Watch Review : Seiko Prospex Japan Edition

Seiko launched Japan’s first dive watch in 1965, the 62MAS-010. It was a reliable and robust self winding 38mm watch, water resistant to 150m. In 1966 the watch was selected to support the 8th Japanese Arctic Research Expedition. Seiko has continued to innovate and release tough dive watches through the years utilising everything from high beat and quartz movements to titanium and ceramic cases.  To celebrate the 55th anniversary of their first dive watch Seiko released a number of commemorative and limited editions, drawing inspiration from iconic watches from their back catalogue.

Last March they kicked things off with a trio of limited edition dive watches using Ever-Brilliant Steel, a material 1.7 times tougher than the steel normally used in watches. Two of the watches feature cases made entirely of Ever-Brilliant Steel (SLA037J1 and SLA039J1), and one is made of Titanium with an Ever-Brilliant Steel bezel (SLA041J1). Each model is limited to 1100 pieces and the prices range from £3900 to £6050. They also released a less limited re-interpretation of the original 1965 diver in stainless steel with a super hard coating (SPB149J1). It’s a limited edition of 5500 pieces and costs £1200, a much more accessible proposition.

Of course Seiko being Seiko they didn’t stop there, they have also released a number of other watches including a brown dialled Japan special edition.  My friend Yeo (@lifethroughmyphonelens on Instagram) has bough himself one of these.  I have asked him to explain what appealed about the watch, why he purchased one and what his initial thoughts are on his latest acquisition.

“I’ve always loved the 62MAS and wanted a modern iteration of such a watch. When Seiko first reissued this piece, I instantly bought the blue version (SPB053J1) and also sourced an oem metal bracelet. Upon buying the piece, I felt the watch didn’t quite capture the essence of the 62MAS, the hands were too modern… the case was too large at 42.6mm, and it just curved ever so slightly too much! I soon sold the piece as it didn’t get much wrist time. 

Scottish Watches and TOCKR Watches

Fast forward to 2020 and Seiko announced the 55th anniversary pieces, and also 4 reissues/reinterpretations of the 62MAS. Smaller case dimensions, more squared case akin to the original, and some really great dial options!! The hands had taken the original form and everything looked super super sweet on paper. One of the pieces was a 5500 ltd edition version, which no doubt the internet would go crazy for! But that was not the one for me. Instead I went for the Japanese special boutique edition. Of course not being able to see the piece first, I took a risk of opting for the Japanese special boutique edition… A brown hue sunburst dial with beige lume markers which glew blue was what sold it for me. Something different, something special, and this piece was not seen outside of Seiko. Nobody had physically handled, nor taken pictures of the actual watch outside of Seiko marketing. This was another reason it was so intriguing to me! So I ordered it pre release for £1033 and lucky for me, on release, it jumped to £1211 which made it more expensive than the limited edition. This made the wait for it to arrive even more exciting as I got a complete bargain! 

So now, I have the watch, it arrived safe and sound albeit with duty…. My first impressions? WOW!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!! Hands down the reissue that should have been made previously!! The case is perfectly sized, and perfectly finished. The dial is truly spectacular, I can’t even describe it in words!! It’s almost grey in certain lighting conditions… But it’s a light golden brown/beige/champagne sunburst…. Honestly, no camera is doing this dial justice on the gram. It has to be seen to fully absorb its magnificence!! The bracelet, I daresay, is as comfy as Rolex… and extremely robust with the diashield coating! Everything is more than perfect!! The Japanese always keep the best stuff to their own market…. Seiko, take a bow…. You have excelled yourselves!! And no dive watch comes close at this price point… Enough said!!

So there you have it.  An affordable special edition reimagining of an iconic dive watch that combines vintage style with modern practicality.  It perfectly blends a brown sunburst dial with faux patina, a tough steel case, sapphire crystal and a 70 hour reserve.  What more could you want in a dive watch for less than £1300?

Specs.

Case: Stainless Steel with super hard coating

Bracelet: Stainless steel with super hard coating, three-fold clasp with secure lock, push button release and dive extender

Movement: 6R35, 24 jewels, 70 hour reserve, +25 to -15 seconds per day

Crystal: Curved sapphire with inner anti-reflective coating

Water resistance: 200m / 660ft

Diameter: 40.5mm

Thickness: 13.2mm

Lug to lug: 47.6mm

Lume: LumiBrite on hands, indices and bezel

Bezel: Unidirectional rotating bezel