Currently positioned as a mid-tier offering between Seiko and Grand Seiko, the King Seiko lineup has been slowly but steadily expanding since it was relaunched a little over two years ago. Now for its latest release of 2024, King Seiko has dipped back into its archives to create a series of cushion-cased dress watches, which are based upon the King Seiko 45KCM from 1969 that introduced a new case silhouette and inspired a number of the brand’s other creations throughout the following decade. While the overall appearance of the King Seiko KS1969 dress watches is aesthetically derived from their vintage predecessor, the new models are crafted with modern materials and manufacturing methods, and the series makes its debut in four different colorways, with one produced as a limited edition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Seiko brand.

While all four of the new King Seiko KS1969 dress watches feature the same case, bracelet, and movement, each model is fitted with a different dial. The SJE109 is the version that offers the closest appearance to the original King Seiko 45KCM from 1969, and it features a subtle texture throughout its surface, which the brand says is intended to evoke the modern cityscape of Tokyo, where King Seiko was originally first created in 1961. Meanwhile, the SJE111 is the purple version, which appears in “Edo purple” (a traditional Japanese color that was celebrated during the Edo period), and the SJE113 is the green dial model that features a gradient finish that evokes the natural greenery that covers parts of Tokyo and the surrounding area. Lastly, the SJE115 is the limited-edition model that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Seiko brand, and it features a light blue/green dial with a triangular-shaped textured pattern that is inspired by the scales of a dragon, which is the animal sign for 2024 in the Japanese zodiac.

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Regardless of their dials, all of the new King Seiko KS1969 dress watches feature the same cushion-shaped case, which is crafted from stainless steel and measures 39.4mm in diameter by 9.9mm thick, with 19mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 43.6mm. A box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on its interior surface sits above the dial, and surrounding it is a thin smooth bezel with a high-polished finish. Meanwhile, a signed crown sits partially recessed into the 3 o’clock side of the case, and the reverse side of the watch is fitted with a solid screw-down caseback with an engraving of the King Seiko logo. As the new King Seiko KS1969 models are intended to be dress watches, they offer a fairly standard 50 meters of water resistance to protect against daily contact, and similar to other models from the King Seiko collection, the new KS1969 dress watches are also magnetic-resistant up to 4,800 A/m.

Aside from their colors and surface textures, all four of the dials fitted to the new King Seiko KS1969 dress watches follow the same overall design and layout, with a trio of centrally-mounted hands, applied baton-shaped hour markers, and a framed date window at the 3 o’clock location. The hands feature linear brushed top surfaces with high-polished bevels, and the applied hour markers echo this shape with faceted edges and a high-polished finish. Similar to other recently released King Seiko models, the dials of the new KS1969 dress watches feature a double-baton marker at 12 o’clock with a textured finish to help offer better orientation for at-a-glance access to the time, and to maintain the dress watch spirit of the new King Seiko KS1969 series, the hands and hour markers are entirely devoid of luminous material to provide the watches with a more refined and elegant overall appearance.

Powering the new King Seiko KS1969 dress watches is the Seiko Caliber 6L35 automatic movement, which offers a slim design and currently serves as the go-to option for modern time-and-date King Seiko watches. Compared to Seiko’s entry-level automatic movements, the Cal. 6L35 offers superior specs with a higher operating frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) and a power reserve of approximately 45 hours. Additionally, the Cal. 6L35 offers tighter timekeeping tolerances with standards of -10/+15 seconds per day, and while this is noticeably more accurate than what Seiko guarantees for its entry-level calibers, it is still a significant way off from what is required for chronometer certification. Lastly, the new quartet of King Seiko KS1969 dress watches are all paired with multi-link stainless steel bracelets that consist of 13 rows of alternating brushed and polished surfaces and secure on the bottom of the wrist with folding clasps that operate with a double push-button release.

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While the silver, purple, and green dial models from the King Seiko KS1969 series (SJE109, SJE111, and SJE113) will be joining the collection as standard-production models, the blue/green version that celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Seiko brand (SJE115) will be produced as a limited edition of 700 examples. Additionally, despite their different dials and production numbers, all four of the new King Seiko KS1969 dress watches cost the same with an official retail price of $3,100 USD. Considering that these models cost noticeably more than entry-level offerings from Grand Seiko (admittedly, the least expensive Grand Seiko models will have quartz movements), the new King Seiko KS1969 watches undeniably feel rather expensive. However, they are priced right in line with the brand’s recent offerings, and they ultimately represent a solid middle ground between Seiko’s standard catalog and the luxury-oriented offerings produced by Grand Seiko. For more information on the King Seiko KS1969 dress watches, please visit the brand’s website.

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