In the beginning of this year, at Basel 2010 trade show, the Japanese brand has introduced one of the most brilliant members of the Ananta series: the Seiko Ananta Spring Drive Moon Phase (ref. SNR023). Although coming with virtually no decoration that we usually expect from a European brand, the new timepiece from Seiko looks as refined as a ceremonial Tachi sword.
While most of American and European customers usually associate Seiko brand with inexpensive quartz watches and electronic gadgets, the Japanese company also sells less affordable automatic timepieces as well as Spring Drive models with prices reaching as high as $100,000 for the Seiko Credor Spring Drive Sonnerie model equipped with hourly Japanese chime.
However, most of these watches are JDM, i.e. produced exclusively for the Japanese domestic market.
The Seiko Ananta series was therefore the first collection of fine watches designed for the global market.
Powered by Seiko’s proprietary Spring Drive hybrid movement, the watches are as accurate as normal quartz-equipped timepieces. The Spring Drive movements combine an automatic winding system with a Tri-synchro Regulator module, that governs the unwinding of the mainspring and lets the hands “glide,” not “tick” around the dial
What is the most amazing about this watch is that all of its shiny surfaces are polished by hand.
The Japanese brand uses a special “blade polishing” technique to provide the Ananta with its unique look. Although it is not clearly visible on these photoshopped pictures, in real life the watch indeed looks like it incorporates parts of the Japanese katana swords into its 46 mm stainless steel body.
The Ananta’s body, as some of you may already know, is made of two parts. Like the sword is basically made of a blade and a hilt, the Ananta watches are made of an inner body that actually holds the movement and an outer body that protects it from shocks and also has integral lugs to connect it to the exquisitely polished stainless steel bracelet.
While some other versions of the watch feature too much polished steel on their dials to stay perfectly legible, the Ananta Spring Drive Moon Phase seems to be an exception from this rule. Its silk black dial provides more than adequate level of contrast to all the four hands (including the smaller power reserve indicator), as well as to the gorgeous moonphase indicator that features a rather intimidating black moon on its rotating dial.
The broad sword-shaped hands, as well as the five-minute indexes on the chapter ring show adequate amounts of lume to provide superb legibility during nighttime.
The power reserve indicator looks a little illogical here. I mean, one justly expects the hand going from higher to lower position as the watch’s mainspring slowly unwinds. However, counter intuitively, the Caliber 5R67 uses an indicator where the hand moves in a clockwise direction: from lower to higher position.
At this time the Spring Drive Moon Phase is available only on a stainless steel bracelet (which is, by the way, quite lightweight for the job of its size,) but I hope that soon there will also be a version on a black crocodile strap with a deployment clasp.
Seiko Ananta Spring Drive Moon Phase (ref. SNR023) specification:
Price range: $4000
Movement: Seiko Caliber 5R67, Spring Drive, Made in Japan
Functions: Moonphase, power reserve
Power reserve: 72 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Size: 46.00 mm
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet