Seiko’s 140th anniversary limited-edition watches

Watches in the series may share the same blue and silvery-white livery, but differ in character, technology and design

By AZALEA AZUAR / Pic Source Seiko

KINTARO Hattori founded Seiko in 1881 when he was only 21. Over a century later, it became the leading watch company in Japan.

The success story originated from Kintaro’s single-minded vision that Seiko should always be “one step ahead of the rest”.

These words still continue to resonate and inspire Seiko today, and the Japanese watch brand continues to thrive via its own design and production facilities.

In conjunction with its 140th anniversary, Seiko has come up with a series of four limited-edition watches, namely Prospex, Presage, Astron and 5 Sports.

These masterpieces reveal the brand’s watchmaking expertise from Automatic to GPS Solar.

These four watches in the series may share the same blue and silvery-white livery. However, they differ in character, technology and design.

The Astron GPS Solar shows the pinnacle of high technology electronic watchmaking, while the 6R64 Automatic GMT Caliber is traditional horology at its finest.

Prospex

With only 6,000 watches available, the “Prospex First Diver’s Modern Reinterpretation” echoes the design of its original version in 1970 but modern in execution.

The limited-edition watch has wide hands which are generously applied with Lumibrite to deliver high visibility.

Its screw-down crown and case- back ensures 200-metre water resistance, while its case and back are shaped to sit easily on the wrist.

The watch was worn by Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura between 1974 and 1976, when he completed a 12,500km solo dogsled run from Greenland to Alaska.

This year also marks the 80th anniversary of Uemura’s birth and a modern reinterpretation of this watch commemorates the adventurer’s life and his exceptional achievements, where the patterned dial evokes the mountainous terrain that he loved.

The case back is engraved with his name and it carries the individual watch’s serial number.

The dial and bezel are in the blue tones of the earth’s upper atmospheric layers.

Uemura, after all, is the first person in the world to reach the summits of the highest mountains on all five continents.

To create a modern sharp profile, the case sides are carefully polished and the watch is presented on a five-row steel bracelet, while the curved extension of the case fully protects the screw-down crown.

The timepiece is powered by Caliber 8L35, which is designed especially for divers by the watchmakers at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan.

To protect the watch from scratches, the case has a super-hard coating and the crystal is a dual-curved sapphire with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface to ensure high legibility from every angle. An additional silicone strap has the train-track pattern of the original.

There is also a gray-dialled version for the Prospex collection, which also has the same textured pattern dial as the limited edition. However, it is charcoal-gray in colour and similar to the 1970 original.

It also shares similar case design, features and specifications as the commemorative watch and will be available at Seiko boutiques and selected retail stores from July onwards.

Another watch from the Prospex collection is the “Alpinist”, which was first introduced in 1959 to meet the needs of mountain climbers and recreational field sports enthusiasts.

Although its core character has not changed, its design has evolved from time to time and today, the Alpinist is reborn in a recreation that has the high functionality and specifications of the Prospex collection.

The watch consists of a sturdy leather cuff band to protect it from perspiration, while the indexes, and hour and minute hands have luminous inserts ensuring high legibility in the dark.

The Alpinist name is evoked in the mountain-shaped markers at the three, six, nine, and 12 o’clock positions, which represent the four main points on a compass.

The specially designed marker at 12 o’clock allows the time to be read safely and correctly at any angle, and it is a feature which has become an important design to many Seiko sports watches until today.

The watch is water-resistant to 10 bar and incorporates a date window between four and five o’clock, and powered by Caliber 6L35, which has a power reserve of 45 hours.

Delivering high legibility, the box-shaped sapphire crystal is treated with an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface, while the case is only 1mm thicker despite adding a date and enhanced performance.

The recreation of this 1959 timepiece will be available at Seiko boutiques and selected retail partners from August onwards.

There are also three new watches that pay homage to the 1959 Alpinist, which is inspired by the original watch’s distinctive design but with modern execution.

They are also up to date with the latest technology, form and function and are powered by Caliber 6R35, which delivers a power reserve of 70 hours.

To create a multidimensional effect, Lumibrite has been applied to these watches and the indexes that rest on silver bases.

Even the cases have been polished to form a modern look, especially when it’s combined with the gently rounded contour of the dial and case.

The three watches are water-resistant to 20 bar, while the glass is a curved sapphire crystal that is resistant to scratches.

These two watches have stainless steel bracelets, while the green dial version has a leather strap.

Presage

The “Presage Sharp Edged Series” captures the simplicity and refinement of traditional Japanese aesthetics in its delicately textured dial, giving it a modern edge with its sharp and angular case construction.

The design consists of Asanoha motif or hemp leaf pattern that has been used for a thousand years or more in Japanese fabrics and architecture, while the case has a super-hard coating that protects the case and bracelet from scratches but also preserves its brilliance.

Each dial has a different traditional Japanese colour which is aitetsu or indigo iron; tokiwa, the colour of evergreen trees; sumi-iro, the tone of black Japanese ink; and hihada-iro, a reddish-brown colour that first derived from the bark of the Japanese cypress tree.

The watch consists of a case and bracelet, which incorporates flat surfaces with sharp angles that allows it to sparkle from every angle.

The Presage series is powered by an automatic eight beat-per-second GMT Caliber 6R64, in which the GMT hand on each is in a different colour to stand out clearly from each dial. The hands and indexes have also been coated with Lumibrite to ensure legibility.

At the same time, the GMT hand can also be used as a dual time indicator where the hour hand can be adjusted even as the minute and second hands continue to mark time.

The dial rings are in two colours to separate the night and day hours, while the date is displayed on a subdial at the six o’clock position and there is a power reserve indicator at nine o’clock.

The “Presage Sharp Edged Series” watches will be available at Seiko boutiques and selected retail stores beginning May.

Astron

Having the same curved silhouette and same wide case lugs as the “Quartz Astron” of 1969, the “Astron GPS Solar” is one of Seiko’s most celebrated technological achievements.

In fact, the watch’s design is brought up to date with the GPS Solar Dual-Time 5X53 Caliber, which enables the watch to adjust the exact time of its location any- where in the world (though manual selection may be required if there are changes in the time zone).

It uses the power of light and offers several advanced features including high-speed time zone adjustment and a “time transfer” function.

The dial consists of a clean light silver colour with blue accents and the bezel in blue ceramic.

There are only 1,400 of the Astron GPS Solar limited edition watches available.

Seiko 5 Sports

For the very first time since its inception, the limited-edition “Seiko 5 Sports” will be in white with only 11,000 available.

The watch demands to be worn all summer long with its dazzling dial, and blue bezel and hands.

The white Seiko 5 Sports watch is powered by the automatic 4R36 Caliber, which delivers reliability for which the series has long been celebrated.

The Seiko 5 Sports and Astron watches will be available at Seiko boutiques and selected retailer stores in from May onwards.

For product details, please contact Seiko’s sole distributor, Thong Sia Sdn Bhd at 03-2141 5163 or visit www.thongsia.com.my