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New Release: Seiko Prospex Black Series

New Release: Seiko Prospex Black Series

Seiko Prospex Black Series Marinemaster

Seiko has taken a more playful turn in recent years with the Seiko 5 offering both golden and black PVD cases whilst seeing demand for black watches after the success of their 2017 Black Series ‘Turtle’. Today, they have widened this range with three limited edition in a new Prospex Black Series including their Solar Chronograph, ‘Sumo’ and ‘Marinemaster’ models. With these, the Seiko Prospex Black Series addresses a new, higher price position.

Seiko Prospex Black Series ‘Sumo’

Seiko Prospex Black Series Sumo
Copyright: Seiko Watch Corporation

Invariably, the more headline-grabbing models will be the mechanical ones and the most accessible is the ‘Sumo’. Nicknamed the ‘Sumo’, Seiko’s popular mid-range SBDC095 / SPB125J1 follows the same colour scheme as 2017’s ‘Turtle’. It features a black hard coating on its steel case and an orange hand for the minutes — an aid to legibility though one which will turn to grey in deep water.

To add to this now-highly distinctive colour scheme is the use of tan luminous material in the applied markers. This gives a slightly vintage touch to the watch and brings it in-line with the Turtle’s successful style. Aside from these changes, the ‘Sumo’ retains the same 45mm case as its standard production variant and the same 200m water resistance. One aspect to look out for is the in-house 6R35 automatic movement which builds on the previous 6R15 with an enhanced 70-hour power reserve.


To see more Seiko-related content, take a look at our dedicated column.


Seiko Prospex Black Series Solar Chronograph

Seiko Prospex Black Series chronograph
Copyright: Seiko Watch Corporation

The second watch in the collection offers a chronograph at the expense of an automatic movement. Instead, the SBDL065 / SSC761J1 uses one of Seiko’s excellent solar quartz movements: the V192. With a 6-month power reserve between exposures to light and the ability to offer a chronograph with GMT function for a fair price, this strikes me as a good choice. The case is 44.7mm in diameter and the crown and pushers appear very well finished whilst offering a 200m water resistance.

For this model in Seiko’s Prospex Black Series, the case and dial treatment remains much the same as on its ‘Sumo’ counterpart but appears to suit this watch very well.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Black Series

Seiko Prospex Black Series Marinemaster
Copyright: Seiko Watch Corporation

The most interesting of the three is, predictably, also the most exclusive and expensive. Described by some as the best watch currently made by Seiko, the Marinemaster 300, as it is commonly known, has been a staple of the range for some time. Now offered with a revised dial, ceramic bezel and sapphire crystal, the new Marinemaster has been remastered in black.

Retaining is famous monocoque case and saturation diving capabilities, the SBDX033 / SLA035J1 now features a black hard coating and a black ceramic bezel to match. Two notable details are the red depth rating and second hand. Curiously, Seiko has stated that these were painted red in order to disappear when at depth due to limited penetration of red light through water. The function here is to avoid distracting the eye from the main hands. However, this aim seems rather fanciful due to the need to see the second hand to confirm that the watch is running when used underwater. This function is stipulated by the ISO in their requirements for a professional dive watch and is the reason for placing a luminous pip on this hand in the first place. Likewise, one would assume that all text would be painted in red for the sake of improved legibility.

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Seiko Prospex Black Series Marinemaster
Copyright: Seiko Watch Corporation

Disregarding functionality, though, the red on this watch’s dial looks superb and emphasises the difference between this and the less exclusive orange-handed models. Inside, the Marinemaster uses the in-house 8L35: an undecorated variant of Grand Seiko’s 9S55.

In Conclusion

With prices around the £500 mark for the chronograph and £600 for the ‘Sumo’, I have no doubt that these watches will be a great success for Seiko both commercially and conceptually as they change their style. These are limited to 3,500 and 7,000 pieces respectively to satisfy demand. The Marinemaster, on the other hand, will be a more exclusive release of only 600 pieces for a price of 300,000 Japanese yen. Whilst this equates to just over £2,000, I doubt that it will be available in Europe for any less than £3,000 based upon the price of the standard model.


Availability: SBDL065 / SSC761J1 (Chronograph): 70,000 Japanese yen in 3,500 pieces from January 2020 / SBDC095 / SPB125J1 (Sumo): 90,000 Japanese yen in 7,000 pieces from February 2020 / SBDX033 / SLA035J1 (Marinemaster): 300,000 Japanese yen in 600 pieces from March 2020

For further information, head over to Seiko’s website.


Specifications

SBDL065 / SSC761J1 (Chronograph):
  • Dimensions: 44.5mm x 13.7mm
  • Material: Black Hard Coated Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Hardlex Crystal
  • Dial: Matte black dial / Orange minute hand / Applied markers with tan luminous material / Grey and black aluminium bezel insert / Tricompax chronograph arrangement / Date at 4:30 / Photovoltaic cell in dial
  • Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200m
  • Movement: Seiko V192: Solar quartz / 6-month power reserve / Time, date, chronograph and GMT
SBDC095 / SPB125J1 (Sumo)
  • Dimensions: 44mm x 12.9mm
  • Material: Black Hard Coated Stainless Steel
  • Crystal: Hardlex Crystal
  • Dial: Matte black dial / Orange minute hand / Applied markers with tan luminous material / Grey and black aluminium bezel insert / Date at 3 o’clock
  • Water Resistance: 20 ATM / 200m
  • Movement: Seiko 6R35: Automatic & manual winding / 3Hz, 21,600 vph, 6 ticks-per-second / Time & date / 70-hour power reserve / Hacking function
SBDX033 / SLA035J1 (Marinemaster)
  • Dimensions: 44.3mm x 15.4mm
  • Material: Black Hard Coated Stainless Steel & Ceramic Bezel insert
  • Crystal: Sapphire Crystal
  • Dial: Matte black dial / Applied indices / Faceted, brushed and polished hands / Red second hand and ‘300M’ text / Date on brushed metal date wheel at 3 o’clock / Black luminous ceramic bezel
  • Water Resistance: 30 ATM / 300m
  • Movement: Seiko 8L35: Automatic & manual winding / Hacking function / 4Hz, 28,800 vph, 8 ticks-per-second / Time & date / 50-hour power reserve
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