The moon has had a deep influence on Japanese art and culture. Since the traditional Japanese calendar was based on the lunar calendar, daily life was inextricably linked to the phases of the moon. Consequently, the moon is a common motif in Japanese woodblock prints, screens, lacquerware, poetry, and literature. Seiko riffs on this lunar connection to launch the new Presage Arita Porcelain Limited Edition (Ref. SPB171), a limited edition watch with a pristine white dial meant to invoke the beauty of the moon as reflected in water.
The Japanese have a tradition known as Suigetsu where they enjoy the reflection of the moon on the surface of lakes and ponds. It is this tradition, Seiko tell us, that inspired the dial of the Ref. SPB171. Arita porcelain is a broader term for ceramic-ware that comes from the Arita town in the Hizen region.
The crafting of the dial is a multi-stage process and that involves patience and skill. The dials are the handiwork of master craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi and his colleagues who work Shingama kiln, a company that’s been making porcelain ware since 1830. The dials, typically just a millimeter thick, are baked at 1,300 degrees in a plaster mould using a technique known as slip casting. The dials shrink a little once they are baked and need to adjusting constantly to ensure that they remain the right size. The artisans had to use a special formulation to ensure that the final porcelain dial is stable.
While traditional Arita porcelain has a blue glaze, this dial is given a transparent one. The result is a pristine white dial known as Hakuji and is meant to symbolize the shimmering reflection of the moon on water. The dial has blue printed Roman numerals and a minutes track, a small seconds dial at 6 o’ clock, and a power reserve indicator.
The watch has a 40.5-mm-wide stainless steel case typical of the ones used in the Presage line and features a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. It is fitted with a dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and a sapphire crystal caseback. Caliber 6R27 is a 4 Hz movement with a power reserve of 45 hours and is visible thanks to the exhibition caseback. The watch is paired with a blue alligator leather strap with a deployant clasp with push button release. This Presage SPB171 is limited to 2,000 pieces and is priced at €2,100 (Dh8,678).