Never in the history of watchmaking has a single brand manage to define and establish so many lines of best sellers within its ongoing production as SEIKO has. Nestled within the popular SEIKO Presage basic range, defined as affordable traditional fine mechanical dress watches, is the 'Cocktail Time' series of timepieces which first appeared in 2009 in a collaboration between SEIKO and decorated award winning Japanese bartender, Mr Ishigaki Shinobu. The original timepiece was 'Cool' SARB065, 'Dry' SARB066 and 'Sweet' SARB068 and were limited to 300pcs each, featured a combination of small and ultra large sunburst guilloche dial in stunning satin tones and the 6R automatic movement. These were however JDM (Japan domestic models) and were only available locally in Japan and not released internationally.

Last year in 2017, SEIKO introduced nine non limited variants of the 'Cocktail Time' into basic Presage series using the 4R automatic calibre, four in 4Rxx with power reserve and five in 4Rxx three hand watch (see here) which was sold out for several months initially at all the authorised dealers. The use of 4R calibre was clearly to priced it more affordably to reach out to a larger audience.

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This year, SEIKO collaborated with another award winning master mixerlogist and once International Bar Association world championship winner, Mr Hisashi Kishi for the latest Cocktail Time with two stunning dials, Both dials were inspired by cocktails created by Hisashi Kishi, the head bartender at the STAR BAR in Tokyo's Ginza area.

The Starlight cocktail is inspired by brilliance and mystery of the night sky
The design evokes the brilliance and mystery of the night sky. The overall tone of the dial is deep blue, brought to life by the glow of starlight that radiates out from the center, just as the bubbles in the cocktail reflect the light in the glass. As Kishi puts it, “The secret of a great Starlight is the bubbles. I shake the cocktail mixer in a special way that I call my ‘Infinity Shake’ to add tiny bubbles that sparkle in the glass and create a sense of starlight in the night sky.

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L-SRPC01J1/3500units (JDM SARY085/1300units), R-SSA361J1/3500units (JDM SARY087/1300units)

The Sakura Fubuki cocktail expresses the beauty of cherry blossoms in the spring breeze
The Japanese love of cherry blossom is well known and every stage of its life is enjoyed to the full, none more so than the last and most beautiful moment when it is in full bloom and just about to fall. If you steal a glance at the dial in the light, what seems like dancing patels will greet you. The design captures this most evocative time for the cherry blossom in its delicate pink dial, as does Kishi’s creation. As he says, “I love the flavors of this cocktail. The sharp taste of the gin mixes perfectly with the richness of the sweet Sake. The malted rice floats on the surface like cherry blossom in the spring breeze.”

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L-SRPC03J1/3500units (JDM SARY089/1000units), R-SSA363J1/3500units (JDM SARY091/1000units)

To say the fine exquisite and unique finish of the dials is the key to the designs is an understatement, it is the axis of the Presage Cocktail Time concept. To achieve the special dial colour gradient and texture, the finishing is applied no fewer than seven separate times. This painstaking process gives the depth and rich tone to the textured and patterned dials that allows them to express the exact look of the cocktails which inspires them in the first place. I hesitate to call it fume dial finishing it would do it injustice. There are so many more elements that are rather hard to a reference to in these two dials so I'll leave it at that.

Each of the two unique dials are available in two versions. One uses the 4R35 three hand calendar caliber while the other 4R57 additionally features a center power reserve hand shaped like the stem of a cocktail glass. Both are automatic but can also be wound by hand using the specially contoured crown which when turned, allows the user to experience and enjoy the torque, strength and quality of the movements. All four versions are fitted with see through display back case and gold plated oscillating weight.

These four gorgeous dress watches will be numbered and limited and each model comes with two reference numbers, one is a JDM reference and the other international reference. The JDM versions will be limited to 1000 units for the 3-hand, 1300 units for the power reserve and 3500 units per model for the international version. Starlight cocktail has already hit the stores and have apparently been completely sold out in Japan. The Sakura Fubuki is said to hit the stores anything now. SEIKO has once again masterfully defined a very unique product niche, spliced into an intoxicating collaboration leaving legions of enthusiast waiting for the next instalment.