Although the first Seiko diver made its market debut in 1965, the Japanese giant’s diving watches really built their reputation for durability and precision when it was chosen to supply the Japanese Antarctic research expedition of 1966 to 1969. Seiko’s dive watch lines have been closely associated with the unforgiving conditions of the poles ever since, from Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura’s famous solo dog sled race in 1974 from Greenland to Alaska wearing a Seiko 6105, to the brand’s modern efforts in the dangerous field of ice diving. For its latest releases, Seiko returns to the polar environment for inspiration, with a trio of stylish dive options designed to evoke the look of glacial ice. The new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models, including the Seiko Prospex SPB297, Seiko Prospex SPB299 and Seiko Prospex SPB301, combine classic Seiko diver silhouettes with solid modern construction and an incredibly intricate dial finish.
The three new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models follow the pattern of the brand’s fan-favorite diver’s offerings from the 60s and 70s. with a 40.5mm stainless steel case and a sleek, skin-diver style silhouette. The mix of radial brushing, square lugs, narrow polished chamfers and a large, unprotected screw-down crown should be familiar to Seiko enthusiasts. The brand pairs that familiar outline with a clean etched black bezel insert with a nice brushed finish radially into the images. The 42mm stainless steel case of the Seiko Prospex SPB299 instead follows the sharp lines of “design grammar” defined by the 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation family. With a wide polished top chamfer, a dramatic undercut to the side of the case, and a bold diver’s bezel, it’s an instantly recognizable silhouette for the brand, and Seiko pairs it here with a bezel insert from shiny navy dive. Finally, the 42.7mm stainless steel case of the Seiko Prospex SPB301 draws stylistic inspiration from the “Willard” collection, or 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation. This cushion-shaped, pebble-shaped case shape is a definite entry into the Seiko design canon, and its rounded lugs, sloping bowl-shaped case sides, and heavily protected 4 o’clock crown make it a distinctive model in every way. forms. Here, however, Seiko adds an extra layer of finishing to that familiar case, with a unique azure texture for its navy blue bezel insert for a striking and detailed effect in the images. All three models feature solid screw-down case backs and feature robust 200-meter water resistance along with Seiko’s exclusive ultra-hard coating for enhanced scratch resistance.
Each of the three new models in the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition range uses the same intricate faceted dial texture, intended to mimic the rocks and cracks of glacial ice. Although the final surface appears etched at first glance, each dial in the series is stamped into its final shape, and the seemingly random assortment of vertical ridges and grooves are carefully considered by one of Seiko’s top designers. The naturalistic pattern is the result of over 100 hours of computer-aided design work, and the finished product features over 2,000 individual surface facets of varying shapes and sizes. The final dial design does an impressive job of capturing the look and feel of an icy face, while the carefully orchestrated assortment of facets successfully melds into a seemingly organic random pattern in the images. To better withstand the shocks and rigors of heavy cold weather use, each model’s indexes are not applied, but rather stamped into the main dial itself, eliminating the risk of breaking an index during a violent impact. All three iterations adopt a different icy colorway, meant to capture a different look of glaciers and sea ice. The Seiko Prospex SPB297 pairs its baton hands and rectangular indexes with a cool ocean blue dial, meant to capture the look of polar water at the edge of a glacier. The Seiko Prospex SPB299 takes a more subdued approach, with classic diver-style indices and a striking pale blue finish that mirrors the color of deep glacial ice. It’s the Seiko Prospex SPB301 that brings arguably the most versatile and beautiful colorway to wear, however, with a snow white dial that highlights the intricate texture of the dial in the initial images. However, all three models suffer somewhat from mismatched white date wheels at 3 o’clock, which notably disrupts the overall flow of these complex dial surfaces.
Seiko powers the three new Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models with its in-house 6R35 automatic movement. The 6R35 has become a staple of the brand’s mid-range sports options in recent years and offers a substantial 70-hour power reserve at a consistent 21,600 bph beat rate. Although each of the three new models is paired with a brushed stainless steel three-link bracelet featuring a diver’s extension, each model offers a unique take on the diver’s watch with its own uniquely shaped links. These small touches, ranging from rounded links on the SPB297 to sharply faceted angular examples on the SPB299, go a long way in establishing a unique personality for each model in the images.
With a surprisingly intricate dial finish, rugged construction and icy colorways that nod to the brand’s Arctic exploration heritage, the three new models in the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition range offer an eye-catching tribute to one of the most unforgiving environments in the world. . All three models in the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition range will be available at selected Seiko authorized retailers and boutiques from June 2022. The MSRP for the Seiko Prospex SPB297 and Seiko Prospex SPB299 is $1,250 each at press time, while the Seiko Prospex SPB301 is currently expected to be priced at $1,350. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.