Continuing the tradition of a recent partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), Seiko has announced a new addition to the line-up known as the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1. When aBlogtoWatch announced the new collaboration back in 2016, it was obvious that fans of the brand were excited not only about the new color options, but the ability to commemorate the completion of their PADI certification process with a great watch. This watch in particular builds upon Seiko's recent "re-interpretation" (hands-on here) of the 62MAS – their original dive watch that debuted in 1965. Unlike some of the previous models, however, this new diver packs a little more than just another fancy new logo on the dial.
In the case of the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1, its most stand-out feature is definitely the new gradient dial that fades from deep blue to inky black – almost like the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller D-Blue 116660. Besides the cool color scheme, the dial also features a well-executed deep wave pattern that adds some welcome texture to an otherwise strictly utilitarian design. Knowing Seiko, it's easy to guess that dial will react to light playfully and that more than a few watch nerds out there will have to consciously pinch themselves after constantly getting caught in its gaze. Aside from that and the inclusion of a few red accents around the chapter ring and minute hand, the dial is essentially the same as the previous SPB051J1 and SPB053J1 Prospex models we went hands-on with in the link above.
Like many of the higher-end Prospex models, the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1 is powered by the in-house 6r15 automatic movement. It operates at 21,600vph, offers a 50 hour power reserve, and can be hacked and hand-wound, unlike Seiko's entry-level 7s26. The watch is also slightly smaller than something like Seiko's SRP777, and measures in at 42.6mm. Water resistance is 200m and in the case of this special edition model, Seiko chose to sweeten the pot with the inclusion of a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
Of course, no Seiko diver is complete without a significant application of lume and in this case, the brand went in a slightly different direction than the previous models. Although Seiko didn't supply images, the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1 will apparently feature two different shades of the brand's proprietary Lumibrite material – blue for the 12 o'clock pip, minute hand, and 12, 6, and 9 o'clock markers together with green for the hour hand and remaining hour markers. While it isn't a big change, it's nice to see Seiko find creative ways to visually separate this special edition diver from other similar models in the Prospex family. Finally, the watch will come on Seiko's recently revamped and super-comfy silicon dive strap – a successor to the Z22 strap that can still be found on some older models.
In the end, potential buyers will have to weigh out their options and reflect on whether or not they'd like to pay a tiny premium for the special edition PADI model. The most similar non-special edition model is the SPB053J1, which debuted at a retail price of €900. Available starting in February, the Seiko Prospex Special Edition PADI SPB071J1 will be priced at €910. seiko-prospex.com