Japanese watch giant Seiko once again draws upon its many years of experience in the discipline of diver’s watches to reboot a timepiece from 1968 for a new generation. In recent years, Seiko has experienced an incredible wave of success across its diverse portfolio of timepieces, and Seiko’s diver’s watches are no exception.
The Seiko Prospex collection generally features new creations, but also re-editions with inspirations originating in the exceptionally rich history of the brand’s diver’s watches. Seiko introduced its first diver’s watch in 1965 – the first diver’s watch made in Japan at all – and several years ago began paying tribute to some of its historic flagship models from the past with new editions capturing the original spirit while offering Seiko’s latest advancements. Most of these are limited editions – like References SLA055 and SLA057 discussed here – which makes them even more sought after in the Prospex fan community.
Here, a diver’s timepiece inspired by the Seiko Automatic Diver 300m Hi-Beat from 1968 is in the spotlight. At its original introduction, Seiko Automatic Diver 300m Hi-Beat offered an imposing pressure resistance of 30 bar, a one-piece case structure, a screw-down crown, and a unidirectional rotating bezel.
These were real dive watches made for professional divers and pioneering adventurers, manufactured to weather the most extreme situations under water.
Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation Save The Ocean limited editions SLA055 and SLA057
As the words “Modern Re-Interpretation” in this model’s name implies, the latest Prospex model reflects the signature looks of the 1968 icon, though updates them to suit the demands of today’s customers who often ask for slimmer styles. The latest in line – the Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation Save The Ocean limited editions (SLA055/blue dial and SLA057/black dial) – arrive in two colorways and limitations of 1,300 pieces worldwide each.
Fans know that the Reference SLA editions denote the high-end diver’s watches at Seiko, powered by finer movements and containing more advanced materials. The technology is updated here, starting with the Ever-Brilliant Steel case of the Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation Save The Ocean limited editions, a material used extensively to craft the surfaces of marine structures and vessels thanks to its extreme resistance to corrosion in seawater. Taking PREN (Pitting Resistance Equivalent Number), the widely accepted standard used to measure corrosion resistance, as our measuring stick, this case material offers 1.7 times more resistance than the steel commonly used in high-end watches.
Further ensuring water resistance and durability, the slightly off-center crown at 4 o’clock is not screwed directly into the case, but rather into a separate component built into the case, which according to Seiko makes it easier to replace in case of damage
The sturdy diver’s watch water resistant to a full 200 meters measures 42.6 mm in diameter and 13.1 mm in height. Despite its bold, Seiko-typical design, it wraps comfortably around the wrist.
Designed (like the original) as a one-piece construction, the case houses Caliber 8L35, an automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve that Seiko created especially for use in diver’s watches and that is hand-assembled in the new Seiko Shizukuishi Watch Studio. It is protected by a solid case back engraved with the watch’s individual limited edition number.
Seiko’s diver’s watches are always supremely legible. The trick is to make them attractive at the same time – and the designers have managed this with a new patterned dial inspired by the Antarctic landscape that features a subtle blue gradation in the blue colorway to remind us of polar ice. The unidirectionally rotating bezel of the Reference SLA055 variation also features ice-blue numerals and markers. The hour markers and hands of both the blue and black dials boast a generous application of Lumibrite for excellent legibility in adverse conditions.
The Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation Save The Ocean limited editions SLA055 and SLA057 arrive on a silicone strap reminiscent of the that of the 1968 original diver’s watch. They also come in a set with an additional textile strap crafted using a traditional Japanese braiding technique called Seichu.
Prospex Save the Ocean: Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition
In 1966, Seiko’s first diver’s watch was worn by members of the 8th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. That same research team also chose to wear this watch on its expeditions up to 1969. So it is perhaps no surprise to learn that these two brand-new limited editions will be worn by members of the 63rd Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition’s mission to Antarctica.
These two new models are part of the Prospex Save the Ocean series, which supports several different marine conservation initiatives, one of which contributes to the National Institute of Polar Research based in Tokyo. Seiko donated the watches to the 63rd Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition and will also donate a portion of the proceeds to the PADI Aware Foundation Marine Debris Program.
Exquisite Timepieces in Naples, Florida is currently the exclusive authorized dealer of these two limited edition timepieces in the United States. Customers in the USA can expect to receive the watch(es) within two days via FedEx insured shipping.
For more information and/or to order, please visit exquisitetimepieces.com/seiko-prospex-sla055 for the blue-tone Reference SLA055 model and to order or see Reference SLA057 with black dial see exquisitetimepieces.com/seiko-prospex-sla057.
Quick Facts Seiko Prospex The 1968 Automatic Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation Limited Edition (SLA055 and SLA057)
Case: 42.6 x 13.1 mm, Ever-Brilliant Steel, water resistant to 200 meters
Movement: automatic manufacture Caliber 8L35 with 50-hour power reserve, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 1,300 pieces in each colorway
Remark: comes with silicone and additional Seichu textile strap