Story 03The Shippo Enamel

Seven Treasures, Singular Beauty

Though works of enamel dating to the seventh century have been found in Japan, it wasn't until the end of the Edo period that Shippo Enamel became a true Japanese art form. Shippo, which refers to Buddhism's seven treasures, has unique translucent qualities that set it apart from porcelain enamelling. It was in the 1830s that former samurai Kaji Tsunekichi, after studying foreign-made cloisonné, began producing Owari Shippo. It soon became popular throughout Japan, and during the Meiji period dazzled European and American audiences at international exhibitions. Some even credit Shippo Enamel with sparking the Japan craze of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, the tradition continues in places like Ando Cloisonné, where glazing master Wataru Totani brings timeless beauty to the face of The Seiko Presage Shippo Enamel Limited Edition.

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Only in Japan Microscopic PerfectionOnly in Japan Microscopic Perfection

Hand-painting layer after layer of glaze onto the dial, Totani-san won't be satisfied until the enamel is perfectly even, the surface perfectly smooth, and the beauty of the pattern beneath fully revealed. For environmental reasons the glaze contains no lead, which is traditionally used to prevent bubbling. Totani-san must therefore use a microscope to evaluate the surface, and if a bubble is discovered, he will painstakingly remove it and return the surface to its ideal smoothness. When the dial is complete, he feels joy in its perfection. "Sharing this joy is my greatest satisfaction as a craftsman," he explains.
"That is the beauty of Shippo Enamel."

Shippo Enamel, Step by Step

  1. 1

    Fabricating
    the main plate.

  2. 2

    Glazing.

  3. 3

    Firing.

  4. 4

    Glaze
    polishing.

  5. 5

    Finished
    dial.

The Sea of Time

The sea has forever inspired, challenged and nourished the people of Japan. It holds a special place in Japanese culture and has shaped the nation’s identity. The Seiko Presage Shippo Enamel Limited Edition is a tribute to this extraordinary bond, its mesmerizing blue dial and the wave-like pattern beneath as timeless as the sea itself.

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