Originally introduced in 1993, the Seiko Landmaster is the brand’s rugged adventure watch that is built for mountaineers and explorers. Over the years, Seiko has produced a number of different interpretations of the Landmaster, and to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this cult-favorite model, the brand has created a new limited-edition version that reimagines the chunky purpose-built design of the original. With that in mind, the new Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 is hardly a vintage reissue piece as it is crafted entirely from titanium and fitted with a vibrant blue gradient dial.
In many ways, the Landmaster can be seen as the bigger and more utilitarian brother of the Seiko Alpinist. Both models are made for mountaineers and adventurers, but while the Alpinist goes about achieving this concept by building upon the core platform of a field watch, the Landmaster takes the fundamental design of a dive watch and gives it a rotating compass bezel. While there are some Landmaster models that deviate from this approach (notably the Spring Drive GMT references), the new Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary Limited Edition SLA071 shares far more design DNA with earlier models, and it is essentially a chunky modern dive watch that has a compass scale on its bezel, rather than the usual elapsed time markings.
The brushed and polished titanium case of the new limited-edition Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 measures 42mm in diameter by 12.7mm thick, with 20mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 50.1mm. While titanium has previously played a role within the Landmaster collection, the case and bracelet of the new SLA071 feature the brand’s “Super Hard” coating, which increases their resistance to scratches. The top of the case receives a sapphire crystal surrounded by the Landmaster collection’s signature compass bezel, while the reverse side of the watch is closed up with a solid titanium caseback. A winding crown sits between two large guards on the side of the case at the 3 o’clock location, and as you would expect, the crown screws down to help guarantee a rather respectable 200 meters of water resistance
Seiko loves a good nature-inspired dial, and this seems to be especially true when it comes to the brand’s limited-edition anniversary models. The dial of the Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 showcases a rich blue color with a vertical gradient effect that darkens towards the top of the dial. This aesthetic is inspired by the view from the summit of Mount Everest, where the thin air creates very little diffuse reflection and makes the sky appear darker, even during the daytime. The vertical blue gradient is intended to represent the way that the sky darkens as you move closer toward the summit, and aside from its mountaineering-inspired colorway, the actual design and layout of the dial are fairly similar to what you might find on one of the brand’s dive watches, with a trio of centrally-mounted hands, geometric hour markers, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a healthy application of green-glowing LumiBrite to provide ample low-light legibility.
Powering the new limited-edition Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 is the Caliber 8L35 automatic movement, which is typically found inside the brand’s top-of-the-line dive watches and represents a solid step above what gets fitted to the entry-level Prospex models. Running at a frequency of 28,800vph (4Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 50 hours, the Cal. 8L35 offers a higher beat rate compared to most of Seiko’s other modern movements, and while it is based upon the underlying design of the Grand Seiko Cal. 9S55, the official accuracy rating of the Seiko Cal. 8L35 comes in at a rather average -10/+15 seconds per day. Admittedly, Seiko watches often run more accurately than their on-paper specs, but given the high premiums that accompany models with the Caliber 8L35, it would be nice to see these timekeeping figures closer to COSC standards.
Fitted to the lugs of the new limited-edition Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 is a matching titanium bracelet, which features a flat three-link design and a triple folding clasp. Just as you would find on one of Seiko’s Prospex dive watches, the clasp for the bracelet on the new Landmaster SLA071 features an integrated extension system; however, rather than being included so that the bracelet can accommodate the sleeve of a wetsuit, the clasp extension on the Landmaster exists so that the watch can be worn over heavy jackets and arctic clothing. Being paired with a titanium bracelet inevitably makes the new Seiko Landmaster SLA071 more expensive than if it were fitted with some type of strap, although sourcing a third-party titanium bracelet is exponentially more difficult than finding a compatible 20mm strap, and given the fairly high price of this particular model, I think most buyers will be happy to see that it comes with a matching bracelet.
It’s hardly a secret that Seiko has been making a move upmarket in recent years, and a significant number of the brand’s models now cost more than a thousand dollars. With that in mind, anytime you see the Caliber 8L35, you can almost guarantee that the watch will be more expensive than you were anticipating, and the new Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary SLA071 is accompanied by an official retail price of $2,600 USD, with production limited to 1,000 examples. Compared to other Prospex models that feature this same movement, the new SLA071 is priced right in line with its counterparts; however, it also costs about twice as much as the standard 62MAS-inspired Prospex diver. While my personal favorite Landmaster is still the discontinued Spring Drive GMT, I’m just happy that the Seiko Landmaster is receiving some attention, and it will be interesting to see if the brand continues to expand the Landmaster concept as it has done with the Alpinist. For more information on the Seiko Prospex Landmaster 30th Anniversary Limited Edition SLA071, please visit the brand’s website.