If you’re familiar with Seiko, then you already know the Japanese company debuted a vintage re-issue of its 1968 Automatic Diver 300m Reference 6159-7001 this year in the form of the Seiko Prospex Diver 300m Hi-Beat SLA025. That model, however, is limited to just 1,500 pieces worldwide and is priced at EUR 5,500, so not exactly a watch for everybody (read all the details here). This is the second highly sought-after vintage re-issue dive watch from the brand, following the Prospex Diver SLA017 of last year. As with that model, the company is once again offering two modern and accessibly-priced versions for the wider market, the Prospex Diver 200m SPB077 & SPB079, which we’re getting hands-on with today.
Everybody knows that Seiko makes great dive watches, especially at the price points it typically competes at. The construction is robust, the designs are utilitarian and user-friendly, and the quality is always better than you expect for the money you’re paying. The new Prospex Diver 200m SPB077 & SPB079 models are no exception and bring even more to the table in terms of style and ‘cool’ factor on the wrist.
Both models are offered in 44mm diameter x 13.10mm thick stainless steel cases with a super-hard coating, and definitely make their presence felt. Although slightly slimmer than the SLA025, you won’t forget it’s on your wrist, especially the SPB077 version which features a matching stainless steel bracelet with a three-fold clasp, secure lock and extender (SPB079 is offered on a silicone strap). That being said, these are legitimate dive watches, with uni-directional rotating bezels, complete with aluminium inserts with 60-minute diving scales, screw-down crowns and water-resistance rating to 200m.
The design of both the case and the dial is vintage-ish but with some subtle modern updates and very much follows the same formula as the SPB051 and SPB053 from last year. The shape is inspired by the 1968 Diver but the bezel is slightly thinner and offered in either black or blue. Likewise, the dial has a vintage feel to it but again with modern tweaks, such as the contemporary hands and font, and of course, the presence of the Prospex logo at 6 o’clock, a hallmark of Seiko’s modern divers. It’s a nice balance that looks really good on the wrist and does just enough to set it apart from your more mainstream Seiko dive watches.
Providing the power beneath the screw-down case back is Seiko Calibre 6R15, an automatic movement that oscillates at 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers a healthy power reserve of 50 hours. It’s a reliable movement found in a number of other Seiko dive watches as well as some of the brand’s Presage models and is known for its precision. It’s not a hi-beat movement like the SLA025, of course, but it fits well with the superb quality/price ratio that this watch offers.
As I’ve mentioned throughout, there are two versions available, the SPB077 and SPB079. We spent time hands-on with the SPB077 model, which offers the matching stainless steel bracelet. As you can see in the photos, the quality of construction and the overall execution of the case and bracelet are superb. Attention to detail is evident everywhere and the polished and brushed finishes make for an attractive watch on the wrist that looks like it should cost a lot more than it does. The SPB077 model in particular, with its black dial and bezel, is perfect as an everyday watch that you could comfortably wear to the office or the beach (although you might struggle to get it under your shirt cuff).
In my book, this is another win for Seiko. Neither model is a limited edition, with the SPB077 priced at a very reasonable EUR 1,100 on the steel bracelet, and SPB079 priced at EUR 900 on a silicon bracelet with blue bezel. More details on seikowatches.com.