Seiko is a name that has been synonymous with diving watches, ever since they produced their first diver’s watch – the 62MAS – in 1965. Water-resistant watches were not abundant in the 1960s the way they are today, and so the 150 meters water-resistant 62MAS (pictured above), which was also Japan’s first diver’s watch, made a significant impact that is still apparent today.
“The watch was designed for maximum reliability and legibility in the harshest conditions and was used by the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition from 1966 to 1969,” according to Seiko. And this, of course, led to a numerous diver’s watches, including the Turtle, Tuna, Monster, and others.
Seiko 2017 62MAS re-edition (Ref. SLA017)
The new Seiko 62MAS Prospex re-edition is aesthetically faithful to the original (39.9 mm x 14.1 mm). For instance, the case is virtually identical, with the exception of an increase in diameter of 1.9 mm. Even the caseback bears the same dolphin emblem as the 1965 original.
Technologically, the re-edition is completely modern, powered by caliber 8L35 which is produced in the Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio in Morioka in Northern Japan. Seiko says, “The overall re-design was entrusted to Nobuhiro Kosugi, a recipient of the prestigious Medal with Yellow Ribbon and Contemporary Master Craftsman awards. Kosugi has kept faith with the original, as is attested by the 3D embossed hour markers which stand up in sharp relief and yet are an integral part of the dial itself, the luminous dot at twelve o’clock, the slim profile of the case and the narrow bezel.”
The watch is powered by automatic caliber 8L35 which beats at 4HZ (28,800 vph), has 26 jewels, and a 50-hour power reserve.
Further, the 62MAS re-edition has a box type sapphire crystal and water-resistance has increased from 150 to 200 meters. A tropical style silicone strap is included, along with a stainless steel bracelet. Durability is enhanced by the super-hard coating which protects the watch from scratches. Each 62MAS Seiko diver’s watch is hand-assembled and adjusted, available in a limited edition of 2000 pieces. Availability begins July 2017. The retail price of the limited edition is $3400 (Ref. SLA017 – 62MAS re-edition limited edition).
Modern re-interpretations of the 62MAS (Ref. SPB053 – left, SPB051 – right)
In addition, there are two new retro style modern steel diver’s watches that pay homage to Seiko’s original diver’s watch (42.6 mm x 13.8 mm). And while they feature the same super hard coating as the new 62MAs, they are not re-editions. Instead, they are better described as re-interpretations, with wider hands and longer lasting luminescent material and a curved sapphire crystal. Powering these two models is a 3Hz (21,600 vph) automatic caliber 6R15 which has 23 jewels and a 50-hour power reserve.
One version has a steel bracelet and the other has an accordion-style silicone strap (invented by Seiko in 1975). The retail prices are $800 on a rubber strap and $1000 on a steel bracelet. (SPB053 – modern re-interpretation with rubber strap, SPB051 – modern re-interpretation with steel bracelet). Availability begins November 2017.