Seiko, and particularly its sports-oriented Prospex collection, if often associated with robust, reliable yet accessible watches. The upper-end of the spectrum is usually the apanage of Grand Seiko. However, in 2019, Seiko introduced a new premium range of Prospex watches equipped with Spring Drive movements and built with higher standards than usual, the LX Line. Now that the core models are well established, it is time for the brand to expand this collection with a new limited edition that features a dial from outer space. Here’s the Seiko Prospex LX Line Limited Edition SNR049J1.
The Seiko Prospex LX Line was a surprise when introduced last year. Watches that bear the “X” signature on their dial usually retail, for most of them, in the EUR 400 to 2,000 range. The LX Line is playing in a different field, that of the luxury Swiss brands – with prices starting at around EUR 5k. However, there are good reasons behind this move upmarket, since materials, execution and movements are not those of traditional Prospex watches. Rugged, efficient, purpose-built timepieces made for action, the LX models were developed in collaboration with Ken Okuyama Design (designer of the Ferrari Enzo or the Shinkansen) as a modern and higher-end version of Seiko’s traditional design. Materials were also carefully selected (high-grade titanium, sapphire bezels, Zaratsu polishing…) and the watches were equipped with Spring Drive movements. All about the inaugural collection is explained here.
The new LX Line “Sky Gradation Dial” SNR049J1
Following the LX Line Limited Edition SNR045J1 launched earlier this year and based on the diver’s model, Seiko now launches another LE, which is based on the GMT version and once again features a highly unusual dial inspired by nature – a recurring theme for Seiko. As the brand explains, this SNR049J1 limited edition “expresses the beauty of the earth’s atmosphere seen from outer space“. The blue of Earth and the deep black of the infinite are reunited in a gradient dial that changes from colour in the same way the stratosphere does. The colour gradually changes from 6 to 12 o’clock and is combined with a sunray-brushed pattern. Complementing this dial is a two-tone sapphire bezel insert, in black and blue with a 24h scale, essential to a GMT watch.
As for the case, the Prospex LX Line SNR049J1 retains the architecture found on core models. The large dimensions and angular, robust shapes, which despite the overall modernity, are also a tribute to classic Seiko watches. The 44.8mm case is made of high-density titanium with a hard coating, a high-grade alloy that allows polished surfaces – obtained by Zaratsu technique. The screw-down crown, naturally placed at 4 o’clock, and the screwed caseback guarantee a comfortable 100m water-resistance.
With its 14.7mm thickness, the bidirectional bezel and its sapphire insert sit high on top of the watch. Yet, the watch is very comfortable, relatively light (146 grams) and sits well on most wrists. It is a watch with great presence but it feels more compact than the specifications suggest. The overall execution is precise and feels highly durable, with all the parts carefully adjusted and with a firm action of the elements (bezel and crown).
The Seiko Prospex LX Line SNR049J1 is worn on a 3-link titanium bracelet, which is closed by a three-fold clasp with push-button release with comfort extension. Same as the case, the bracelet feels sturdy and ready for action. Its entirely brushed finishing brings a nice instrumental look to the watch.
The display of the dial is that of a traditional GMT watch and is both efficient and legible. Centrally positioned is the local time, with hours, minutes and seconds. An additional arrow-tipped hand, coloured in light blue, is devoted to the 24h indication, which is read on a track at the periphery of the dial. Being an upper-end model, the GMT function works as its should, meaning that it is the local time hour hand that is adjusted by one-hour increments, not the GMT hand – a solution that is far more practical when landing in a different time zone, as neither the home time is affected nor are the minutes/seconds. The dial features a date window at 3 o’clock (linked to the local time) and a power reserve indication.
Under the hood, the SNR049J1 relies on the brand’s proprietary “hybrid” technology, a combination of automatic practicality and quartz precision, a Spring Drive movement. Previously mostly used by Grand Seiko, this innovative solution has the best of both worlds. It allows the supply of a perpetual source of energy, with a self-winding capacity, just like a mechanical movement. But it also benefits from a quartz regulating organ to provide higher accuracy – here, ±1 second per day. Housing the Calibre 5R66, this new LX Line model enjoys a 72h power reserve.
Availability & price
The Seiko Prospex LX Line Limited Edition SNR049J1 is a limited edition of 400 watches. It will be available at retailers and boutique from November 2020 and priced at EUR 5,600. More details at www.seikowatches.com.
21/10/2020 - price updated