The Seiko Automatic Chronograph 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (the full name of the aforementioned Prospex half of this dual chrono release) pays tribute to the still-iconic Caliber 6139 (though this isn’t entirely correct, but more on that in a bit). The 6139 movement is perhaps most often associated with the “Pogue” chronograph made famous by astronaut William Pogue, who wore his Seiko in space for 84 consecutive days on a Skylab mission. The inspiration for this particular watch, however, isn’t the well known yellow-dialed space watch, but a chrono actually powered by a later sister movement, the 6138. The 6138 caliber came into existence in 1970, but for all intents and purposes it’s an extension of the 6139, so I can go with Seiko’s rationalization here. The 6138 made its way inside numerous excellent watches, chief among them the ref. 6138-8000, otherwise known as the “Baby Panda” — a highly sought after vintage watch with a beautiful two-tone dial and two chrono registers at 12:00 and 6:00 (and an eagle-eye Seiko fan on IG noted that a more apt comparison is the 6138-8020, which has similar syringe hands). That’s the inspiration for the SRQ029, though it’s also worth noting that Seiko released a very similar looking watch some years back as a JDM limited edition through their Brightz line.
The SRQ029 uses the same 8R48 movement as the SRQ031 and has the same dial layout, so it’s interesting to look at each watch and admire how different they wind up in overall tone, and how they play with expectations of what a dress watch and a sports watch should be. The Presage piece, even though it has modern proportions, definitely has a refinement about it that I think is attributable to the gloss of the subtle contrasting elements on the dial. The Prospex, however, has pure vintage sports watch aesthetics, again thanks almost entirely to the aggressive black/white dial. The SRQ029 is also slightly smaller in diameter than the SRQ031, although it’s a bit taller. It’s sleek in a way that a good sports watch should be, while the SRQ031 is a reminder that a dressier watch can still have real wrist presence.
Both of these new chronographs will be available in December at Seiko boutiques worldwide, as well as through selected retail partners. Each is limited to 1,000 units, which is a fairly small number considering Seiko’s worldwide distribution. Pricing is €3,700 for the SRQ029 and €3,400for the SRQ031. These watches have a lot of competition in their price bracket, but column wheel chronos will always demand a premium. For a Seiko collector after a bit of history, these vintage inspired pieces might tick the right boxes. Seiko
Editor’s Note: An eagle-eye Seiko fan on IG noted that a more apt comparison for the SRQ029 is the 6138-8020, which has similar syringe hands.