Kintaro Hattori opened a timepiece shop in Ginza in 1881, but the brand’s first wristwatch didn’t arrive until three decades later, in 1913, with the Seiko Laurel. The brand will commemorate the 110th anniversary of its, and Japan’s, first wristwatch this year with the release of a series of commemorative timepieces, including a new King Seiko watch inspired by its rich technological and design heritage.
Despite the fact that King Seiko no longer competes in the same space as their Suwa rivals, their design and finishing are reminiscent of higher-end Seiko models from the past. In fact, during a media lunch following the opening of Singapore’s first Grand Seiko boutique, Seiko Watch Corp President Akio Naito stated, “If Grand Seiko was positioned in the same tier as Rolex, King Seiko was the equivalent to Tudor.”
Because of its sharp lines, elegant wrist presence and winning heritage design, the return of the vintage-influenced King Seiko collection quickly captivated watch enthusiasts all over the world. In addition to the new limited-edition Seiko Watchmaking 110th Anniversary King Seiko SPB365, the brand is introducing three new standard-production models.
As part of the anniversary celebrations, King Seiko has updated its line-up with a special 110th anniversary model, as well as three dial iterations in a brand new 39 mm size that feature the same core case design and a date-displaying format.
A Dial Inspired By The Kameido Area Of Tokyo: SPB365
Its gradient dial enchants with light, but a closer look reveals a design inspired by Kikkoumon, a traditional Japanese geometric pattern based on the hexagonal shape of the tortoise shell. The tortoise is associated with longevity and prosperity in Japanese culture, and the six-sided chelonian shape is also associated with samurai armour as an auspicious pattern signifying strength and victory.
Aside from its symbolism, it also refers to Tortoise Island, a neighbourhood in Tokyoʼs Kameido district where the King Seiko line was born. With its smoked gradient finish and razor-sharp indices and hands, including knurling on the double index at 12, it combines King Seiko signatures with Seiko’s obsession with intricate details inspired by nature for their dials.
The dial pattern has a lot of depth and texture ‒ each hexagon is actually a series of three inset hexagons, each deeper than the last ‒ and this depth is expressed throughout the dial by a gradual darkening from the centre to the edges.
Bold, angular lugs have both mirror polished and hairline finishing, providing ample visual contrast as well as a sense of precision in manufacturing. It has the same elegant 37 mm case and seven-link bracelet as other King Seiko watches from the past year. The sharpness and angularity are inspired by the classic 1965 King Seiko KSK‒ the collection’s second King Seiko series and the one that defined its character.
The 37 mm Kikkouman is powered by the in-house 6R31 calibre. This movement is the latest in a long line of upgraded and reworked movements dating back to the 1970s, including the 7S, 4R and 6R variants.
Seiko Prospex’s First Mechanical GMT
Seiko made headlines last year when it unveiled the Seiko 5 GMT, bringing an affordable mechanical GMT watch to the masses. Today, the brand introduces a new movement in the well-known 6R family with a GMT function and a power reserve of 72 hours.
Calibre 6R54 is available in three new Prospex creations, all of which are modern reinterpretations of a Seiko classic from 1968: two standard-production Prospex models and one limited edition as part of the brandʼs Save the Ocean series. The green model is the SPB381; the black model is the SPB383; and the
Save the Ocean Limited Edition has a striking ice-blue dial inspired by polar glaciers. Each model enjoys a stainless steel case with a super-hard coating heavily based on the design of the brand’s famous 1968 Diver and measures 42 mm in diameter by 12.9 mm in thickness.
A sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating is surrounded by a uni-directional rotating timing bezel with a ceramic insert with a 60-minute elapsed time scale while a solid screw-down stainless-steel caseback is fitted on the reverse of the case.
Despite their GMT functionality, the new Seiko 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation GMT models are still ISO-certified dive watches, with 60-minute timing bezels rather than 24-hour GMT bezels. A
SEIKO WATCHMAKING 110TH ANNIVERSARY KING SEIKO COLLECTION: SPB365 PRICE + SPECS
Case 37 mm stainless steel with 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance and 100 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre 6R31 with 70 hours power reserve
Limited to 1,200 pieces
SEIKO PROSPEX 1968 DIVER’S MODERN RE-INTERPRETATION GMT PRICE + SPECS
Case 42 mm stainless steel with 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance and 200 metres water resistance
Movement Automatic Calibre 6R54 with72 hours power reserve
Price From €1,700
Limited to 4,000