When we talk about Seiko dive watches, so much of the conversation revolves around the affordable enthusiast favorites. Basically anything with an SPB prefix in the reference number, which covers your Willards and the modern interpretations of the legendary 62MAS, plus the universe of watches that sit at sub $1,000 price points – Monsters, Samurais, Turtles, and so forth. Seiko’s higher end professional/luxury divers are a bit rarer, but have a definite appeal for the hardcore Seiko lover, and the brand has just announced a pair of special edtions for US market that fit this particular bill. These Prospex badged watches have the specs of the toolish watches that are Seiko’s bread and butter, but come packaged in premium, collector focused sets that even include matching cufflinks. Not exactly what we think of when the words “Seiko dive watch” hit our inboxes.
The new SLA053 and SLA059 are built on the same platform as the SLA047 (released earlier this year) and other divers that take Seiko’s 6159-7001 as a starting point. Seiko buffs will recognize that reference as the brand’s first dive watch with 300 meters of water resistance. First introduced in 1968, the 6159-7001 was well ahead of its time, featuring a monocoque case for increased water resistance, and a new high frequency movement, a first for a professional diver. The new watches seen here are true to the heritage of the 6159-7001, and feature similarly constructed monocoque cases (meaning they can’t be opened from behind) and premium Caliber 8L35 movements beating away inside.
What makes these particular watches special is the use of the “Seigaiha” pattern, which translates to “blue ocean waves.” The pattern has been used frequently in Japanese culture, particularly in art, textiles, and lacquer-ware. The concentric circles are said to bring good luck, and according to Seiko, the Seigaiha patterns seen on these watches are meant to evoke the moon (on the blue dialed SLA053) and the sun (on the burgundy SLA059). In the Seiko supplied photographs, the dials appear to have a glossy quality that makes them perfect matches for a cufflink design, although we have to admit, we’re not sure how frequently the target audience for these watches is making use of this somewhat antiquated sartorial accessory, at least in the age of working from home, Zoom meetings, and the like. That said, there’s probably someone on a menswear forum right now saying the same thing about mechanical watches, so we’ll just agree the cufflinks add a nice touch to the package, even if they’re more symbolic than practical.
The cases for these watches are appropriately chunky and a bit aggressive, measuring 44.3mm in diameter, 15.4mm thick, and 50mm from lug to lug. The SLA053 ($3,200) has been coated in black and is a limited edition of 500 units, and the SLA059 ($3,300) is a non-limited special edition (it’s also mounted on a stainless steel bracelet, and comes packaged with a rubber strap). The blue dialed LE will be available this month, and the red dialed edition will hit stores in November. Seiko