Hands-On: The Seiko Presage Homage To The Crown Chronograph

By Masaharu Wada

Seiko just released three references — SARX069, SARX073, and SARX071 — from its Presage line as an homage to the Crown Chronograph circa 1964. I got my hands on them, so here is my quick Hands-On review of the new homage pieces.

The original Crown Chronograph was developed when Seiko became the official timekeeper of the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympics, which were the first games to be held in Japan. This watch is also known as the first Japanese timepiece with a stopwatch complication, and it inherited the name “Crown” from the hand-wound (non-chronograph) piece of the same name, which the Crown Chronograph was based on.

First Crown Chronograph ref. 5719A-45899

The first Crown Chronograph was a mono-pusher — operating start, stop and reset functions with one pusher — and the lack of sub-dials emphasized the clean impression of the dial. It was equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel made of plastic acting as a 60-minute register in a pinch. In practice, you’d set the triangle at the 0/60 mark to the minute hand and start the chronograph to clock the minutes.

Seiko actually released another homage piece to this chronograph, Presage SARK015 (known outside of Japan as the SRQ031), last October to celebrate the 55 years of Seiko chronograph history. That piece was a conventional three-register chronograph equipped with the brand’s chronograph movement 8R48. One could say it was an embodiment of the technological advancements over the last 55 years, but some enthusiasts weren’t too happy with its design execution which just loosely borrowed the overall look and feel of the original, such as the dial color. This new homage piece, however, follows the original design language more closely, although it is, in fact, a non-chronograph three-hander.

Let’s get into the details of the watch in question. Although it is not equipped with a chronograph, the overall design indeed closely resembles the original Crown Chronograph. I do think being a three-hander without sub-registers is probably the biggest reason for that, but the black bezel, crisp indices, lumed dauphine hands, and the dial itself all contribute to achieving the look. In addition to the true-to-original ivory dial model, Seiko introduced green and blue dial variations as well (as a side note, the OG was available in gray as well). The newly added green and black references look modern and stylish, but I personally favor the ivory version …read more      

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