Collaborations between watch brands and movies typically rely on the fans of the movies for their appeal. It’s not a common thing at all for a watch that emerges from such a collaboration to find fans on its own based on its design and set of features.
It’s not like the Grand Seiko Spring Drivex Godzilla watch I wrote about recently, in which the appeal of the movie monster is truly a global and wide- ranging thing. In the case of the new Seiko Presage x Porco Rosso watches, the movie that the watches are based on is one that is more specific in its appeal, being that it is a Japanese anime film called “Porco Rosso” that was released in 1992.Now I’m personally not a fan of anime, but I know of people who are, and the level of reverence they have for the work of the famous Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli and its main creative head, Hayao Miyazaki, is boundless in its enthusiasm. Because of this, at the very least, these watches will find buyers based purely on the rabid fan-base that the animation studio already has.
Created by the famous Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, “Porco Rosso” is a film featuring an early 20th century pilot who transforms himself into a seaplane-flying pig. The lead character is called “Porco Rosso” which translates from Italian to “Crimson Pig”, and makes his living chasing sky bandits over Italy and the beautiful Adriatic Sea.
So that’s a brief description of the movie, and if you’re curious to find out more about it, have a look here at the trailer.
So that’s the inspiration.
Because of the themes surrounding the film, both the watches in this collection reference not just the pilot’s watches of the post World War One era, but the styling as well. Being part of the classically styled Presage collection, they come with enamel dials – black for the automatic chronograph and white for the Spring Drive model enamel, that were done by master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa and his colleagues.
This will definitely be part of the appeal of owning these watches. As you can see from these pictures, enamel creates an unworldly depth to the dial, and has a character that forces you to look closer at the details.It’s interesting especially for the automatic chronograph to see a Seiko watch with the traditional B-uhr pilot watch design, with the black dial providing contrast to the triangle at 12 o’clock and large Arabic numerals in white.
The watches themselves are a tribute to the fictional plane that is flown by Porco Rosso, the Savoia S-21, and have quite a few interesting features. The automatic chronograph has a “R” emblem of the tail of the plane in the running seconds sub-dial against the colours of the Italian flag, with the running seconds hand itself being the shape of the propeller. The white dialled Spring Drive model has the “R” emblem just above 6 o’clock on the dial, and more subtly recalls the colours of the Italian flag, with its white dial, red seconds hand and green power reserve indicator.
Additionally both these watches feature the “R” emblem on the crown, the name of the plane “Savoia S-21” engraved on the side of the case, as well as a sapphire case-back which features the Porco Rosso symbol as well as a quote from the film in Italian, that translate to – “A pig that does not fly is just a pig.”Seiko has not held back, putting two of their best movements into these watches. The automatic chronograph is powered by Seiko’s most advanced chronograph calibre, the 8R48, which has been seen quite a bit recently in a number of their watches. It’s a nice movement, since it gives a symmetrical layout to the dial with the position of the sub-dials. Not only that, it comes with such premium features as a vertical clutch and a column wheel, and it measures up to a full 12 hours.The white dial-ed watch carries to Spring Drive Caliber 5R65 with the proprietary Seiko technology that harnesses a mechanical gear train hooked up to a quartz oscillator that controls a magnetic glide wheel to give an accuracy of +/–1 second per day and a power reserve of 72 hours. Seen more commonly in the Grand Seiko collection rather than in the Presage, it is certainly a proven and well-loved movement, and comes with the trademark power reserve indicator at the eight o’clock position and a date window at three o’clock.
As I have said earlier, both these watches stand on their own for their aesthetics and really do not need you to be a fan of the movie to appreciate them. I can certainly imagine myself buying one and enjoying it for what it is. Of course, if you love the movie then there will be a greater depth to your experience in owning one. It’s certainly going to be either watch that is on your wrist when you watch the film or indeed anything else from Studio Ghibli.Both watches will be available from June 2020 and will be limited to 500 pieces for the Spring Drive version and 600 pieces for the automatic chronograph.