Probably the world's most popular analog diving watches just got more official as Japanese Seiko announced that they have become an official partner of PADI. The vast majority of people who have diving certifications at various levels are more than familiar with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) because that is how most people get their diving certification (myself and several members of the aBlogtoWatch team included). To begin their relationship with PADI, Seiko has just debuted two special edition watches celebrating the red and blue colors of PADI along with official PADI branding on the dial.
Why is this a good idea for Seiko? To most watch lovers, the importance of this relationship is obvious. Time and timing are an essential part of diving and learning to dive, and Seiko just entered the market to produce an amazing souvenir for anyone who has gone through the PADI certification process. Of course, traditional analog watches are typically more for watch enthusiasts and history lovers, but many people agree that wearing a back-up timepiece along with your diving computer is a good idea. With that said, these limited edition Seiko Prospex collection PADI dive watches are an excellent way of showing people that you aren't just one of many dive watch lovers, but you have at least some diver credibility to back it up. It doesn't hurt that the watches aren't half bad looking.
Seiko released their first diving watch in 1965, which was about 12 years after the first commercial diving watches were released to the public during a time when recreational diving was booming. Seiko's first titanium dive watch from 1975 is a serious collector's item, and in 1986, the Seiko "Tuna" was first released having a ceramic outer case. In 2000, Seiko reportedly came out with the first Nitrox Dive computer watch. More important is the vast universe of Seiko dive watches that continue to come out each year. Probably everyone on the aBlogtoWatch team has at least one Seiko dive watch, and I wouldn't be surprised if the same applies to much of the aBlogtoWatch audience. Whether you take them into the water or not, Seiko is often quite synonymous with dive watches - which just happen to be the most popular genre of sport watches.
Seiko and PADI's relationship not only begins with two special edition Prospex collection watches, but also support for PADI's Project AWARE, which is a global initiative to protect ocean environments. It is unclear how the watches are related to Project AWARE, but Seiko does claim to support the conservation initiative. The two special edition watches are based on relatively current Seiko divers in the SUN and SRPA collections. First is the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI Automatic Diver's SRPA21 which is the mechanical model of the two. With its classic Seiko-style Pepsi bezel and metal bracelet, this is likely to be the most popular of the two. Some Seiko lovers have come to call the SRPA collection the Seiko "Turtle."
The Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SRPA21 has a 45mm-wide steel case that is 13.4mm thick and is water resistant to 200 meters. The dial has a Hardlex crystal and the case has magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m. Inside the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SRPA21 is the Seiko in-house-made caliber 4R36 automatic movement that operates at 3Hz with 41 hours of power reserve, and offers the time with a day/date complication. The Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SRPA21 comes on a matching steel bracelet and the blue and red colors along with the nicely integrated PADI logo on the dial are very attractive.
"Special Edition" in this context means that the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI watches will not be produced as a limited edition, but rather selectively and with selective distribution. It is also special because of the co-branding on the dials. While traditional watch lovers may prefer the mechanical Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SRPA21, the more high-tech of the two Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI models is the Seiko Prospex SUN065 Kinetic GMT Diver. aBlogtoWatch reviewed a different color of this watch in our Seiko SUN023 Kinetic GMT Diver review here.
With a 47.5mm-wide and 14.1mm-thick steel case, the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SUN065 Kinetic GMT Diver is water resistant to 200 meters and comes on a black silicone diver's strap. Once again you have blue with red accent coloring and the PADI logo on the dial. Inside the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SUN065 Kinetic GMT Diver is Seiko's in-house made caliber 5M85 Kinetic movement which is quartz but that uses an automatic-style rotor to charge the battery, giving it a total battery life of about 6 months without being charged. In addition to the time and date, the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI Kinetic GMT Diver has a GMT hand for a second time zone on the dial indicated in 24-hour format. A pusher on the case allows for easy adjustment of the GMT hand in one hour increments.
Diving and watch enthusiasts with any positive PADI experience will be hard-pressed to resist these Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI watches. Prices (in euros for now) for the Seiko Automatic Diver SRPA21 is 430 euros and the Kinetic GMT Diver SUN065 is 630 euros. seikowatches.com