With a design dating back to the 1959 Laurel Alpinist, the new Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist series made quite the impact when introduced earlier this year. First, there was the purist re-edition, ref. SJE085J1, accompanied by three more modern reinterpretations; SPB241J1, SPB243J1 and SPB245J1. This trio of watches had a friendly size and a balanced mix of vintage elements and modern touches. Now Seiko expands the collection with two new models, the Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation “Deep Lake” SPB249J1 and “Forest Brown” SPB251J1.
We’ve gone through the details of the original 1959 Laurel Alpinist and the Alpinist’s return in the mid-1990s before, so we’re not going into too many details here. What is important to remember, though, is that Seiko has always built the Alpinist designated models with toughness in mind. The 1959 original was, after all, designed specifically for “Yama-Otoko”, or mountain men. It is an important watch in Seiko’s archives and as such we’re happy to see the design return in a more modern style.
The new models, SPB249J1 and SPB251J1 feature the same 38mm wide and 12.9mm tall steel case we’ve seen before. This Alpinist 1959 Modern Re-Interpretation sub-collection takes the dial of the original 1959 Laurel Alpinist as a design reference and gives it an overhaul for a sharper, more modern look. Applied markers and hands, and a framed date window bring it up to speed with today’s standards. The case has alternating brushed and polished surfaces and is topped with an AR-coated sapphire crystal.
These two new references come in either blue or brown, both featuring a vertical texture inspired by nature. Seiko has made name for itself in textured dials, regardless of whether we’re looking at an entry-level watch or a Grand Seiko model. Fine examples are the Seiko Presage SSA445 and SPB259, with their Ginza-inspired dials. The texture in these two new references is perhaps less distinct but does give each dial a certain depth and appeal. Time is indicated with a pair of Dauphine-style hour and minute hands, and a slender seconds hand with a triangular tip.
Revealed through the sapphire caseback is Seiko’s in-house manufactured calibre 6R35, an evolution of the 6R15, Sharing a similar construction, with a 3Hz frequency, 24 jewels and a central rotor, the difference between the two lies in the power reserve. The 6R35 has a running time of up to 70 hours on a fully wound barrel, which is very admirable. In terms of finishing though, it’s not going to win any awards. If Seiko had decided to cover it with a closed caseback, that would have been fine as well. Perhaps even better, as it would keep it in line with the Explorer theme of the overall watch.
The Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation Deep Lake Blue SPB249J1 comes on a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a folding buckle. It is non-limited and priced at EUR 750. Its brown-dialled sibling, the Forrest Brown SPB251J1 is attached to a brown leather strap with a folding clasp, and priced slightly lower, at EUR 730. This is also a non-limited model. Both watches are available through Seiko boutiques or selected retailers worldwide from January 2022.
For more information, please visit SeikoWatches.com.