Earlier this year, with the Prospex SPB313, SPB315 and SPB317, Seiko released an appealing new dive watch collection. Compact, slimmer, nicely shaped and inspired by the past, this is undoubtedly one of the best watches the Japanese brand has launched in the last few years. It is time for this 1968-inspired series to greet its first limited edition under the “Save the Ocean” project, with a mission to preserve the world’s oceans for future generations. And the new SPB333 comes with many new features, starting with a stunning ice-textured dial, which also reminds me of another ultra-successful model from the GS range…
As with many of the current Seiko Prospex-labelled dive watches, this edition and the three members of the permanent collection have solid historical roots. Following the all-important 62MAS of 1965, the brand’s first dive watch, Seiko updated its original concept in 1968 with the reference 6105-8000, a lesser-known automatic dive watch. The most notable feature of this successor to the 62MAS was its cushion-shaped case and the presence of the crown at 4 o’clock – something that would become a signature element of most Seiko dive watches.
The brand brought the design back to life with this trio of watches. Nicely designed, with a cool late-1960s vibe, these were amongst the most compact dive watches in the portfolio and the thinnest (or the least thick) Prospex models. And with the Save the Ocean Limited Edition SPB333, Seiko updates most of the elements of the habillage to achieve a cool look… But we’re not just talking about a new dial.
The shape and proportions of the SPB333 are not new, nor are the overall specs. The case still measures a comfortable 41mm diameter, with a decent 46.9mm lug-to-lug measurement. The height, at least for a dive watch, is also reasonable at 12.3mm. And typical of Prospex’s production, it is a 200m certified dive watch with a screw-down crown, screwed caseback and sapphire crystal with inner AR coating protecting the dial.
What’s new, then? First of all, the Ocean Limited Edition SPB333 has an additional Super-Hard coating over its brushed stainless steel case and bracelet – always pleasant to keep the scratches at bay. Second, the metallic bezel insert is new, with a mid-grey tone, a striated texture and a fully-graduated 60-minute scale that appears engraved into the material. It is presented on a five-row brushed steel bracelet with a secure clasp and extender, and an additional textile strap is included. Made of recycled plastic bottles, it has a nice texture and is made according to a traditional Japanese braiding technique called Seichu. The strap (which we haven’t seen yet) is said to be sunlight-resistant, supple and air-permeable to ensure comfort on the wrist.
The other significant update on this SPB333 is the dial, with its nice light colour and texture that adds depth and playfulness. The dial is silver-coloured, sunray-brushed and decorated with a texture reminiscent of polar glaciers. And if you ask me, it clearly has a “white birch” vibe that makes it an accessible alternative for those who don’t want or can’t spend GS money on a watch. There’s also a blue-coloured seconds hand to add some more contrast. Altogether, a very handsome edition!
Inside the case is the in-house calibre 6R35. Running at 3Hz and part of the brand’s mid-range movement portfolio, it has an extended power reserve of 70 hours. The movement is hidden behind a closed caseback.
The new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Limited Edition SPB333 will be available at Seiko Boutiques and select retail stores worldwide from January 2023 as a limited edition of 5,000 pieces. It is priced at EUR 1,350, which is 200 euros more than the SPB313 and SPB315 on a steel bracelet.
For more details, please visit www.seikowatches.com.