Behind the Studio Ghibli x Seiko Presage Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Watch

The latest collab with the storied animation studio
Published: 27 February 2024
Studio Ghibli x Seiko Presage Nausicaä of the Valley of The Wind

It’s no exaggeration to say that Seiko could publish a very large and handsome nature guide book of its home country.

A small selection of the things the celebrated Japanese watchmaker says have inspired the colours and textures of its dials. They are: birch trees; cherry blossom; the autumn moonlight; ‘a refreshing warm breeze’; wisteria; ‘the Ibaraki prefecture’s abundance of natural splendour’; the Mishakaike Pond; a sea of clouds; the Japanese chrysanthemum; winter snow; ‘a plum tree that resembles a dragon lying on the ground’ and the active volcano of Mount Iwate.

Last month it launched two new Grand Seiko designs. One was the ‘Sakura-Kakushi’, 'inspired by snow falling on pink cherry blossoms during Shunbun [the Spring equinox]'. The other is the ‘Sakura-Wakaba’, 'inspired by the fresh young leaves of the season that follows'.

You get the idea. Seiko loves nature.

It's fitting, then. That Seiko collaborated with Studio Ghibli, the animation studio, whose films nature plays a significant and recurring role. From the environmental themes of 1997’s Princess Mononoke to the lush landscapes and enchanting forests of 1988’s My Neighbor Totoro to the entire premise of 2001’s Spirited Away—that spirits and entities control the natural world.

Earlier this month Seiko released its third collaboration with the garlanded animation house, the excellent Studio Ghibli x Seiko Presage Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind—inspired by the 1984 film of the same name, whose subtext was the importance of our harmonious coexistence with the outdoors.

Studio Ghibli x Seiko Presage Nausicaä of the Valley of The Wind

Mr Takuya Matsumoto, Seiko’s designer and the creator of the watch, talked us through the new collab.

Esquire: Is there a particular customer your Studio Ghibli collaborations appeal to?

Mr Takuya Matsumoto: I believe the new creation will excite fans enchanted by Studio Ghibli films as it perfectly captures the worldview of the Nausicaä movie. I also think that watch fans who appreciate the combination of fine mechanical watchmaking and Japanese craftwork, for which the Presage collection is renowned. The pure blue enamel dial has been made possible through the skill of master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa, and his team.

ESQ: Seiko is often inspired by Japan's natural environment. That's also a theme of Studio Ghibli. Does this make the two a good match?

MTM: Indeed, the film covers an important theme of how the natural world and humans coexist. However, the Presage collection collaborated with Studio Ghibli because, since the collection's introduction in 2016, it has introduced many watches that combine fine mechanical watchmaking with various forms of Japanese art, such as Shippo enamel and Arita porcelain. Studio Ghibli perfectly represents a contemporary form of Japanese artistry. The studio and its works have been an excellent match for these collaborations. The first, with 1992’s Porco Rosso. And the second, with 1986’s Castle In The Sky.

ESQ: What do you like most about this new design?

MTM: The enamel dial’s blue colour. During discussions with Studio Ghibli, we came up with the idea of capturing Nausicaä's blue outfit. The enamel craftsman worked to develop a new shade of blue just for this watch. Blue is crucial to the film and for Nausicaä, as expressed by the line, ‘Clothed in blue robes, descending onto a golden field'. As the watch's designer, I am delighted that the outfit's colour is reproduced perfectly. Enamel is a material that does not fade easily, so its beauty will be enjoyed for a long time.

Originally published on Esquire UK

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