Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Seiko Presage SRPB41J1 (or SARY073) ‘Cocktail Time’ Dark Blue (Similar to SRPB43J1/SARY075, SRPB44J1/SARY076 and SRPB46J1/SARY078) – A Classy Dress Watch, A Review (plus Video)

One of the many famous designs by Seiko is the “Cocktail Time” watch series. It was launched a few years ago based in conjunction with the renowned Japanese bartender, Ishigaki Shinobu. Sold only in Japan, it is a series of dress watch with a deeply sunburst-textured dial and box crystal. Seiko fan went wild over this series as it exudes style and sophistication at an unbelievable low price. In 2017, Seiko has decided to reintroduce this series to the global market with the launch of the latest “Cocktail Time” under the Presage banner.

Strictly speaking there are two subsets of the new Presage Cocktail Time, each with 4 different options. The first subset has just a date aperture while the second subset has a sub-dial for the date and a power reserve indicator. The first subset goes under the “SRPB” coding while the second subset goes under the “SSA” coding.

My interest is the simpler SRPB models and what caught my eyes is the SRPB41J1 with a dark blue sunburst-textured dial and bracelet.



The SRPB41J1 is made out of stainless steel. Case diameter is 40. 5mm with a thickness of 11.8 mm. Lug width is 20 mm while the lug-to-lug is 47.5 mm. Of the four in the SRPB Cocktail Time series, only the SRPB41J1 comes standard with stainless steel bracelet with deployant clasp with push button release. Total weight is approximately 70 gm.



The dial on the SRPB41J1 is clean. There are only four lines of texts on the dial. The brand is located on the upper half while the other three which consist of the words ‘PRESAGE’, ‘AUTOMATIC’ as well as the ‘MADE IN JAPAN’ plus some manufacturing codes are on the bottom half. All have different fonts and sizes.

There is only one timing scale located at the peripheral of the dial and marked at a fifth of minute intervals. The hour markers are faceted wedges in tear-drop style design in polished steel (looking at it closely, it does resemble the Imperial Executor class Star Destroyer in Star Wars). Only the 3 o’clock hour marker is truncated to fit in the date aperture. Like the hour markers, the minutes and hours hands are of similar design. As for the seconds hand, the end counter-weight is a skeleton diamond which makes it look like a sawing needle somewhat.

The date function is the only complication on this watch and it is located in an aperture framed in polished steel at 3 o’clock. The date is printed white on top of a black date wheel. I am surprised that Seiko is fine with the black background on the date wheel. This creates an additional colour to the dial which makes it slightly distracting from the general blue of the dial.

The dark blue patterned sunburst dial is the most eye-catching aspect of this watch. As you shift the view angle on the dial, the sunburst effect comes into play which is very mesmerizing. Coupled with the domed box crystal made from Hardlex protecting the dial, as light gets refracted, the dial seems to dance.



The push-down cupcake-like crown in located at 3 o’clock. It has a deep etched letter ‘S’ on the top surface. I like the size of the crown. It makes gripping it easier. The etching is a nice touch.

The screw-down case-back has a display window made out of Hardlex. Here you can see Seiko’s in-house 4R35 caliber automatic movement. This movement has 23 jewels and operates at 21,600 BPH or 3 Hertz. It has 41 hours of power reserve with an accuracy rate of -35 seconds to +45 seconds per day. It is also has magnetic resistance of up to 4,800 A/m. The movement has a stop second hand function as well as manual winding capability.



A lot has been said about the choice of the 4R movement instead of continuing with the 6R movement of the previous Cocktail Time. Although there is a loss of accuracy and power reserve, Seiko is right in the choice of 4R for this new series. The increasing cost of production is making unit price move higher. Keeping the 6R in this new series could make the price higher than the affordability of the target market. As far as Seiko is concerned, it is better to get the watches out to customers than have to wait for customer to be able to afford it. The criticism of 4R versus 6R is more acceptable to them than the affordability issue. For Seiko, the philosophy of offering watches at every price point is important.

To give some back to buyers, Seiko has decorated the rotor of the movement in gold paint. If I am not mistaken, this is the first time a 4R35 has been given such a decoration.

Overall, the casing has been given a water rating of 5 bar or 5 ATM or 50 meters.



Out of the four watches under the Cocktail Time SRPB series, only the SRPB41J1 comes with  bracelet. The bracelet is has a dress-style design, thin with brushed and polished bits for links. The clasp is butterfly-style. Seiko provides a few half-links to comfortable sizing of the bracelet. The links are attached using pin-and-sleeve connectors. Although the links are solid, the end-links are not and the butterfly clasp is made out of stamp sheet metal. To me, the clasp looks cheap and reduces the overall ‘value’ of the watch. It also rattles. My advise; get the bracelet to keep and replace it with a leather strap.


The Wearing Experience

The size is perfect for a dress watch. The butterfly clasp on the bracelet is invisible when locked. Keeping it firm on the wrist without any looseness is important as you don’t want it to move around. The addition of half-links makes the sizing easier.

 

If you wear it loose, you would start to find some issue with the bracelet. It rattles and shakes. It feels cheap. Anyway, below is a video of the watch on my wrist.




Conclusion

As a dress watch, the Cocktail Time fulfills its role admirably. The pricing is appreciatively low for what it can deliver. I definitely would recommend this watch.

Nevertheless, this is one issue that has to be brought up. For the SRPB41J1, although it came with a bracelet (I generally advise anyone to get a bracelet watch and then replace the bracelet with any strap as buying the bracelet later is much more expensive), the bracelet feels cheap. I hope Seiko could look into this issue. If it is too expensive to redesign, can I suggest Seiko provide a few spare straps in the package; a nylon strap as well as a leather strap perhaps.


Pricing

The MSRP of the SRPB41J1 is RM1,945.10. I was able to get for RM1,500.00.



The Series

Below are the Cocktail Times under the SRPB coding. Do note that in Japan, the series has a SARY coding:



Top left is the SRPB43J1 (or SARY075) and the top right is the SRPB41J1 (or SARY073). The bottom left is the SRPB44J1 (or SARY076) and the bottom right is the SRPB46J1 (or SARY078).



Below are the Cocktail Times under the SSA coding:




Top left is the SSA341J1 (or SARY079) and the top right is the SSA343J1 (or SARY081). The bottom left is the SSA345J1 (or SARY???) and the bottom right is the SSA346J1 (or SARY082). Interestingly, there is no reference at all on the SSA345J1 on Seiko's Japanese website (https://www.seiko-watch.co.jp/collections/en/presage/ as at 14 June 2017). More about this later.




Ranting

Seiko is one brand that does not seem to understand the need to document their products in a concise and systematic way. Until today, there is no official website on the Seiko 5.

This is another classic example. Although the SSA345J1 is made in Japan, no reference of it was available on Seiko’s Japanese website (all other members are listed). I wish someone from Seiko can share with me the Company’s rationale behind the whole thing. I can’t figure it out.


Photo Gallery





1 comment:

  1. yeh i bought one very cool, also the new movement keeps the case thinner. Another advantage is you have a perfect sweep for this cool watch. As with the older version the 6R movement had a tick more than a sweep not something to write home about sitting cooly in a bar.

    ReplyDelete

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