The Sumo Gathering – Seiko PROSPEX
In a community of watch collectors, the concept of a get-together is not exactly new. Such events are mostly dominated by collectors of “the Crown,” but every once in a while, something special brews up. Luckily, we at Monochrome managed to be present for one such event. This event paid tribute to a timepiece that coincidentally does end with the letters “E” and “X” – but before you say anything… it’s not ROLEX!
What you are seeing here is in fact a Seiko Prospex (Professional Specifications) gathering. Fans of our site can tell that the writers of Monochrome have a special fascination for the aforementioned Japanese brand. In case you missed our other Seiko articles, you can read them here, here and here. Stalwarts of the brand know how well this watch is built, the technical feats it accomplishes, its historical origin and its unbeatable price tag. The only downside is, they are Japanese exclusive pieces. But that wouldn’t exactly stop us from getting one, would it?
Readers of our site would recall that we published similar coverage before, in the capital city of the Philippines. And folks who have stepped foot on the island nation archipelago will know the vast number of dive spots available in that country (desk divers notwithstanding.) It only stands to reason, then, that dive watches are plentiful there. Add to that the fact that Southeast Asians (myself included) have a special inclination towards this Japanese brand. Here in my country, Seiko is practically king.
Prospex divers are separated into two different categories, the Marinemasters (see two photos above) and the Scuba series, the former being the brand’s culmination of dive watch design, and the latter to be the more casual yet pro spec’d version. Essentially, the Scuba series are technically lesser versions of the Marinemasters. But its smaller case size, and versatile nature makes it one of the best tool watches on the market. In fact, one piece from that series had gained such a following that the organizers of the get-together titled the gathering after its nickname – “The Sumo” Gathering.
The Seiko “Sumos” (SBDC001, SBDC003, SBDC005) here are the stars of the show. And they come in all sorts of colors and strap combos. The popularity of the Seiko Sumo in my country and the rest of Southeast Asia may have something to do with its affordability. But most Sumo buyers are not your typical consumer. In fact, a lot of them are even dedicated haute horlogerie collectors. So its affordability is not exactly the main reason for its success. But before you jump to any conclusion, let us look at some of the high points of this timepiece.
- Seiko’s in-house 6R15 caliber – self-winding (with hacking)
- Lumibrite (Seiko patented lume)
- 200m depth rating
- Rotating bezel and screw lock crown
- Double lock clasp
What you get from the Sumo is practically the total package of what most watch collectors look for in a timepiece. An in-house movement of robust and reliable quality, a lume that rivals the Super LumiNova of the Swiss, a depth rating that most of us don’t even dare reach, and most importantly an inherent exclusivity because of its being a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) only piece. So in essence, price is merely the secondary reason for its fame, and as much as I hate to say it, no other timepiece comes close to what you get in terms of value for money.
Of course, the gathering wasn’t exactly limited to the Sumos. The big boys from the Prospex Marinemaster series were also present; we also saw some limited editions, some heavily modified pieces, and of course, some vintage models to showcase some heritage. I could keep going on and on, but for now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
The Thailand Special Editions. Notice the cyclops date window a Thailand exclusive (Lucky bastards!) Left in front with the white dial and blue chapter ring around the dial is a limited edition Seiko Monster, nicknamed Snow Monster. The black coated version in the lower right corner is another Monster, the Seiko Zamba Monster, which is a Thailand limited edition.
The Tunas are also present…
￼Golgo Limited Edition Fieldmaster…
Vintage Tuna – the granddaddy of the Tunas…
And last, but not least… The original Prospex the Seiko 62MAS aka ref. 6217. The granddaddy of all Seiko Professional Specs watches.
Credits: Big thanks to the people from Philippine Watch Club forums for organizing the event.
I just did a write-up recently on my trio of Seiko dive watches. No Sumos, but I do have a Samurai. The best of the Japanese brands, without a doubt, and when Seiko wants to, it can give the Swiss a run for their money too. Thanks Evan. Now you’ve got me thinking about a MarineMaster. My wife is going to kill us both!
For as long as you have ‘justified’ disposable income to get one, I’m pretty sure your wife would understand. The MarineMaster is just that good, and I haven’t even said anything about the movement yet…
Thanks as well for sharing your thoughts.
Evan, Where can i get this in the philippines, i like the sumo blue and one in red and black. how much is this? How big is this, as big as a Rolex GMT-master?. Thank you
Great stuff! Appreciate your knowledge and passion for your subject, and am learning a lot about Seikos — which I’ve always loved.
Just got an eye on the yellow sumo limited 200m divers watch. shadow of an old vintage rolex submariner but with the crown at the the number four position.
Hi, new guy here. I’m new to seiko so I only have 2 Turtles, 3 Samurai, 4 Tunas, 2 Monsters and 4 Sumos (Pepsi, green, yellow, and PADI). I lived in Shanghai for 20 years and dove extensively in SE Asia but I now live in NYC. I never dove in a Seiko because I didn’t own any so I dove in my Panerai, Breitling, Doxa or Omega. Many of the sumos pictured above I recognize because I saw them in the shops in Bangkok. I bought all my watches in HK, Tokyo, Singapore and Taipei. Thanks for the fantastic site!!