Seiko’s Prospex line of watches has previously not been available in the US market, but they’ve announced at BaselWorld 2014 that, starting in 2014 the Prospex line that will be available in the US! This is excellent news for us American Seiko fans. The collection will have a broad range of sports watches that will encompass all of the Seiko movement technologies, Kinetic, solar and mechanical, ranging in price from $475 to $695. Definitely some great affordable Seiko sports watches.
The coolest of the Prospex watches introduced has to be the SUN019 Kinetic GMT Diver’s watch. The 47.5mm wide case is stainless steel, PVD or a mix and has a 200M water resistance rating. Designed as a tool watch for rugged use, it will have a sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating. This is a welcome change over their proprietary Hardlex mineral crystal, and will provide a much better scratch resistance.
The uni-directional rotating diver’s bezel has a shroud built into the case, giving it Tuna-like looks. 3D hour markers and the classic Seiko broad arrow hands with a nice skeleton GMT, round out the great looks. One very cool and unique feature is that is has a clear window on the side of the case showing the inner case. The case has a dramatic shape, reminiscent of models from the past, but seeming thoroughly modern.
The caliber 5M85 Kinetic GMT movement is accurate to within +/- 15 seconds per month. Kinetic movements charge the battery with motion, so the battery never needs replacement. You get the accuracy and durability of quartz without the hassle of having to get the battery changed. Personally I would prefer this to have a mechanical movement, but the Kinetics are quite popular and I can see why they wanted to used this movement in a watch designed to be worry free for the sports enthusiast. It also brings the GMT in at an affordable price point. The SUN019 Kinetic GMT comes with a stainless steel bracelet, with an option for a rubber strap and the MSRP will be $695.
On top of the Kinetic GMT, there are some great looking automatic movement 200M divers that look somewhat similar to the very popular ‘Stargate’ models that were released several years ago. Details are a bit slim, but we know they are powered by Seiko 4R36 24-jewel automatic movements.
These new Prospex models have a similar bezel with the ‘Stargate’ lume pip at 12 o’clock, and feature hands similar to the famous Tuna models. A visually striking feature is the elevated portion of the bezel, running from 0 to 20, which can be executed in mixed finishes. Really a good looking automatic diver in stainless steel with a modern twist on classic looks. They come in different color variations, and I predict these will be very popular with Seiko fans. Really looking forward to seeing more on these divers.
Overall, Seiko seems to have done a great job with the introduction of the Prospex line to the US market with a variety of styles, movements and a price range that is very accessible.
by Christoph McNeill a.k.a. @vintagediver