2020 has been a rich year for Seiko fans so far: The return of the Alpinist, the blue 60th Anniversary Editions, a Snowflake, and the Crown Chronograph Tributes, to name some of the most important releases. But this year is also the 55th anniversary of the first Japanese diving watch, which brings us four new models that are well worth a look.
The first three models, called “re-creations” by Seiko, are, in both form and colour, rather faithful replicas of the originals with modern interiors. In addition (and this is perhaps the most exciting aspect), stainless steel from shipbuilding is used for the first time, which is particularly resistant to corrosion. For diving watches that really want to be used, this is a sensible innovation.
The SLA037J1, which is a replica of the original from 1965, will be launched in June. The stainless steel, called “Ever-Brilliant Steel” by Seiko, is brighter than the usual stainless steel and makes the watch look even more contrasting with its black bezel and blue-grey dial and bracelet. The water resistance of up to 200m is adequate, and even 50m better than the original, and the diameter has grown by 1.9 to 39.9mm.
In July comes the SLA039J1, which picks up after the 1968 model. For the first time, a very accurate so-called Hi-Beat movement was used, and the water resistance has been increased to 300m. This version looks even more sporty due to the one-piece case with the crown at 4 o’clock, and the large hour markers with generators full of luminous material, which is possible due to the diameter of 44.8mm.
Finally, in August there is the SLA041J1, which updates the first model from 1975 that broke through the 300m water barrier and set it at 600m. The modern version is even 1000m deep, and has a highly magnetic-resistant dial made of pure iron. Just like the original, the massive 52.4mm in diameter (!) and 17.2mm height watch, is made of titanium, which outweighs the generous dimensions by a lower weight – only the bezel is made of the new steel. The ceramic case protector ensures that nothing can happen even during the deepest dive of the watch.
All three watches are limited to 1100 pieces each and cost € 6,500 (1965 Diver’s), € 7,000 (1968 Professional Diver’s 300m) and € 4,500 (1975 Professional Diver’s 600m).
If this is all a bit too much for you, you might enjoy the “reinterpretation” as Seiko so beautifully puts it. The SPB149J1 will be launched in June in a limited edition of 5500 pieces, and will be available for the relatively modest sum of € 1,350. The case of the watch is also slim and made of “normal” stainless steel, which itself has been modernized, and cuts a very good figure.
For the really big fans, there will be 100 sets in advance in May, which contain all 3 watches in a noble black box with additional black bracelets.
If you want to have a look at all watches in detail, and with a short outline of their history including 360° views of the new models, you can find them directly at Seiko.