Are you hot & sexy or cold & practical?
Welcome to our second Match-Up! Reviews of the Seiko Presage can be found all over the web and a detailed break down of the Meccaniche Veneziane Redentore Burano can be found on here on our blog, so I thought it would be fun to compare the two watches that both try to achieve a timeless look but in two very different ways.
Special shout out to CWC member Erik.81 who I purchased the Presage from and who had the genius to affix an amazing suede strap to it!
Who’s it for? These watches are for someone who wants a timeless look that will be at home in both the office place as well as on the beach.
TWC Paid: Meccaniche Veneziane 1,065.00 CAD ($788.00 USD) & Seiko $395.00 CAD ($292.00 USD)
| Meccaniche Veneziane |
Model: Redentore, “Burano” ltd ed
Case: 40mm 316L Stainless Steel Height: Length: Lugs: 20mm Bezel: High polish
Movement: Swiss Made Automatic CAL.MV285 (28,800 MHz) (based on the STP1-11), 40hr power reserve
Crystal: Domed Sapphire, anti-reflective
WR: 10 ATM – 10 Bar – 100m – 330ft
Strap: Vintage Leather Made in Italy / Strapholic Leather strap
Model: Pressage, “Blue Moon”
Case: 40.5mm 316L Stainless Steel
Height: 11.8mm Length: Lugs: 20mm Bezel: High polish
Movement: 4R35B 23J Automatic, 41hr power reserve, manual wind, 21,600bph
Crystal: Box-Shaped Hardlex Crystal
WR: 5 ATM – 5 Bar – 50m – 115ft
Strap: Steel Link Butterfly / After-market Suede Vintage Strap
Finding this watch…
Amazon.com – $395.00 CAD – Seiko Presage Moon Blue – The Seiko is an easily available time piece that can be had for a relatively low entry point as seen here on Amazon.
Ebay.com – $750.00 USD – MV Redentore Burano – As time passes these are starting to become more scarce but you can still find them internationally as seen here on eBay.
The Cross Shop:
Ebay.com – $1,249.00 USD – Seiko Presage Blue Enamel Ltd Ed – Like the Seiko but want a limited-edition version like the Burano? Well check out eBay for the Presage in its ltd ed form, there is even a white dial version that’s pretty sharp!
Rolex – $3,060.00 USD – ROLEX DateJust 1603 – The 1603 is the original Rolex DateJust and looks great on both strap and bracelet. This particular example follows along with the cocktail trend featuring a lesser seen blue dial, this example has been refinished but remains beautiful. These old DateJust’s are in 36mm case so you have to be okay with the smaller size on your wrist.
Now many people hate on “micro-brands” and start-ups claiming that because they do not have the established pedigree of established brands, often make comment on their use of sourced movements (ETA, STP, Seagull, Miyota, Seiko, Rhonda, Sellita), and charge a premium to make ends meet that they are not worth considering as worthy watch brands. Along side this is the idea that Swiss made everything is the peak of horology and that all others are just not worthy. Battling here today is the mighty Japanese mountain of a brand Seiko vs Meccaniche Veneziane, an Italian start-up that has used the KickStarter platform to “kick start” their fledgling brand.
1. Box / Packaging: Meccaniche Veneziane
Spend $400 get a cardboard tag and a box with a pillow and a tiny instruction manual. Spend $1,000 get a handmade Durmast wood box with a sponge inner liner. You’ll also be treated to some promotional cards and authentication paperwork as well as a plastic watch tag. It’s really not fair as the total MV presentation is simply a whole step up and then some. If you’re about the whole packaging / presentation, then the MV actually offers you a real potential value.
2. Case: Meccaniche Veneziane
It’s funny that every accent in each of these watches is finished to compliment the overall theme of the watch; everything on the Seiko is high gloss while on the Burano it’s all brushed finish. The Seiko is finished with a simple butterfly clasp (bracelet), or thumbnail clasp (strap), while the Burano offers a bulky, sporty pre-V (Strapholic), though the original is dressier with a glossy thumbnail clasp (stock strap). The Burano continues to show its sporty side on its side with flashy crown protectors while the Presage doesn’t pretend to be anything more than it is. With this the MV is on the heavier side but also offers 100m water resistance (WR) vs the Seiko’s 50m. Now I’m not going to say I trust either of these watches much past washing my hands or working around the house, and here again the Seiko doesn’t pretend to be more than it is with its WR, but knowing that a watch has that little bit of extra durability that the 100m offers is reassuring.
When you look at the side profile of the Presage you are hit with a stack of lines from the crystal to the case back (just look at the photo). The Burano on the other hand is slicker, much in part to the sparing use of high gloss flanking the brushed case (again just look at the photos). Ultimately, I feel like the Burano’s look is cleaner but feel free to disagree in the comments.
3. Case Back: Meccaniche Veneziane
Looking inside of the Seiko window case back displays a movement that looks like a base model car that has the space for buttons but are blacked out because they’re only on a higher trim. By this I of course mean that one close look inside the reveals that the movement itself is mostly confined to the middle of the case and all around the outside is all mounting points for higher “trim” complications. At least you can’t see a plastic spacer holding the whole thing together!
Take a look inside the MV you’ll find a sufficiently decorated movement that has a nice shine, and around its metal blockers so you don’t see anything but what MV wants.
The black lettering on the Seiko’s gold-plated rotor is a nice finish over the engraved MV but at the end of the day I once again feel like the MV just does it subjectively better but once again feel free to disagree in the comments.
4. Movement / Function: Tie
Despite its slower beat, the Seiko’s movement progresses forward as well as the MV’s STP equivalent. I notice every now and again that the Seiko’s rotor sometimes sounds like a piece of rattling tin versus the whirring sound the ETA makes in the MV. Without taking them to task and measuring their gain and loss I haven’t noticed any arguable difference between the two to date.
One note, the Seiko 4R35B can be found commonly in many micro-brands and everyday retail brands, in their export version, the NH35.
5. Lugs: Tie
Where the Seiko’s goal is to remain classy the MV shows off it’s sporty nature with bulkier lugs. The Seiko’s gives it a vintage bubble look while the MV’s give it a more heavy, modern look. Both do what they set out to accomplish and I’m happy with both so neither gets to take this category.
6. Crown: Meccaniche Veneziane
The Seiko’s crown juts out exposing what looks like the stem tube but really it’s just part of the diamond cut crown itself. That diamond cut crown combined with the oversize proportions of its overall size makes it look like it’s dirty all the time because half of the cut sides are reflecting black while the others are shining white. Either make it smaller or make it an onion crown. On the side is the head of the crown features an “S” and I feel like Seiko would be better served with a real logo. However, it is in the “Seiko” font and not just times new Roman like “hit print” every date wheel.
Meanwhile the MV offers a brush finished with a Venetian cross on the head and flanked by those sporty crown protectors previously mentioned. Using the crowns, I found that the ETA inside turned under control in both directions while the 4R35 I felt turned in reverse a little too easily and when winding the movement clicked more mechanically than smoothly.
The gap between the case and the crown on the Presage bugs me and for this the Burano takes this one home.
7. Bezel & Rehaut: Seiko
Both watches feature narrow high gloss bezels that accent their crystals while remaining unobtrusive and out of the direct path of damage. I’ll note that the Seiko bezel doesn’t just flair out it also follows the whole diamond cut theme by jutting back in along the case body creating a light / dark contrast. I’d wager that this isn’t just a coincidence and as such I’m going to give this thoughtfulness to Seiko.
8. Dial: Seiko
I would have liked to have seen the date dial in the same font and grey coloring as the “Presage, Automatic”. According to some you can only “get what you pay for” so I suppose if I drove a FCA product that I should expect that it’s going to break down and that’s ok that it’s known that it’s unreliable since I “got what I paid for”… Writing wise, the MV has more going on but it’s all in matching fonts and it all ties together nicely. The indices here are gold diamond cut markers and stand in stark contrast to the rest of the Burano’s all steel finishing’s. Now the date wheel of the MV is in flat white while the dial itself is in a redish hue which if you look at it enough times you eventually notice. Back at the Seiko we have silver indices that bow and taper in a diamond cut that once again differ from the MV’s squared off shapes. Ultimately Seiko, as it often does, hits a home run with the finishing of it’s dial which they call “blue moon”.
In brighter environments the blue rays of the dial reach out to the edges of the dial while in darker conditions it is restricted to a “screen gems” type radiating area in the middle.
9. Hands: Seiko
Both of these shiny men’s cocktail watches offer diamond cut hour and minute hands with pin sized second hands. The Burano keep with its playful theme features a contrasting red second hand while the Presage has an even thinner needle like second hand that even has a hole to thread it on the end! Both are well executed and serve their individual purposes.
What I can’t let go is that the Burano hour hand isn’t quite aligned correctly and at the top of each hour you will find that the hour hand has only travel 60% of the way between the previous hour and the new hour making it a pain to tell what time it is at a glance. It’s a quality control (QC) issue that like the fit and finish issues you’ll typically experience with a Cadillac isn’t make or break by any stretch but does take away from the overall experience.
Hopefully as MV grows and matures as a brand their QC will tighten up and, with 4 different models currently on order, I will discover soon how deep these QC issues really go!
10. Lume: N/A
Neither of these watches offer any lune which argue all you want won’t be changed so get over it.
11. Crystal: Tie
Adding to all the many differences between these two are the crystals; the MV being the hip one offers a typical sapphire glass while the Seiko being who they are features a hardlex crystal that lends to the vintage vibe. Where the MV should be crystal clear to look through for a very long time the Seiko, when looked at from any angle other than head on, being traditionally domed looks like you are looking through a translucent glue. It’s a very plastic look that will be prone to scratching but again lends itself to that vintage vibe even more as it ages. I should note that the MV crystal is “domed”, but just only along the outer edge. What this does, other than help prevent chipping along the edges, is when you look at the Burano head on from at least 8” away the minute markers around the outer edge disappear and the gold indices and “Swiss Made” are reflected in their place. It’s a cool effect and if you don’t get what I’m talking about just look at the photos. Along with this the domed edging will hopefully save you from chipping the edge as well!
I feel like both crystals are well considered by their respective makers and well executed.
12. Strap: Tie
With the stock steel bracelet, the Presage gives off a very cool, clinical feel but with the addition of the dark, rough skinned vintage strap it’s like that cold hard exterior is married now to a warm, loving opposite. It’s really quite the juxtaposition and I and my wife both really love the contrast. I think that if you kept the stock steel bracelet one for any length of time that you would probably get rid of it in short order as it comes off as pretty tin-y.
If you’ve read through my previous writings, you’ll likely know that I LOVE my Burano on its big bulky blue light weight Strapholic leather strap. Things with this is that, like the Presage, the Burano’s original strap just does not work for me. I understand what they were going for, vintage in the vintage places, a hard taper down to 16mm, it all combines to give the watch a dressy yet sporty look. I just don’t think it works with it when compared to the Strapholic strap.
With these things in mind I feel that neither company does it quite right the first time so neither watch gets an advantage here.
13. Gravitas / Presence: Tie
Out on the town the Presage is a cool cucumber with a relaxed confidence about it and whether you’re having drinks out on the town or mowing the lawn at home the Presage executes nicely. Meanwhile the Burano is much more in your face and if you talk to anyone person for more than a few minutes without them at least noticing the gold indices and blue accents then they’re probably color blind.
In this instance this category is challenging to assess as it really depends on how you define “gravitas”, is it the in your face features of the Burano or the timeless confidence of the Presage. I have to say that the Presage really is a quiet professional on the wrist, and it reminds me a lot of the 36mm DateJust in this regard.
Ultimately, I know how I feel about both watches, and I know how my wife feels about both, so this category ends in a stalemate!
14. Wife: Seiko
At the time of writing this category my wife is resting with our 2 week old while I entertain the ravings of our 3 year old but even though she’s not here right now I know that she absolutely adores the Presage when it is fixed to the brown suede strap. Of the Seiko, “…looks like to me there was more thought put into it.”
Continue to the last section for all her thoughts on this cocktail Match-up!
Just like Toyota is the old faithful of the auto industry so too is what I think is their horological counter part Seiko. Toyota’s aren’t particularly flashy or ahead of the curve, but they make a superbly reliable automobile that holds its street value better than any other brand. The Seiko Presage does everything right when it comes to achieving its goal of being a men’s cocktail watch.
And if such a category really does exist then the blue moon Seiko Presage is how you should define any watch competing in this category. I can definitely picture myself both in business attire as well as at the beach in both these watches!
Now if the Seiko is like Toyota then the Meccaniche Veneziane, which I can finally spell now without checking, has-to be like a Cadillac. It’s sharp, flashy and sexy, and parts are going to be easily available when something fails. And if something does fail or doesn’t quite fit right that’s ok, because its hot! So even though the QC might not be up to snuff it still runs well and being based on a work horse swiss movement means that I’ll be able to have it serviced easily.
Really, I can’t fault the Presage for not doing what it’s set out to do. I enjoy that it is a true definition of its sub-genre, the men’s cocktail watch, and I enjoy what Seiko has done to achieve this. And while the Presage is a master of the cold and practical then so too is the Burano with the warmth, multiple colors and overall playful feel to it. The Burano truly is the antithesis to the Presage and if you’ve read this far you should understand why.
I really am in love with the MV line-up, for the most part, but I am very surprised by how much I like the Seiko and even more shocked that I am actually considering it for a my new around the house watch / go to the grocery store watch!
If I had the choose one over the other of course it would be the Meccaniche Veneziane Redentore Burano as it fills a unique position in my collection and the Seiko I could swap with a 36mm DateJust or any number of other watches really without a second thought. At the end of the day though these two watches are going to speak to each person differently depending on each person’s individual personality. I feel that regardless, you’re going to likely be very happy with both the Toyota or the Cadillac and I believe anyone would be very happy with either watch and that you really can’t going wrong with either which way!
Final thought… one of the last things I do is totally up score and as you can see below both watches are equally winners (or losers depending on how you view the cup). I think it’s funny that considering everything we’ve discussed up to this point that these watches at the end both come out on top.
Just like in war, sports and history there are only winners and losers. When I conduct assessments at work, I often find it useful to let the points do the talking. So, with this in mind let’s see how the points add up here today…