“Stark beauty” are two words that I will use to describe this particular range of Seiko Brightz. Stark because of its plain enamel dial, void of all perceptions of depth due to the use of painted markers. Beauty arises from the font used for the hour markers, which have not (to the best of my knowledge) been repeated since. The simple black and white combination (except for the LE brown dial edition) certainly has its own appeal, versus the usual polished markers, dial engraving, colors, etc that are more commonly seen in watch dials. Another very good example is the Tudor Pelagoes, which like this Brightz range, is primarily displayed in a black and white palette. Simple, but effective.
The model that I will talk about today (SAGN005) comes with two interesting complications which I have not owned previously. A subsidiary small second hand located at 6 o’clock marker and a power reserve found at the 10 o’clock marker. This is also the second Brightz from this range that I owned, having already written about the brown dial LE which I mentioned earlier in an earlier post.
Compared to the brown dial edition, I find the SAGN005 more attractive simply because of its complications.
Subsidiary small second hands – Previously having had only center second hand watches, the inclusion of the subsidiary small second hand certainly added on to the “stillness” of the watch as now it takes more than a casual glance to tell that your watch is working.
Power reserve – This complication is actually more of a trademark of Orient watches, especially in the Orient Star and Royal Orient series. The only other well known Seiko watch that has this complication is the Flightmaster with the 6s37 movement and certain Brightz Models, also with the same movement. Unfortunately I believe that the 6s37 movement is no longer in production. Having a power reserve is certainly helpful to see how much power is left, but certainly no impediment to enjoying your mechanical watch. I would say that its more of a bonus, and is certainly an additional point to talk about your watch.
SAGN005 is also powered by a hand winding only 4s29a movement. This movement is a derivative of the 4s family and as such comes with a 40 hour power reserve, and beats at 28,800bps. It is also factory regulated to +25 / -15 seconds a day. Curiously, the power reserve indicator reads 40 hours, but goes for longer, approximately 42 hours or more.
Being a hand winding movement, there is much more room for decoration on the movement. However being Seiko, there was minimal decoration with only the movement calibre engraved and painted in black on the back.
I would like to talk briefly about movement decorations here. Many watch collectors will often comment on the industrial, stark finish of Seiko movements, even in the Grand Seiko range, citing the lack of anglage (referring to either bevelling or chamfering) which is usually used to smoothen the edges of movements part at a 45 degree angle and then polished. In Seiko movements, as you can see above, the edges are often cut precisely, with no hint of any form of anglage. This is also often why collectors sometimes refer to Seiko as being “cold”. However it is important to note that although Seiko may not believe in excessive decoration of their movements, it does not make their movement any less capable.
In contrast to the lack of finishing in the movement, the hour and minute hands are phenomenally polished, with a white line running down the middle. In fact it is almost black polished, which refers to polishing of such a high degree that at certain angles, the hands appear almost black, and when spot on, reflects a tremendous amount of light. I believe that this also holds true for the hands found in the Grand Seiko range, as many owners have commented that despite the lack of lume (on most GS), there is usually no issue with reading the time due to the high reflectivity of the hands.
Being a hand winding movement, this watch is a svelte 11mm. Being made of the phenomenal Brightz titanium material, this is one of the lightest watch in my collection, bested only by my Lord Marvel. However, this also makes the case very susceptible to scratches, and it came to me with its back scratched badly from its prior ownership.
The crown is nicely signed with the “B” logo of this series and it comes with drilled through lugs which makes the changing of straps a breeze.
Overall, I find this model much more interesting that the brown dial LE, and for now it’s a definite keeper for me, due to its many complications and “stark beauty, stark simplicity”.