New for Basel 2008 Seiko has released a bevy of new watches. Even in the shadow of some of the new Seiko Spring Drive watches, the often overlooked Velatura line has a wonderful new diver watch. The Velatura line was introduced last year, the highlight being the Kinetic Direct Drive movement discussed by aBlogtoRead.com here. The movement is really fun to operate, and comfortable to live with. Offering much more than the standard Kinetic movement, but not quite as much as Spring Drive. Regardless, the Velatura line that features the Kinetic Direct Drive movement, was interesting, but not exactly a stunner.
In response to the confused looking (but nice) watch, Seiko has added a few models to the Velatura line, but did something interesting. Not all of them have a Kinetic Direct Drive movement. In back the diver watch shown here has a traditional automatic made by Seiko. The movement (Seiko 8R28 automatic) in the new Seiko SRQ001J, could most easily be compared to an ETA Valjoux 7750, in terms of functions. Oddly enough, this new automatic is only rated at 100m water resistance, while the two quartz models are rated at 200m resistance. Don't asky why, but 100m resistance is not considered a true divers watch, which 200m will cut it, and 300m is the standard. Take my word for it. The cost of the Velatura diver automatic will retail for about 2,500 Euros. This is serious watch territory, but other Velatura watches are still in the sub $1,000 dollar range.
Looking at the Velatura Diver you see familiar features, such as the 12 hour chronograph and rotating bezel. Seiko has added some friendly legibility accents such as the different colors on the dial. The case is a combination of steel, carbon fiber, and urethane. The sum of the parts is a handsome looking, if not avant garde dive watch that appears instantly capable.
The first set of pictures represents the Velatura Diver watches with the new Seiko automatic chronograph movement, while the next two images represent a different version of the watch with a standard Seiko quartz chronograph movement (7T92) and a different feature set (dual time chronograph). The quartz models are about $500 street price.
I like these models a lot. I've always been a fan of Seiko, but for me, their looks have always "just missed the mark." However, they are slowly featuring better and better watches that take steps which are more bold that most Swiss companies. The Velatura Diver line looks pretty darn good and masculine. Perhaps not a boardroom timepiece, they are acceptable just about anywhere else, and will put up with a good beating for a long time to come.
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