Favorite Under The Radar Releases Of 2021: Seiko SPB237 Captain Willard

There were a lot of watches released in 2021. A LOT. Technology at our fingertips has made it easier for us to see what the shiny new thing is and the hoopla to follow it. But sometimes a watch (or two) falls through the cracks. Maybe the watch doesn’t gain much traction on social media or somehow it gets totally eclipsed by another release. Maybe your taste evolved just enough that you like the watch now, but scrolled right past it earlier in the year. Either way, it happens to the best of us. And for me in 2021, that exact watch was the Seiko SPB237.

During the initial release of the SPB 62 MAS and Captain Willard reinterpretations in 2020, it was the former that got most of the attention. I should know because I went out of my way to hunt down a SPB143 and ultimately got one. Now fast forward to May of this year, when the SPB237 and SPB239 were released. I don’t recall both releases, but it wasn’t until I had backtracked and stumbled upon the SPB237. It’s a standout and a sleeper amongst the SPB family for how Seiko approached it’s aesthetic.


Although I am slowly developing a reputation for leaning towards tool watches under 40mm, I do have a soft spot for chunky, cushioned style dive watches that provide a larger wrist presence. Especially since in the cooler months, a sturdier, more robust diver would look right at home next to a thick sweater cuff, blazing fireplace and a glass of whiskey. The SPB237 comes in at 42.7mm case width and spans a compact 46mm lug to lug, just like its older siblings from last year in the SPB151 and SPB153. Wearable proportions in my book.

What I dig about the SPB237 and what separates it from the other Captain Willard SPB reinterpretations is how Seiko approached the intentional aging of the bezel and dial. The bezel insert has got a grainy, textured feel and the coffee toned bezel markers contrast well against the charcoal gray bezel insert. The vertical textures and the muted tones of the dial that play between a light gray and mossy brown add another layer of depth and dynamism to the SPB237. The use of a light-handed fauxtina on the hour markers and hands are just right for my taste, and that bit of red in the stoplight seconds hand puts the cherry on top for me.

When I came across this watch after scrolling through this year’s releases it instantaneously caught my eye and I asked myself, ”How did this one get lost in the sauce?” It sort of reminded me of earlier releases that were heavily vintage inspired divers like the Omega Seamaster 300M ‘No Time To Die’ Edition or the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Tribute Heuer 844. It just seems that the Seiko had all the right vintage touches while still keeping the Captain Willard spirit and contemporary appeal with the SPB237. I stand by what I said above. It’s a standout and a sleeper.

Let us know if there was a watch that flew under your radar this year in the comments below. We’re all eager to see what 2022 has in store for us all. From me and the Worn & Wound team, Happy New Year!

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.