March 11, 2022
Although the first Seiko diver debuted on the market in 1965, the Japanese giant’s dive watches really built their reputation for durability and accuracy when it was chosen to supply the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition from 1966 to 1969. Seiko’s dive watch lines have been closely associated with the unforgiving conditions of the poles ever since, from Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura’s famous 1974 solo dogsled run from Greenland to Alaska while wearing a Seiko 6105, to the brand’s modern efforts in the dangerous field of ice diving. For its latest releases, Seiko returns to the polar environment for inspiration, with a trio of stylish diver options made to evoke the look of glacial ice. The new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models, including the Seiko Prospex SPB297, Seiko Prospex SPB299, and Seiko Prospex SPB301, blend classic Seiko diver silhouettes with solid modern construction and impressively intricate dial finishing.
All three new Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models follow the pattern of the brand’s fan-favorite diver offerings from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The Seiko Prospex SPB297 is based on the popular 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation platform, with a 40.5mm stainless steel case and a clean, skin-diver style silhouette. The mix of radial brushing, squared-off lugs, narrow polished chamfers, and a large unguarded screwdown crown should be familiar to Seiko enthusiasts. The brand pairs this familiar outline with a clean engraved black bezel insert with a handsome radially brushed finish in images. The Seiko Prospex SPB299’s 42mm stainless steel case instead follows the sharp “Grammar of Design” lines set forth by the 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation family. With a broad polished upper chamfer, a dramatic case side undercut, and a bold coin edge dive bezel, this is an instantly recognizable silhouette for the brand, and Seiko pairs it here with a glossy navy blue dive bezel insert. Lastly, the Seiko Prospex SPB301’s 42.7mm stainless steel case takes its stylistic cues from the “Willard,” or 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation collection. This pebble-like cushion case form is a definitive entry in Seiko design canon, and its rounded lugs, sloping bowl-like case sides, and heavily guarded 4 o’clock crown make this a distinctive model in any guise. Here, however, Seiko adds an extra layer of finishing to this familiar case, with a unique azurage texture for its navy blue bezel insert for a striking and detailed effect in images. All three models are fitted with solid screwdown casebacks, and offer a robust 200 meters of water resistance along with Seiko’s proprietary super-hard coating for increased scratch resistance.
Each of the three new models in the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition line use the same faceted, complex dial texture, meant to emulate the crags and fissures of glacial ice. Although the final surface appears engraved at first glance, each dial in the series is stamped into its final shape, and the seemingly random assortment of vertical ridges and grooves is carefully considered by one of Seiko’s top designers. The naturalistic pattern is the result of over 100 hours of computer-aided design work, and the finished product features over 2,000 individual surface facets of various shapes and sizes. The final dial design does an impressive job of capturing the look and feel of a glacial face, while the carefully orchestrated assortment of facets successfully fades into a seemingly organic random pattern in images. To better withstand the shocks and rigors of heavy cold-weather use, each model’s indices are not applied, but instead stamped into the main dial itself, eliminating the risk of breaking off an index during a hard impact. All three iterations take on a different icy colorway, meant to capture a different aspect of glaciers and sea ice. The Seiko Prospex SPB297 pairs its baton hands and rectangular indices with a dial in cold ocean blue, meant to capture the look of polar water around the edge of a glacier. The Seiko Prospex SPB299 takes a more moderate approach, with classic diver-style indices and a striking pale blue finish that mirrors the color of deep glacial ice. It’s the Seiko Prospex SPB301 that brings arguably the most versatile and handsome colorway to bear, however, with a snowy white dial that starkly showcases the complex dial texture in initial images. All three models suffer somewhat from mismatched white date wheels at 3 o’clock, however, which notably disrupt the overall flow of these intricate dial surfaces.
Seiko powers all three new Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition models with its in-house 6R35 automatic movement. The 6R35 has become a staple of the brand’s mid-range sports options in recent years, and offers a hefty 70 hour power reserve at a steady 21,600 bph beat rate. Although each of the three new models is paired with a brushed stainless steel three-link bracelet featuring a dive extension, each model offers a unique take on the dive watch staple with its own uniquely shaped links. These small touches, ranging from rounded links on the SPB297 to sharply faceted angular examples on the SPB299, go a long way toward establishing a unique personality for each model in images.
With strikingly intricate dial finishing, rugged construction, and icy colorways that harken back to the brand’s arctic exploration heritage, the three new models of the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition line offer an eye-catching tribute to one of the world’s most unforgiving environments. All three models in the Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition line will be available through select authorized dealers and Seiko boutiques starting in June 2022. MSRP for the Seiko Prospex SPB297 and Seiko Prospex SPB299 stands at $1,250 each as of press time, while the Seiko Prospex SPB301 is currently slated to be priced at $1,350. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.