Seiko’s reputation as a maker of world-class diver’s watches began in the 1960s when the brand started equipping explorers and researchers for their expeditions to the Antarctic. Using the information gained from these field tests, Seiko was able to fine-tune its cases and movements to stand up to some of the harshest environments on the planet. Today, Seiko’s Prospex dive watches remain some of the most popular in the world, and the brand’s archival “Re-interpretation” models are sought by collectors.
Among the newest additions to the Prospex lineup are three modern re-interpretations of legendary Seiko diver’s watches from the 1960s and 1970s with their cases left mostly original and their dials updated with colours and textures inspired by polar ice. Seiko’s commitment to polar exploration, meanwhile, has evolved into a commitment to protect the world’s oceans, and the brand is using the launch of this new collection to contribute to several important conservation initiatives. Here’s a rundown of the watches, as well as the causes they are helping to support.
The watch: SEIKO PROSPEX 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation Save the Ocean Special Edition (SPB297)
The original Seiko diver’s watch from 1965 featured an automatic movement and 150m water resistance, both of which were useful for the scientists who wore it in the Antarctic. This new version ups the ante on both counts, with a 6R35 calibre featuring 70 hours of power reserve and a case rated to 200m. The deep blue dial, meanwhile, is an artistic homage to the colour and texture of polar glaciers. ($1,625)
The cause: The PADI AWARE Foundation Marine Debris Program
The world’s largest underwater citizen science movement and clean-up initiative, also known as ‘Dive Against Debris’, the program brings together more than 70,000 divers to create the world’s most comprehensive underwater database on seafloor debris. This vital information is then shared with nonprofits, governments, and communities to help them create comprehensive conservation and cleanup plans.
The watch: SEIKO PROSPEX 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation Save the Ocean Special Edition (SPB299)
Released in 1968, the inspiration for this re-edition was Seiko’s first watch with 300m water resistance and a 10-beat automatic movement. It also boasted a one-piece case design, a mono-directional rotating bezel and a screw-down crown, all of which made the watch more durable and functional for divers, and made Seiko an increasingly major player in the dive watch game. This re-interpretation’s pale blue dial features a jagged texture and shifting hue inspired by the ice cliffs of the Antarctic. ($1,625)
The cause: The National Institute of Polar Research of Japan
This scientific body conducts research in the Arctic and Antarctic and is helping humankind to better understand the impacts of climate change on these sensitive regions. Seiko dive watches were supplied to Japanese Antarctic research expeditions in the 1960s, and Seiko resurrected this tradition in 2021, donating Prospex diver’s watches to the 63rd Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition.
The watch: SEIKO PROSPEX 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation Save the Ocean Special Edition (SPB301)
Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura played an important role in the development of Seiko’s diving watches by wearing them on his expeditions, as he did with this one which accompanied him on a 12,500km solo dog-sled run from Greenland to Alaska in 1976. A visual departure from previous versions with an asymmetrical cushion-shaped case and a crown at four o’clock, its solid construction, highly luminous hands, and 150-metre water resistance proved ideal for Uemura’s purposes. The new version bumps the WR rating to 200m and adds a white dial inspired by the Arctic’s glacial seascape while keeping the original case shape. ($1,750)
The cause: Fournoi Underwater Survey and Excavation Project in Greece
Seiko is lending its support to this underwater archeology project aimed at exploring and preserving a historical site off the Greek island of Fournoi. A graveyard of ships that sank as far back as the 4th century (58 of them and counting), the area holds clues to the Mediterranean marine trading system of the era, as well as countless important historical artifacts.