A maxim always applies. For Seiko it applies even more.You never forget the first time – it’s just as true in watchmaking as it is in everyday life, especially for Seiko. It was 1965 when the watch manufacturer introduced the first diver’s watch to be made in Japan. And not just any watch, but an alternative to the diver’s watch offer that until then was monopolised by Swiss brands like Blancpain, Zodiac and Rolex. (Here all our posts about Seiko)
Of course, Seiko’s decision to develop a diving model was influenced by commercial factors linked to the growing popularity of recreational diving at that time. These are what lay behind the entry onto the scene of model 6217-8000/1, which has entered history as the Seiko 62MAS (AutoMAtic Selfdater). The watch was one of the first of its kind in several ways – it was the first diver’s watch to be made in Japan, and it was the first Seiko watch to be water resistant to a depth of 150 metres.
The case measured an unprecedented 38 mm, considered at the time to be extra-large size. What’s more, the 62MAS was, and still is, an incredible source of inspiration for a series of successful collections. Taking this model as a starting point, over the past six years the Japanese brand has launched the SLA017 (2017), followed by the Seiko SLA037 (2020) and finally, last year, the Seiko SLA065 Save the Ocean edition.
And now the SJE093 once again highlights the glorious story of the 62MAS, which has demonstrated its reliability in extreme conditions like those experienced during the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition of 1966 to 1969.
The new model bears an even more striking resemblance to the diver’s watch of 1965. Take, for example, the steel case, which, like 62MAS, measures 38 mm in diameter.
There is, of course, no shortage of updates based on the watchmaking expertise developed by Seiko, leading to the production of the innovative calibre 6L37 that powers the new model. As well providing extreme timekeeping it offers other benefits – the movement’s smaller size has made it possible to reduce the case width by 0.5mm, contributing to the watch’s aesthetic appeal and making it more comfortable on the wrist. The SJE093 is guaranteed water resistant to 200 metres, demonstrating that it was developed with the intention of creating a reliable diving instrument.
The graphics on the dial also displays some differences – the larger markers and gold hour and minute hands are filled with LumiBrite, ensuring good legibility even in low light. The list of diver’s watch features also includes a unidirectional bezel with sixty gradations.
The aesthetics of the original 1965 model are recalled by the grey brushed finish chosen for the dial. This is protected by a domed sapphire crystal that creates a distinctive vintage look. Further stylistic links with past models are provided by the traditional dolphin engraving on the solid back. Production of the SJE093 is limited to 1,965 examples, and the watch is offered with a black rubber strap.
From the sea depths to glaciers
Seiko now works with Legambiente to protect the mountain landscape, and this year the Japanese watchmaker will take part in the Carovana dei Ghiacciai, a campaign the environmental organisation promotes to study and monitor the health of the mountains, which are increasingly threatened by the results of climate change.
Throughout the journey, comprising six stages taking in the entire Alpine arc, the team will wear six watches from the Prospex collections, featuring the Alpinist and Diver Save the Ocean versions, showing how effectively the brand can promote itself and the causes it supports through its products.