October 2, 2020
2020 has been a momentous year of releases for Japanese giant Seiko. While this high volume of new models has included novelties for nearly all its product lines, many of the brand’s releases this year have been centered around the 55th anniversary of the 62MAS, Seiko’s first dive watch. For its latest set of releases, Seiko is once again commemorating this anniversary, this time with a pair of limited edition divers with a cold blue colorway inspired by the brand’s current work with Antarctic exploration and designs based on two of Seiko’s most pivotal historic dive models, the 1965 62MAS and the 1970 6105. The limited edition Seiko Prospex SLA043 and Seiko Prospex SPB183 both add an icy new look to Seiko’s diver lineup while highlighting some of its most extreme current partnerships.
First up is the limited edition Seiko Prospex SLA043, which works with the same 62MAS-inspired skin diver design as the limited edition Prospex SLA037 released in June 2020. The 39.9mm case made from Seiko’s proprietary Ever-Brilliant steel is nearly identical to the version released earlier this year, with the same distinctive squared off lugs and continuous curve along the case side as the 1965 original but a modern 200 meter depth rating. The 14.1mm thickness of the SLA043, however, is notably slimmer than the SLA037, thanks mostly to the different movement within. The unidirectional dive bezel is carried over from the SLA037, however, with a nearly identical black insert to the original 62MAS. Around back, the SLA043’s caseback features an engraving of Seiko’s old school dolphin emblem alongside a limited edition serial number.
The dial of the Seiko Prospex SLA043 is where this new iteration really gets to differentiate itself. While the overall form, from the narrow baton hands to the distinctive applied rectangular indices, is a faithful recreation of the 1965 62MAS, the SLA043 reimagines these elements with a subtle new color palette. According to the brand, the dark and desaturated “marine blue” used for the dial surface is intended to evoke the cold waters of the ocean surrounding Antarctica. Seiko complements this deep, muted tone with a vibrant ice blue seconds hand, injecting a focal point of vibrant color.
Unlike the earlier Seiko Prospex SLA037, which used the brand’s high frequency 8L55 automatic movement, Seiko powers the Prospex SLA043 with the slower beating manufacture 8L35 automatic movement. This lower frequency variant on the 8L architecture helps to keep the cost of the SLA043 down, making this a substantially more affordable alternative to its predecessor. That said, the 8L35 is no slouch, with a solid 50 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Accuracy for the 8L35 is rated at a respectable +15 to -10 seconds per day, but given Seiko’s penchant for underrating its movements actual performance might be much higher. Seiko finishes the limited edition Prospex SLA043 with a pair of vintage style waffle straps in silicone. Each watch is shipped with straps in both black and a dial-matching “marine blue.”
On the more affordable side of the lineup is the limited edition Seiko Prospex SPB183, inspired by the classic 1970 Seiko 6105 “Willard” and building on the platform of the Prospex SPB151/SPB153 series released in May 2020. The 42.7mm stainless steel case of the SPB183 is identical to these models, with noticeably smaller and slimmer case dimensions than the ‘70s original. The case is also finished with Seiko’s proprietary super-hard coating for improved scratch resistance. Like its stablemates, this rounded cushion case manages a solid 200 meters of water resistance. The only noticeable change for the SPB183’s case is the bezel, with a new insert in deep “marine blue.”
This “marine blue” colorway extends to the dial of the Seiko Prospex SPB183, which otherwise keeps the ‘70s style baton handset and square applied indices of the SPB151/SPB153 series intact. The other tweak here is the signature stoplight seconds hand, which receives an eye-catching gold treatment to celebrate 55 years of Seiko dive watches.
Like its regular production stablemates, the Seiko Prospex SPB183 is powered by the manufacture 6R35 automatic movement. The 6R35 is a relatively recent addition to Seiko’s movement lineup, and this next generation movement boasts a hefty 70 hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. The movement’s rated accuracy, on the other hand, is slightly disappointing, managing only +25 to -15 seconds per day. Seiko pairs the Prospex SPB183 with both its standard three link oyster style bracelet and a “marine blue” silicone strap.
While far from the most revolutionary new releases of the year from the brand, both the Seiko Prospex SLA043 and the Seiko Prospex SPB183 add a handsome new colorway to the lineup that should prove popular with fans. Both the SLA043 and the SPB183 are limited editions, with the Seiko Prospex SLA043 limited to 1,700 examples, while 5,500 models of the Seiko Prospex SPB183 will be made. Both new models will be available from authorized dealers in November 2020, with the Seiko Prospex SLA043 priced at $4,500, while the Seiko Prospex SPB183 carries an MSRP of $1,400. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.