I have seen Ananta, and it is good. Too good almost. Seiko doesn’t know what they have in their suave new collection of high-end Japanese mechanical wrist watches. For them, the attractive Ananta watch line is an important exercise in improving their global footprint – a move that should have been done a long time ago. For you, the watches represent bona fide luxury wrist watch bargains. Let me explain.
Ananta watches have two families of movements. Automatic mechanical movements, and the automatic mechanical quartz regulator hybrid technology Spring Drive movements. Both are every good movements and more importantly are totally in-house made by Seiko. That’s right. Such high brow claims by companies such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Rolex are the status quo at Seiko – and you didn’t even know it. Seiko is a totally integrated watch manufacture, with high class facilities in various parts of Japan that are almost indistinguishable from those of the esteemed high-end European brands. Seiko being Japanese, has an incredible sense of efficiency and industrialization, so in that sense they are more like Rolex. But unlike Rolex, the high-end mechanical watches from Seiko are hand assembled with parts specially made by individual technicians, not robots. It is the little things that Seiko does that are important. For example, they have in-house testing procedure for their movements that is more strenuous than Swiss COSC Chronometer watch testing. Also, Seiko actually checks watches for water resistant by putting them under water, not just in pressure chambers (which they also do).
Please don’t tell Seiko that they should raise their prices, cause as it is, their luxury watches are one of the best kept secrets in the industry. It is true that most of them can’t be officially purchased outside of Japan, but that is slowly changing. The Ananta watches retail from about $2,500 – around $6,000 for the Spring Drive chronograph models. The watches have beautiful cases that are influenced by Japanese Katana swords, and the design inspiration succeeding in giving the watches a great character. The best part of them aside from the case and high quality is the depth of the dial, and the wonderful diamond polished hour indexes - so great looking. They are functionally superior watches as well. I can easily say that the chronograph models for both the automatic and Spring Drive models are the most pleasurable chronograph watches I have ever had the pleasure of using. A big part of this is in the pushers. Not only are they large and easy to operate, but they have a two-stage operation. This means that you press down on the pusher a bit until it stops. The next push then actually actives the chronograph without any time delay. So the operation is smooth and precise. It feels like you are using a professional grade stop watch, which you are, because Seiko coincidentally makes excellent stopwatches.
In addition to the chronograph models there are two calendar models (day/date) with power reserve indicators. One of the calendars has retrograde indicators. These use the automatic movements. Then there is GMT version with power reserve indicator (my choice pick among the watches for a mix of style and simplicity) that has the impressive Spring Drive movement in it.
You’ll notice that the watches are large for Japanese watches. They are large, but impressive, and not too large. The watches come on steel bracelets or reptile straps (black or brown). Also notice that you have the option of bezel with numeral information on them, or bare and shiny. Seiko tells me that sales for the Ananta watches are proving to be impressive in places where they are finally showing up. I am not surprised. This is a great time to rediscover a side of Seiko that you’ve been missing, and at the same time get yourself a high quality, very reliable, luxury watch at a good value.
By Ariel Adams