In 1965, Seiko released its first diver’s watch – a first for the country and the brand. The automatic watch was water resistant to 150 metres and was built with an outsized crown, a rotating bezel with a special gasket that allowed it its water resistance. One of its most distinguishing features were the wide hands and dial markers for the best legibility a watch could offer underwater. The watch would then prove its reliability on the 8th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition just a year after it was created.
The original 1965 Seiko diver.
Since then, the Japanese watchmaker’s pursuit for bigger and better dive timepieces has yet to stop. On the brand’s Prospex site (a range from Seiko that’s dedicated to professional use) is a comprehensive timeline of the many watches that Seiko has built for underwater endurance. This year, Seiko celebrated its history by re-producing the original diver but improving on its specs, keeping in line with modern day requirements.
This faithful re-creation sees the exact same aesthetic design, with the wide hour markers and hands with a case size that is almost exactly similar, with an increased diameter of 1.9mm to fit modern usage. The ever-reliable Calibre 8L35 sees an enhanced functionality, with 200 metres water resistance. Seiko has also used its proprietary super-hard coating that keeps scratch resistance to a maximum. The watch was also nominated this year for the Petite Aiguille Prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
The new re-creation of Seiko’s first diver
In addition to the new SLA017 (the reference number for the 2,000 pieces limited re-creation), Seiko is also introducing two new variants of the watch, the SBP051 and SBP053. These new timepieces may look similar to the SLA017 but are even more up to date in terms of standards when it comes to dive watches, hence the Prospex differentiation on the dial.
The hands of the watch are even wider than the original and feature Seiko’s Lumibrite. While the SLA017 sees a baton-styled hour hand, the new SBP051 and 053 uses a thick arrow-shaped one with much more space for the luminescence. In order to increase the resistance, a crystal sapphire has been used and is anti-reflection coated for safety underwater. Both timepieces will be released later on this year.
The SBP053 and SBP051 respectively
These new timepieces will join the rest of Seiko’s new Prospex Sea collection, shown below. The new automatic models from the brand see new colours introduced by the brand into four 43.8mm cases that boast a power reserve of 41 hours. Each watch is designed with the brand’s high dive standards in mind, with a three fold clasp with secure lock, push button release with extenders to allow for easy adjustment when heading off for a dive. As with most Prospex timepieces, the new collection will feature screw-down crown protection.
SRPB49K1 SRPB51K1 SRPB53K1 SRPB55K1
Prices start from $598.20.Available at Seiko Boutiques and authorized dealers’ stores
This post is brought to you by Seiko Singapore.