Released in 1986, Studio Ghibli’s maiden production Laputa: Castle in the Sky centres around the transformative power of forging one’s path in the face of adversity and challenges. It is a theme Seiko Presage — which has developed a strong watchmaking identity by combining Japanese aesthetics with traditional craftsmanship — is also familiar with.
Seiko Presage has charmed wrist takers the same way the world-renowned Japanese animation studio has won animation fans worldwide with its other-worldly visuals and masterful storytelling. Featuring Castle in the Sky in Presage’s limited-edition collection is a celebration of the beauty of technology, just as how the robots in the animation — which are not inherently evil — contribute to mankind by protecting nature.
The watch captures many key elements of the animation, particularly the crest on the mystical levitation crystal worn by heroine Sheeta. Master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa has reproduced the crystal’s symbol of the royal family of Laputa on the watch’s enamel dial, while the castle in the sky is illustrated on the caseback just the way it was depicted in the picture taken by Pazu’s (Sheeta’s close friend and comrade) father when he caught sight of the city.
Every part of the watch hints at the film. The castle on the caseback is surrounded by an engraving of the chant “Leetay Latuparita Ulus Aria Los Balu Netoreel” (save me and revive the eternal light) that is central to the story. The Roman numerals, inner ring, retro hands and stitched leather strap complete the nostalgic atmosphere of this evocative piece. Even the watch strap’s back bears the inscription on the keystone found in the floating castle.
The storied watch is not lacking in the performance department either. Powered by a new version of Seiko’s high-performance 6R35 movement, Calibre 6R31, it delivers a power reserve of 70 hours. The crystal glass is a dual-curved sapphire and is treated with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface that offers high legibility from any angle.
As a final touch, the watch is encased in a special presentation box with an illustration of Laputa, carrying a card message from the film’s director, Hayao Miyazaki. It will be available as a limited edition of 1,200 at Seiko boutiques in Malaysia.
This article first appeared on Jul 19, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.