Seiko Brings Fresh Updates To Two New Vintage-Inspired Prospex Divers

Seiko Brings Fresh Updates To Two New Vintage-Inspired Prospex Divers

Through new movements and colorways, Seiko builds upon the successes of earlier diver models with this year’s Prospex collection. 

By Thomas Hendricks

Seiko already offers an ocean’s worth of dive watches with prices ranging from under $500 to over $5,000, and with new releases, the sea levels continue to rise. To avoid an exhaustive (and exhausting) summary, we’re focusing on two new additions to the Prospex lineup - the “Sumo” Prospex Diver SPB101 and the yet to be nicknamed SPB105.

Seiko “Sumo” Prospex Diver SPB101

Released at Baselworld 2019, the new “Sumo” diver builds off the SBDC031 which was launched as a mid-range diver, above the Turtle and Samurai models but not quite at the level of the MarineMaster 300m. First produced in 2007, the SBDC031 went unchanged for over a decade. Now the SPB101 brings updated touches to the classic Sumo.

The SPB101 keeps many of the basic specs that fans have come to expect from its Sumo forefather: 45mm stainless steel case, 200m water-resistance, Lumibrite applications, screw-down crown and case back, three-fold clasp with wetsuit extender, unidirectional rotating bezel, and hacking seconds functionality. 

The biggest upgrade with the 2019 edition is the switch to Seiko’s 6R35 movement. The new automatic 6R35 operates at 21,600 BPH and has an impressive 70-hour power reserve. Which is a noticeable improvement from the 50-hour reserve of the previous generation’s caliber 6R15. And while some Seiko fans bemoaned the 13.5mm case thickness of the SBDC031, the 2019 release put the Sumo on a diet and comes in at a slightly slimmer 12.9mm.

Visually speaking, the SPB101 brings a streamlined look while maintaining the functionality and charm of its predecessor. Only really noticeable in a side-by-side comparison, the hands, indices, and bezel markings all appear about 15% thinner. 

The hour hand has also swapped its chevron for a small line cutting into the Lumibrite and the numbers on the bezel are a bit more compact this time around. Finally, the crystal has been upgraded from Seiko’s mineral “Hardlex” glass to a true sapphire crystal. 

The Seiko “Sumo” Prospex Diver SPB101 in green and black colorways is priced at $850 USD and is currently available at select Seiko retailers.

Seiko Prospex Diver SPB105

Watch fans love a good nickname. Seiko alone holds timepieces with the monikers Samurai, Sumo, Blue Hole, Ninja, Turtle, and Tuna. This is to say that the latest addition to the 200m Prospex Diver lineup, simply known by its reference SPB105, could use a catchier title. 

What the watch lacks in a memorable nickname, it makes up for with memorable looks. Based on the 1968 Seiko 6159-7001, the latest edition a hard-to-hate green dial with gold accents.

Green dials are having a bit of a moment right now, and Seiko has chosen a brilliant green and gold color combination to embody the lush and lively glow of summer.

The 44mm stainless steel case maintains much of the visual DNA as its vintage predecessor, but brings a little extra character with the broad arrow hours hand, syringe minutes hand, pointed indices at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, and of course the warm green dial.

The watch is powered by Seiko’s automatic 6R15 movement with a 50-hour power reserve and features a screw-down crown and hacking seconds functionality. In addition, the Zaratsu polished case receives Seiko’s 'super-hard' coating which makes the watch twice as hard as stainless steel. In addition, the case has a mirror-like finish which creates a distortion-free finish. Finally, the watch boasts water-resistance of 200m and an anti-reflective coating on its sapphire crystal. 

The Seiko Prospex Diver SPB105 is currently available at select Seiko retailers and is priced at $1,050 USD. 

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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