Riding high with collectors for its vintage treasures, Seiko has just announced three watches to remind us that it also plumbs the depths: 2020 marks 55 years since Seiko introduced its first-ever diver’s watch. Along with the renewed interest in Seiko’s pioneering automatic chronographs, which celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2019, the company’s chunky, early Prospex timepieces, the “Orange Monsters” and the “Tuna Cans” are fetching ever-increasing prices.

Seiko was the first company in Japan to make a diving watch, the 1965 Seiko Diver’s 150M. It had an automatic movement and the robust and reliable case gave the watch its trumpeted 150-meter water-resistance. Initial forays into sub-aquatic timekeeping were so successful that these watches were used by members of the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition from 1966 to 1969. Seiko’s debut diving models have since been followed by a steady procession of hugely desirable models which, crucially, have found favour not just with watch enthusiasts, but with professional divers – the highest accolade one can bestow on a tool watch.

From Left: 1968 Hi-beat Diver’s 300m, 1965 62MAS 150m, 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m
From Left: 1968 Hi-beat Diver’s 300m, 1965 62MAS 150m, 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m

To celebrate 55 years since Seiko challenged the deep, a trio of the most important models from the company’s first decade as a producer of diving watches has been recreated for contemporary users. The achievements to which they pay homage, in addition to surviving the Antarctic, include the 1968 milestone of the company’s first diving model to offer 300m water-resistance and a 10-beat automatic movement. Amusingly, its success included an ascent rather than a descent: the watch was worn successfully by the first person from Japan to climb Mt. Everest.

In 1975, responding to a challenge from a professional diver, Seiko produced a revolutionary 600m diver’s watch with a titanium, one-piece case and an outer case protector. Unusually, it managed without an escape valve, thanks to specially developed, L-shaped gasket that rendered it impervious to helium. Moreover, it featured a clever strap with an accordion-like design that compensated for ambient pressure. You know it as the legendary “Tuna”.

1965 Diver’s Re-creation SLA037
1965 Diver’s Re-creation SLA037

To mark the anniversary, a trio of Seiko divers’ watches that made history will be offered in the Prospex range: the 1965 62MAS 150m, the 1968 Hi-beat Diver’s 300m and the 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m. All three watches are fully up-to-date in specifications and execution, while respecting their historical authenticity. Part of the modernisation includes the use of Seiko’s “Ever-Brilliant Steel,” which is more corrosion resistant than that which is used in most high-end watches today. It is used for the cases of the 1965 and 1968 re-creations and the bezel of the 1975, which uses, as per the original, titanium for its case.

1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation SLA039
1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation SLA039

Inside the 1965 and 1968 re-creations are the high beat 8L55 movement, while the 1975 is powered by the 8L35. All three have sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface, and the 1975 has increased anti-magnetic resistance of 40,000 a/m thanks to a dial made of pure iron. The trilogy of reborn classics all feature the same blue-grey dial that, says Seiko, “reflects the beauty of the sea but
also hints at their ability to perform at depths.”

1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation SLA041
1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation SLA041

Collectors: you are warned: All three watches will be made available as limited editions of 1,100 examples only. The 1965 (€6500), 1968 (€7000), and 1975 (€4500) re-creations will be introduced in July, August, and September 2020 respectively. A special commemorative box with all three, with additional black straps, will be available in May 2020, in a series of only 100 sets. But don’t worry about missing out: the 55th anniversary of Seiko’s very first diver’s watch will also be offered in an all-stainless-steel re-interpretation, powered by Calibre 6R35, in an edition of 5,500 examples, from June 2020, priced at €1350.

1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation SPB149
1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation SPB149
Special commemorative box with all three re-creations with additional black straps, available in May 2020. Just 100 sets will be released.
Special commemorative box with all three re-creations with additional black straps, available in May 2020. Just 100 sets will be released.
1965 Diver’s Re-creation

Technical Specifications

Movement

10-beat automatic Caliber 8L55 with 55-hour power reserve

Case

39.9mm Ever Brilliant Steel, water-resistant to 200 meters

Bracelet

Silicone

Limited to 1,100 pieces, €6500 (USD 7,412)

1965 Diver’s Re-creation
1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation

Technical Specifications

Movement

10-beat automatic Caliber 8L55 with 55-hour power reserve

Case

44.8mm Ever Brilliant Steel, water-resistant to 300 meters

Bracelet

Silicone

Limited to 1,100 pieces, €7000 (USD 7982)

1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation
1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation

Technical Specifications

Movement

8-beat automatic Caliber 8L35 with 50-hour power reserve

Case

52.4mm titanium inner case with Ever Brilliant Steel bezel, water resistant to 1000 meters

Bracelet

Silicone

Limited to 1,100 pieces, €4500 (USD 5131)

1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation
1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation

Technical Specifications

Movement

6-beat automatic Caliber 6R35 with 70-hour power reserve

Case

40.5mm stainless steel, water-resistant to 200 meters

Bracelet

Stainless steel with three-fold clasp

Limited to 5,500 pieces, €1350 (USD 1539)

1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation