movements.
In terms of pricing and availability, the watch is a limited edition of 1500 pieces at £1,540. Definitely contributing to the conversation surrounding the fact that Seiko are nowhere near as accessible as they used to be. However, I think that price is understandable in this case considering that the watch features enamel, gold-plating and their high end calibre. I don’t know about you but now I have a craving to go and rewatch the film and then maybe rewatch the rest of the Miyazaki catalogue while I’m at it.
Price and Specs:
More details at Seiko Boutique.