Islote means “small island” in Spanish but the dive site of that name off Cabo Pulmo, on Mexico’s Baja peninsula, is hardly more than a large guano-covered rock jutting out of the Sea of Cortez, buffeted by an endless march of waves. Our boat captain manoeuvres the small panga boat as close to the foamy chaos surrounding it as he dares and we prepare to splash in. I give a final puff on my regulator and nod at my dive buddy on the opposite gunwale before we simultaneously backroll into the water. Bobbing on the surface, I spin the bezel on my Seiko Prospex Marinemaster to align the zero mark with the minute hand and release the air from my buoyancy vest to descend.
Topside, Islote is not of much interest other than as a navigational hazard, but underwater is a different story. The 30m high rock pinnacle rises from a sandy bottom, an oasis in an otherwise featureless landscape that provides shelter for small reef fish and an anchorage for a colony of sea fans that wave hypnotically in the current. This outpost of sea life also draws schools of larger fish – jacks and barracuda – that come here to feed, and in turn the odd sea lion from the colony across the bay. Diving here allows the rare opportunity to observe the food chain from bottom to top. But here, the sea lion is not at the apex. That role is occupied by the bull sharks that cruise the perimeter of Islote.
2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the Seiko diving watch.
In 1965, the reference 62MAS debuted; it was a modest timepiece, not unlike the other diving watches of the era, with a narrow rotating bezel, thin lugs and a mere 150m of water resistance. While the watch was relatively unremarkable, it was the patriarch of what is arguably the finest, and most beloved, lineage of diving watches in history. Unlike Switzerland, which is as well known for its Alpine splendours as it is its watchmaking heritage, Japan is an island nation with a centuries-old tie to the sea and a history of diving. This heritage has not been lost on Seiko, whose diving watches have long had a reputation as true instruments more than collectables.