Along with the chronograph, I do imagine that the mixture of a dive watch with a traveller’s operate, a.ok.a a GMT complication, makes for among the most engaging and sensible watches. In brief, it’s your go-anywhere, do-anything type of watch. And never just for summer season however for any time you need to be a bit adventurous. Surprisingly, this particular combo, a minimum of in mechanical codecs, has by no means been finished within the Seiko Prospex vary – and realizing what number of dive watches there are, this absence was at all times a thriller. However final month, Seiko unveiled its first mechanical Prospex Diver GMT, a group of three watches, which incorporates the very interesting Prospex 1968 Diver GMT Save The Ocean Restricted Version SPB385. However how good it truly is? Let’s discover out.
The state of the GMT dive watch at Seiko
Problems are what make mechanical watches enjoyable. There are tons of further capabilities you may add to a watch, however let’s be trustworthy, in the true world, a moon section or an equation of time are of very restricted performance. They’re fascinating and add immensely to the appeal of a chic watch however serve nearly no every day function. There are some issues, nevertheless, that deliver rather a lot to the wearer of a mechanical watch, capabilities which might be devices for a job. Assume chronographs or, for at present’s issues, a traveller’s operate, more often than not materialised below the GMT complication. And once you mix that operate with dive watch credentials, you get hold of one of the vital helpful timepieces obtainable. It does all the things, anyplace, anytime.
As for Seiko, the model is not any stranger to the idea of a GMT Dive watch, besides that the provide was fairly restricted. And the few fashions obtainable solely appeared not too long ago. As for mechanical watches, the one current choice was the trio of (very cool, however fairly low-end) Seiko 5 Sports activities Model GMT, the SSK001, SSK003 and SSK005. And in reality, these are usually not actual dive watches however fairly sports activities watches that may face up to some underwater exercise. There have been additionally some fairly costly, high-end watches from the LX line, powered by Spring Drive actions, the SNR033/35 or the SNR049. However each had been effectively above the 5k euros mark. Your solely choice inside the extra succesful Prospex assortment had been solar-powered Sumo watches, the SFK001 and SFK003. Properly designed, effectively priced, effectively geared up (an actual “flyer” or “traveller” GMT operate), however sure… solar-powered.
The Prospex 1968 Diver GMT SPB385
A press convention in early March introduced us some excellent news asserting Seiko’s first-ever use of a mechanical GMT motion in a Prospex diver’s watch. In actual fact, a trio of watches, the SPB381 with a inexperienced dial and bezel, the SPB383 with a black dial and bezel (each a part of the everlasting assortment) and a restricted version below the Save the Ocean banner, the SPB385 that we’ll try at present.
To start with, let’s speak in regards to the fundamentals and the design of this new GMT dive watch. Wanting on the SPB385, or for that matter, the 2 different editions, there’s a clear reference to earlier watches from the Prospex vary and with one particular historic watch. As indicated by its title – Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Fashionable Re-interpretation GMT, a mouthful as usually with Seiko – this assortment is a contemporary tackle a dive watch launched by the model in 1968, the reference 6159-7001. Following its first skilled diver, the 62MAS of 1965, Seiko revised its copy and launched a formidable and progressive skilled dive watch, the Computerized Diver 300m Reference 6159-7001. It’s an equally if not much more necessary watch because it was the primary Hello-Beat diver’s watch available on the market and a watch that was instrumental for the design language of most future Seiko dive watches.
This 1968 Hello-Beat Diver was first re-issued in 2018 in a trustworthy, high-end method with the SLA025. Moreover, Seiko offered the SPB077 and SPB079, extra accessible and modernized recreation of the 1968 Ref. 6159-7001. But additionally pretty massive ones. In 2020, Seiko revised its idea once more with the SPB185 and SPB187. Nonetheless impressed by the 1968 Diver, these had been extra compact and extra usable. And that is the bottom that Seiko has used to create its first assortment of automated GMT dive watches.
No surprises relating to the design of the Prospex 1968 Diver GMT: massive and stable shoulders, a crown at 4 o’clock, a daring bezel framing a legible dial and a mix of brushed surfaces and polished accents. The case is made from chrome steel, and all elements are coated with Seiko’s hardening course of – a.ok.a Tremendous Arduous coating – making the case extra proof against motion. No debate relating to the general high quality; it’s properly finished, feels very stable, and all elements are effectively adjusted. Typical of the SPB sequence.
Relating to the size, Seiko has not too long ago made an effort to introduce extra compact fashions. Certainly, at 42mm in diameter and with a 48.6mm lug-to-lug measurement, the SPB385 isn’t what you’ll name a compact watch. Nevertheless it stays nice and cozy, a minimum of for an action-packed watch. Thickness can also be pretty managed. Regardless of the addition of a GMT operate, the case is hardly thicker than the dive-only fashions and stays under 13mm. In fact, with the braided textile strap delivered with this watch (along with the metal bracelet), the watch sits larger on the wrist.
Relating to specs, this assortment is clearly meant to be a diver’s watch first, with the addition of a GMT operate. There are literally two methods to do a GMT dive watch. First, you may select to have a 24-hour bezel, that means that you simply lose the power to time diving periods. Then, you’ve the choice retained by Seiko, which is so as to add a 24-hour scale on the dial whereas sustaining the 60-minute bezel. And I’d say that’s, by far, the most suitable choice – particularly with the kind of GMT operate chosen by Seiko, however extra on that later. Because of this the SPB385 comes geared up with a unidirectional bezel with a ceramic insert and a 60-minute diving scale. To our shock, the insert is definitely darkish blue, whereas the primary renderings of the watch had been giving the impression of a black insert. I’m not complaining, it really appears extra coherent with the dial. The remaining is basic: 200m water-resistance, sapphire crystal on prime with anti-reflective coating, screwed caseback and crown.
The rationale why we selected to function this Save The Ocean Restricted Version SPB385 fairly than the basic black or inexperienced model is all in regards to the dial. With its icy-blue color and texture, it one way or the other brings a little bit of a Grand Seiko vibe at a extra accessible worth. The dial is impressed by the polar glaciers that form the landscapes and seascapes of the Arctic and Antarctic – a theme that we’ve seen in earlier Save the Ocean editions right here and right here. This ice-blue color is paired with darkish blue accents, on the GMT hand and on the 24-hour scale. All parts are generously coated with LumiBrite, and the result’s a dial that’s merely pretty… And decently contrasted too.
This Save the Ocean restricted version (4,000 items in whole) is delivered with a chrome steel bracelet with Tremendous-Arduous coating closed by a folding clasp with a diving extension. Additionally included is the strap you may see in our pictures, a NATO-like strap made from recycled plastic bottles and finished by utilizing a conventional Japanese braiding approach referred to as Seichu. Not solely does it look actually good, nevertheless it’s additionally very nice to put on.
Contained in the case is the brand new automated calibre 6R54, which advantages from a cushty energy reserve, like all 6Rxx sequence actions. It beats at 3Hz and shops as much as 72 hours of power when totally wound. Along with the time and GMT, it additionally shows the date. On paper, it has loads of arguments, however there’s one necessary factor to bear in mind, this motion is a so-called caller or workplace GMT. It means that it’s the GMT hand that may be independently adjusted by one-hour increments, not the native hour hand – this function is reserved for the so-called flyer or traveller GMT watches. (extra on that distinction right here).
And that brings me to the annoying half… An workplace GMT watch may be sensible in sure circumstances, primarily when it’s essential monitor a time zone whereas at residence. However let me make two feedback. To start with, the entire idea of a GMT dive watch is to be your final outside companion, a watch that may comply with you throughout holidays or journey journeys. And as such, it isn’t a watch meant to remain at residence. Because of this the flyer or traveller GMT operate is greater than related right here. Second, increasingly more GMT watches are utilizing a traveller typology and the value level at which you could find them has come down fairly drastically up to now few years. Take into consideration the Mido Ocean Star GMT or the Decompression Worldtimer, or all watches powered by the Powermatic 80 GMT.
Whereas I couldn’t complain about this function in a Seiko 5 Sports activities GMT, contemplating the market and the value of the Prospex 1968 Diver GMT assortment (EUR 1,700 for the usual fashions, EUR 1,900 for the restricted version), I believe Seiko ought to have made an effort to supply a real GMT operate. It’s too unhealthy as a result of this new sequence of watches, and significantly this Save The Ocean Restricted Version SPB385, is actually enticing and in any other case decently priced – I do know, we’ll hear some feedback once more, however Seiko watches at present don’t have anything in widespread with an previous SKX anymore. The Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver GMT may have been a house run… I do know I’m being a snob right here, and a few gained’t care about that caller/flyer distinction. However I do, and assume manufacturers ought to do too.
For extra particulars, please go to www.seikowatches.com.