Seiko Prospex: Not just for diving
Perhaps this statement does not come as a surprise for anyone, since these two virtues have long been associated with the Japanese nation. What surprised me, however, at the beginning of my relationship with the Japanese brand Seiko, was the aesthetic refinement of their watches and their constant, tireless, uninterrupted search for beauty.
After that, I had the opportunity to go to Japan, and I found myself in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. At that point, I understood their thirst for beauty and their highly developed aesthetic sense.
Fortunately, all these Japanese features are more and more visible in Seiko watches, which, though at first seemed a rather risky bet for the western market (Europe and America), have now become some of the most desirable timepieces – to the extent that Seiko was “forced” to open a new boutique in Paris, to meet the constantly growing demand.
I was very happy when I received a “new classic” Seiko for testing – a new Prospex model, that gets inspiration from the glorious past and will probably have a great future: The 1968 Automatic Diver’s Modern Reinterpretation SPB077.
A long, polite name, which reminds me of that Seiko event in Frankfurt, where, though it must have been 40 degrees Celsius, all the Japanese gentlemen were dressed in a suit and resisted as such until, at some point, the Seiko CEO gave the unofficial signal by removing his jacket.
The Prospex SPB077 is inspired by the vintage reference 6159, but also by the modern look of its successor – SLA025. It is a diving watch, both classic and modern, subtle and visible, weighty but comfortable.
The dial is, obviously, very readable, as one needs for diving (and not only diving). Seiko uses LumiBrite, which I like a lot, for two reasons: it is extremely reactive, and it comes into effect as soon as the surrounding light starts dimming, and the hour indexes get a slightly vintage look through its use. The hour markers largely contribute to the extraordinary aspect of the dial – the hour hand is huge, arrow-shaped, while the minute hand has is sword shaped. The seconds indicator also features LumiBrite on the counterweight, which makes the watch bear a resemblance to diving models SRP77X “Turtle”.
As I said earlier, it is a weighty watch – that is, you can feel it on your wrist (with a 44mm steel case, it cannot be light). For me, this is a big plus, as titanium models, for instance, are not to my taste – I don’t think I will ever forget the feeling of disappointment I experienced when I tested a titanium model and I kept forgetting that I had it on my wrist!
The automatic movement 6R15 with hand-winding capabilities is a 3Hz caliber, with a healthy 50-hour power reserve – it is one class above calibers 7S26 and 4R36. The accuracy falls somewhere between +25 and -15 seconds per day, and the water resistance is guaranteed to 200 meters. The crown features a safety mechanism, of course, and the unidirectional bezel helps calculate the dive time.
All in all, it is a very wearable watch. Obviously, at the seaside, for diving, but also every day of the week, thanks to the design. And, most importantly, despite its impressive diameter, it looks just as well on a thin ladies’ wrist. Personally, I really like the way it looks on my wrist.
Brand • Seiko
Model • 1968 Automatic Diver’s Modern Reinterpretation SPB077
Caliber • 6R15, automatic, with hand-winding capabilities
Case • steel
Dial • LumiBrite on the hands and hour indices
Functions • Unidirectional bezel, date
Diameter • 44mm
Power reserve • 50 hours
Water resistance • to 200 meters
Pros • Design, Seiko movement
Cons • I couldn’t find any
PRICE • about 1,000 euros