Monochrome Watches
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The New “Gradient Purple” King Seiko SPB291 (Live Pics & Price)

The compact and stylish King Seiko gets a funky light purple dial.

| By Robin Nooy | 2 min read |
Seiko King Seiko SPB291 Gradient Purple

Earlier this year Seiko brought back the King Seiko designation for a new stand-alone collection, following a superb limited edition presented in 2020. This new  Seiko King Seiko line kicked off with five different references, all built around the same design codes. With dials ranging from silver to black and even deep burgundy red, it was a very welcome and charismatic release. Now, several months on, Seiko introduces a more funky take on the King Seiko recipe. Here’s our hands-on introduction to the Seiko King Seiko SPB291.

We won’t go into details on how King Seiko came to life in the 1960s and was one end of an internal rivalry with Grand Seiko. Decades later, the hatchet remains buried but the King Seiko name was revived with the King Seiko KSK SJE083. Two more years later and Seiko relaunched it as a full collection, which now welcomes a new member to the family.

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The exterior hasn’t changed one bit, as this release focuses on the dial instead. So we still have that compact 37mm wide and 12.1mm tall stainless steel case with faceted lugs and a bevelled bezel. It gets its dashing vintage looks from the 1965 King Seiko KSK, which was also the inspiration behind the SJE083. A boxed sapphire crystal covers the dial, while a solid caseback with a King Seiko emblem hides the mechanical movement.

Seiko has shown tremendous skill in the use of colours and textures, and this new King Seiko SPB291 reaffirms that once more. The dial takes inspiration from the Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo, close to where King Seiko first saw the light of day. The Kameido Tenjin Shrine is fabled for the wisteria gardens, with purple blossoms in spring. The sunray-brushed dial gets a touch of the same colour purple, with a  slight gradient effect. Combined with faceted indices and hands (the 12 o’clock index is double the width and textured), it results in a funky and fresh look.

The Seiko King Seiko SPB291 uses the relatively modern automatic Seiko Calibre 6R31. It uses the same basic construction as the 6R35 but lacks the date indication. And that’s perhaps one of the best things about this new collection, as the original King Seiko it is modelled after also was a time-only watch. They could have easily chosen to include a date indication, but fortunately, they haven’t. The movement runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and delivers a more than decent 70 hours of power reserve.

The new Seiko King Seiko SPB291 comes on the same seven-link bracelet as the previous editions, with the bonus of a light grey leather strap with purple stitching. It will be available as a boutique exclusive edition from July 2022 and retails for EUR 1,850.

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5 responses

  1. +15/-25 sec for 1.800,– EUR? Christopher Ward has a Carbon COSC with pop out crown for 1.300,–! Seiko isn’t anything to buy anymore.

  2. -15/+25s/day are maximums in real world it will go -6/+2 or 0/+8, or -3/+6 or so, without régulation.

    A swatch does better than every mechanical watch, people that look for mechanical are not into accuracy… si why being focusing about it?

    If it had an incredible movement it would have been more expensive, exactly like if they have solid gold or worst, a decorated movement with a non transparent case back…

    In most instances, the movement is the least interesting part of a watch.

  3. Besides, I think, they should continue in this way to give a cheaper alternative to grand seiko, history, good watch but at a fraction of the price of a gs;

    No solid gold
    Smaller watches
    More no date models vs a lot of date modèles in gs range
    More coloured dials
    More dials variety but keeping it simple, while grand seiko have some of them but very very complexe ones
    Cheaper movements hidden through solid case backs to keep prices low
    Using different tastes of movements like the solar gps movement vs 9F

    That’s what I would do to differentiate them and keep a big difference in range.

  4. I recently got this watch and the dial is amazing. I was lucky enough to get it at the Seiko Ginza store then travel to the Kameido Tenjin Shrine which is the inspiration of the dial. I get the complains of the movement and price but who else is building their own movement and have the same type of history as Seiko? I think Seiko came to the understanding that they can’t please the SKX affordable fans. They also will always be affordable Seiko to high end watch enthusiast.

  5. @Greg

    Christopher Ward does not have Seiko’s history nor will ever sell as many watches as Seiko. This is a beautiful piece and can give Grand Seiko a run for its money in the aesthetics department alone. Any watch can be regulated if you should care about accuracy so much.


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