A new piece here that not much of people, or most of the watch collectors are aware of coming from Seiko. Today we take a dive into a modern dress watch that might tick(?) a lot of newcomers or people who have been considering to get this watch. I managed to steal this piece from my friend Mr Z out for review as it is still in its unworn prestige form. It is the Seiko Presage SRPC03 Limited Edition Sakura Fubuki, as part of the ‘Cocktail Time’ line up in the Presage line.
For those who already know, Seiko often offers the most abundant in terms of value for money for their portfolio that includes the Seiko 5, Prospex, and Presage lineups. That is because Seiko is able to offer an automatic movement that is robust and long-lasting (often goes up to 10 to 20 years without service). For those who don’t know, Seiko as mentioned in my previous article that contributed to the Quartz Revolution, has been the most ‘disruptive’ company in the watch world. This Sakura Fubuki in their lineup, is no exception.
The Sakura Fubuki as mentioned is part of the Presage ‘Cocktail Time’ lineup. While the ‘Cocktail Time’ has a bunch of different dial designs and colourways, the Sakura Fubuki (limited to 3500 pieces) will remain as one of the greatest along the original pre-Presage ‘Cocktail Time’ SARB065, and Presage Starlight.
A little story on how this piece came about before I start going into its specifications. I discovered this Sakura Fubuki while it was on sale at one of the Australian jewellery retailer Angus & Coote for 20% less of its original retail price. I’ve managed to convince Mr Z to get this piece as it is also a limited edition without hesitation. (P.S. The other friend of mine Mr Y is still trying to snag this piece away from Mr Z as he rarely, if not never wear but once. Good luck Mr Y.)
Putting the specifications out of the way first, you’ll be getting a modern case size of 40.5mm that is gonna please most of the wrist out there, while it barely makes it for me as some may know I have a really absurdly tiny wrist at less than 6″. With the watch’s lug-to-lug length of 47mm, again, making it wearable for most wrist size. It sports an 11.8mm of case height along with the domed Hardlex crystal (Seiko’s proprietary watch crystal) that allows this watch to slide under shirts easily thanks to its shape along with the domed crystal.
Inside the Sakura Fubuki is Seiko’s automatic in-house movement Calibre 4R35B (23 jewels), with a display case back (which is also Hardlex crystal) that shows its gold-painted rotor and the movement in all its glory. It beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour, giving it a sweeping second-hand. Though the second-hand sweep isn’t as smooth in comparison to other movements that beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour such as the ETA 2824 movement, or Japanese rival Miyota 9000 series by Citizen, it does the job well in keeping time. Lower vibrations per hour translates to less wear and tear towards the movement, extending its longevity between service periods.
What’s so special about almost every Seiko automatic movement is the inclusion of the magic lever system. It increases the automatic rotor winding efficiency to the point where it allows bidirectional winding of the rotor, and even with the slightest movement on your wrist, or just by merely picking it up, the second-hand will start ticking away. It has a power reserve up to 41 hours, comes with a date function, and supports hand-winding and movement hacking.
For those who are new, hacking means the feature in certain movements where when the crown is pulled to set the time, the second-hand stops to allow synchronization with time for exact time setting. The Sakura Fubuki does come with a rather decent quality of leather strap. Not the best, but certainly not the worst like the one on Seiko Alpinist SARB017.
While the updated ‘Cocktail Time’ Presage lineups stayed true to its original ‘Cocktail Time’ SARB065 in many ways, one of the most distinctive differences between the pre-Presage and post-Presage is the crown size. While the SARB065 sports a smaller crown size, the new lineups are paired with a larger crown with a signature ‘S’ on it. I’d say this is a give and take scenario where it may look too big for some, for me at least is that it gives a much better grip to the crown for easier hand-winding.
Done and dusted with the specifications, and now let us take a look at its design, which is the main feature of the Sakura Fubuki as a dress watch. The Sakura Fubuki was created by the owner of Star Bar Ginza in Tokyo, in partnership with Seiko Japan. It was inspired by the cocktail ‘Sakura Fubuki’ which is a mixture of gin, sake and malted rice. The texture that it provides is as the name suggests, looked like Sakura flower, and hence the Sakura flower textured dial on the Seiko Presage Sakura Fubuki.
With this watch, I think the standout point is all about the texture that it has. What I think that Seiko has definitely done right is to give a hint of flavour in dress watches like these with a beautiful dial. Normally as per any dress watch that you’ll find in the market are with plain, minimal dial that makes the white/pearl dial pop, and yet not overwhelming to take much attention away from the formality of your outfit. But with the Sakura Fubuki, it certainly still retains that aesthetics and subtle minimalism of a dress watch and yet, captivating. For the entire time with this watch on my wrist, I just couldn’t help it but to stop everything that I’m doing and start appreciating its beauty whenever I take a look at the time. Though as it is a dress watch, I can resonate with Mr Z well as of why it isn’t being worn often. I can only pull it off while dressing business casual, smart business or formal, but not on a casual T-shirt and shorts/jeans.
“It’s all about the texture.”Peter McKinnon
Along with the dauphine hands that the Sakura Fubuki has, the Sakura textured dial certainly plays along with the light very well. It wouldn’t catch the attention of a person from across the road definitely, but it does make the person sitting or standing beside, or across the table appreciate the look of the watch, which is something that some people overlook while sticking too much onto the spec sheet when talking about watches. At the end of the day, aren’t we all collecting and appreciating watches starting from its appearance?
Another thing that I must give credit to Seiko is the effort of them decorating the date window in most of their watches, from Seiko 5 to Grand Seiko. The appreciation of day and date window, in the Sakura Fubuki’s case is the date window, has been shown with a frame at a great symmetry. Every time when a person, or any watch snobs that talks about how superior Swiss watches are compared to the Japanese counterparts such as Seiko, I’d slap them with a few details that some, if not most of the Swiss watch manufacturers can’t achieve at the same price point of AU$675 (US$490~).
Before I end my review, I would like to give a quick apology to some of the photos may not turn out as good as they were from my end, as WordPress kind of compress the photos and make the textured dial of the Sakura Fubuki less popping comparing to viewing with your very own eyes. The macro shots are not the best with my new smartphone camera macro lens, and I will be upgrading my equipment soon.
That being said, the Seiko Presage SRPC03 Limited Edition Sakura Fubuki ‘Cocktail Time’ is one hell of a value being a limited edition itself, and if you are in search of any other automatic dress watch at this price point, look no further than the Seiko’s Presage line.
Special thanks to Mr Z for lending us this piece for over a week and a half period of time.
For more information about Seiko and its Presage line, visit online: https://www.seikowatches.com/au-en/products/presage