Few brands can claim the kind of legacy that Seiko has with producing diver’s watches. From 1965, the Japanese brand has had an uninterrupted run of creating classics that are much loved by the diving community and watch collectors alike. This year, Seiko has launched the Prospex SLA025; a high-beat diver’s watch that marks the 50th anniversary of a legendary diver, the Ref. 6159-7001 from 1968.
Producing a high-beat mechanical movement inside a diver’s watch was unheard of in the late 1960s, but not for the Japanese watchmaker. With its distinct monobloc case construction that was depth-rated to 300 meters, a screw-down protection crown, unidirectional rotating bezel and a 5 Hz movement for greater accuracy, the Ref. 6159-7001 was like no other in the industry.
Seiko has been successful at reviving past classics and last year it resurrected the brand’s first diving watch from 1965 - the Ref. SLA017 was based on the legendary 62MAS diver’s watch.
At Baselworld this year, Seiko unveiled the SLA025, a faithful recreation of the 1968 diver. While the original was for air diving, the SLA025 is good for saturation diving.
Like the original, it features a one-piece stainless steel case construction and a flat, closed caseback. The case is 44.8-mm-wide, 15.77-mm-thick and features Zaratsu polishing – usually reserved for Grand Seiko cases - for a distortion free surface.
A concession to modernity is the presence of a dual curved sapphire crystal atop the bezel. The black gilt dial is true to the original. The circular gilt markers have Lumibrite luminescent coating and have polished edges. The markets at 12, 6, and 9 are designed differently to ensure maximum legibility in the deep.
The watch is powered by Caliber 8L55, seen previously in the Marine Master Pro. This movement is assembled in the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka, the home of Grand Seiko’s mechanical models. In fact the 8L55 has the same DNA as the Grand Seiko Caliber 9S85.
Understandably, the finishing and regulation of the movement is not of the same standard as a Grand Seiko. The movement uses a MEMS-manufactured escape wheel and pallet fork and is fitted with Spron 610 hairspring and a Spron 530 mainspring.
The watch is fitted with a vintage-style silicone waffle pattern strap and is a limited edition of 1,500 pieces. It is priced at $6,800 (Approx. AED25,000) and will be available from July this year.