As one of the world’s largest watch manufacturers, Seiko is no stranger to collaborations and limited edition pieces. Seiko watches can be inspired by anything from natural landscapes to children’s television shows, and among the various collections of Seiko watches is one that is inspired by the world of mixology and finely crafted cocktails. The very first Seiko Cocktail Time watches debuted in 2010 as a JDM-exclusive release and quickly picked up a cult following among collectors. Seiko clearly recognized the popularity of the original models because in 2017, the brand unveiled a new lineup of Cocktail Time watches; however, this time it was released as part of the greater Presage collection and was also made available to international markets. Each different Seiko Cocktail Time watch features a dial that is inspired by a different drink and for 2022, Seiko has created two new models that are inspired by the cocktails of Hisashi Kishi, the owner of STAR BAR and the first bartender to be awarded the “Contemporary Master Craftsman” award, who created these original cocktails to be reminiscent of the vibrant yet traditional city of Tokyo.
Officially known as the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time STAR BAR Limited Edition SSA455 and SSA457 watches, both models feature identical stainless steel cases that measure 40.5mm in diameter by 11.6mm thick, with a lug width of 20mm and an overall lug-to-lug distance of 47.5mm. Similarly, both models feature box-shaped Hardlex crystals above their dials, signed push-pull style winding crowns located at the 3 o’clock position, and screw-down display casebacks that help provide them with 50 meters of water resistance. The overall look and feel of the outer cases on these two new limited-edition Seiko STAR BAR watches will be instantly familiar to anyone who has handled previous Seiko Cocktail Time models before, and it offers a traditional dress watch aesthetic with contemporary sizing and proportions. This fairly minimalist case style also serves as a perfect canvas to showcase the dials of the watches, which are the true stars of the show on the various models from Seiko’s Cocktail Time series.
Fitted with a textured silver dial that has faint undertones of yellow and green, the Seiko SSA455 is inspired by one of STAR BAR’s exclusive cocktails called the “Illumine,” which features a bright and crisp flavor profile with a gentle yellow color that serves as the inspiration for the dial of the watch. The other model is the Seiko SSA457, which is also based on one of STAR BAR’s exclusive cocktails called the “Red Brick,” and it features a deep crimson dial that similarly matches the color of the drink that serves as its inspiration. Despite their different colors, both of the new Cocktail Time STAR BAR dials feature the same skeletonized pattern, with arc-shaped cutouts radiating outwards from where their balance wheels are located. In addition to allowing you to see a greater portion of the movement, the skeletonized design is intended to look like the ripples on the surface of a freshly-poured cocktail. While both watches receive the exact same style of dauphine hands paired with sharp pointed indices, the textured off-silver dial of the Seiko SSA455 is fitted with components that have a traditional white-metal finish, while the Seiko SSA457 has gold-finished hands and hour markers set against its deep crimson surface.
Despite being limited edition models, both of the new Seiko Presage Cocktail Time STAR BAR watches are positioned as entry-level Presage models, and they are therefore powered by Seiko’s Caliber 4R72 automatic movement. A time-only movement that includes the added conveniences of hacking and hand-winding, the Seiko 4R72 is similar in its overall functionality to the rest of Seiko’s 4Rxx family of movements, and the Caliber 4R72 runs at a frequency of 21,600vph with a power reserve of approximately 41 hours. With that in mind, unlike some of the more common movements from the popular Seiko 4Rxx family, the Cal. 4R72 features a partially skeletonized design with a gold finish since it is intended to be used in watches that have a skeletonized dial and a display caseback. Both of the new Seiko Presage Cocktail Time STAR BAR models are completed by calfskin leather straps that are fitted with push-button folding clasps, with the SSA455 receiving a black strap, while the SSA457 gets a dark brown one.
Just like the actual drinks themselves, some of Seiko’s Cocktail Time watches will naturally appeal to you more than others, but that is part of the fun of the collection. Regardless of whether or not you would personally wear a specific model, it’s always fun to see how Seiko reinterprets different alcoholic beverages as watch dials, and the concept has resulted in some truly beautiful and interesting creations over the years. The Seiko SSA455 “Illumine” and the Seiko SSA457 “Red Brick” will both have an official retail price of $595 USD, and both of the new Seiko Presage Cocktail Time STAR BAR watches will be produced as limited editions of 5,000 examples each, with availability starting in October 2022. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.