The result of an internal battle against Grand Seiko to create the best possible watch, King Seiko is a name that has been hidden in a drawer for many years – but not forgotten by fans of the brand. However, now that GS is a brand of its own, positioned much higher in the spectrum than anything produced by Seiko, the Japanese brand felt it was time for King Seiko to rise from the ashes. The return of the name was first done with a high-end, faithful recreation. It was then followed by a collection of compact, vintage-inspired models. And now, it’s time for the collection to meet modern standards, with enlarged cases, a powerful new movement and a date display. Here are the new King Seiko 39mm SPB369, SPB371 and SPB373.
The re-launch of the name King Seiko has been done gradually, with multiple watches, all with a slightly different approach based on an identical design. First, as a showstopper, was the high-end, faithful and limited reference SJE083. With its calibre from the 6Lxx range and case finished with Super-Hard coating and Zaratsu-polished surfaces, it also required relatively deep pockets (and so did the champagne dial version that followed). Then, Seiko released a series of 5 King Seiko models in the permanent collection, with compact 37mm cases, a simpler movement with no-date display and a handsome steel bracelet. And even though some fans had expressed doubts about the coherence between the actual watches and the King Seiko name, the brand continues with its strategy. In fact, it pushes the idea even further by making the collection even more mainstream now with a new trio of KS watches. Larger, less vintage oriented, more practical and equipped with a new movement.
Compared to the 37mm watches already in the collection, there are some notable differences. These new King Seiko SPB369, SPB371 and SPB373 are not only slightly more modern but also larger. The case is now 39mm in diameter – probably because some potential customers found the 37mm too small – yet a tiny bit thinner at 11.9mm. The overall design remains familiar, with a bevelled bezel, a box-shaped sapphire crystal, angular lugs and a typical King Seiko spirit. These new references also introduce wider lugs and a bezel now finished with a brushed surface on top and polished accents on the side. The caseback is still solid, and the water-resistance is rated at 100m.
As for the dial, the main update concerns the addition of a date window at 3 o’clock and a new mention of the power reserve at 6 o’clock (not the most tasteful, if you ask me). The dial also features bolder markers with an additional facet to better reflect light and enhance legibility. This new King Seiko 39mm series is available in three inaugural references: SPB369 with a silvery-white dial and criss-cross pattern, SPB371 with a blue dial and SPB373 with a green dial – these two have classic sunray-brushed dials. These watches are worn on the collection’s 7-link stainless steel bracelet, which is the same as found on the 37mm, so they are interchangeable between the two watch sizes.
Inside the case is an updated movement from the 6Rxx series, the new calibre 6R55. Still featuring 24 jewels and maintaining the same 3Hz frequency, it shares the same architecture, with the only notable difference being a slightly increased power reserve of 3 days or 72 hours (vs 70 hours in the calibre 6R31 of the 37mm watches).
Availability & Price
The new King Seiko Date 39mm SPB369, SPB371 and SPB373 will be part of the permanent collection and will be available from March 2023 at Seiko Boutiques and retailers worldwide. They will each be priced at EUR 1,950. For more details, please visit www.seikowatches.com.