Following in the wake of its GPHG award-winning Prospex release last year, Seiko has distilled the spirit of this award-winning SLA025 into a new collection of watches that really push the Prospex line well into the luxury sports watch category.
The Prospex LX line is designed for sport - on land, in the sea and in the sky. If you are wondering about the the name - LX hints at the Latin word for light (lux) and is a subtle nod to the way light is reflected in the broad, flat surfaces of each watch case.
The LX line is made of six watches and all of them are encased in titanium cases with a super-hard coating. While three come in the regular greyish titanium hue, the other three have a black-ion plated finish and are referred to as the LX Black Editions.
The case design of the Prospex LX line is true to its heritage but is thoroughly modern in its execution. The upper side of the case is set at a more pronounced angle to allow the Zaratsu-polished surfaces to shine more brightly. While the Black Editions feature either rubber or leather straps, the regular LX line has matching three-link titanium bracelets.
It is worth mentioning here that the Zaratsu technique which results in distortion free is a feature associated with Grand Seiko watches. Zaratsu or blade polishing is done by carefully applying a rotating tin plate against the case at a precise angle. All six watches have a chunky 44.8 mm wide case that wear well on the wrist. While the diver’s watches are 14.7 mm thick, the rest are a millimeter thicker at 15.7 mm. The cases are designed to be robust and fit for outdoor use. All three watches are fitted with sapphire crystals for maximum legibility and protection.
The "land models" (Ref. SNR025 and SNR027) come with a GMT hand and a compass bezel and have a water resistance of 200 meters. The "sky versions" (Ref. SNR033 and SNR035) have a GMT hand and a bi-directional bezel for showing time in a third time zone and a water resistance of 100 meters. The sea is represented by Ref. SNR029 and SNR031 and sport a uni-directional bezel to indicate the length of diving. These watches are depth-rated to 300 meters.
While Prospex watches have been mostly mechanical or solar-powered this far, the LX line only uses Spring Drive movements, another feature associated with more premium offerings like Grand Seiko and Credor. Seiko produced the first prototype of the Spring Drive-powered watch in 1982. It was developed by Yoshikazu Akahane, an engineer who wanted to create the perfect watch, a timepiece that would tick three boxes – the accuracy of a quartz movement, the perpetual power supply of an automatic caliber and possess refined good looks. It took 17 years to develop the first production model in 1999.
Seiko’s 5R Spring Drive Calibers are used in the LX line. These movements offer one-second a day precision alongside high levels of shock and temperature resistance, attributes that are handy for sports watches. While Spring Drive Caliber 5R65 is used to power the “Sea” models, the other two models use Spring Drive Caliber 5R66. Both movements have a 72 hour power reserve and ±1 second per day (±15 seconds per month) accuracy rating.
Those used to the regular Prospex models are in for some sticker shock when they see the pricing of the LX models. The Land models (SNR025 and 027) are priced at €5,100 (Approx. AED21,180), the Air models (SNR033, 035) are priced at €5,600 (AED23,256) while the Sea models (SNR029, 031) are at €6,100 (AED25,330).
Not your affordable Prospex diver, but this - in all fairness and as explained above - not your average Prospex diver. The new LX lines is a significant new push from Seiko to moves its watches into a more premium category. While those who “get" the Seiko way will find it easier to reconcile with the price tag, those that associate the brand with the $150 Seiko 5 sold in supermarkets will need some “hands-on” time to understand what these are about.