This year is the 40th anniversary of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, a 1984 Japanese anime film portraying the titular heroine’s valiant adventures in a post-apocalyptic world. To mark the occasion, anime studio Studio Ghibli and Seiko created the Presage Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind SPB437, a limited edition with an unusual combination of finishes, namely a blue enamel dial and a brushed steel case.
Seiko has long incorporated Japanese pop culture into its timepieces, drawing inspiration from iconic franchises such as Gundam and the Street Fighter video game. While the new Presage isn’t the first collaboration between the watch brand and Studio Ghibli, the Nausicaä edition is arguably amongst the best due to its classical, almost minimalist design.
Even though it is a cartoon-inspired watch, the Nausicaä edition has a restrained aesthetic with stylish details. Particularly notable is the blue enamel dial featuring the emblem of the Princess Nausicaä and elongated indices. The simplicity of the dial design, combined with a steel case featuring an unusual aged finish completes the aesthetic that sets it apart from the typical Presage model. Its clean styling stands out even compared to the earlier Presage Castle in the Sky from 2021.
The Nausicaä edition is priced at US$1,600, a modest increase over the previous Studio Ghibli model but still affordable. As is often the case with affordable Seiko limited editions, the main drawback is the production run of 1,500 pieces, which is sizeable.
Subtle anime inspiration
Co-founded by filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli is perhaps the world’s most storied animation studio. Amongst its acclaimed animated films is Spirited Away, an Oscar winner from 2003. Studio Ghibli has collaborated with Seiko on various timepieces inspired by its films, including Porco Rosso in 2020 and Castle in the Sky in 2021.
Past Studio Ghibli editions have most been based on the Presage Craftsmanship Series, a range of watches that feature artisanal dials in enamel or porcelain. The Nausicaä edition adopts the simple, three-hand layout also found in the Presage Arita Porcelain. But instead of porcelain, it features a fired enamel dial, accompanied by leaf hands and accentuated by elongated indices.
According to Seiko, the 1984 film influenced the design. The blue dial, for instance, mirrors the heroine’s attire and features her emblem at six. A blue crystal glass cabochon is set on the oversized crown, a reference to the eye of the Ohms, the colossal, trilobite-like creature Princess Nausicaä befriends in her quest to resolve the storyline’s primary conflict.
Also interesting is the steel case with an aged finish meant to evoke the primitive tools used by characters in the film. A “super-hard coating” is applied to the case to improve scratch resistance and preserve the aged look. Cosmetics aside, the case is sized similarly to standard Presage Porcelain models, measuring 40.5 mm in diameter and 12.4 mm high.
This is equipped with the cal. 6R51, the time-only variant of the cal. 6R55 widely used in the Presage range. It has a useful power reserve of three days, now the norm for modern calibres.
Key facts and price
Seiko Presage Craftsmanship Series Studio Ghibli Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
Diameter: 40.5 mm
Height: 12.4 mm
Material: Stainless steel with superhard coating
Water resistance: 100 m
Movement: Cal. 6R51
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 72 hours
Strap: Leather strap with folding clasp
Limited edition: 1,500 pieces
Availability: At Seiko boutiques and select retailers starting March 2024
For more information, visit Seikowatches.com.