First Look: Topper x Seiko Prospex Diver Ref. SPB107 Limited Edition, Nicknamed the “Topper Ninja”

Seiko’s limited edition releases over the past few years have been hit after hit, including some nicknames that have become instant buzzwords in the Seiko community—”Starlight,” “PADI,” and the aptly-named Grand Seiko “Peacock.” On February 9th, a new name entered the limited-run Seiko pantheon—“Topper Ninja.” This comes courtesy of another limited-edition powerhouse, Topper Jewelers of Burlingame, California. Located just south of San Francisco, this family-run suburban jewelry store has become one of America’s great watch culture hubs since debuting their first exclusive limited timepiece in 2015 with Nomos. Since then, it’s launched instant-sellout collaborations with Oris, Bremont, and Zodiac, creating an aesthetic and brand identity all its own. The “Topper Ninja”—or Ref. SPB107 if you want to be precise—might just be my favorite effort yet.

Photo by Justus Harris.

The seventh limited release to come out of Topper Jewelers, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB107 builds on the base of last year’s fan favorite SPB077. The SPB077, designed as a modern reinterpretation of the original Hi-Beat Seiko 6159 diver from 1968, was a beautiful piece in its own right. It has an angular case blended with a domed sapphire crystal. Paired with the bulletproof 6R automatic movement, it makes for an instant classic combo, and it was undoubtedly one of Seiko’s biggest hits of 2018. For the special edition, owner Rob Caplan of Topper Jewelers turned to Asher Rapkin, a marketing executive at a major tech company and a close friend of the brand, for advice.

Photo by Justus Harris.

The initial concept for the “Topper Ninja” cleaved close to last year’s SRPC49K, or “Ninja Turtle,” which has bold splashes of orange and an overall louder aesthetic, but as the design evolved Rapkin settled on a more subtle, refined look with only the Topper signature orange seconds hand tip to break up the monochrome look. The black coating of the case is a major upgrade as well. Instead of the standard PVD treatment, the case is treated with Seiko’s own “super-hard black material,” a coating which still allows the exquisite mixed polishing and brushing of the base stainless steel case to shine through just enough to keep things dynamic.

Speaking of the case design, the case dimensions are stunningly misleading. On paper, this is a 44-millimeter watch, but through a near perfect combination of dial size and a dramatic undercut in the lower case shape it wears closer to 41/42 millimeters. Good news for those of us with smaller wrists, and proof that Seiko isn’t ignoring the trend toward smaller watches but innovating on the idea in their own way.

On the wrist. Photo by Justus Harris.

While at first glance the dial is identical to the SBP077, the Ninja sets itself apart in its cohesion. The biggest change is the color matched black date wheel, allowing the date window to disappear into the dial far more effectively.

The importance of that orange seconds hand tip deserves mentioning. One of the quirks of most modern Seiko divers is the lumed counterweight on the seconds hand, drawing visual focus away from the actual seconds. With the bright orange highlight, Topper have eliminated this quirk and have changed the visual balance of the dial.

Rob Caplan.

In order to unveil this gorgeous limited piece, Topper hosted a gala (with Bay Area meetup group Watch The Bay) unveiling at their store in Burlingame, California on February 9. In addition to the SPB107 itself, Topper had a selection of three world-class vintage Seikos from a local collector on display—a new old stock 62MAS, perhaps the finest example anywhere in the world, a museum-grade 6159 from 1968, and a truly fascinating transitional piece from 1967 featuring Seiko’s first 4 o’clock crown. This was enough to bring enthusiasts from all over the San Francisco Bay area and beyond, and as soon as preorders opened up at the end of the evening it was clear that the limited run of 500 wouldn’t last long.

A big crowd at launch.

The Ref. SPB107 is priced at $1,000 and is expected to ship this July. If you’re interesting in securing one, then head over to Topper Jewelers to place your preorder. Topper Jewelers

Featured image by Justus Harris (@watchonmywrist).

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Hailing from Redondo Beach, California, Sean’s passion for design and all things mechanical started at birth. Having grown up at race tracks, hot rod shops and car shows, he brings old-school motoring style and a lifestyle bent to his mostly vintage watch collection. He is also the Feature Editor and Videographer for Speed Revolutions.