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Seiko Presage Sharp Edged “Kabuki” Limited Editions Bring Traditional Japanese Theatre to Watchmaking

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 'Kabuki' ref. SPB329J1 SPB331J1

Japan is a country rich in culture and traditions, providing watchmakers plenty of inspiration that they can draw upon. For their latest project, Seiko have been inspired by the ancient art of Kabuki theatre, a highly stylised form of drama involving singing, dancing and elaborate costumes. The resulting timepieces are the Seiko Presage Sharp Edged “Kabuki” limited editions.

In the west, we best know the concept of Kabuki through its adaptation to film from directors like Akira Kurosawa, who used traditional forms of costume and design. Traditional costumes are also what’s at the heart of Seiko’s “Kabuki” limited editions, of which there are two – one time and date ref. SPB331J1 and one calendar ref. SPB329J1.

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 'Kabuki' Limited Edition SPB329J1

The dials of both versions feature a rich red-brown colouration that was commonly used in Kabuki costumes. Specifically, it’s a colour called ‘kakiiro’, a word that reminds me of another Japanese colour ‘toki-iro’ used on Kurono’s Anniversary Toki. It’s an appropriate comparison because both are variations on tan, with the Seiko Presage Sharp Edged “Kabuki” a richer and redder colour and the Toki a paler tone of peach.

In addition to the ‘kakiiro’ colour, the dial bears a textural pattern that is designed to bring growth and success. Interestingly, the pattern itself dates back to the Heian period (794-1185) meaning it pre-dates kabuki by a substantial margin, kabuki being founded in the early 1600s. On the calendar version the pattern is interrupted by the day, date and power reserve indicator functions, however there’s no such interruption on the time and date model.

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 'Kabuki' ref. SPB329J1 SPB331J1 caseback

As for the cases, while the design of both limited editions is broadly the same with a stainless steel construction and black, hard coating, they have different dimensions. The calendar edition is the larger of the two at 40.2mm with the date edition at 39.3mm. By no means a huge difference but a noticeable one on the wrist.

The reason they have different sizes is because they each house a different movement due to their different complications. The Seiko Presage Sharp Edged “Kabuki” calendar contains the 6R21 automatic with 45-hour power reserve, which can be monitored through the power reserve indicator, and the date model houses a Seiko staple, the 6R35 with 70-hour power reserve. Both movements are visible through exhibition casebacks that also show each watch’s limited edition number between 1 and 2000.

Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 'Kabuki' Limited Edition SPB331J1
Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series 'Kabuki' Limited Edition SPB329J1

Personally, I’m a Prospex man rather than a Presage one, so while these aren’t my favourite Seikos of 2022 (that would be the Prospex Speedtimer Re-Creation), I can appreciate the amount of thought behind them. In terms of price they’re at the higher end of the Presage range at £900 and £1,030 – not unexpected as the Sharp Edged series generally has higher prices and these are limited editions.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series ‘Kabuki’
  • Ref: SPB331J1 (date)
    SPB329J1 (calendar)
    Case/dial: 39.3mm diameter x 11.13mm thickness (date) or 40.2mm diameter x 12.22mm thickness (calendar), stainless steel case with hard coating, scarlet brown dial
  • Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
  • Movement: Seiko calibre 6R35, automatic (date)
    Seiko calibre 6R21, automatic (calendar)
  • Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz) (date)
    28,800 vph (4 Hz) (calendar)
  • Power reserve: 70h (date)
    45h (calendar)
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date (date)
    Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date, power reserve (calendar)
  • Strap: Black leather
  • Price/availability: £900 (date) and £1,030 (calendar), limited to 2,000 pieces each

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.