After the resounding success of their first Black Series of watches that included the now hard-to-get “Ninja Turtle” (Ref. SRPC49) in 2018, Seiko has now blooded a new Black Series for 2020 featuring a more premium range of Seiko Prospex models inspired by the nighttime ocean. Over the last few years, Seiko has consistently pushed the price of its Prospex models northwards as highlighted by the Prospex LX and some Spring Drive Presage references that were launched last year.
The new Black Series includes two automatic watches and one solar-powered chronograph model. The first of these is the SLA035J1, a saturation diver based on the SLA021 which replaced the acclaimed Marine Master MM300 SBDX017 models. The new Black Series SLA035 has a 44.3 mm monobloc case with a hard black coating. The case is 15.4 mm thick and is topped by a ceramic bezel that frames an inky black dial topped by a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. As this is a saturation diver, the case is depth-rated to 300 meters.
The hands and indices are coated generously with Seiko’s proprietary Lumibrite luminescent material. The red seconds hand and the depth-rating (also in red) are the only pops of color on the dial. According to Seiko, the color red disappears under the deep ocean, so there are no distractions during the dive. The watch is powered by Seiko’s Caliber 8L35, an automatic movement that’s based on the Grand Seiko 9S55 but without the high-levels of finishing or regulation. The movement has an accuracy of +15 to -10 seconds per day, a power reserve of 50 hours, and a hacking seconds function. It is priced at ¥300,000 (Approx. AED10,000).
The second timepiece in the collection is the more affordable Ref. SPB125J1 based on the popular Sumo Prospex diver (SPB103J1 and SPB101J1) models that were launched last year. The watch has a chunky 45 mm wide case with the black hard coating, it is 12.9 mm thick and is fitted with a sapphire crystal and an aluminum insert on the unidirectional rotating bezel. The case is depth-rated to 200 meters and has a closed caseback with the limited edition engraving (the watch is limited to 7000 pieces). The black dial has the same faux vintage lume seen on the previous Black Series models and an orange minutes hand which “echoes the light flashed in the dark sea by the night divers.” This model is powered by Caliber 6R35, a self-winding movement with 70 hours power reserve and an escapement that beats at 3 Hz (21,600 Hz). The price? ¥90,000 (about AED3,000)
The third watch is a chronograph model Ref. SSC761J1. And while this is an attractive looking watch with a 44.5 mm case that’s depth-rated to 200 meters, it doesn’t get the watch enthusiasts quite as excited because this isn’t a mechanical model. This watch is run by a solar-powered movement (Caliber V192) that’s accurate to ±15 seconds per month. This is a limited edition of 3,500 pieces. ¥76,000 (Approx. AED2,530). All three watches come with black silicone straps and are available from February 2020.