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As one of Japan’s leading watchmaking brands, and a name that established itself as a modern-day legend in the watch community, Seiko has come a long way since Mr. Kintaro Hattori founded the distinguished brand back in 1881. With such a rich heritage, many Seiko watches we know and love draw strong inspiration from past references, embodying the essence of the past while upgraded with modern mechanics. Likewise, Seiko unveiled their latest entry to their Prospex collection of dive watches, recreating one of Seiko’s most notable references from back in 1970 that pays tribute to the dive watch accompanying the acclaimed Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura on his expeditions.
Renowned for their value-driven and high quality watches, Seiko timepieces are proof that they were truly ahead of their time even back in the 60s, producing robust dive watches that look stunning even by today’s standards. Introduced five years after the release of Japan’s first ever diver’s watch, the venerable Seiko Ref. 6105 (or popularly known as the “Willard” worn by Martin Sheen playing Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now) emerged, bringing forward its distinctive asymmetrical case design and 4 o’clock crown. Nonetheless, this latest release by Seiko stands alongside their commemorative dive watch, the SBDX045, that pays tribute to another eminent character, from the land of the rising sun this time around.
|Seiko Prospex Professional 200M 1970s Diver’s Re-Creation Black Ref. SBDX047 / SLA051
Seiko dive watches has been an all-time favorite pick for adventurers and divers all around the world, this was especially the case for Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura, as he worn the famous 6105 for a 120,000 kilometers solo dog-sled run from Greenland to Alaska, an astonishing journey that took 18 months to complete. Born in 1941 in Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture, Naomi Uemura became the first ever Japanese mountaineer to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1970, and subsequently the first adventurer in the world to reach the tallest peaks of all five continents. To honour the iconic 6105 diver from the 70s, Seiko resurrects this historic dive watch with enhanced modern watchmaking technology, combining its heritage design with a contemporary appeal.
For many Seiko lovers like us, the stainless steel case of the Seiko Prospex Professional 200M 1970s Diver’s Re-Creation Black Ref. SBDX047 feels all too familiar, carrying the iconic cushion case design of the 6105. Measuring with a case diameter of 44mm and a thickness of 13mm, the watch wears significantly smaller than its diameter suggests as a result of its compact lug-less design, measuring with a lug to lug distance of merely 49.3mm. Tucked securely at the 4 o’clock position, the screw-down crown is well protected by the case construction, an integral design feature from the 1970 dive watch.
Original applied markers and handset from the Ref.6105
Along the top of the case, the watch is finished to a high level of precision with fine radial brushing, beautifully elevating the tool-like nature of the SBDX047. Transitioning to a high polish at the side of the case, the well-finished case exquisitely reflects on Seiko's fine Japanese craftsmanship. This mix of intricate finishes carry down to the supplied Seiko stainless steel bracelet, secured on the wrist with a 3-fold clasp. For an extra layer of protection against scratches, Seiko treated the case and bracelet with their proprietary DiaShield super-hard coating, keeping the watch looking bright and pristine for longer.
Being a ISO-rated 200m dive watch, the SBDX047 houses a deep black 120-click unidirectional diving bezel in steel applied with Seiko’s proprietary DiaShield coating. Even with gloves on, the operation of the bezel feels incredibly smooth and confident, especially with its grippy coin edge.
|Traditional cushion case gives it more inviting shape
The dial of the Seiko Prospex Professional 200M 1970s Diver’s Re-Creation Black Ref. SBDX047 portrays an abundance of vintage character with its charcoal black textured dial, a fitting look for a watch that styled itself after such a historic reference that accompanied countless ardent adventurers. Like the 6105, the squared hour indices and faced baton hands complement one another excellently for a comprehensive and legible layout. Treated with Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite, you can definitely expect a bright and potent glow in the dark. Moreover, the black date wheel between the 4 and 5 o’clock indices allow all 12 indices to be unobstructed. Protecting the dial, the watch presents a domed scratch-resistant sapphire crystal treated with anti-reflective coating on the underside, keeping the dial crystal clear with minimized reflections.
Under the hood, the Seiko Prospex Professional 200M 1970s Diver’s Re-Creation Black Ref. SBDX047 is driven by the Seiko Cal. 8L35 movement, a phenomenal work of art designed, hand assembled and adjusted by skillful watchmakers at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in Morioka, northern Japan. Assembled from 192 intricate parts, the 8L35 is essentially an undecorated variant of the Grand Seiko caliber 9S55 movement. The 26 jewel movement beats at a rate of 28,800 beats per hour (BPH) with a healthy power reserve of about 50 hours. This is a high-grade caliber that is a true powerhouse when it comes to mechanical performance.
|Seiko's LumiBrite at its best
While the legendary Seiko 6105 has seen numerous modern reinterpretations, the Seiko Prospex Professional 200M 1970s Diver’s Re-Creation Black Ref. SBDX047 will undoubtedly appeal to many avid Seiko enthusiasts and watch collectors alike for its deep horological significance and unrivalled performance. Being one of a higher tier offerings in the Seiko Prospex collection, this is one impressive release from Seiko that carries on the proud legacy of the great 1970 dive watch.