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Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Last time we heard from Topper Jewelers, the Northern California jeweler had just introduced a special capsule collection of Zodiac dive watches, co-designed by KISS drummer Eric Singer. For the retailer’s seventh exclusive brand collaboration (called ‘Topper Editions’), Topper has partnered with Seiko to build a new limited-edition Prospex Diver that iterates on last year’s popular SPB077 reference with a stealthy black finish, and several subtle dial details which create an entire new reference that should very well earn it entry into the Prospex line’s ‘Ninja’ lore. But perhaps even more interesting about this release, is how it marks the first time that Seiko has co-designed a special limited edition watch with a retailer in the United States – and if you use Seiko’s many popular Beams editions as a historical reference point, that could make this particular Topper Edition a very big deal indeed.

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One thing that made last year’s SPB077 (go hands-on with this watch, and its companion SPB079 with the blue bezel and rubber strap) watch so popular was its strong adherence to Seiko’s original Prospex design language, borrowing liberally from the semi-cushioned case shape and dial cues found on the original 6159 Hi-Beat Diver from 1968 (2018 was this reference’s 50-year anniversary, after all). Of course the new reference was modernized a bit with a 44mm stainless steel case, and all of Seiko’s premium Prospex accoutrements: a sapphire crystal, Seiko’s latest Lumibrite luminous paint on the dial and arrow hands, and the 6R15 automatic movement.

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The new SPB107 ‘Topper Ninja’ follows those exact same parameters, while mixing in a few neat details selected by co-owner Rob Caplan based on feedback from Topper’s collector community – now a running tradition for Topper’s special collaborative projects. The black case with alternating brushed and polished sides is perhaps the most prominent difference between the new 107 and last year’s 077 references. However, a trained eye will also note the new orange-tipped seconds hand, which naturally draws the eye to the seconds track along the perimeter of the dial, rather than the luminous meatball counter-balance which orbits the center of the dial where the eyes are usually drawn on standard models – a familiar quirk of Prospex dive watches.

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Fans of longtime Prospex classics like the Darth Tuna or Ninja Tuna watches ought to also appreciate how Topper has opted for a color-matched date wheel, yielding a more cohesive, all-black look throughout the watch. Legibility is maximized primarily around the timekeeping elements, and nothing else – and the watch is far better for it. The watch ships on Seiko’s ultra-soft silicone dive strap (measuring 20mm at the lugs), which comes fitted with a burly pin buckle that’s reminiscent of the super-wide buckles found on some Panerai watches.

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Seiko Prospex SPB107 Topper Edition on a 6.5″ wrist

On paper, the 44mm case sounds large, but fans of last year’s 077 reference already know it has some of the best proportions in a modern Seiko diver. Comparable to a 2500-series Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, SPB107 is only 13mm tall, and has a relatively short lug-to-lug length and slightly smaller dial aperture than one might expect, which gives it the wrist presence of a more classic diver wrapped in a slick modern skin. Black watches also naturally tend to resist many of the reflective visual cues found on brushed or polished steel watches, and are thus able to hide on the wrist somewhat – again, the SPB107 doesn’t buck this trend. Better still though, is how its compact silhouette and utilitarian form factor neatly acknowledge the traditions from Seiko’s long legacy of murdered out tool watches, which means it should please even the stodgiest of JDM Prospex collectors.

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Seiko Prospex SPB107 ‘Topper Edition’ Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Seiko Prospex SPB107 Topper Edition is limited to 500 individually numbered pieces (a surprisingly small run for a Prospex limited edition), and is available for pre-order right now (anticipated delivery is mid-summer of 2019) on Topper’s pre-order site. It has a price of $1,000. To learn more about the current Prospex dive watch collection, head over to seikousa.com

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  • Independent_George

    I like it. Especially the orange tipped seconds hand. Seiko is known for design decisions that fans find to be endearing quirks but I find to be annoying flaws, and the large, lumed counter balance is an example. I don’t want to be drawn the the center of the dial, I want to go to the perimeter, where the action is.

    This is a good example of splitting the baby, keeping hardcore fans happy while addressing issues raised by the more casual enthusiast.

    And, as always, Prospex divers are the best value in mechanical watches around.

    • SuperStrapper

      That big lumed counterbalance helps keep them on the right side of ISO 6425, considering the seconds hand is otherwise un-lumed. Pretty important for a watch carrying a PADI logo on the dial. It can be found as an endearing quirk or an annoying flaw, perception is reality there. But really it is neither.

  • SuperStrapper

    This is not a watch that does well blacked out.

  • ProJ

    Seiko does (some of) their date windows quite nicely.

  • Correct – and not just PADI. In order for the watch to be able to say “Diver’s” on the dial (this goes for nearly all Prospex dive watches), it has to be ISO 6425-compliant as SuperStrapper notes above. And one of the criteria to meet that certification is that the watch has some sort of luminous visual indicator that the seconds hand is running (confirming to the diver that their watch is thereby keeping time). Most dive watches achieve this by putting the lume point on the tip of the seconds hand where your eyes are drawn as I pointed out, but Seiko has sorta made it their signature to put it on the counter-balance.

    • Independent_George

      I stand corrected, and I learned something today. Mucho gracias, Strapper and Zach.

  • SuperStrapper

    A 6425 requirement is a constant indication that the watch is running. Being able to see that the seconds hand is still ticking/sweeping is the easiest and most common way to achieve this.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Sad it’s black. Is the bezel made of ceramic?

  • cluedog12

    I love high grade Seikos! The best limited editions are ones that correct the perceived shortfalls of the serial production versions. Good job, Topper Rob.

  • Martin Francis

    It has a chunky presence which has rather grown on me since my first sight this morning. I find that this one works for me

  • Joe

    I really like this one but I already have more watches than I want to wear on a regular basis.
    I don’t have a black watch…so…

    I just need to stop visiting these websites. :-/

  • Lucifer Luv

    It’s a very legible and inconspicuous watch, just a little bit expensive compare to a normal Seiko Prospex Diver. I will go for it.

  • Pete L

    Lovely but pricy. Sapphire crystal makes it tempting. Just don’t really need another Seiko.

  • Rob Crenshaw

    Tried this on today. I liked it and ordered one. I don’t generally like black watches, I find DLC cheap looking, even on expensive watches. But this is a gloss and matte mix, which works well with the complex case. Also when they scratch it’s really obvious and ugly, unlike SS. I’ll treat it like a desk diver. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f1b46831ac83bac69f39ebbb7e2298830aa3bfd8f8efbc7414e2904a1a0a9279.jpg

  • Art Mahesan

    Like the black, like the orange tipped hand but don’t like the price. A Sumo which has the same movement and has the best hand set of all Seiko divers is a better deal!

  • DeepEye

    I have two modified SKX013 watches. I used to love Seiko, now i completely ignore their offers, since they only make watches for big or gigantic wrists.

  • Rob Crenshaw

    Of course I would! This watch without DLC would be perfect for my daily adventures of scuba diving with Great Whites in The Marianas Trench.