Based on the Japanese watchmaker’s robust dive timer from 1968, the new model showcases a unique dial inspired by the polar landscapes
Japan has always been a disrupter when it comes to technology with inventions such as the world’s first camera phone in 1999 or for that instance, the first compact disc player released by Sony in 1982. And it comes as no surprise that the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ has also carved a niche for itself when it comes to watchmaking. Popularly known as the harbinger of the ‘quartz crisis’ of the 1970s; Japan was a key player in taking on the Swiss high-end mechanicals, which had monopolised the watchmaking segment. Seiko—the company that’s credited with heralding this revolution, first came into the global limelight when it introduced the Astron—the world’s first quartz wristwatch. Cheaper production costs, higher volumes, and improved precision—this cocktail was potent enough to jolt mechanical watchmakers out of their comfort zone. And, the rest is history.
However, Seiko’s accolades don’t end with the production of mass-produced quartz watches. In fact, even today, not many people know that the brand has been manufacturing mechanical wristwatches since 1913, longer than most existing Swiss players. However, the company’s operations took a severe blow during World War II and it wasn’t until 1954 that it regained momentum by producing 1,00,000 watches per month. It was then that the company upped the ante to focus on its mechanical
watchmaking skills. This resulted in one of Japan’s most ambitious projects—Grand Seiko—the most precise mechanical watch in the world, launched in 1960. This breakthrough came when the company designed an automatic movement equipped with Seiko’s Magic Lever—a device that increases the transfer of power to the mainspring, thereby increasing accuracy of a watch. Over the years, Seiko has kept innovating and evolving its watchmaking craft, which also led to the groundbreaking Spring
Drive technology developed in 1999.
And this year, the Japanese watchmaker celebrates its 110th anniversary of its first wristwatch created in 1913 with a series of commemorative timepieces, including a new Prospex diver’s watch, which draws its inspiration from the brand’s over-a-decade-old legacy of technical know-how and artistic savoir faire. The new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Limited Edition (Ref SPB333) stands out for its textured dial, reminiscent of glaciers and the majestic landscapes found in the polar Arctic and
Antarctic regions. Limited to 5,000 pieces, it’s also an homage to Seiko’s spirit of adventure as several mountaineers and researchers had worn Seiko watches during expeditions to the North and South Poles undertaken in the ’60s and the ’70s—a testimony to the brand’s promise of reliable and robust timepieces.
“Prospex has always been one of the highlight ranges and is also a main pillar for Seiko as a brand not just in India, but also globally. As most of our timepieces, the Prospex range draws its inspiration from our rich technological and design heritage. Each timepiece is made with precision and a keen eye to detail. The Seiko Prospex Range was created with the aim to push boundaries and challenge every limit. A special collection of timepieces that are ideal for sports lovers and adventure seekers…
irrespective of whether that is on land, sky or water,” explains Niladri Mazumder, president & COO, Seiko Watch India, as he highlights the importance of the collection for the brand.
The 41mm watch comes in a stainless-steel case and matching bracelet, protected by a super-hard coating, and an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface of the sapphire crystal covering the dial to ensure high legibility from any angle. All twelve indexes and hands are coated with Lumibrite to maximise legibility in the dark. The case seeks inspiration from the Seiko 6105-8000 diver’s watch from 1968, distinguished by its marked curved silhouette and a crown positioned at 4 o’clock; a blueprint for many dive timers that followed. It is presented on a five-row steel bracelet with a secure clasp and extender and is also offered with an additional strap made of 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles. It employs the traditional Japanese braiding technique—Seichu—renowned for its strength and resistance to wear-and-tear caused by exposure to sunlight or the pressure when the watch is
under water. And how is Seiko expecting the watch to fare in India? “This Limited Edition Prospex Divers watch is a rather special timepiece as it commemorates the 110th anniversary of Seiko’s watchmaking prowess. The watch is a modern iteration of our classic timepiece from the 1960s, and we expect an overwhelming response from both our customers and collector friends in the country,” says Mazumder.
Inside the sturdy frame beats the in-house automatic Calibre 6R35 at a frequency of 21,600vph to supply an energy reserve of at least 70 hours. It is protected by a solid stainless-steel caseback, making it water-resistant to 200m, and joins the Save the Ocean series, committed to saving the world’s oceans for future generations. It is now available at all Seiko boutiques and select retail stores for approximately Rs 1.19 lakh.