Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

2015 marks the 50th year that Seiko has been manufacturing dive watches. To celebrate that impressive achievement the Japanese horological giant released two limited edition pieces, one of them being the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000m Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 reference – a long name (and hence a lot of features) and nothing short of what we would expect to see to mark such an occasion. Before going into greater detail on this limited edition of 700 pieces, let's take a brief look at what Seiko has achieved over the last half a century when it comes to evolving dive watches.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

You will find a nice summary of the last 50 years of Seiko divers above, courtesy of the brand. Because that list – and those watches – are worthy of their own upcoming article, we will just mention those achievements Seiko decided to highlight: the first use of a titanium case for a diver’s watch, the invention of the accordion-style strap, the two layer case construction, the "design of dial markers and hands of unparalleled legibility," and last but not least that – they claim – the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches was developed with Seiko’s own standard as its base.

That is a long list, and while Seiko was not among the first when it came to the creation of the earliest waterproof/dive watches – you can read more on that in our "The History Of Dive Watches" article – they sure picked up the pace soon and added a fair bit to the world of professional dive watches. Over this time, the Marinemaster and the famed "Tuna" have become iconic pieces – which, fortunately, are still very much in production today.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

With that, we have arrived at the what is officially called the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001. What you see directly below is the original, 1968 version, with a massive (for the time, and still more than ample for today) 300 meters of water resistance and an arguably even more impressive "10-Beat" or "Hi-Beat" movement – Seiko refers to the watch as the former and the dial displays the latter term – running at 36,000 vibrations per hour.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Whether the added 700 meters of water resistance or the past 47 years had the greater impact on the design may be up for discussion, but the similarities - or, to be more marketing-inspired about it, the shared DNA - are obvious between the two. That includes the crown placement at the 4 o'clock position, the bezel with markings for all 60 minutes throughout, the similar – albeit contemporarily fatter – font, the double 12-hour and rounded indices with gold colored frames, and my personal favorite design element: the beautifully flared case side and lugs with that sweeping curve that evokes as much sensibility as it implies strength in construction. I like how all three hands are set the exact same way on the picture of the original and the showpiece that we saw at Baselworld 2015 – that's just that extra bit of attention to detail we have come to expect.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The case is, of course, in titanium with a "Super-hard coating" to render this lightweight and rather sensitive metal more resistant to scratches and dings. The case is Seiko's one-piece case structure which does away with the traditional case-back – in turn, making for a more rugged case. It is 48.2mm wide and a hefty 19.7mm thick – as always, though, when it comes to watches with short lugs and clever bracelet integration, wearability remains great even on a smaller wrist. The case also affords the movement some anti-magnetic protection, 16,000 A/m (I did look it up, and that is about 200 Gauss if you wish to compare it to, say, the Rolex Milgauss or Omega's 15,000 Gauss magnetic resistance). To be fair, Seiko also offers watches with greater magnetic resistance – but here, we are looking at an all-time great in diving, so arguably, that 200 Gauss will suffice.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Another common specification with that aforementioned 1968 Seiko 10-Beat diver is the frequency of the movement inside the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001. The Caliber 8L55 runs at 36,000 vibrations per hour or 10 beats per second. That is a seldom seen feat that, all other factors being equal, should provide greater timekeeping accuracy and a more smoothly sweeping central seconds hand - if that is your thing. The movement shares a lot with Grand Seiko Hi-Beat movements but is not as elaborately decorated as those, keeping the cost and hence the price down. Power reserve is 55 hours, a solid 2 days from a hi-beat movement – again, impressive stuff, especially at a time when we are still seeing some brands debuting new (and slower) movements with a mere 40 hours worth of go-juice.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One spot – and these kinds of minor details really only show themselves when a watch is seen hands-on – that I found to be a little bit off to me on the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 was the text, more specifically, the font selection on the dial. From the six lines of larger text on the dial there are four different fonts, one for the Seiko logo – which is a given, of course – one for both the Automatic and Marinemaster words, another for Hi-Beat (that, in fact, looks a bit different to the one used for the Professional), and a fourth one for the 1000m (with the little "m," again, being arguably a bit redundant and certainly somewhat out of place). The counterpoint is that this wider selection of fonts adds a bit of welcome visual variety to the dial.

What I love about Seiko, though, is not only that you have to look at it so close to find something you may or may not like, entirely, but also that something inside of me is telling me they did think this font thing not a result of negligence, but through design decisions. As such, it is a very subjective detail and one that I'm sure will be to the liking of many.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

I have kept for last what possibly is the most astounding detail of the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 (and most all other high-end Seiko divers): the lume. As always, the picture above has not been enhanced in any way: the quality, brightness and evenness of the lume is indeed a sight to be seen. Seiko uses its own luminescent solution called Lumibrite – it is indeed staggeringly powerful and is a refreshing sight after the much more ubiquitous variants of SuperLuminova.

Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001 Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Limited to just 700 pieces, the Seiko Marinemaster Professional 1,000M Diver’s Hi-Beat Limited Edition SBEX001, marking the 50th anniversary of Seiko dive watches, will be priced at 6,400 Euros or about $6,850seikowatches.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (6)
  • I love it! (4)
  • Thumbs up (2)
  • Classy (1)
  • Interesting (1)
  • The hands still seem a bit short to my eyes. For such a tool watch, the use of gold highlights seem a little out of place. But technically a great watch. Seiko had an almost bewildering combination of dive watches with various movements at Basel this year.

  • 5803822

    Very professional and good looking if planning to go to 1000m  – but at the price I’m happy to stay in the shallow end and hang on to the Monster  !!

  • JosephW

    The 50th anniversary is the gold one, so that might be the reason for the gold bits.

  • srallington

    Poor date placement. Fugly design yet still fantastic. Far too tall and expensive for me and I dislike the Allen bolts on all watches as a matter of preference. I am a huge fan of Seiko and I have a modern prospex on my wrist as I type this but this watch despite its technical brilliance just leaves me a bit…. meh.

  • Jimxxx

    Technical merits, design demerits… Too imperfect for a commemorative piece.

  • BrJean

    That’s some fat hands!

  • DG Cayse

    MarkCarson Seiko does rock. Although this this is BIG ! It’s most def a tool watch.

    IMO, the bezel is too wide. Does it rotate? I really like the slant on the bezel side grooves. A nice touch there.
    I like the use of gold. Nice placement and adds some distinction, I think.
    Since Bulova has into’ed the UHF 236, which is also a Japanese creation, I’m not all that impressed with these “H-Beat” calibers. But they are a good advance in technology.
    How about the bracelet?
    So, Seiko had a lot of dive watches at Basel?
    I presume the sun also rose and set each day…;) The more I learn about the history of Seiko the more respect I have for that marque.

  • AJoe

    MarkCarson Touches of gold are in the Seiko’s dna… Personally, i like it… And if we take into account that other brands make full-gold tool watches, gold highlights are almost ‘discreet’!

  • Grinnie Jax

    Great watch, but too big for my taste. I do pay respect for superb engineering and craftsmanship and consider Hi-Beat to be one of the most advanced mechanical calibers in the world. Only Seiko and Zenith have achieved it and Seiko has done it even more precise and durable because of inhouse alloys. Case looks just brutal, but gladly it is calmed down with warm gold markings and hands.

    I believe it is perfect diver’s watch for bigger guys.

  • bnabod

    Had some funds laying around on amazon, bought a seiko sbdc003 aka Blumo or Sumo and I am rather impressed. The fit and finish and case details are right in line with my speedmaster, the lume is fantastic, the bracelet is very much average, the dial takes on different colors depending on the day and the readability is top notch. While I agree the new super long name edition presented to us today has some flaws like the date placement what you get for the money is pretty hard to beat.

  • DG Cayse MarkCarson The variety and variations on similar themes of the new Seiko diversbut with different movements, etc. are what surprised me at Basel.
    The reviewed watch here is mechanical high beat – like a Zenith El Primero (or a Grand Seiko of course). The Bulova high frequency watches I think you are referring to are their high precision quartz, so not really direct competitors.
    I agree the bezel is really wide and the slanted bezel grooves are, well, groovy.

  • iamcalledryan

    Take out the poor little date window, and the awful gold coloring on the markers, and you have yourself something interesting.

  • srallington I could do without the allen screws too. And yeah, the thickness is a bit off-putting. But perhaps that is a result of that thousand meter water resistance. Personally, I’d be happier with 300m and a thinner watch.

  • JosephW Good point, thanks.

  • iamcalledryan

    MarkCarson or are they allen-bolts….? 😉

  • Dan Baxter

    That’s one fine looking watch!  A bit expensive for me to run right out and buy, but I really like it.

  • thornwood36

    This is my kind of wear anywhere, rugged and sturdy. The gold does annoy me slightly but every other box is ticked.. I prefer the allan keys. to screw it into place because strangely am a bit funny about visible screws : )

  • DanW94

    “I have a very large bezel and I can go extremely deep” he said. “Yes,  but you have very short hands and are extremely chunky”  was her reply,  “anyway I prefer Europeans”  
    Seriously though, this a substantial watch and I suspect you’d have to be a serious diver to consider it. 3,000 feet is a long way down.  Not so much a casual wear due to its size. That lume looks extremely bright also.

  • Mitchell Herbert Edwards

    $2242.00, do not think so, love Seiko, even a high beat movement, but that is alot of moola to ask for a seiko

    • Tim G

      Where did you get that figure from? It’s more like $5000, and with it being limited edition, will only increase in value with time.

  • Ernani Junior

    Mauricio Plachta

  • CG

    Years ago the first Promaster won out for me over the Seiko and still does… Seiko are nice and have a great rep but that price borders on silly. All of the technology on and in that watch has ben around a long time and used by Seiko, it should not be that expensive.

  • ybn

    O to the M to the G!
    Love sieko, and this watch is just one reason why.
    Own a spring drive- more accurate than my smart phone!

  • Grinnie Jax And then you have Breguet which has 10 Hz (twice as fast as Seiko and Zenith) movements – 72,000 bph. And Zenith uses silicon in there escapements, so I’d give them the nod in the materials arena.

  • Tourbillion87

    I personally love Seiko divers and what they represent. This is a very cool piece and is a more modern interpretation of the classic collection. Its a good balance of modern / classic. The gold accents are a beautiful touch and is actually a lot more subtle in person than some of the pictures depict. My SBDX012 (50th anv.) has the same color combination but in a more classic look and I love it. Definitely gives these watches some special character without being blingy.

  • Neil C

    “The Caliber 8L55 runs at 36,000 vibrations per hour or 10 beats per second…  should provide greater timekeeping accuracy and a more smoothly sweeping central seconds hand – if that is your thing”.

    Yep, that’s my thing, as I’m sure most other people here!

  • DG Cayse

    MarkCarson DG Cayse Seiko does work its Dive watch line; but really, its their bread & buttah, so why not? They are known for all that counts – technology, durability, legibility and all at a good price point.
    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this Bulova Japanese (Miyota?) UHF is going to be a direct competitor for “hi-beat” mechanicals. IF…it is marketed right. I know, that big “IF” may be what makes or breaks it – but, time will tell – (pun intended)

    I think I figured out why I like those slanted bezel grooves – They remind me of transmission gears. Nice change of pace touch with those.

    I’m so darn close to getting one of those Bulova UHFs. The model reviewed on ABTW, add a nice “Super Solid” Jubilee and that’s the proverbial ticket.

  • henryus

    Technically fantastic, but it’s so beastly.
    Why not mm300 with hi-beat in titanium casing?
    Better yet, redesign mm300 to be thinner but preserves that Seiko’ness.

  • DG Cayse MarkCarson I had fun at the Bulova booth at Bulova showing (via the calculator app on my tablet) the ladies there why the “262” is not a random number and is in fact a binary multiple and is actually 262,144. And of course is 8 times faster than the “conventional” quartz frequency of 32,768 Hz. Which makes the Bulova UHF 8,192 times faster than a 4 Hz (28,800 bph) mechanical movement.

  • DG Cayse MarkCarson And the bezel also reminds me at bit of the Oris Big Crown ProPilot: http://www.ablogtowatch.com/oris-big-crown-propilot-chronograph-gmt-watch/

  • OnPointFirearms

    Chunky and expensive.  I’m a fan of Seiko, but this one doesn’t float my boat.  It’s a sinker– evidently what it is designed to do.  Font choice is rubbish.  Good write up though.

    • Tim G

      “Font choice is rubbish.”

      A regular thing with Seiko, the “Sumo” and SBDB001 are other good examples.

  • Gianni Falzone

    Sorry Mitchell, but 2300 is pennies for a watch of this level. Just because they also manufacture entry level mall watches doesn’t mean their mid to high-end pieces aren’t worth your money.

  • Tien-Yao Chia

    Ros Pok drool

  • srallington

    Umm actually it is 6400 euros. Quite a bit more than 2300 pennies 🙂

  • srallington

    It is actually 6400 euros.

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  • Sorry David, but the watch doesn’t match your jacket.

    • Tim G

      It doesn’t match any kind of jacket! It’s WAY too big.

  • Djordje Medic

    Great watch technically but not to my taste,as price goes it is priced accordingly for hand assembled and polished watch with GS movement inside,GS and high end Prospex are best luxury watches that money can buy,Swiss brands can only dream to deliver this level of quality at price range.

  • dangrenfell

    niallhallett ha! That watch can withstand 999m deeper than I’d ever need to go…

  • niallhallett

    dangrenfell yep, 100m minimum just to ensure proper rain proofing: http://www.classicchronographs.co.uk/technical-information/depth-rating

  • notech47

    The various fonts on the face of the watch should be fixed, otherwise it’s Seiko at its best.

  • egznyc

    Definitely in agreement!
    What I do wish, though, is that dressier pieces would be 100 m water resistant. Is that too much to ask, just so I don’t need to take along two watches if I plan to get wet?

  • Tim G

    I like the movement and the gold-on-black colour scheme. But it’s tall/thick to a ridiculous degree, and isn’t suitable for any kind of day-to-day wear as a result. The ‘dial hemmed in by bulbous bezel’ look isn’t a good one, either.

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