Probably the most interesting and most distinctive model in the brand’s 2013 edition which celebrates Seiko’s 100th birthday is this bright blue model, inspired by sea and the Japanese shores of Shonan. Made exclusively for the Japanese market, the SH Special Model (ref. SCQE001) does not belong to any of the brand’s collections. It is just marked by the initials of Seiko’s president, Mr. Shinji Hattori and it is clear that this special model will not be reproduced, which makes this 39-piece limited edition highly valuable from the collectors’ point of view. The design of the Seiko’s novelty is truly spectacular, featuring a number of symbols with the funny and relaxing character, visible on both sides of the case.
The first feature that is really special about this watch is its deep blue dial that recalls sky and sea that you can enjoy lying on the Shonan beach, located just one hour south of Tokyo. The central line that intersects the dial symbolizes the horizon. Made of blue mother-of-pearl, the dial presents a simple, yet alluring design, featuring just Roman numerals and the small seconds sub-dial at the 6 o’clock position. The striking interface is framed by a polished 18 karat white gold bezel, which is a part of a 38.5mm wide case made of the same material. The case is immediately recognizable by its tiny construction, with the thickness of just 7.6mm. Anti-reflective sapphire crystal covers both sides of the case, revealing much more than you could guess by looking the front side of the watch.
The case-back of Seiko SH Special Model timepiece exhibits a high-end Seiko caliber 6898 hand-winding movement, one of the slimmest mechanisms on the market which is just 1.98mm thick. This updated version of the brand’s caliber 6800 from the 1960s oscillates at the frequency of 21,600 alternations per hour. It is interesting that each mechanism is produced completely manually by Seiko’s craftsmen.
Another surprise comes with its decoration. Series of cartoon style engravings on this mechanism, executed by Japanese artist Kiyoshi Terui, are something that is rarely seen in the world of horology. These engravings also recall the sea, showing fish, sharks and birds.
The funny thing is that there is also an engraving of a fish with glasses which represents the president of the company, Mr. Shinji Hattori. The bubble above the fish show ‘special thanks’ inscription, which refers to the brand’s loyal fans. Another ‘thank you’ note is hidden in the number of pieces which are produced. The Japanese pronunciation for the number “39″ (“san-kyu”) sounds very similar as when you say “thank you”. Since the use of words with double meaning has a rich history in Japanese entertainment, this is a very cool way to show the respect to its customers.
The last secret tribute to the ‘must see’ location in Japan can be found on the back of the leather strap which shows the names of the locations in the Shonan beach area. If you look carefully at these inscriptions, you may find that their first letters, red vertically, spell out “Shinji.” The watch is available either with white or blue crocodile strap. The price of this model, available only in Japan, is 2,625,000 Japanese yen (around $26,500).