New Perspectives: Exploring The Seiko Prospex Alpinist
Learn how the Japanese brand brought two great watchmaking stories together to create three new Seiko Prospex Alpinist models.
When you think about the Seiko Prospex collection, of course, you immediately envisage diver’s watches. These hard-working and great looking tool watches practically come with a snorkel and flippers, even if the only underwater adventure you ever experience is watching Shark Week on tv.
But what you may not realize is the Prospex series gets a lot of its DNA from Seiko’s storied Alpinist watches. When Seiko introduced the Alpinist in 1961, it was marketed as a reliable timepiece for Japanese mountain climbers and other men and women of action.
All of Seiko’s sports watches owe their existence to the Alpinist, but the new Prospex SPB155, SPB157, and SPB159 references especially show that family's history, hence the nickname, the Prospex Alpinist.
You won’t find the “Alpinist” label on the dial, but these three models are modern, more minimalist versions of the style we’ve come to associate with the Alpinist family. For example, all three novelties, which launched in September, have the Alpinist’s cathedral hands and Arabic numerals.
What’s new is contrasting these elements against a sand-textured degrade (or gradated) dial, which comes in three colors: green (SPB155), blue (SPJ157), and black (SPB159).
This trio of Prospexes (Prospices? Prospexi?) also differs from other Alpinists in that the internal compass ring has been removed as has the 4 o’clock crown used to adjust it. Additionally, with the removal of the magnifying window, the date window is more discrete. When taken altogether, these cuts make the display cleaner and sharper.
Overall, the aesthetics of these new watches will please fans of tradition as well as folks who like something a little more forward-thinking. It’s not an easy balance to strike, but Seiko has outdone themselves.
Another reason to love this trio of Prospex “Alpinists” is their versatility. Beyond being suitable companions to take on rugged adventures, they feature premium touches such as printed markers with an aged white LumiBrite. The 3 o’clock date window is also framed with this retro lume.
One thing that makes these timepieces more appealing to folks who like a more modern watch is the silhouette of the stainless steel case. It’s slimmer (12.9mm) than other modern Alpinists. And with its 38mm diameter 46mm lug-to-lug size, it also offers the luxury of ultimate comfort on the wrist.
And these attention-grabbing details are only accentuated by being displayed under a curved sapphire crystal with inner an anti-reflective coating. Plus, there’s a display caseback to show off the movement as well.
In sum, the three new Seiko Prospex Alpinist references are rugged sports watches with enough elegance for professional settings and semi-formal affairs, appropriate in almost any situation.
Powered by the self-winding caliber 6R35, which has an expected accuracy rating of +25 to -15 seconds per day, the 24-jewel automatic movement beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. And the 6R35’s mainspring is made from a special alloy that gives it a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. It has a stop second-hand function, water-resistant to 20 bars, and there is a screwdown crown to protect the movement.
The green dial version comes with a steel bracelet. The blue and black models come on hard-wearing calfskin straps fitted with a three-fold clasp with push-button release.
The Prospex Alpinist collection is priced at $700 on the leather strap and $725 on stainless steel. For more information, visit seikoluxe.com.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)