Seiko is no stranger to drawing inspiration from its packed archives — particularly when there’s a birthday to celebrate. To honor the 55th anniversary of its first GMT watch with a rotating bezel, Seiko has announced a faithful recreation of the original 6117 Navigator Timer from 1968. It’s the Seiko Prospex Land Mechanical GMT SPB411 Limited-Edition watch, and for fans of the maiden model, this is about as close as you can get without buying vintage, complete with a distinct tonneau-shaped case, 24-hour marked bezel, and snazzy five-link bracelet.
The anniversary Prospex Land Mechanical GMT SPB411 watch retains the compact dimensions of the old-school Navigator Timer measuring 38.5mm in diameter, 12.6mm thick, and 45.2mm lug-to-lug. The case is crafted from stainless steel, treated with Seiko’s Super-Hard coating for extra durability, and features alternating brushed and polished surfaces. The crown remains at the traditional 4 o’clock position while the rotating bezel is home to an engraved 24-hour scale filled in black and accompanied by a lumed pearl at the zero position. Water resistance has been boosted, of course, rated to 100 meters (compared to the original 70 meters.)
The dial of the Prospex Land Mechanical GMT SPB411 also echoes that of the 1968 Navigator Timer featuring a sunray grey finish and a quartet of hands at the center. Note the short arrow-tipped red 24-hour hand that ends just about where the indexes begin. Is this the most practical choice given that the hand is so far away from the 24-hour scale that it’s meant to point to? No. But it is the most faithful choice given that is what Seiko opted for on the Navigator Timer over five decades ago. The GMT hand is independently adjustable, which makes this Prospex a caller GMT watch rather than a traveler GMT watch. The 24-hour hand coupled with the rotating 24-hour bezels allows the display of three places (two simultaneously whereas the third requires turning the bezel to the appropriate offset.)
What is notably missing on this new dial is the Navigator Timer name, but that’s not surprising since Seiko no longer calls the watch that, preferring Prospex Land Mechanical GMT instead. The Seiko logo is also vintage, mimicking the shorter height of the original model. Like the first, this anniversary watch also includes a date window at 3 o’clock, blocky hour and minute hands, applied indexes, and lume (LumiBrite) plots on the sloped dark minute track around the edge. A box-shaped sapphire crystal protects the dial while the back is fitted with a solid caseback.
The caseback of the Prospex Land Mechanical GMT further reinforces the tribute to the inaugural Navigator Timer with its horseshoe-shaped design and is engraved with the individual watch’s serial number. Beneath that screw-down caseback is the Caliber 6R54 automatic movement, which runs at a frequency of 21,600vph (3 Hz), supplies 72 hours of power reserve, and has a precision rate of +25 to -15 seconds per day. It’s the same movement that powers the Seiko 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation GMT that Ripley Sellers wrote about when it launched earlier this year.
Seiko also borrowed the bracelet design of the 1968 model by fitting the new Prospex Land Mechanical GMT with a five-link steel bracelet — an essential touch to round out the look of this retro-inspired traveling watch. The bracelet is furnished with a three-fold clasp with a push button release, and you’ll have to navigate the 19mm lug width should you wish to wear the watch on another strap.
With the exception of a few necessary modern enhancements, the Prospex Land Mechanical GMT remains true to the 55-year-old 6117 Navigator Timer, which will be an appealing proposition for those who love classic Seiko tool watches of yesteryear. Limited to 4,000 pieces worldwide, the new Seiko Prospex Land Mechanical GMT SPB411 Limited Edition is priced at $1,500 USD and will be available at select retail locations in November 2023. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.