There’s a robust case to be made that the Seiko Prospex “Captain Willard” sequence are essentially the most fascinating watches within the Japanese big’s broad and assorted present diver roster. That includes a daring and immediately recognizable ‘70s-inspired rounded cushion case and a very good steadiness between refinement and worth, these fashions kind a bridge between Seiko’s inexpensive mass-market dive choices and its really premium high-end dive items. In true Seiko vogue, the model is decided to supply a big selection of variations on this theme, however its newest launch within the line might be essentially the most interesting of all. A lot of the mystique of the “Captain Willard” sequence comes from Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura, whose solo Arctic expeditions within the ‘70s helped to cement the unique Seiko 6105 diver as an especially resilient cold-weather performer. Seiko and sister model Grand Seiko’s penchant for ice-inspired dial ending finds a pure residence on this fashionable revival of the arctic exploration design, mixed with one of many marque’s most strong diver platforms. The brand new Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular version sequence, together with the Seiko Prospex SPB261, Seiko Prospex SPB263, and Seiko Prospex SPB265, brings an added visible aptitude to an already eye-catching design, creating a few of Seiko’s most putting fashionable mid-range divers within the course of.
Like the remainder of the fashions within the present “Captain Willard” sequence, the Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version variants are markedly extra compact on the wrist than the 42.7mm-wide case dimensions may counsel. In observe, this case feels nearer to 40mm whereas nonetheless trying daring and pleasingly strong, and far of this comes right down to Seiko’s expertise for case geometry. The lugs are the primary factor of this, with a brief general size that results in a lug-to-lug measurement of solely 46.6mm, together with a steady sloping downturn that wraps the case across the wrist snugly. Seiko’s sloping undercut case sides are additionally a significant factor right here. These bowl-like, polished surfaces scale back the broad stance on the prime of the primary case physique to a a lot narrower profile that truly contacts the wrist, whereas additionally masking a few of the general thickness with a reflective curving end. Seiko’s final size-masking trick is considered one of its oldest and only, lowering the obvious top of the 13.2mm-thick case on the wrist by slimming down the mid-case as a lot as potential. A lot of the case’s bulk is shared between the bubbled caseback and Seiko’s trademark tall dive bezel, permitting these watches to sit down flatter on the wrist than a slab-sided case with the identical measurements. That is additionally the uncommon classic watch reissue that truly measures in smaller than its forebear, that means this uniquely natural rounded form isn’t solely utilizing intelligent geometry to visually slim itself.
The chrome steel circumstances of all three variations are functionally similar, and like the remainder of the “Captain Willard” sequence, the ending here’s a minimize above Seiko’s already wonderful mass-market diver choices. The radial brushing atop the cushion case is clean and impressively even, whereas the coin fringe of the unidirectional dive bezels feels sharper and extra refined than the acquainted entry-level Seiko knurling sample. The 4 o’clock screw-down crowns are additionally a serious enchancment over the unique Seiko 6105’s system, which used a notoriously fiddly pin-alignment system to lock the crown in place. It’s the bezel insert the place this sense of high quality shines by clearest, nevertheless. All three fashions are geared up with matte black ceramic inserts, with a flippantly grained texture that provides to the sense of tactile high quality. Whereas the complete printed dive scales might need benefited from a light-weight engraving, the straightforward transfer to ceramic instantly provides these fashions a extra upmarket really feel. Consistent with ISO requirements, all three fashions are rated for a strong 200 meters of water resistance.
The three fashions within the Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version sequence differentiate themselves with a trio of arctic-inspired dial finishes. The general layouts are carried over from the usual “Willard” fashions, with broad pointed baton fingers paired to satisfyingly daring utilized sq. indices, however the surfaces themselves showcase Seiko’s very good dial ending capabilities. The model has clearly used a posh multi-stage course of to attain these appears, and the manufacturing functionality crucial to copy this course of at scale at this worth level is spectacular in and of itself. Along with a semi-gloss coat and a smoky dégradé impact that easily darkens the hue of every dial because it approaches the sting, there’s a horizontal crosshatch impact meant to seize the look of sled tracks on snow. In observe, this impact might not be as showy as some others in Seiko’s secure however catches gentle in engagingly nuanced methods from a wide range of angles. The deep blue-green of the SPB265 is the subtlest and most conventional of the three colorways, however the virtually teal hues that shine by nonetheless set this other than extra historically oceanic blue dials. Against this, the pale blue SPB263 stands out from throughout a room as one thing new, with a glacial colorway that captures a variety of shades from chilly winter skies to the wealthy clear hues on the coronary heart of an iceberg. It’s the SPB261, nevertheless, that establishes one of the best steadiness between visible influence and flexibility. The cool pale grey gradient runs the gamut from soiled snow to uncovered granite, giving this a extra ruggedly critical really feel than its stablemates and offering a welcome change of tempo from the basic black dial colorway. All three fashions add a pop of vivid yellow by the sequence’ signature “stoplight” seconds hand, giving the designs some much-needed distinction and reinforcing the practical exploration-gear theme. For all these new dials’ strengths, nevertheless, the cutout date home windows at 3 o’clock stay as notable visible disruptions. A no-date iteration of those designs would doubtless come throughout as a extra cohesive package deal.
Seiko powers the Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version sequence with its in-house 6R35 computerized motion. The 6R35 is a comparatively new addition to the model’s motion lineup and provides a very fashionable 70 hours of energy reserve. How this motion delivers that energy reserve could also be some extent of rivalry for some fans, nevertheless, as its slower 21,600 bph beat fee results in a noticeably rougher seconds hand sweep than the 28,800 bph frequencies of a lot of its rivals. With that stated, in typical Seiko vogue this motion is robustly constructed and handily outperforms its acknowledged specs, with our examined accuracy of -7 seconds per day far outstripping the 6R35’s -15/+25 second per day acknowledged accuracy ranking.
All three fashions within the Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version are fitted with three-link oyster-style bracelets in brushed chrome steel. Whereas the totally brushed end and rounded hyperlink do give a extra refined impression than the corresponding bracelets on Seiko’s extra inexpensive Prospex choices, notably by the clasp, this design merely performs solidly. Given the distinctive, uniquely Seiko design language all through the remainder of the watch, these bracelets generally tend to fade into the background considerably. Whereas this conventional design is snug and versatile, these designs might doubtless assist a broad number of strap kinds handsomely.
Pairing strong development, reliable efficiency, and a few of mainline Seiko’s most charismatic dial and case pairings, the brand new arctic-inspired Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version sequence provides a succesful and distinctive contender within the extraordinarily aggressive $1,000-$2,000 dive watch market phase. Whereas not strictly restricted in quantity, all three fashions within the Seiko Prospex Constructed for the Ice Divers U.S. Particular Version line will probably be accessible solely by Seiko Luxe approved sellers in the US in November 2021 at an MSRP of $1,400 every. For extra particulars, please go to the model’s web site.
>Mannequin: Prospex SPB261, Prospex SPB263, Prospex SPB265
>Measurement: 42.7mm-wide, 13.2mm-thick, 46.6mm lug-to-lug
>When reviewer would personally put on it: As a every day put on sports activities watch, or as an accent to a rugged retro-inspired outfit.
>Buddy we’d advocate it to first: Dive watch followers seeking to take a look at out Seiko’s higher-spec choices, or an out of doors adventurer in search of a cold-weather companion.
>Greatest attribute of watch: Very good dial ending, refined really feel on the wrist, really distinctive case presence.
>Worst attribute of watch: Uninspired bracelet, 6R35 motion’s sluggish beat fee might show divisive, sizeable worth level pushes the design into an especially aggressive market phase.