Last November, Seiko introduced an updated version of its famous Marinemaster — or maybe it’s better to just say it was a completely new version. The smaller and angular case, the engraved dial, and the new bracelet design made it look very different from the beloved Marinemaster SBDX001. Today, Seiko is adding two new colorways to the three existing variants. There’s the greenish-gray SJE117 with a black bezel insert along with the full-blue SJE119. Let’s take a quick look at these new additions to the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster line.

When Thomas wrote the introduction article for the new Marinemaster, he praised the new models’ smaller and thinner dimensions, which were a common request from Seiko fans. But while the new size was indeed appreciated in the comments below that article, we also heard quite a few complaints. I’ll get into those later on, but let’s just say that hardcore watch fans needed some time to grow accustomed to the new Marinemaster. The people at Seiko, on the other hand, told us the new models were very well received overall. That’s why two new colors are joining the lineup today.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE117 and SJE119

The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE117 and SJE119

The two new versions have the same stainless steel 39.5mm skin-diver-style case. It’s mainly brushed and has large mirror-polished bevels on the lugs. The case is 12.3mm thick, which is acceptable due to its 200m water resistance rating. The lugs span 47.2mm from tip to tip. I quickly put the watches on my 17cm wrist when they were in the office for a photo shoot, and they fit very well. A dive watch may indeed be a little bigger than a non-tool watch. But still, it’s nice to know that it’ll easily slide under your cuff at the office. As mentioned, the new additions come in two new flavors — the greenish-gray SJE117 and the blue SJE119.

Both dials have the same horizontally stamped lines we saw in the first three models. They also feature the same steel bezel insert, just in different colors. The one on the blue version matches the dial, while the greenish-gray dial is paired with a black one. Otherwise, the layout hasn’t changed. Both dials come with large, rectangular, lumed indexes, and there’s a circular date window at 4:30. The one on the blue version has a black background and white printing. On the greenish-gray version, the date wheel’s shades are inverted, just like the printing on the dial. The straight hour and minute hands are beveled and filled with a good amount of Lumibrite, as is the “shovel” on the second hand.

A Slimline movement

With the unguarded screw-down crown at 3 o’clock, you operate Seiko’s 6L37 automatic caliber. At 3.7mm thick, this Slimline movement allows for a fairly svelte overall profile. It runs at a 28,800vph frequency, features 26 jewels, and holds a power reserve of 45 hours. It’s also good to know that it’s resistant to most of the magnetic fields you encounter in everyday life. In terms of accuracy, Seiko says the 6L37 should run between -10 and +15 seconds a day on average. That’s a score most of us can live with. At this price point, though, a lot of watches come with a chronometer certification, which means they’ll run somewhere between -4 and +6 seconds a day.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE117

Great watches, but…

Seiko’s optimistic pricing of the new Marinemaster series is perhaps its biggest flaw. That’s a shame because I think these are great watches. Many of Seiko’s recent releases have seen a big improvement in ergonomics, and the same is true for the new Marinemaster. The finishing on both the case and the bracelet is sharper than before. You may or may not like decoration on the dial, but it adds something extra that a plain matte or glossy dial cannot. I also feel the quality of Seiko’s bracelets has improved. They’re slimmer than before and not as generic anymore. So yes, these are well-made and good-looking watches.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE117 on wrist

But, and this is a big “but,” their price is set at €3,400. I think it was the SJE093, the more accurate 62MAS re-edition, that was first introduced in this new €3,000–4,000 price segment. It also featured the same movement, and it received the same criticism as the new Marinemaster. At this price point, people, especially Seiko enthusiasts, expect more value for their money. The movements should run more accurately. A ceramic bezel insert is preferable to a hard-coated steel one. And finally, the bracelet should include a tool-less micro-adjustment option.

Mind the gap

When you look at Seiko’s current Prospex collection, you find many watches available between roughly €500 and €1,800. Following those, there’s a big gap until a few watches priced around €3,000, and then there’s the new Marinemaster at €3,400. It seems like people don’t understand why there’s such a big price difference between the lower and higher segments. Apparently, the people at Seiko feel the SJE references offer a lot more quality than the more affordable watches. But that’s not how those in the watch community perceive it.

Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE119

Of course, this reflection is mainly based on the comments we get here on Fratello. Those people could indeed represent just a fairly small part of the broader population that does like these watches at the given price point. That might be exactly the reason why the people at Seiko tell us that these watches are doing well in the market. But looking at that gap in Seiko’s pricing strategy, I do understand why people feel the way they do.

Anyway, these two new colorways are still solid options in Seiko’s Marinemaster collection. Of the two, I think I prefer the greenish-gray SJE117. Overall, though, the limited-edition SJE097 in white with a steel bezel that came out last year is still my favorite. Granted, that might not be available anymore.

The Seiko Marinemaster SJE117 and SJE119 will be available soon. For more information, check out the official Seiko website.

Which of these two new references do you prefer? Let me know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Prospex Marinemaster 1965 Diver’s Re-interpretation
SJE117 / SJE119
Greenish-gray (SJE117) or blue (SJE119) with luminous indexes
Case Material
Stainless steel with hard coating
Case Dimensions
39.5mm (diameter) × 47.2mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.3mm (thickness)
Box-style sapphire with AR coating
Case Back
Stainless steel with display window
Seiko 6L37: automatic with hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 45-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
200m (20ATM)
Stainless steel five-row bracelet with hard coating, diver's safety clasp, and wetsuit extension
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds), date, 60-minute dive bezel