At Baselworld 2018, the focus of the Seiko Prospex was on the recreation of the 1968 Diver 300m Reference 6159-7001, the first high-beat diving instrument of the brand. This gave birth to three watches: the pure vintage and high-end SLA025; the cool green SLA019; and to the accessible but nevertheless desirable SPB077. This year, based on this modern reinterpretation of the 1968 automatic diver’s, Seiko introduces a new special edition for Europe and US markets, the Prospex “Twilight Blue” SPB097J1.
As often with Seiko, things start with a standard, non-limited version in a classic black or blue colour scheme. This was typically the case for the modern and rather affordable Prospex Diver 200m, which started its life in black (or with a blue bezel under the reference SPB079). Relying on the design introduced in 1968 by the collectable and desirable Reference 6159-7001, the first high-beat automatic dive watch created by Seiko, this watch added a dose of modernity with a thinner bezel, a slightly less robust case, and a simpler automatic movement. Still, the overall shape of the case, the dial’s layout, and various details forged a link with the 6159.
Today’s watch, the Seiko Prospex “Twilight Blue” SPB097J1 Special Edition, takes all the technical attributes of the SPB077 and SPB079 of Baselworld 2018 but adds an unprecedented colour scheme to the package. Clearly, not the main novelty of the year in terms of innovation, but still one pretty good-looking piece to be fair!
The main evolution on this new reference SPB097J1 can be seen on the dial and the bezel, as both feature a unique colour combination. Black and blue versions already existed in the collection, as well as a PADI edition with black dial and Pepsi bezel (ref. SPB087). Now, it’s a new combination that is introduced under the name “Twilight Blue”, a theme that, according to the brand, has been created to “reflect the sea at sunset at Malta Island“.
The dial of the SPB097J1 is presented in turquoise blue with a sunburst brushed pattern, creating nice reflections and changing colours. Depending on the ambient light, the dial ranges from greenish blue to a darker ocean tone or to a metallic grey colour. The dial’s layout remains identical to the previous versions of this watch, with the typical arrow hour hands, but Seiko adds some touches of orange on the 5-minute makers on the inner flange, on the depth indication, and on the seconds hand.
Also new to this reference SPB097J1 is the bezel’s black and orange insert with orange marking the first 15 minutes of the diver’s scale. Altogether, the choice of colour is original but remains discreet enough on a daily basis.
For the rest, this Seiko Prospex “Twilight Blue” sticks to the specifications of last year’s reference SPB077. The stainless steel case, with super-hard coating, measures 44mm in diameter and 13.1mm in height – consider it a robust dive watch – with the typical 1960s Seiko diver’s shape. Sharp angles, wide polished bevel on the side, crown at 4 o’clock, raised bezel… Still, the watch wears comfortably on most wrists. On top is a sapphire crystal and the caseback is plain steel. Water-resistance is of 200 metres.
Providing the power beneath the screw-down caseback 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 is not a high-end movement but it will perfectly do the job in this context.
The Seiko Prospex “Twilight Blue” SPB097J1 is offered on a 3-link steel bracelet with folding clasp and diving extension. There is also a silicone strap with a pin buckle included in the box.
This new version of the Prospex Diver 200m will be offered as a special edition, without a limited production, available for the Europe and US markets. The recommended retail price is EUR 1,200. The Seiko Prospex “Twilight Blue” SPB097J1 is available as of today (May 30, 2019). More details at www.seikowatches.com.