Seiko Cocktail Time: Your Guide to the Happy Hour Watch
For years, Seiko has been producing cult classics such as the Alpinist, the Samurai, and the Sumo. Another popular favourite among enthusiasts is the Seiko Cocktail Time — arguably one of the best affordable dress watches in the world.
Inspired by — you guessed it right — cocktail drinks, the Seiko Cocktail Time was created in collaboration with Japanese mixologist Shinobu Ishigaki of the famous Ishinohana Bar in Shibuya District in Tokyo. It was launched in 2010, to the delight of Seiko fans. Needless to say, it was an instant hit — so much so that Seiko eventually launched the Seiko Presage collection in 2016, which now carries the Cocktail Time models.
The Original Cocktail Time Watch
The original Seiko Cocktail Time — the SARB065 — introduced in 2010 remains to be the most popular version of the model. Although this model has already been discontinued, many watch enthusiasts still go to great lengths to get ahold of this classic timepiece.
This handsome watch comes in a 40mm stainless case with 13.3mm thickness. Some people find that as a dress watch, the SARB065 is a bit thick to be worn with formal wear or a tuxedo. But that doesn’t deter the fans of this watch from raving about it.
The highlight of this timepiece is, of course, is the dial. It comes in a delicate baby-blue colour with a beautiful sunburst guilloche effect. As most dress watches, this has a minimalist dial with only the words “Automatic” and “23 Jewels,” as well as the Seiko logo, adorning it. The silver-toned applied hour markers with arrow-like shapes are highly polished. But you’ll notice that markers for 12, 6, and 9 o’clock are slightly larger, and the 3 o’clock marker gives way to the date window. The hour and minute hands are made of elegant dauphine design. And just like the indexes, they are meticulously polished. Around the edge, you’ll see the minute track framing the dial. As a final touch, you have a cocktail stirrer for a second hand. Fine details like this one are what endear the Seiko Cocktail Time to many watch enthusiasts.
The thin, stainless steel bezel is complemented with a nice, unobtrusive crown. And at the back, the original Seiko Cocktail Time features a screw-down exhibition Hardlex caseback, which showcases the in-house automatic Calibre 6R15 movement that is powering the watch. It beats at a rate of 21,600 bph and features 50 hours of power reserve. What’s more, it has a hacking and winding capacity and water-resistance of up to 50 metres. This whole elegant design is finished with a black leather strap with a deployment clasp.
Seiko Cocktail Time Watches in 2020
This year, Seiko recently launched its new addition to the Presage Cocktail Time series with three vibrant models: the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Negroni” SRPE41, the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Old Clock” SRPE43, and the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Mojito” SRPE45.
Unlike the original, which has a 40mm diameter, the 2020 editions come in a smaller 38.5mm stainless case. It has the usual thin bezel with narrow lugs and an overall polished look. But always, the main feature of these Cocktail Time watches is the dial. You’ll find details of your classic favourite cocktails in each watch. There’s the orange-red Negroni for the SRPE41, the vibrant navy-blue Old Clock for the SRPE43, and the fresh green Mojito for the SRPE45.
Another new thing that you’ll notice about these latest instalments of the Cocktail Time series are the indexes. They’re a mix of triangle applied markers and Arabic numerals in an alternating fashion. The even numbers are in Arabic numerals and the odd numbers are indexes.
However, some of the features are pretty much loyal to the original. The models have dauphine hands with the distinctive cocktail stirrer second hand. Some don’t like it because they say it clashes with the whole design. But others feel it’s a fresh take on the well-loved classic. It’s also not surprising that these watches run on the in-house 4R35 automatic movement, with a dependable power reserve of 41 hours. Leather straps in complementary colour finish the watches: navy blue for the Old Clock, dark brown for the Negroni, and a lighter brown for the Mojito.
The Ultimate Guide to the Seiko Cocktail Time Watches
Note that these watches are now under the Seiko Presage collection, which also carries other series and lines of watches. The Cocktail Time series has a few designs, namely, the classic dress watch, the power reserve, and the open heart.
As previously mentioned, the dial is the focus of the Cocktail Time, with most models featuring a sunburst guilloche pattern and come in different colours. Besides the patterns and vibrant hues, what’s special about these dials is that they reflect the light depending on the angle and the atmosphere, giving the wearers a different perspective and a sense of pleasant surprise every time.
Some may find the versions with the power reserve a bit more cluttered because of an added sub-dial at 6 o’clock, which features the power reserve. But others feel these versions still manage to keep the dial streamlined and symmetrical. These versions also don’t have the date window at 3 o’clock anymore to make way for the power reserve feature. As for the open heart versions, instead of the power reserve, you have the open heart at 9 o’clock, which lets you see the mechanisms of the watch. These versions also don’t have the date window at 3 o’clock anymore to keep the dial less crowded.
The original Cocktail Time watches come in 40mm, which is considered standard size for men. But for a dress watch, some people find it big. And at 13mm thick, the original versions are a bit thick to be worn with a tux or a coat. Some fans complain that their SARB065 often gets caught in the cuff of their dress shirt, or it’s too bulky to be worn with one. However, some of the latest offerings come in smaller sizes such as the recently released SRPE41, SRPE43, and SRPE45 models.
The classic dress watches use the automatic Calibre 4R35 movement, the open heart versions have the automatic Calibre 4R35B movement, while the power reserve models run on the automatic Calibre 4R57 movement. Now, these are all in-house movements by Seiko that have years and years of reliability and competence behind them. These movements can be seen through the watches’ exhibition caseback, which is one of the favourite features of watch enthusiasts.
Another thing that fans love about the Seiko Cocktail Time is the versatility when it comes to straps. You can easily match the colourful dial with the complementary strap of your choice, depending on your personal style, occasion, and preference. As a classic dress watch, most enthusiasts go for the leather strap, which can be either black or brown. With a lug width of 20mm, you can easily find the strap that suits you and your Cocktail Time of choice.
Best Seiko Cocktail Time Watches Available Online
A perfect everyday watch for work and play, the Blue Moon Cocktail Time comes in a 40.5mm stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. It has a beautiful blue gradient sunburst dial protected by a domed Hardlex crystal. Its dial stays true to the original, with polished silver-toned hands and index hour markers.
Powered by the in-house automatic Calibre 4R35 movement, it has the standard 41 hours of power reserve, with hand-winding and time-setting features. You can admire this mechanism through its exhibition Hardlex caseback. It has a 50m water resistance and a date window at 3 o’clock.
2. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Irish Coffee” SRPE11J1
A limited-edition piece, the Irish Coffee Cocktail watch is certainly very special. As the name suggests, the dial features coffee-inspired details with a dark-brown hue around the edges, going lighter in the middle — much like a cafe latte straight from your favourite barista. It comes in a 40.5mm stainless steel case and a dark brown leather strap that perfectly complements the dial. It has the classic silver-toned hands and indexes and a nice date window at 3 o’clock.
Powering the watch is the in-house automatic Calibre 4R35 movement, boasting 41 hours of power reserve, as well as hand-winding and time-setting features. What’s more, this classy watch is water-resistant up to 50 metres.
3. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Manhattan” SRPB46J1
Another elegant dress watch in the lineup is the Manhattan Cocktail Time. Just from the name itself, you would know that it’s a classic, just like the drink. From its 40.5mm stainless steel case to its minimalist dial and brown leather strap — this Seiko Cocktail Time is everything you want in a dress watch. The sunburst guilloche dial has a beautiful gradient brown hue, dark around the edges and lighter and more vibrant in the middle. This is all complemented by rose gold-tone hour markers and hands. The thin, rose gold-tone bezel and lugs match the hands and indexes for an overall elegance.
The Seiko automatic Calibre 4R35 movement with its 23 jewels and self-winding and hacking features runs the watch. You can view the whole mechanism via its see-through caseback.
4. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Gimlet” SRPC99J1
Another favourite cocktail, another favourite watch. The Gimlet Cocktail Time won the hearts of watch lovers all over the world with its gin-and-lime colour on the dial, featuring gold-hued hands and indexes. A brown calfskin leather strap complements its look, keeping it classy like the drink itself.
Of course, this watch also runs on the in-house automatic Calibre 4R35 movement with a power reserve of 41 hours. Like the rest of the watches in the classic dress watch series, it has a 50m water-resistance, an exhibition caseback, and a date complication at 3 o’clock.
5. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Sidecar” Power Reserve SSA346J1
Now, on to our first Power Reserve piece — the Sidecar Cocktail Time. For those who don’t know, Sidecar is a type of cocktail that traditionally has cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice as the main ingredients. And just like the drink, the Sidecar Cocktail Time watch perfectly hits the spot. It has that soft golden-hued, guilloche-patterned dial with rose gold-tone case, bezel, hands, and indexes. A nice brown leather strap finishes the look.
As mentioned above, the Power Reserve variety runs on the in-house automatic Calibre 4R57 movement, with manual winding capacity, and boasts 41 hours of power reserve. You can see the power reserve function at 6 o’clock on the dial. Meanwhile, you can admire the whole mechanism through its exhibition caseback. This watch is likewise water-resistant up to 50 metres.
6. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Martini” Power Reserve SSA341J1
Ah, who doesn’t love the classic Martini? And just like the drink, the Martini Power Reserve Cocktail Time is an all-time favourite classic by watch enthusiasts. For starters, it features a 40.5mm stainless case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. The white-silver dial has the signature sunburst guilloche pattern, silver hands and indexes, and the power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock. The whole look is simply divine, a perfect accessory for work and business affairs.
Powering the Power Reserve watch is the Seiko automatic Calibre 4R57 movement with manual winding capacity. It can run up to 41 hours and has a water-resistance of 50 metres. This one is definitely a classic that everyone should own.
7. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Espresso Martini” Power Reserve SSA345J1
Just by the looks of the Espresso Martini Cocktail Time watch, you can already guess it’s inspired by coffee, espresso to be exact! Pair it with a martini and you got yourself a winner. The black-brown sunburst guilloche dial has that vintage vibe to it, but an elegant black leather strap balances it out, giving it a fresh look. The watch boasts polished hands and indexes, which match the lugs and bezel.
Keeping the watch accurate is the automatic Calibre 4R57 movement with a power reserve of 41 hours. And just like the rest of the watches from the collection, it also has a water-resistance of 50 metres.
8. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Honeycomb” Open Heart SSA409J1
With a beautiful honeycomb-inspired dial, the Honeycomb Cocktail Time lets the wearer admire the mechanism of this watch through an open heart. Instead of the power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock of the Power Reserve series and the date window at 3 o’clock of the Classic dress watch series, the Open Heart series has a skeleton window at 9 o’clock. The hands and indexes, as well as the logos, remain the same.
This series, however, runs on the in-house automatic Calibre 4R38 movement with 24 jewels and stop second hand function. It still has the same 41 hours power reserve and manual-winding capacity, as well as the standard 50m water-resistance.
9. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Stinger” Ladies’ Open Heart SSA783J1
The only ladies’ watch in the lineup, the Stinger Cocktail Time is inspired by the drink made with crème de menthe and brandy. Just as sexy as the drink sounds, the watch version has the same seductive vibe. From its 34mm stainless steel case to its burgundy dial and rich brown, almost burgundy, leather strap — this Open Heart Cocktail Time can win any lady’s heart. It has the signature silver hands and indexes, as well as the open heart feature at 9 o’clock.
The in-house automatic Calibre 4R38 movement powers this feminine watch, boasting a power reserve of 41 hours. It has the standard see-through caseback, Hardlex crystal, and 50m water-resistance. Overall, it has the elegance of your all-time favourite Cocktail Time watches.
10. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time “Skydiving” SRPB43J1/SARY125
The Skydiving Cocktail Time almost looks exactly like the original Seiko Cocktail Time, especially the Ice Blue version. If you look at the dial closely, though, you’ll see some slight differences. You’ll see the words ‘Automatic’ and ’23 Jewels’ on the original SARB065. Meanwhile, you have the words ‘Presage’ and ‘Automatic’ on the SARY125. Unlike the original which is powered by the automatic Calibre 6R15, the Sky Diving Cocktail watch runs on the automatic Calibre 4R35 with 41 hours of power reserve.
Other than the above-mentioned features, both watches are almost identical — from the baby blue sunburst guilloche dial to the silver-toned hands and indexes, exhibition caseback, and black leather strap.
The Perfect Happy Hour Watch
Reliability, design, and affordability are three of the characteristics that endear the Seiko Cocktail Time to its fans. From beautiful dials to elaborate details, these watches are arguably one of the well-loved affordable dress watches available in the market. Wear it every day to work and straight to happy hour in style!
For luxury dress watch options, check out our feature on Breguet, the epitome of watchmaking.