Few watch companies have the kind of heritage or history that Seiko has with diving. For 55 years now, the Japanese brand has built a reputation for making sturdy, purpose-built diver’s watches that are affordable and practical and with a cult following among watch aficionados. As part of its celebrations to mark the 55th anniversary of its first dive watch – the legendary 62MAS – the Japanese brand has unveiled four new watches to mark this milestone year
The first three form a trilogy of vintage re-issues, using the Ref. 62MAS 6217 (the first Seiko diver from 1965), the hi-beat Ref. 6215 from 1968, and the legendary Ref. 6159 “Grandfather Tuna” as base designs. All three models are cased in a brand new steel alloy material produced by the brand dubbed “Ever-Bright Steel.” These three historical references are some of the most popular designs produced by Seiko in its history, with each having been re-issued in its own right at different points over the past few years. The reissues themselves have been extremely popular and successful, so it’s no surprise the brand is using them again now to celebrate another anniversary as well as to showcase a new material.
Ever-Bright Steel is more corrosive resistant than the 316L surgical-grade steel alloy commonly used in luxury watches
According to Seiko, Ever-Bright Steel is more corrosive resistant than the 316L surgical-grade steel alloy most commonly used in luxury watches today — which is itself remarkably corrosion resistant. To support this claim, Seiko has cited the “extensive” use of the material “in the surfaces, linings, bolts and other components of marine structures and vessels so as to avoid corrosion in a chloride-rich environment such as sea water.” The PREN (Pitting Resistance Equivalent Number) value of the alloy is 1.7 times higher than 316L steel. It is also brighter than traditional steel, due solely to the color of the material rather than any special finishing on the metal such as Zaratsu polishing.
REF. SLA037: This 1965 Diver’s Re-creation is a re-issue of the vintage 62MAS ref. 6217; it is actually an evolution of the SLA017 model that was issued in 2017. This model uses a 39.9-mm brushed “Ever-Brilliant Steel” case, with a large screw-down crown at 3 o’clock, and featuring a black 60-minute unidirectional diving bezel to outline the face. The case is depth-rated to 200 meters and features a solid caseback. The blue-grey dial of the watch is protected by a vintage-style “box-shaped” sapphire crystal meant to recall the acrylic used in such models historically.
On its dial is a simple white outer minute ring, applied rectangular hour markers with a 3 o’clock date window, and complementary rectangular hour and minute hands sweeping over the dial with a rectangle-tipped lollipop seconds hand. Inside this watch is Seiko’s Hi-Beat 8L55 automatic caliber, with a 36,000-vph frequency and a 55-hour power reserve. Limited to 1,100 editions and will retail at $6,300.
REF: SLA039: This is a re-issue is the 1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation, which uses the historical Hi-Beat ref. 6215 as its direct inspiration. Also cased in Ever-Brilliant Steel, one has a screw-down crown is at 4:30 and a monocoque case construction. The case width is 44.8-mm and is fitted with a black unidirectional 60-minute diving bezel. It is worth mentioning here that this watch is an evolution of the GPHG-Award winning SLA025 from 2018, which was a recreation of Seiko’s first high beat 300 meters diver’s watch too.
On the edge of the dial is a slightly angled outer white minute ring, with applied circle and rectangular hour markers and another 3 o’clock date window. Passing over the dial are two Super-LumiNova-filled sword hands, with the 6215’s iconic red-dot seconds hand accompanying them. The same 8L55 self-winding caliber as in the previous model beats inside. Limited to 1,100 pieces, it will retail at $6,800.
REF: SLA041: The final model of the trilogy is a hat-tip to the historically-significant “Grandfather Tuna”, the Ref 6159-7010 from 1975. Back in the 1970s, this was the first diver’s watch of its kind – it had a titanium case with a distinctive ceramic shroud. The reissue this year opts for a traditional titanium case and only uses the new “Ever-Brilliant Steel” for its bezel. It maintains a whopping size on the wrist, at 52.4 mm in diameter and 17.2 mm in height. This model features a screw-down, 4:30-positioned crown, a thick, toothed unidirectional 60-minute bezel in black with white accents, and a black outer shell protected using a “super hard” coating. The case is depth-rated to 1,000 meters.
On the dial of the watch we see the continued use of the blue-grey color, along with a simple white outer minute ring, a traditional configuration of printed circle hour markers with a rounded triangle at the 12 o’clock position, and a small date window at the 3 o’clock. Passing over the dial are the Tuna’s traditional arrow and sword-style hands for the hour and minutes, with a simple pointer used for the seconds; just below these indicators are some of the watch’s details, like its magnetic resistance of 40,000 A/m printed in red, and its dive rating of 1000 meters, in white. It is powered by the automatic caliber 8L35, which beats at 28,800 vph and stores a 50-hour power reserve. Limited to 1,100 editions, it will sell for somewhat less, at $4,500.
REF: SPB149: This watch is a modern re-interpretation of the legendary 62MAS, the first Seiko diver’s from 1965. This neo-vintage model uses a 40.5 mm wide case made from stainless steel that’s been treated with an extra-hard coating. The case is topped by a unidirectional 60-minute diving bezel with a white triangle and uses a 3 o’clock screw-down crown. On the dial of the watch — which continues the use of the blue-grey color — we find a white outer minute ring, applied rectangular minute markers, and a darkly outlined 3 o’clock date window.
Passing over the dial are rectangular sword hour and minute markers, with a gold-toned rectangle-tipped lollipop hand for the running seconds. This model features the 6R35 automatic mechanism as its power source, hosting the slowest frequency among the new releases’ movements (21,600 vph), though consequently also offering the longest power reserve among them (70 hours). This will retail as the most affordable of the new releases, at $1,350, and will be the most widely available, limited to 5,500 pieces.