Deluxe And Redux: Seiko Reimagines And Updates Its Classic Collections For 2020
The Japanese brand has introduced a slew of new Astrons, Presages, and Seiko 5s as well as modernized versions of collector favorites.
Over the last few years, Seiko has been subtly trying to bring more prestige to its brand. While the Japanese watchmaker has always been respected by collectors, they have been making quiet moves such as consolidating its lines and upgrading materials and finishes — especially in the North American market.
It’s a shrewd move that’s also paying off for buyers because you can get some pretty great timepieces at accessible price points. And for 2020, Seiko has gone even more upmarket with some very attractive watches in their Astron, Presage, and Prospex collections.
The company previewed its newest lineup via a ZOOM conference last week. Some are under embargo, but we’ll share what we can, happy in knowing that we can expect even more amazing watches in the coming months.
As we mentioned earlier, Seiko is making great strides in defining its watch families, especially the Astron collection.
The original Astron debuted on December 25, 1969. It was the world’s first “quartz clock” wristwatch. Since 2012, Seiko Astron has led the world in GPS Solar technology. On top of its history of innovation, it has a reputation as a sporty lifestyle watch.
In 2019, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Seiko began a campaign to make the Astron more upscale with a reimagined design based on the thin but wide curved profile of 1969 original. This timepiece was powered by Seiko’s slimmest GPS Solar caliber, the 5X53 Dual-Time.
Just when you think the Astron couldn’t get any fancier, the 5X53 family has grown with the addition of four watches with titanium cases and bracelets.
This foursome of Astrons couldn’t feel any lighter or look any more luxurious. For an office-friendly look, there are two editions (SSH063, SSH067) with white or black dials. There’s a black case edition (SSH069) with a uniquely patterned, matte-finish dial that has a more distinct, sport-chic style. But the ultimate in elegance is the green dial edition (SSH071) limited to 2,000 pieces. This classic timepiece also features a green ceramic bezel and gold accents that elevate the sporty nature of the Astron.
Available June 2020, the SSH071 will cost $2,700. The rest of the new timepieces will be available in July 2020 with the SSH063 and SSH067 costing $2,500 and the SSH069 costing $2,700.
These timepieces will be available at Seiko Boutiques and selected retailers worldwide.
Presage is Seiko’s métier line. It marries traditional Japanese craftsmanship with Seiko’s superb mechanical watchmaking skills. And for 2020, we will be treated to a selection of high-end pieces showcasing exquisite, handcrafted masterworks crafted with Shippo enamel and Arita porcelain.
This year, the range is adding a series of sophisticated mechanical watches with finely finished, textured dials inspired by classic cocktails (with prices starting at just $450).
But the best expressions of the Presage mood are the two new “Porco Rosso” models, inspired by the famous Japanese animation studio, Studio Ghibli, and the 1992 film about an early 20th-century pilot who transforms himself into a seaplane-flying pig. With its red, white, and green color scheme and whimsical backstory, these timepieces have a lot of character. But it is backed up with great technique.
There are two versions of the Porco Rosso. The white enamel dial edition includes a power reserve indicator at the 8 o’clock position and a date window at 3 o’clock. The watch uses the power of Seiko’s Spring Drive Caliber 5R65, which offers an accuracy of +/–1 second per day and a power reserve of 72 hours.
Available in July 2020, the Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Porco Rosso Collaboration Limited Edition with the Spring Drive 5R65 caliber (SNR047) will be limited to 500 pieces and cost approximately $5,600.
The black dialed chronograph features Seiko’s most advanced chronograph caliber, the 8R48, which measures elapsed time up to 12 hours and has a power reserve of 45 hours. In addition to a vertical clutch and column wheel, the chronograph uses Seiko’s unique three-pointed hammer and heart-shaped cam, to ensure instant synchronization of the hands when the timer is reset.
Available in June 2020, the Seiko Presage Studio Ghibli Porco Rosso Collaboration Limited Edition with the automatic chronograph caliber 8R48 (SRQ033) will be limited to 600 pieces and cost approximately $3,900.
The enamel used for both pieces is the invention of master craftsman Mitsuru Yokosawa and his colleagues. It is meant to evoke the patina and texture of vintage 1920s materials. Each edition also comes in a special presentation box with an alternative strap and a leather cloth marked with the symbol of Porco.
This year also marks the 55th anniversary of Seiko’s first dive watch, the 62MAS. This timepiece set the standard for Japanese dive watches. The 62MAS paved the way for Seiko’s first hi-beat saturation diver in 1968, and the brand’s legendary 1975 titanium one-piece diver, known and beloved by professional divers as the “Tuna.”
The Prospex Trilogy 2020 collection is a call back to those classic divers — the 1968 Hi-beat Diver’s 300m, the 1965 62MAS 150m, and the 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m — with three limited editions that reimagines rather than recreates them.
So, what’s new? All three 2020 watches offer upgraded specifications and execution. Seiko’s new “Ever-Brilliant Steel” is more corrosion resistant than the steel used in most luxury timepieces. Also, its brilliant white hue gives the trio a unique look.
According to Seiko, this is the first time this material will be used in the watch industry. Usually, it is used to manufacture surfaces, linings, bolts, and other components of marine structures. Now, it will be for the cases of the 1965 Diver's Re-creation and 1968 Professional Diver's 300m Re-creation as well as the bezel of the 1975 Professional Diver's Re-creation, which will have a titanium case like the original.
While the architecture of each re-creation reflects the era in which they were introduced, all three share the same blue-gray dial. This shade is meant to evoke the color of the sea and symbolize their ability to perform at the darkest depths. In fact, the gradient effect on the 1965 and 1968 models is a comment on the way that light disperses as one dives deeper into the drink.
Then there are the performance upgrades. The 1965 and 1968 re-creations are powered by the high beat 8L55 movement, while the 1975 re-creation features a Caliber 8L35. Both are in-house movements developed and assembled at Seiko’s Shizukuishi Watch Studio. All three versions have sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. And because of its pure iron dial, the 1975 re-creation offers an increased anti-magnetic resistance of 40,000 a/m.
All of the Seiko Diver's Watch 55th Anniversary Limited Editions will have a worldwide production run of only 1,100 pieces.
In terms of pricing and availability: The 1965 Diver's Re-creation will be available in June 2020 for approximately $6,300; the 1968 Professional Diver's 300m Re-creation will be available in July 2020 for approximately $6,800; and, the 1975 Professional Diver's Re-creation will be available in August 2020 for approximately $4,500.
(Images provided by Seiko)