What We Know
Last week, Seiko announced a new watch that is arguably anything but new in terms of design. That's right, we now have yet another re-creation of the brand's first dive watch – that's the 62MAS of 1965 – via the limited edition Seiko Prospex SJE093. With a smaller and thinner case than an SPB "20MAS" and a brand new movement, is this the Goldilocks 62MAS re-issue? For this outing back in time – did Seiko get it just right?
Being a modern Seiko that we will all reference by either a nickname or the reference, this watch has a long name. The "Seiko Prospex The 1965 Diver's Re-Creation Limited Edition," to be exact. Regardless of what you decide to call it, it's a largely faithful modern rendering of 62MAS that uses a 38mm steel case that is 12.5mm thick and 46mm lug to lug with a sapphire crystal, a solid steel case back, and 200 meters of water resistance.
Unlike some past 62MAS-themed Seikos, the sizing (at least in terms of case diameter) is the same as the original, and the single offered version is limited to 1,965 pieces and comes on a black tropic-style silicone strap. The dial is grey with a date at three o'clock and luminous markers and hands that closely match the original. Even the text on the dial has been aligned to follow the layout established by Seiko's first dive watch more closely.
In a more modern twist, the SJE093 is powered by a brand new movement from the brand's "slimline" 6L series, the 6L37. It's an automatic movement that is similar to the 6L35, but has been specifically evolved for dive watches, with, according to Seiko, enhancements for durability and shock resistance. In terms of specs, the 6L37 is a 4 Hz movement with 26 jewels and a power reserve of 45 hours.
This limited edition Seiko diver will be offered by select Seiko retailers starting in August of this year with a price tag of $3,500.
What We Think
Where to begin with this one? First off, it's gorgeous. But that's not really surprising as it's a re-creation of a gorgeous watch. That said, the good looks aren't all that interesting as it's a look that we've seen before. And I'm not even suggesting the 1965 original, but rather the SLA017 of 2017, which was also a re-creation of the same watch (albeit in a 39.9 x 14.1mm case and with a higher-end 8L35 movement for ~$4,100).
Then there is the SLA037, which followed a similar format but did so with a blue dial and a high beat 8L55 movement (it was sized at 39.9 x 14.7 and was limited to 1,100 units at $6,300 a piece). Then we have the much-less-dear SPB-series (aka 20MAS) divers that run around $1,200 and feature a largely – but not exacting – take on the 62MAS in a 40.5mm x 13.7mm platform. The SPB line uses a 6R35 movement that ticks at a slower rate (21,600 vph) but offers 70 hours of power reserve. Oh, and don't forget this year's SLA065, which comes in at 41.3 x 131mm with a higher-spec 8L35 movement while being limited to 1,300 units at $2,900.
That collection isn't even exhaustive, either, but it does establish a certain expectation for 62MAS-themed watches from Seiko. Spend the big money, like say $3,000 and up, and you get an 8-series movement. With this latest iteration of the 62MAS coming in at $3,500, that puts a lot of pressure on the new 6L37 movement, and it's not exactly surprising that the initial feedback after the SJE093 was released indicated that the Seiko crowd wasn't entirely sold on the price point.
Time will tell as the 6L37 hits the market, but a lot has happened in the watch space since the SLA017 was announced, including several steps by Seiko itself to offer vintage-inspired models at lower price points. And from my perspective, that move has worked. I really (really) wanted an SLA017 right up until I could get an SPB143 for 1/4th of the price. Beyond Seiko, the entire $3,500 space is downright cutthroat right now between Tudor's ever-popular Black Bay, the growing Longines Spirit collection, and pitch-perfect, vintage-inspired watches like the Doxa Sub 300. While I don't think you can call a limited edition overpriced unless it fails to sell through the edition, I was surprised to see the higher price point attached to a model that didn't have an 8-series movement.
Pricing aside, I appreciate that Seiko has gone the extra step in terms of the details, including the smaller case sizing, the dolphin case back that is similar to that of the original (and the SLA017), and even a box that is similar to the packaging of the 62MAS. Additionally, given the thinner case and entirely reasonable lug-to-lug length, I'm thinking this may well be the best-wearing 62MAS reissue that Seiko has created thus far. You have to ask yourself whether you want a higher-spec movement in a thicker case (something over 14mm thick), or would you be okay with the 6L37 if the case was 1.5mm+ thinner. I know that I would certainly opt for the thinner case, but I'm also not especially picky when it comes to the movements in dive watches.
Regardless, whether you're a huge 62MAS fan, missed out on an SLA017, or simply wanted an upmarket spin on something like the SPB143, it's hard to argue with the true-to-the-original appeal of the new SJE093.
Model: Prospex The 1965 Diver's Re-Creation Limited Edition
Reference Number: SJE093
Lug to Lug: 46mm
Case Material: Steel
Dial Color: Grey
Lume: Lumibrite for hands and indexes
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Strap/Bracelet: Black silicone strap
Caliber: Seiko 6L37
Functions: Hours, minutes, date
Power Reserve: 45 hours
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Pricing & Availability
Availability: Select Seiko retail locations
Limited Edition: 1,965 pieces
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