Last year Seiko introduced one of the most faithful recreations of their earliest dive watch (the mighty 62MAS) known as the Seiko Prospex Diver SLA017. For Baselworld 2018, Seiko has announced a new limited edition that pays tribute to the brand’s first hi-beat dive watch released in 1968, the Seiko ref. 6159-7001. While the 50th anniversary of this milestone sparked a handful of new watches from Seiko that you’ll definitely see today, we’ll be focusing on what is perhaps the most accurate one-to-one recreation in this article. Introducing the Seiko Prospex SLA025 Hi-Beat 300m dive watch.
Model: Seiko Prospex SLA025 Hi-Beat 300m Dive Watch
Dimensions: 44.8mm diameter, 15.7mm thickness
Water Resistance: 300m
Case Material: Stainless steel
Crystal/Lens: Curved sapphire with AR-coating
Movement: Caliber 8L55
Power Reserve: 55 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Silicone strap
Price & Availability: €5,500 (Limited to 1,500 pieces)
When the original Seiko ref. 6159-7001 was introduced 50 years ago, it stood as the culmination of everything the brand put into dive watch development at the time. Aside from the hi-beat movement and improved accuracy, the case was completely redesigned for increased water-resistance and durability. Many times, I’ll look back at these old 6159 divers and think to myself, “Yeah… that’s exactly what a Seiko dive watch should look like.” And, while I wasn’t the most vocal fan of the 62MAS reissue announced last year, I secretly hoped to see Seiko take the same approach one year later for the 50th anniversary of the 6159.
The first thing Seiko fans will notice is the case. It’s slightly larger than the original at just under 45mm and features Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing for a look that’ll stay sharp even years later. Visually though, the design choices have stayed true to the original late ’60s diver and for that reason, I feel this limited edition won’t last very long at the Seiko boutiques. Also, while the size may turn some potential buyers off, it’s important to realize that Seiko divers always appear larger on paper than they do on wrist, so it should be fun to handle this one in person and see how it really wears. One final thing to note is that this version will only come on Seiko’s proprietary silicon strap, which is fine for me since I think the weight would be a bit too much with a watch this size.
The last thing that will probably catch enthusiasts off guard is the price. Seiko is stepping things up, and as a result, we’re seeing the brand explore new price ranges that at times even break into Grand Seiko territory. But, with features like the beautifully smooth Hi-Beat Caliber 8L55, gilt dial and bezel details, Shizuku-ishi Watch Studio construction, and a look that nails the aesthetic of the original, I feel that plenty of collectors simply won’t be able to help themselves. The Seiko Prospex SLA025 Hi-Beat 300m Dive Watch is limited to 1,500 pieces and will be available for €5,500. Stay tuned for more detailed hands-on impressions from Baselworld 2018 where you’ll get a closer look at this limited edition Seiko diver. seikowatches.com