Hot Take: The Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition SRPJ91
The Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition takes its cues from one of my favorite vintage Seiko sports divers, the 5126-8090. This watch is a real cult favorite due to its association with a ’70s Japanese TV show of the same name. Let’s see if it hits the mark as a fun tribute.
One could make a solid living writing about Seiko 5 limited editions. The more affordable line from Seiko is always seriously busy with new releases. Frankly, they’re fun, but I don’t truly bond with many of them. Today, though, that changes with the release of the Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition. Model SRPJ91 is based on the lovely 5126-9080 from 1968 and, well, that gets my attention!
The Original Seiko 5 5126-9080 “Kamen Rider”
You’re welcome to travel back to 2018 to read my review of the vintage Kamen Rider 5126-9080. Here, you’ll find out that this watch was featured in the TV show Kamen Rider, which was also known as The Masked Rider. In a sea of lovely vintage Seiko sports divers (so-called due to their lighter 70m water resistance), the Kamen Rider was and is distinctive. In some ways, it stands out from the rest because of its traditional design. Its real hallmark, though, is its lovely metallic bezel with bold markings. Today, these watches aren’t so easy to find and they are relatively expensive. With the new Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition, there’s now a chance to buy something modern that nicely evokes the original watch.
The Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition
Apparently, 2023 marks the 55th anniversary of the Seiko 5 line. I suppose this means we can expect more watches to mark this birthday, but things kick off with the Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition. Firstly, I suppose that Seiko felt that the “Masked Rider” name was easier to say than “Kamen.” So be it. Seiko also provided some back story on the character, Takeshi Hongo, who was transformed by the evil secret society Shocker into the character you see above.
The new watch is visually similar to the original, but it obviously uses the modern 42mm Seiko 5 Sports case. When I first received the press email, I was intrigued but concerned about how this case style would translate. I actually think it works very well. Furthermore, you’ll note that Seiko refrained from doing a straight-up copy color-wise. The dial is a greenish color with some texturing, and it’s meant to evoke the character’s helmet. Likewise, the back of the very vintage-looking black leather strap is red like the Masked Rider’s scarf.
What I really like about the Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition is that the rest of the dial works so well. The original had a day and date layout along with other distinctive dial details. Check out the white minute track and the lengthy, lumed indexes. These along with the characteristic red sweep seconds hand with pip really look the part. Ditto the metal bezel inlay with its blocky, black markings. The fact that the original also had the crown at 4 o’clock (albeit largely hidden) aids the use of this case as well.
Thankfully, Seiko kept the marketing kitsch to areas like the case back and the packaging. The former has a smoky glass display back with the “Tachibana Racing” logo that was used in the show. The box comes with overlapping acrylic “plates” that look like a blueprint. These blueprints speak to the watch specs.
Pricing, availability, and final thoughts
There will be 4,000 individually numbered pieces of the Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition with availability starting in April. Oddly, Seiko didn’t send pricing in the press release, but I saw £380 on multiple sites, so that should allow for a rough estimate in your local currency. I think 4,000 pieces is a comfortable amount, so collectors should be able to get one. Yes, this watch comes with all the normal Seiko 5 specs, such as the 4R36 automatic movement and a 100m water resistance rating. All in all, though, I really like it, and it should at least turn the heads of vintage fans — it worked for me!
For more information on the Seiko 5 Masked Rider Limited Edition, visit the official Seiko site.