Thursday, July 5, 2018

Seiko Presage Chronograph SRQ025J1 (similar to SARK011) - It has that formal ambiance and sophistication that not many watches have in its price range, A Review (plus Video)

I finally snared a 8R48 powered Presage!

There are 7 Presage watches in my collection currently. All automatic with either the 4R series or 6R series automatic movements. The SRQ025J1 will be the first chronograph Presage in the collection. Not easy getting this as the local distributor in Malaysia, Thong Sia, tend to not bring watches deemed 'too expensive' for local consumers. Even if they do bring such watches, the numbers imported are usually not more than a handful.

The chronograph Presage came to prominence back in 2016 when Seiko launched the limited edition SRQ019 and SRQ021 in honour of the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s first automatic mechanical watch in 1956. The SRQ019 has a white a grand feu enamel dial while the SRQ021 has a black Urushi lacquer dial. By virtue of their special dials and limited edition run, these watches were priced at a premium which was too rich for my taste. Luckily, a year later, Seiko decided to produce a standard production run of chronograph Presage in the form of the SRQ025J1.


Price wise, it is cheaper to source the watch via a few of the more famous Japanese internet watch merchants instead of getting it from an AD in Kuala Lumpur. However, it was rather hard to get to order one as it get sold out rather quickly. Anyway, when I saw an example sitting quietly in a corner of my favorite AD, I quickly struck a deal to get it.


The Watch

The SRQ025J1 is a Made-in-Japan timepiece. Similar to the SRQ019 except for the enamel dial and some bells-and-whistle decorations. It has a textured white dial that is only obvious when viewed closely. Made out of stainless steel, the SRQ025J1 has a diameter width of 42.0 mm excluding the crown. Couple with a lug-to-lug length of 49.5 mm, this watch is manageable for most wrists. Lug width is 20.0 mm. Despite the moderate dimensions for the width and length, the SRQ025J1 is one of the tallest dress watches with a height of 15.2 mm.



The finishing on the casing is well polished and is equipped with a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inner side.

The dial has a classic look to it. There are two distinct timing scales at the edge of the dial. The outermost has a combination of minute markers, quarter-minute markers and Arabic numerals for every 5th minute. The next is the hours scale and represented by Arabic numerals in vintage script called Breguet numeral font. All markers and numerals are in black except for the 12 o'clock hour which is in red.

As a chronograph watch, the SRQ025J1 also has sub-dials located at the 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. The sub-dials have polished surfaces. The stopwatch minutes is the sub-dial at 9 o’clock, the stopwatch 12 hours is the sub-dial at 6 o’clock and the normal seconds hand is the sub-dial at 3 o’clock. Not a lot of people noticed this but out of the six flamed blued hands on the watch, those that measure the normal time uses the Spade Hand design while those that measure the stopwatch has a simple Sword Hand design. In addition, a crescent is attached to the end of the stopwatch seconds hand.

There is also a circular date aperture between the 4 o'clock and 5 o'clock position. To not contrast too much with the white dial, the date wheel uses black numerals on a white background.

There are four lines of text on the dial itself. The first three are located at the center of the upper quadrant while the last line is at the peripheral of the bottom quadrant. The brand name is a cut piece and fixed in place while the words "PRESAGE" and "AUTOMATIC" are printed directly on the dial. The fourth and final line signify that this is a Japan made timepiece plus some manufacturing codes.

I am quite happy with the arrangement of the dial. It is symmetrical and the words on it does not in anyway distract the focus of users to the various hands and sub-dials.



The dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal. The glass has an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. In the photo above, you can see the curvature of the crystal. There is a thin fixed bezel that is slightly lower than the crystal edge. To reduce the likelihood of chipping the crystal, the edge of the sapphire is beveled.



The crown and pushers have a contemporary setting; on the right of the watch casing. While, the rounded onion-shaped crown has a coin edge and the brand initial stamped on the top surface, the pushers are vintage styled plunger-like devoid of any markings or textured surfaces. There are no locking mechanisms for the crown and pushers. The crown uses a simple push-down system when not in use and in this position one can manually wind the watch by twisting it in a clockwise direction. The pushers have some free play to them before it engages the chronograph gears.

The lugs curved away and downward from the watch casing. Although the lugs look to be of a normal size, the design lets it hug the wrist better and reduce lug overhand for those with thinner wrists. It also does not have drilled through lug holes. As a dress watch you don't expect to see one but I would prefer it if Seiko's designers added that functionality in the lugs. This will easily facilitate strap changing without the higher chance of scratches when trying to access the lug bars through the back.



The watch is paired with a genuine leather strap. A two piece construction with a crocodile leather for the top surface and a basic cowhide for the underside. It is attached to a milled and signed deployant clasp.



An interesting point to note is that Seiko arrange the strap the opposite side unlike the majority of other watch manufacturers i.e. the tongue of the strap is towards the wearer instead of away. As In Japanese culture, one must present the most beautiful aspects of oneself and hide the imperfections away. In this context, the strap tongue is deemed unsightly and should be hidden. From the photo below, even the signed clasp has been orientated properly so that you can read the brand the right side up.  



The SRQ025J1 has a beautiful case-back. Protected by a flat Hardlex crystal, one can see clearly the 8R48 movement. Love to see a bit of gold on the rotor etchings.




The movement

The SRQ025J1 is powered by an excellent movement, the 8R48. The 8R series of movement has generally been reserved for the Grand Seiko but once in a blue moon, Seiko decided to offer this movement in other series as well. This 8R48 is a chronograph movement with 34 jewels and operating at 28,8000 BPH or 4 Hertz. Made out of 311 parts, it includes some of Seiko's famous inventions such as:
  • ‘Diashock’ - a shock resistance system where in the event of a sudden impact, it protects the balance wheel. The jewel which anchors the balance staff is held by a spring, the elasticity of which ensures absorption of the shock impact.
  • 'Magic Lever’ - a simple mechanism that improved the efficiency and durability of automatic movements by enabling the mainspring to be wound, irrespective of the oscillating weight’s direction of travel.
  • ‘Spron’- Seiko’s proprietary alloy which is highly heat resistant, anti-corrosive, antimagnetic and has a particularly high elasticity. The balance spring and mainspring is made out of this material.
These three innovations are generally called Seiko's ‘Trimatic’ inventions.

Meanwhile, the chronograph function utilises the innovative vertical clutch and column wheel system with three clutches. If this system is used in a Swiss made watch, you will never get that watch at the same price point like this Presage. In all likelihood it will be much more expensive than the SRQ025J1.

The movement has a manaufacturer's guarantee of accuracy of between -15 and +25 seconds per day. Power reserve is approximately 45 hours and it has some anti-magnetic properties.


The Wearing Experience

The SRQ025J1 is a tall watch and rather heavy for a leather strap watch of such dimensions. Some of you may find it excessive but I actually prefer it that way. It gives it a formidable heft that represent stature. Nevertheless, it is good to always remember that the SRQ025J1is top-heavy and if it slips out off your hands, the outcome would be catastrophic.

Therefore, it is good that it comes with a deployant clasp as the likelihood of slippage either during the act of wearing it on the wrist or taking it off the wrist is high. The semi-permanent connection between the two sides of the straps help keep the watch on the wrist in case of any fumbling.

Despite the weight, the watch wears well and looks regal on the wrist.



Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.





CONCLUSION

I personally don't see any occasion I would find myself in where I would need the use of the chronograph. To me, the mechanical chronograph function is an unnecessary complication that no longer have a functional use in this day and age. Similarly to a tourbillon, the age of the quartz and global positional satellites have made mechanical timekeeping decidedly 'inaccurate' for the demands of the modern age.

Nevertheless, such functionality gives a sense of nostalgia and tradition that a lot of people would pay premium for the right to own such an experience.

The SRQ025J1 has that formal ambiance and sophistication that not many watches have in its price range. It is definitely a watch to keep. Moreover, the mechanical chronograph function it itself will make this watch carry a lot of value in the future, similar to the way the Seiko 5 Sports Speed-Timer with the famous Caliber 6139.



The Purchase

I bought the watch via AWG in Mid Valley Megamall, Kuala Lumpur. The official MSRP in Malaysia (excluding GST) is RM9,275.00. I was able to get it for RM6,600.






Specifications

Driving system: Automatic with manual winding mechanism & chronograph function
Caliber: 8R48 with 34 jewels and hand winding & seconds hand stop function
Case: Stainless steel case with display case back
Glass Front: Curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on inner surface
Glass Back: Flat Hardlex Strap: Crocodile leather
Dial: White (Non Luminous)
Dimensions: H49.5mm x W42mm x D15.2mm
Lug Width: 20mm
Weight: 116g
Anti-Magnetic: Yes
Power Reserve: 45 hours
Accuracy: -15 to +25 seconds per day (when static)
Water resistance: 10 bar or 100 meters
Chronograph Function: 30 minutes, 12 hours

MSRP: YEN200,000 (excluding tax)








Photo Gallery




2 comments:

  1. Have you noticed how perfectly the crescent of the stop second hand centers over the pivots of the sub-dials?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for bring it to my attention. There is always something new to see on the dial :)

      Delete

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