Seiko have come out with some great watches in the recent years, but the "Starlight" from the Presage line is by far my favourite piece. What makes this watch so special? Read on to find...
We start with the most noticeable feature of this Seiko, the dial. I tried to find out what kind of processes Seiko have used to create such a fantastic dial texture, but to no avail. This seems a well-kept secret at the moment. The watch has been inspired by a drink called 'Starlight', hence why the public dubbed the watch the same. Quite a fitting name, as staring into the blue dial can really remind one of a star-lit night sky. The dial plays with the light, making the texture really pop in some situations, and nearly completely disappear in others. This dial is a joy to watch.
Another underrated feature of this watch is the finishing on the hands. Many brands choose to go with fully-polished hands for their dress watches, this often makes it harder to read the time, especially in low-light conditions. Seiko decided to go for a mix of satin and polished finishes split down the middle of the hands, this allows us to clearly see what time it is after a quick glance at the watch. I have seen similar features before on some higher-end dress watches such as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Ultra-Thin.
The watch features a fairly big case, measuring at 40.5mm. It wraps nicely around the wrist and seems smaller in person. It'll also easily slide under a sleeve, with the thickness of the entire watch measuring at just 11.8mm. It's also important to notice that a chunk of the thickness comes from the domed hardlex crystal, so in person the watch looks thinner than it actually is.
The watch features a display case back that reveals the Seiko 4R35 automatic movement with a gold-plated rotor. Apart from the rotor, the finishing on the movement doesn't offer anything special.
I also enjoy the clarity that the hardlex crystal offers, when looking at the watch head on, it looks as if there is no glass there at all (if we ignore the warping around the edge due to the crystal being domed)
LIMITED & COLLECTIBLE
The "Cocktail Time" Presage range is already well renowned, and with the addition of these limited edition pieces, the range gains more 'exclusivity'. The Starlight is quite a collectible piece that will likely not lose value over time, this is due to it belonging in a desirable range of timepieces and being limited to only 3500 pieces worldwide (ref. SRPC01) and 1300 pieces within the Japanese market (ref. SARY085).
SARY vs SRPC
Seiko have released the Starlight separately within the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). If you are looking for the more 'collectible' piece, it is likely that the JDM version (SARY085) will hold a higher value in the future. As far as I can see, there isn't much of a visual difference between the SARY085 and SRPC01. The main difference can be seen on the caseback, with the limited edition number being out of 1300 for the SARY085 and 3500 for the SRPC01.
The only downside to this watch for me is the inability to wear this watch in some situations. This timepiece provides quite a serious look that doesn't really fit a t-shirt & shorts summer look. Then there's the fact that the crystal is made of hardlex and the case is fully polished, and while this makes the watch look great, it also makes it very scratch-prone. So unless you're completely not worried about scratches on a watch, this wouldn't make a great watch for outdoor activities. To me this is more of a watch I would wear on special occasions, with a shirt & tie.
You can completely transform this watch by putting an aftermarket strap on it. A new strap can make all the difference. My favourite choice is the Vintage Highley in honey. It really makes the dial pop, and contrasts the watch perfectly. Another great option for this watch is the Vintage Winstone in Grey, this version really allows the dial to shine due to the toned down colour of the leather.
Overall, the Seiko Presage "Starlight" is a great, reliable and collectable watch. For the price of around £380 for the non-power reserve Starlight, it is almost a steal for the quality you get with this timepiece. Of course, being limited edition it is likely that they will not be sold at the retail price for much longer. So whether you're a collector, looking for a great watch for a special occasion, or simply like the idea of owning this unique timepiece, I think this a watch for you.