The Arita dial production is overseen by craftsman Hiroyuki Hashiguchi at a manufacturer that has been honing the art since 1830. The very nature of producing porcelain dials is as such that machines can only play a role up to a certain point, and the rest relies on the human touch. In short, the creation of porcelain dials is an art unto itself. Arita porcelain is different from conventional porcelain in that it’s a physically harder material, making the need for precision more important when working with it. Hakuji porcelain is used for its pure whiteness, and that creates a drastic contrast between the blue hands and the dial. This specific effect resulting from the bright white and the soft blue is meant to evoke lunar beauty that one would experience during the Suigetsu ritual, which is when one appreciated the reflection of the moon on still water. Oftentimes, it can be a challenge to fully grasp the context and ideology behind Seiko and Grand Seiko models that draw from Japanese tradition so deeply. The wistful nature of appreciating the moon’s reflection on water doesn’t seem to connect to horology and watchmaking, but take a step back, and it starts to make sense. It’s a human experience to appreciate fleeting beauty, and the way we appreciate the beauty of any watch – no matter where it’s from – isn’t so different. The Seiko SPB171 is indeed beautiful, with Japanese cultural context or without.
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