Seiko just quietly announced three new limited edition “Black Series” Prospex dive watches, set to be released sometime in the first quarter of 2018. It’s pretty hard to screw up redoing existing pieces in black with a vintage design sense, and these three Prospex watches keep that trope alive. Aggressive, legible, and handsome, the black dials, tan hour markers, and white & orange hands (done in Lumibrite, naturally) keep from messing up the original aesthetic of the pieces. Seiko Watches claims that these Black Series watches are inspired by night diving and are designed to achieve maximum legibility. Really, no matter what you think, these limited edition pieces are going to be grabbed up by the legions of Seiko dive enthusiasts out there.
Let’s start with the one that’s going to be the most wanted, the black ‘Turtle’ watch. The Prospex Diver Automatic SRPC49K1 has the same specs as the standard Seiko Watches $300 Prospex Automatic Turtle, with a 45mm wide case that has a 200m water resistance rating. The movement is the same 4R36 that operates at 21,600 bph with a 41 hour power reserve. The case is done in what Seiko calls a “hard black coating” – so either a DLC or PVD coat, with a screw-down crown and a unidirectional rotating bezel. Just the classic Seiko Prospex Automatic Turtle watch in a black case. It’s simple and definitely a favorite.
Next up is the first of two solar-powered pieces, the Prospex Solar Diver SNE493P1. Smaller than the Turtle at 43.5mm wide, this watch also has the same black coated case as well as a 200m water resistance rating, screw-down crown, and unidirectional bezel. The V157 solar powered movement has a 10 month power reserve.
No caseback pictures out there for now, but we could expect the view of the movement by means of a sapphire crystal window to be similar if not the same as the SBGJ005 out of 2014. As a way to further differentiate the version’s limited-edition character, aside from being more colorful than its white and black dialed siblings, the SBGJ005 had an unusual titanium strand with an “anodic oxidized finish” that kind of seems like metal. Subsequent limited edition versions, like the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT SBGJ021, also had an intriguing treatment for the skeletonized rotor.Unchanged from 2014, the 100m water-resistant steel case is 40mm wide, and Seiko states it’s based on the 44GS design from 1967 as a “contemporary re-interpretation.” A depth of 14.4mm should help give this otherwise pretty moderately sized watch a little more presence on the wrist. The brand promises that its “zaratsu” method means distortion-free surfaces to the polished parts of the situation and those strong- and – sharp-looking hands. The sapphire crystal is curved on both sides, as this also minimizes distortions, with anti-reflective coating — Seiko even calls its crystal “high definition. “When a green dial watch is seen as too niche and only must be a limited edition, I expect Seiko keeps making more iterations of this SBGJ005 similar to this SBGJ227… until I can one day afford to spring for it. Being marginally less “exclusive” might make owners of the SBGJ005 feel much better about getting paid more.
Finally, the third model is the Seiko Watches Cal. 6a32 Prospex Solar Diver Chronograph SSC673P1, which shares the same 43.5mm case size as the Solar Diver and also has a 200m water resistance rating, screw-down crown, and unidirectional bezel. It uses the V175 movement, with a one-hour chronograph that shows 1/5 second increments. Power reserve here is 6 months. Moving to the case, you’ve got matching black chronograph pushers in addition to the blacked out case.
All three Seiko Prospex “Black Series” watches will come on a black silicon rubber strap. Again, all three will be limited to an unknown number but if you’re interested, I’d stay on top of it since they probably won’t last long. Price for the Prospex Diver Automatic Turtle SRPC49K1 will be €490, the Prospex Solar Diver SNE493P1 will be priced at €380, and the Prospex Solar Diver Chronograph SSC673P1 will be €410. seiko-prospex.com