55 years ago, Seiko introduced its – and also Japan’s – first ever diver’s watch. With an automatic movement and water resistance to 150 meters, it proves its reliability when it was used by members of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition from 1966 to 1969. In the years that followed, the watch manufacture created many other diver’s watches that were favoured by professional divers and adventurers alike.
Three of the most important landmarks from Seiko’s first decade as a manufacturer of diver’s watches are now re-created in celebration of the 55th anniversary of that achievement. They are offered in the Prospex collection which is synonymous with excellence in watches for use in all types of sports and challenging environments.
In order to meet the needs of the professional diver even better, Seiko’s engineers created the first diver’s watch with 300 meters water resistance and a 10-beat automatic movement in 1968. It took another seven years before Seiko introduced a 600 meter diver’s watch that pushed back the boundaries further and truly deserved the designation “professional”. It had a titanium case and an outer case protector. It used a specially developed L-shaped gasket to make it impervious to helium while not needing an escape valve. This watch changed forever the world’s expectation of a diver’s watch and its unique construction led to it being given the nickname “Tuna”.
While faithful to the original designs, all three watches are fully up to date in their specifications and execution. The greatest progress concerns the grade of stainless steel used in the construction of the three watches. Known as Ever-Brilliant Steel, it is more corrosion resistant than the one used in most watches; especially in chloride-rich environments like sea water.
All three new editions are equipped with the same blue-grey dial, which not only reflects the beauty of the sea, but also alludes to the watches’ ability to survive in depths where the intense blue of the ocean gives way to darkness. In particular, the subtle colour gradation of the dial of the 1965 and 1968 editions shows how the light slowly fades as one dives deeper into the dark, mysterious world of the ocean.
The sapphire crystal is anti-reflective on all three models.
The new editions of 1965 and 1968 are powered by the Hi-Beat Calibre 8L55, which operates at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour and offers a power reserve of at least 55 hours. The 1975 replica is equipped with the calibre 8L35. It operates at a frequency of 4 Hz and provides a power reserve of at least 50 hours. Both calibres were developed by Seiko especially for diving watches and were also assembled in-house.
The 1975 replica has an increased magnetic resistance of 40,000 A/m thanks to the pure iron dial.
The bracelets of all watches are also a tribute to the originals, but thanks to the used materials and colouring, they are still up to date. They are now made of silicone, but carry the patterns of their predecessors.
All three watches are limited to 1,100 pieces.