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So why am I reviewing what’s called the “SRPB43”, and not the more well-known SARB065? The SARB065 refers to the original “Cocktail Time” – which was never meant for non-Japanese markets. It could only be purchased on the grey market, and it quickly generated a huge cult following. The Presage line now reintroduces this classic watch in a global market. Thank you, Seiko!

No matter which version it is, one thing is for sure: the Cocktail Time is a very popular dress watch amongst watch enthusiasts. Why’s that? Well, just look at that dial. It is truly sensational. Also, it’s a Seiko – a brand well known as being reliable and offering excellent value for money.

I had waited too long to get my hands on one – so let’s take a look.

The specs

The video review

The case

I bought this watch promptly after selling my Seiko Sumo, which has a delightfully streamlined, sleek case. I was secretly hoping for a similar case shape, and comparing the two I was a little disappointed that the Cocktail Time’s case is a bit of a straightforward, timid, polished barrel. However, that’s not to say that it’s not pleasant or excellently crafted and finished, but I sort of feel that the dial on this watch deserves a more striking case.

The 40.5mm diameter is a decent size and fits my slightly over 7” wrist well. For a true dress watch, some die-hard fans may wish for a slight reduction in size, however, the larger size provides a modern take on the vintage taste. The height of 12mm is more than it seems, as the crystal alone takes up a couple of millimetres.

Sitting on top of the case is a domed hardlex crystal. The fact that it’s handled could be seen as a negative, however, I feel it is part of the charm of the watch: it is bestowed with an unmistakable warm glow; the tall domed box shape provides a fantastic view of the distinctive dial. It’s also very clear when viewed straight-on.

If you consider the crown on its own, you’d be right to think that it belongs on a more casual watch – perhaps even an aviator. However, the size and shape of it work well on the Cocktail Time; it’s super easy to use thanks to the size, shape and grip. It also features a sultry S deeply engraved in the end.

The caseback is relatively simple, with an exhibition window showcasing the movement well and various details surround it.

The dial

I think you know what the main feature of the dial is: the gorgeous linear sunburst explosion. But not only this, every aspect of the dial is expertly manufactured.

But first; the texture is delightful; there’s no doubt Seiko is a market-leading example of expert construction – and the ridged outward linear pattern is a real treat for the eyes.

The hands are a classic pitched dauphine shape, and as you’d expect they’re flawlessly executed. The seconds hand is a blue needle shape featuring a rather modern hollow diamond counterweight. The dark blue provides a splash of colour complimenting the champagne dial.

I love deep, high quality applied hour markers and I’ve been very impressed with those found on the Seiko Cocktail Time. An attractive pitched arrow provides a variety of reflections at different angles.

As well as the hour markers, the applied logo is also deep and detailed. It is made to impressive accuracy and is applied on top of the ridged dial.

Another unexpected level of quality comes in the form of the date window, which is deep-set below the depth of the dial and features an extremely neat and impressive polished border.

The printwork is all printed with pinpoint accuracy, even the tiniest of text at the base of the dial.

The strap

The supplied leather strap isn’t my favourite, in fact, I really dislike it; the shiny patent finish looks tacky in my eyes, I’d much prefer a matte finish. The dark blue stitching works well in conjunction with the light blue of the dial.

The leather is soft and supple and is easy to wear as it’s not particularly thick.

The deployant clasp is also a bit strange; it’s almost as if it’s upside down. I’ve switched the strap for it to behave in a normal way (tail and facing upwards), but that means the logo on the top bar is the wrong way round. The logo is lightly laser etched which is a slight disappointment (I would have preferred engraved). It is easy to use thanks to the two side buttons.

The movement

The movement powering the Cocktail Time is the Seiko 4R35B, released around 2011. Specs include a beat rate of 21.6k bph (6 ticks per second), approx 41 hours power reserve, and 23 jewels. It has automatic and hand winding capabilities, as well as a hacking seconds hand.

I think it looks fantastic; with brushed bridges and a neat appearance throughout. The gold plated rotor is rather striking against the steel backdrop, especially with the crisp printwork.

Final comments

I’m going to keep this fairly simple: superb watch, abysmal strap. Of course, I wouldn’t let a rubbish leather strap ruin an excellent watch; nor should you. Just do yourself a favour and switch it out right away; a nice Hirsch or something handmade would fit perfectly.

The dial and case are so expertly produced that it’s hard to fault. Maybe some will be put off by the size of the crown; others may just not dig the design. One thing is for sure though: the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRPB43 is definitely one of the best affordable dress watches available.


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