INTRODUCING: Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation GMT
Inspired by the extremes of the world, Seiko offers carefully considered improvements on the Prospex with an added GMT complication.
From what we can see so far, this will be a banner year for Seiko and Grand Seiko. The Japanese watchmaker is celebrating its 110th anniversary of the Laurel, the company’s first wristwatch. And it’s introducing a slew of new releases at the start of the year to celebrate this occasion.
Seiko and Grand Seiko have already dropped anniversary models for the Laurel (more to come on those pieces). But it’s made improvements across its entire collection, starting with the Prospex range of diving models.
The brand released its first diving watch in 1965 and has continuously pushed the envelope with the collection. Over the years, there have been many variants that have become cult icons, from the ‘Turtle’ to the ‘Monster’. They range from inexpensive sub-S$1,000 pieces to the LX line, which is the premium series with Spring Drive movements, Zaratsu finishing, and angular case design.
The LX line features complications such as a GMT function and power reserve indicators (using the Calibre 5R66 Spring Drive movement). But mechanical Seiko Prospex models use two primary movements – the Calibre 8L35 and 8R chronograph. The latest Prospex watches announced yesterday include the debut of a new GMT movement in the regular Prospex line.
The Seiko Prospex SPB381 and SPB383
The Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation GMT (it’s a very long name, so we’ll go by the references SPB381 and SPB383 instead) is based off Seiko’s 1968 diver, which the LX series is also based off. That watch was the first hi-beat automatic diving watch ever, with classic lines that were recreated in 2018 for the watch’s anniversary.
The new Calibre 6R54 features a GMT complication with hour jump adjustment and a three-day power reserve. 6R calibres are typically used in the Presage line; this is the first time it’s deployed in the Prospex collection. It’s accurate to +25/-15 seconds a day, with a stop seconds function. It’s also a relatively slim movement, at just 5.3mm thick. The case is 12.9mm thick and offers a 200m water resistance.
The SPB381 offers a green dial and matching ceramic bezel, while the SPB383 comes in black. They retain a unidirectional diving bezel with a full minute track. A 24-hour scale for the GMT hand is printed on the flange of the dial, circling the minute track that follows the Lumibrite-coated hour markers.
The 42mm stainless steel case has been subtly refined, with the lugs and adjoining bracelet link tweaked to give better balance as it rests on the wrist. The middle links of the bracelet have also been mirror-finished, along with the sharply angled surfaces of the case. The design, compared with the 1968 model, has a stronger profile, and the bezel has also been sized up for easier underwater operation.
The Seiko Prospex SPB385
A special edition of the watch has also been introduced. The Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Limited Edition SPB385 has a stunning textured dial in ice blue that mirrors the colour of polar glaciers around the Arctic and Antarctic. The dial uses a special decorating technique of engraving combined with other methods to achieve the result.
The SPB385 comes with a steel bracelet as well as a strap made from recycled PET, using a traditional Japanese braiding technique called Seichu.
While pricing for these watches is not yet available, the watches will be released in June 2023 at Seiko boutiques and authorised retailers. Set your calendar alert to head down to Seiko’s stores to get yours.
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