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A year after Doxa launched a small-production series of SUB 300 Aqua Lung watches with a forged carbon case, the famed independent Swiss dive watchmaker revisits that high-tech case for the new SUB 300 Carbon collection, a non-limited, eye-catching array of ten models with six colorful dial and matching strap options.

One of ten new Doxa SUB 300 Carbon models. Here the carbon case frames a Caribbean (navy blue) dial. The rubber strap can be black or to match the dial.

At the same time, Doxa launches these bright new SUB 300 models at Watches of Switzerland locations in the United States, marking the brand’s first official U.S. brick-and-mortar distribution in years. Previously, Doxa sold its watches only online through its e-commerce web site. With the new Watches of Switzerland partnership, shoppers can try on the full Doxa collection at all Watches of Switzerland retail stores, as well as online.

The Doxa SUB 300 in yellow, or ‘divingstar.’

The new collection expands Doxa’s use of color within its SUB 300 collection, which already includes a range of colorful steel-cased options. Now with the forged carbon case, the newest collection sets six dial colors, including navy blue, turquoise, orange, yellow, silver and black, framed within the patterned matte black forged carbon case and unidirectional bezel and blackened crown.

The swirled, high-tech carbon pattern and dark hue offers a starker contrast to Doxa’s colorful dial and strap options than we’ve seen with the collection’s existing steel models. And all are currently offered only on black or color-matched rubber straps, unlike the steel-bracelet option available for the steel-cased SUB 300.

Historic link

Doxa touts its current SUB 300 collection as the heir to its groundbreaking original 1967 debut of the same name. Rated as water resistant to a depth of 300 meters feet, the original Doxa SUB 300 was the first consumer watch to feature a unidirectional bezel with a dual indication of dive time and depth, according to Doxa. But the model itself gained fans for another reason as well: its full-on bright orange dial.

Even as the SUB 300 Carbon’s 42.5mm case is lighter than the steel models, Doxa has been careful to maintain the full dive specs of the all-steel SUB 300. To that end, the watchmakers have fit the newest watch with a pressure-resistant titanium chamber and screw-down crown.

The new series also features a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment that retains the same dome shape of the curved Plexiglas found on the original series in 1967. The COSC-certified ETA-based automatic movement provides a power reserve of approximately 38 hours.

Doxa ensures an easy-to-read dial on the new series with a white dive time scale punctuated with a dot at 12 o’clock. The inserts of the bezel (graduated in meters) for depths are colored – either in orange, yellow or turquoise – for visual differentiation, with a light dot at 12. Generously set with SuperLumiNova, the dial’s hour indices are also very clear.

Price: $3,890

Specifications: Doxa SUB 300 Carbon

Case:  42.50mm x 45.00mm x 13.40mm forged carbon, glass box sapphire crystal, unidirectional rotating forged carbon bezel, titanium chamber and screw-in case back, screw-down crown, water resistance to 300 meters.

Dial: Painted indices and hands with SuperLumiNova luminescent inserts, painted minute track.

Movement: Automatic ETA-based, COSC-certified with power reserve of 38 hours, Doxa decorations.

Bracelet: Black or matching to dial color, folding clasp, PVD-coated, featuring the brand’s fish symbol, diver’s wetsuit extension.

Price: $3,890.

Among Seiko’s wide-ranging 2021 debuts, two new Prospex models stand out for near-perfect fidelity to the original Seiko watches that inspired their re-interpretation. One, the Seiko Prospex Alpinist, revisits a Seiko sport model from 1959, while a second, the new Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition, revisits a historic dive watch Seiko made in 1970.

What makes both these debuts even more vital for Seiko collectors, and sports watch enthusiasts in general, are the updated collections based on these historic designs.

First, let’s take a look at the diver’s watch.

The Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition watch, showing blue silicone strap.

Seiko Prospex Naomi Uemura 80th Anniversary Limited Edition

As worn by Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura in the mid-1970s when he completed a 12,500-kilometer solo dog-sled run from Greenland to Alaska, a 1970 Seiko dive watch offered both reliability and protection. The watch was also notable for its unusual asymmetrical extension that protected the crown at the four o’clock position.

The curved extension of the case fully protects the screw-down crown.

Revisiting that 1970 design, Seiko in 2021 offers two new 44mm steel models. One (Reference SLA049) is a limited edition of 1,200 watches that echo the case’s original shape, high-visibility and three-hand dial, but now offer a special ‘mountain-pattern’ blue dial and blue bezel, said to recall the “blue tones of the earth’s upper atmospheric layers.” 

The original Seiko 1970 divers watch.

Seiko of course has modernized the tribute watch in several ways, primarily with the updated movement. Inside you’ll find Seiko’s dive-centric Caliber 8L35, made at the Seiko Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan.

The dial is also extra luminous, with all hands and all hour markers coated generously with Lumibrite. Seiko has also coated the case with a protective, anti-scratch layer, and has placed an anti-reflective coating on the dual-curved sapphire crystal.

The caseback is engraved with Uemura’s name and the watch’s number.

Finally, Seiko has increased the watch’s water resistance, now rated to 200 meters. For this limited model, Seiko includes a blue silicone strap that has the same train-track pattern as the original model.

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation.

In addition to the blue-dialed limited edition that commemorates the 80th anniversary of Naomi Uemura’s birth, Seiko adds a gray dialed version to the Prospex collection. The watch shares the same textured pattern dial as the limited edition but is in a charcoal gray color that is similar to the 1970 original. It shares the same case design, features and specifications as the commemorative watch and will also be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in July 2021.

Prices: $3,100 (Ref. SLA049–limited to 1,200 pieces), $2,900 (With gray dial, Ref. SLA051)
 

The Alpinist

Seiko introduced its first watch made for mountain climbers in 1959. Called the Seiko Laurel Alpinist, it marked the start of Seiko’s march into the much broader sports watch market. Seiko followed that debut model with a series of watches specifically tailored for sports, including stopwatches and diver’s watches.

The original Seiko Laurel Alpinist, circa 1959.

For 2021 Seiko revives that debut 1959 design with two odes to the original. One, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation, is a 36.6mm limited edition that retains the original’s dial markings and its sporty leather cuff. A second model, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, is slightly larger, at 38mm, is fitted with a different movement and is offered on steel bracelet (and two dial options) and on a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation (Reference SJE085), a limited edition of 1,200.

Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation

The re-creation brings back the black dial and large markers found on the original, but now adds a date window and stronger water resistant (to 100 meters). In addition, its box-shaped sapphire crystal is now treated with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. Finally, the movement is updated with Seiko’s thin automatic Caliber 6L35, which has a power reserve of 45 hours. Despite the addition of a date and the new automatic caliber, the case is just 1.0mm thicker (11.1mm) than the original model. And of course, Seiko has faithfully reproduced the leather strap and cuff, using the same jagged stitch design as its predecessor.

Seiko’s slimline Caliber 6L35 has a power reserve of 45 hours.

The re-creation will be available as a limited edition of 1,959 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Price: $2,900.

Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation (below)

One of two steel-bracelet models in the new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection (Reference SPB243).

The three other new watches that pay homage to the 1959 Alpinist sport a more contemporary dial treatment and offer a choice among two steel bracelet models and one attached to a leather strap. This collection of three models is one of Seiko’s best values among all its 2021 debuts.

The green-dialed Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation collection comes on a leather strap.

Their slightly larger (38mm) polished cases are notably more modern than the Re-creation, and the Caliber 6R35 offers a stronger power reserve, at 70 hours. In addition, the water resistance is to 200 meters, twice the rating of the Re-creation. Two watches (cream-colored dial and black dial) are offered on stainless steel bracelets while the green dial version comes with a leather strap.

The new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation, Reference SPB241.

All three of these Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-interpretation watches will be available at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in August. Prices: $750 and $725 (leather strap).

As Omega prepares for its role as official timekeeper for the upcoming 36th America’s Cup, the watchmaker launches the Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph, a 44mm steel watch with a boat-race (regatta) countdown indicator.

The new Omega Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph.

The new 44mm chronograph, based on a 2019 Omega Seamaster Diver, has a blue ceramic dial with the collection’s familiar laser-engraved wave-pattern and white enamel diving scale on the bezel. Less familiar is the regatta countdown indicator ring in red anodized aluminum.

The indicator’s red anodized aluminum minute hand, with a shape inspired by a boat hull, provides the countdown indication, supplemented by a rhodium-plated small seconds hand at the 9 o’clock position. Chronograph hours are visible in a window within the countdown subdial.

Cup tributes

Omega maintains the watch’s America’s Cup distinction with a central seconds chronograph hand, also in red anodized aluminum, that features an America’s Cup icon in red on the counterweight. More Cup tributes are visible on the back of the watch, including “36th America’s Cup” and “Auckland 2021,” both spelled in blue lacquer.

Also seaworthy, even beyond the already strong Seamaster Diver specs, is a helium escape valve and soft-touch red and blue rubber pushers, designed to work efficiently when wet. That efficiency is backed with a new chronograph lock-system that secures the chronograph functions when needed, presumably during a race at sea.

The new watch continues Omega’s longstanding relationship with the America’s Cup, which the brand also officially timed in 2000 and 2003. This newest watch is the second Omega has launched in support of the 36th America’s Cup, which takes place in New Zealand starting March 6. Last year Omega released the Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup Edition.

The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean America’s Cup Edition, released in 2020.

New Quick Change 

Omega offers the new Seamaster Diver 300M America’s Cup Chronograph with a metal bracelet and an additional rubber strap, both equipped with Omega’s brand new Quick Change system. The watchmaker says with the system, the owner can quickly “switch easily between the bracelet and the strap without having to use tools.”

Omega says its new Quick Change feature makes switching bracelets simpler.

Inside Omega fits its excellent Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 9900, an automatic chronograph movement with column wheel and Co-Axial escapement. The movement is approved by METAS, resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss and features a silicon balance-spring and sixty hours of power reserve.

Visible through the caseback, the Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 9900 is is resistant to magnetic fields reaching 15,000 gauss and features a silicon balance-spring.

Price: $10,700.

By Marc Frankel

It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.

Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.

The newest Ball Watch Engineer Hydrocarbon NEDU features 600 meters of water resistance, enhanced shock resistance and strong anti-magnetic properties.

Pre-computer

Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.

The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 features a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender. 

ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.

ISO Tests

Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.

The Ulysse Nardin Diver X Nemo Point limited edition.

For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425.  And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.

Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.

The new TAG Heuer Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.

One of several new models within the Torgoen T43 Diver watch collection.

So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!

Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.

Marc Frankel, Video Editor, About Time

Founder, Long Island Watch

 

 

Two brand-new releases from Seiko Prospex recall historic diver’s models from 1968 while a third new diver’s watch, offered on a silicone strap or a titanium bracelet, features a lighter titanium dial and a bracelet built with references to a Shogun’s helmet and armor.

The Seiko Prospex SPB189 ‘Shogun’ features a titanium bracelet with super-hard coating and tri-fold push button release clasp with secure lock and extender.

The movement

Seiko has updated both models with the solid 6R35 automatic mechanical movement, which is appreciated for both its robust nature as well as its 70-hour power reserve.

Bi-directional winding via the magic finger system adds power to the movement while wearing the watch, but you can also manually wind it as well. Also, for all the watch “hacks” out there fixated on stopping the second hand in order to coordinate their next mission, the 6R35 does in-fact offer this over-appreciated feature.

While critics may search for other depredations in the fact that the frequency of the caliber 6R35 at 21,600 vph is a bit slower than other Japanese options, accuracy is the same or similar to those slightly faster mechanical heartbeats. One wonders if the internet’s instant experts have considered that putting less stress on a system that will inevitably need service and/or repair down the road might actually be a benefit rather than a detriment.

The Seiko Prospex SPB191 ‘Shogun’ ($1,350 on silicone strap).

Shogun debuts

Seiko fits this movement into its Propex “Shogun” series (SPB189 and SPB191) are crafted in a 43.5 mm hardened titanium case rated to 200 meters of water resistance with the crown at the traditional 3 o’clock position. A super-huge date display is made even larger by a magnifying cyclops window, with a uni-directional diver’s bezel atop. The sapphire crystal over the dial will be difficult to mar or scratch unless you shatter it entirely.

Side view of the Seiko Prospex SPB191 ‘Shogun.’

Like its sister dive models, the Seiko Prospex ‘Shogun’ could not be any easier to read; Broad hands coated in a thick layer of LumiBrite glow brightly – just like the hour markers. Time is clearly of the essence with these masterful classics. Offered with a choice of a silicone strap at $1,350, or a titanium bracelet for an extra $200, the Shogun will be a fan favorite for both real and “desk” divers.

Side view of the SPB189 Seiko Prospex ‘Shogun.’

For Japanese warrior fans, Seiko says the triangular notches in the rotating bezel on this model resemble the ornaments of a traditional Shogun helmet. The yabane or “arrow feather” link shape of the bracelet version, according to the brand, calls to mind weapons and armor.

The Seiko Prospex SPB185 is a contemporary interpretation of Seiko’s famous Diver from 1968.

Steel Sixties

Bringing us back to 1968, the Seiko Prospex Diver SPB185 and SPB187 are slightly smaller at 42mm, slightly heavier as they are cast in steel, and slightly less expensive due to the aforementioned reasons.

The new Seiko Prospex SPD187 is a new interpretation of Seiko’s famous Diver from 1968.

Broader shoulders separate the sister-types, as does a crown migrated slightly south to the 4 o’clock position. Other nuances of design define each as the hands, markers, and bezel are endemic to each design. Otherwise these are very similar in the chassis build quality. Available only on a solid link steel bracelet, the 185 and 187 retail for $1,200. 

 

 

 

Torgoen extends its adventure-watch focus from the skies to the sea with the new nautically based T43 Diver watch collection.

Models within the new Torgoen T43 Diver watch collection.

U.S.-based Torgoen, known for its extensive line of high-value adventure and aviation-themed quartz and automatic watches, combines many of the features found in its existing lines into the new dive watch collection. These features include bold, luminous markers, wide ratcheting bezels, solid steel bracelets, 200-meters of water resistance and sapphire crystals.

Torgoen offers five 44mm watches within the collection. They are marked with a choice among three bezel colors (black, red or navy bezel) and two dial hues (black or blue). And unlike many sport-watch vendors, Torgeon doesn’t make the choice between a steel bracelet and a silicone strap difficult because the price difference is only $10 ($285 for steel bracelet models and $275 for silicone strap models). 

Silicone-strap Torgoen T43 Diver watches.

Even at this price, Torgoen is still able to provide small details on the watches you might not expect. These touches include an etched Torgoen logo on the inner case wall, a screw-down crown for extra water protection, and a custom two-layer dial.

Inside, Torgoen fits the well-known Ronda 515S quartz movement, which is built to handle the torque required to move the large hands of the T43 Collection. In addition, the Ronda caliber offers a power-saving mechanism whereby a pulled-out stem will reduce power consumption by approximately seventy percent, extending the watch’s battery life to a full two years.

Purchases of the T43 Diver Collection will be included in Torgoen’s partnership with Miracle Flights, the nation’s leading medical flight charity, which provides flights to families with children in need of life-changing medical care. A portion of proceeds from every watch sold on the brand’s site is donated to the non-profit organization.

 

Citizen takes its light-powered, GPS-connected wristwatch technology underwater this week as the Japanese watchmaker debuts two Promaster dive watches set for the first time with the Citizen Cal. F158 Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS movement. 

Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS Diver 200m, with Duratect-hardened Super Titanium case.

The new watches are being billed by Citizen as the first light-powered dive watch with GPS satellite capabilities. The newest Promasters are also fully compliant the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard for dive watches and feature water resistance to 200 meters.

Citizen Promaster / Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS Diver 200m, with black DLC Super Titanium case.

To use the new models beneath the waves, a diver first presses the push buttons at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock simultaneously, which sends the watch into Dive mode. All functions, except time display, will then stop in order to prevent erroneous user operations. It will not enter into Dive mode if the charged battery amount is insufficient.

Both watches are cased with Citizen’s proprietary Super Titanium, which Citizen then enhances with a surface-treatment hardening technology called Duratect MRK. While both models measure 47mm in diameter, the blue dialed option (model CC5006-06L) is finished in a glossy black hue using a DLC layering technique, which enhances scratch resistance.

Sea of features

These are professional-level dive watches, echoing much of the Promaster collection, which features a range of high-spec dive, aviation and racing watches. Citizen has ensured that each model boasts a unidirectional bezel with knurled notches, a screw lock crown, sapphire crystal, charge capacity display function and light-level indicator.

And, as is required for ISO compliance, the Eco-Drive Satellite Wave GPS Diver 200m dials are easy to read with large, luminous indexes and hands.

Citizen’s proprietary light-powered Eco-Drive Cal.F158 will operate for about seven years on a full charge – even without a light source. This insures that the various high-tech functions will operate uninterrupted.

Thus, the watches will continue to receive location and time information anywhere in the world using GPS satellite signals. This data will automatically correct the time and world calendar. Even without GPS satellite function, the watch is rated to an accuracy of ± five seconds per month. The wearer can also manually adjust the crown to change city and calendar, if desired.

For experienced or aspiring divers, Citizen has emblazoned the dial ring on both watches with the abbreviated names of eight famous diving locations, including Sharm El Sheikh, Maldives, Phuket, Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, Hawaii, Galapagos and Fernando de Noronha.

Each watch comes with a urethane strap with extension band.

Citizen supplies each watch with a urethane band and an extension band for wet suit use.

Prices: $1,395 (Super Titanium case with black DLC coating and blue dial) and $1,350 (Super Titanium case and green dial).

 

By Cordwainer Byrd

Seiko’s rich legacy of products that represent absolute real estate in the rich tapestry of wristwatch history lend themselves to recreations and homages, with 2020 delivering a singular treat in the release of a three-watch edition that charts the story of Seiko’s indelible mark on adventure, diving and outdoor sports.

Released this September, Seiko’s Prospex “Built for the Ice Diver” collection represents a material homage to Seiko’s 55-year history of producing sports diving watches, beginning in 1965 with the release of Japan’s first dive watch, the 62MAS.

The Original Seiko Diver’s watches. From left we see the 1968 Hi-Beat Diver’s 300m, the famed 1965 62MAS and the 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m.

New classics

The new collection is comprised of recreations of highly desirable classics that represent modern technology brought to bear on a vintage subject.

“Built for the Ice Diver” is a reference to Seiko’s position as Japan’s watch for the adventurer, tested in extreme conditions both underwater and as a companion to high mountaineers. The 62MAS set the standard for many subsequent Seiko dive watches, with an automatic movement, quickset date and 37mm stainless steel case capped with a plexiglass crystal and rectangular tritium minute markers, ratcheted bezel and broad hands. Vintage examples sell for more than $4,000.

This particular watch, of the many, many variations of Seiko’s developed across multiple markets, grew to prominence because of two men, one real and one fictional. The first, acclaimed Japanese Adventurer Naomi Uemura, chose the original Seiko 62MAS because it was a robust, waterproof watch, and made in Japan to boot.

Japanese Adventurer Naomi Uemura, pictured with the historical Seiko dive watches.

Sure, he could have picked a Rolex Explorer or Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, like any other run-of-the-mill international adventurer, but Uemura was a standard bearer for his country and selected that most Japanese of all brands, Seiko. He (probably) wore the watch throughout many of his treks, which included a one-man dog sled run from Greenland to Alaska, the first solo walk to the North Pole and ascension of the North American Denali Mountain, which marked his last adventure. He disappeared on the Denali hike, presumably with a Seiko on his wrist.

The second man in the Seiko storybook is the legendary “Captain Willard” from Francis Coppola’s film, “Apocalypse Now.” Willard, played by Martin Sheen, wore a Seiko in the same dive watch family, which gave rise to the watch’s status among collectors, (we love our little tribute names, don’t we), and its value on the secondary vintage watch market.

The legendary “Captain Willard” from Francis Coppola’s 1979 film “Apocalypse Now” wearing his Seiko diver.

Seiko has re-issued this watch in several variants over the years, and at varying price points, creating secondary and tertiary collectors’ markets for the multiple iterations of this product.

The new collection

For the uninitiated collector, deciphering the complicated soup of Seiko designations, per market, is itself a treasure hunt and the stuff many lengthy Seiko forum discussions. Suffice to say, the current Prospex Ice collection is alluring enough to satisfy anyone interested in wearing a tough watch that looks like a classic from the analogue era. So, let’s get on with now.

The Ice Diver collection is comprised of three watches, each with its own twist on our theme. Shop for SKUs SPB175 (grey dial/bezel), SPB177 (green dial/bezel) and SPB179 (blue dial/bezel), packaged in the Seiko Sumo case, released exclusively in the North American market and priced at a very competitive $900.

The Sumo variant is a wide (44mm), thin (12mm) all stainless watch case and signed bracelet, powered by a Seiko automatic caliber 6R35 movement, beating at a frequency of 21,600 BPH, pivoting on 24 jewels, with a 70-hour power reserve. It’s water resistant to 600 feet and has a dual curved sapphire crystal. It has a date indicator, rotating bezel, Lumibrite hands and markers and a three-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Seiko Prospex Ice Diver SPB175, priced at $900.
Seiko Prospex Ice Diver SPB177, priced at $900.

And if that’s not enough, it’s supplied to the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE), which means that the homage on an homage on an homage is now itself a bona fide collectible with its own nascent back story. Face it folks, for $900 this is one hell of a watch – and by the time you read this it will probably be sold out anyway, and headed to become a $1,500 watch on the collector’s market. And so it goes with Seiko.

Seiko Prospex Ice Diver SPB179, priced at $900.

Prospex is Seiko’s mid-range sports watch brand, with its own higher end LX series. It’s fascinating to watch Seiko grow and prune their brands into unique shapes, like an artistic gardener tending to a Bonsai tree.

With the chain-sawing of brands across many U.S. distribution points in 2019, Seiko drew a line in the sand: cut broad distribution, cut SKU’s, focus heavily on retailers and educate the consumer on the products to create new demand.

This release reflects that tactic in action. The Ice Diver collection plays off the perception of heritage, coupled with limited availability, backed by a lot of watch for the money. Instant collectible equals increased market desire for subsequent releases. Hats off to the company for delivering sales during a time period when we’re seeing other companies disappear into the vanity fueled, limited edition, lofty priced abyss.

Seiko Extra: The Spring Drive Prospex LX SNR029

For those seeking a classic-looking Seiko homage with all the attributes of current issue Seiko technology, take a look at the GPHG-award-winning Seiko Prospex LX SNR029.

Seiko Prospex LX SNR029

This watch literally straddles both of our planet’s unknown universes: space and water. At a list price of $6,000, this watch gives its Grand Seiko cousin a run for the money. This Prospex LX is titanium, with a case developed by Porsche designer Ken Okuyama and powered by Seiko’s 5R65 Spring Drive movement that is less susceptible to atmospheric deviations than a standard automatic watch.

 

The movement is found in Grand Seiko models and was actually worn in space by video game designer Richard Garriott, a citizen who paid the Russians to make him the sixth non-astronaut to travel to space. Needless to say, he wore a Seiko Spring Drive watch (whaddya think about that, Omega, Breitling, Casio, Rolex and Fortis). If you can get your hands on this classic – grab it!

 

TAG Heuer has updated its sea-focused Aquaracer collection with two colorful automatic models sporting a so-called tortoise-shell-pattern bezel. In addition, look for new Khaki-colored quartz Aquaracer model with an olive-green aluminum bezel and a matching fabric strap.

The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition.

The new Aquaracer 43mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition and the new Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition watches enhance Aquaracer, TAG Heuer’s dive watch collection known for its 300-meter water resistance rating, unidirectional rotating bezel, luminous markers and hands and easy-to-read dials, as befits an ocean-centric sports watch.

All three of these debuts also feature a 43mm stainless-steel screw-down caseback engraved with the image of a vintage divers’ helmet.

Tortoise-pattern

To set these new models apart from earlier Aquaracers, TAG Heuer has subtly decorated the bezels with blue or brown resin that has been modified to create an interesting pattern that, according to TAG Heuer, mimic the sun’s reflection on the ocean.

Often seen on sunglasses, the tortoise-shell effect is rarely used to decorate watches, and represents TAG Heuer’s first attempt beyond variations in dial patterns to inject a bit of style into the generally sober Aquaracer line.

TAG Heuer even enhances the blue or brown bezels on these two debuts with blue or black sunray-pattern brushed dials with horizontal lines. Like the bezels, the dials can catch and reflect light, effectively doubling the ‘summertime’ focus of the new design.

TAG Heuer adds another novelty here with a rubber strap that features the exterior pattern of another reptile: the alligator.

The unidirectional bezels on both Aquaracer 43 mm Tortoise Shell Effect Special Edition models retain the Aqua-racer’s sixty-minute scale as well as the familiar angled magnifying lens over the date window at 3 o’clock.

The strap is held tight with a folding steel clasp with double safety push buttons. Inside is TAG Heuer’s Caliber 5, the brand’s reliable ETA-based or Sellita-based automatic movement. Price: $2,600 (Available in August).

New quartz Khaki

TAG Heuer’s new quartz-powered Aquaracer 43 mm Khaki Special Edition combines a sturdy olive-hued fabric strap and sharp-looking anthracite sunray brushed dial. And rather than a sun-dappled steel bezel, the watch’s aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel is tinted with a down-to-earth olive hue.

Like the new models above, this quartz debut features a polished and fine-brushed steel case, rhodium-plated and luminous hour, minute and seconds hands and the same angled date window.

Likewise, the back of the watch echoes the Aquaracer standard with a solid caseback engraved with an image of a vintage divers’ helmet. Price: $1,600.

 

Oris has once again partnered with the Florida-based Coral Restoration Foundation to create the new Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition, a steel version of the fifty-piece gold limited edition introduced earlier this year. The new model will offered as a limited edition of 2,000 timepieces. Sales will support the Foundation.

The new Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition, with steel bracelet.

The Carysfort Reef collection is named for the eponymous coral reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is part of the Florida Reef Tract, the third largest barrier reef in the world and the only barrier reef in the United States. Sadly, a changing climate has caused it to degrade over the past several decades and the coral populations to concurrently dwindle. This, in turn, affects the health of our oceans, which produce seventy percent of the world’s oxygen.

The watch

The new watch features a 43.5mm steel case with a bi-directional ceramic bezel and GMT scale. The watch’s blue gradient dial forms the backdrop for SuperLuminova-treated hands and indexes and a date window at three o’clock, while the solid screwed caseback features special engravings alluding to the brand’s support of Carysfort Reef. Oris has worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation since 2014.

As you might expect, Oris has made the watch fully prepared for use outdoor and even underwater. The watch is water resistant to 300 meters, thanks in part of its screw-in stainless steel security crown.

The automatic movement (the Sellita-based Oris 798) includes multiple functions: hours, minutes, seconds and 24 hour indication via central hands, as well as an instantaneous date and 24-hour corrector, fine timing device and stop seconds. Its power reserve is 42 hours.

The back of the watch shows its solid screwed caseback with engravings noting Oris’s support for the Carysfort Reef.

In its new steel case, the Oris Aquis Carysfort Reef Limited Edition can be strapped to the wrist with a solid Oris stainless steel bracelet or an orange rubber strap, both of which are complemented by a stainless steel security folding clasp with an extension. The presentation box is both attractive and satisfying: it is constructed using sustainable algae.  Prices: $3,000 (metal bracelet) and $2,800 (orange rubber strap).