The “Arnie” Returns — Introducing the Seiko Prospex Modern Interpretation of the 1982 Hybrid Diver’s Watch Refs. SNJ025, SNJ027, SNJ028

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What we like and admire in watches is so incredibly tied to the “stuff” we’re exposed to. If your dad had a Datejust when you were a kid, maybe you feel waves of nostalgia whenever you see a vintage piece listed for sale on your favorite forum. If your first watch was an Ironman Triathlon or a similar multi-function digital timekeeper, it would make sense that as a grown up watch-head you have a fondness for G-Shocks and the like. And if you grew up watching action movies, specifically the action films of the ’80s (still the greatest decade for the genre), you’re going to be interested in the watch we’re here to tell you all about today.

The “Arnie,” or the Seiko H558-5009 as you’d see in Seiko’s back catalog, became iconic as the favored wristwatch of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wore it on screen in Predator and Commando. The H558-5009 is recognized as the first dive watch to feature a digital alarm chronograph with combination analog display. In addition to somehow being the perfect action hero watch of the decade, it was hugely influential in popularizing the ana-digi style watch, which would go on to become massively important for brands like Casio, Breitling, Tissot, and others, as it strikes a seemingly perfect balance between traditional at-a-glance timekeeping with multifunction quartz capability.

Arnie rocking the “Arnie” in Commando; Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Today, Seiko unveils the long awaited update to the cult classic Arnie in three new references: the SNJ025 (traditional stainless steel with a black bezel – this one remains true to the original); the SNJ027 (stainless steel with a Pepsi bezel, this one is also a PADI special edition), and the SNJ028 (DLC coated, and online only). All are part of the Prospex line of dive watches. Let’s take a closer look.

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Seiko SNJ025, SNJ027, SNJ028

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black 
  • Dimensions: 47.8mm
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters
  • Crown: Screw down 
  • Movement: Caliber H851 
  • Strap/Bracelet: Silicone
  • Price: $525 – $550
  • Expected Release: Available now

The biggest and most important difference between the original and these new references is the engine powering them. The new watches uses Seiko’s excellent Solar technology — the watches are powered by exposure to light, and hold a charge for up to six months. Many of the same features from the original are held over in the modern interpretation: chronograph with a digital readout, as well as time, date, and alarm functionality through the digital screen. The new watches also feature a power reserve indicator (again, accessed through the digital screen), and dual time capability. Like the originals (which also went on expeditions to Everest and both the North and South poles), this new series is built to be durable. They’re water resistant to 200 meters and ISO certified for SCUBA diving.

With three crowns, analog and digital displays, and a case measuring nearly 48mm in diameter, these new hybrid dive watches from Seiko make a statement and have a ton of wrist presence. But much like the “Tuna,” these watches really are more manageable on the wrist than the dimensions may suggest, largely due to the shroud-on-top-of-bezel design and short lugs. The above image shows the watch on a 6.75″ wrist, and it works. Sure, it won’t slip under a shirt cuff, but if Arnold wasn’t concerned about that (I mean, did he even have shirt cuffs?), then today’s consumer shouldn’t be either. 

You honestly don’t need guns like this to pull off this watch. Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Seiko deserves a lot of credit for listening to their enthusiast customer base, who have held a soft spot for the Arnie for years. These watches are faithful recreations that honor the look and feel of the original, but have the right technology updates under the hood. Ref. SNJ025 is available here, Ref. SNJ027 here, and Ref. SNJ028 is an online exclusive available here

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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