Seiko’s dive-watch legacy is magnificent. We are reminded of that every time we see a new re-edition of one of the brand’s classics. And with the release of the Seiko Prospex SLA063J1 Aurora Limited Edition, the saga continues. But something about this new release felt very recent. Indeed, the new limited-edition Prospex takes after the SLA049J1 that was released in the spring of last year. This new model, however, adds a touch of brilliance with a blue gradient dial that looks stunning. The dial “expresses the aurora that shines in the polar sky” and results in a stunning presence. Let’s find out more about this Seiko Prospex SLA063J1 Aurora Limited Edition.

It was only a little over a year ago when Seiko celebrated the 80th anniversary of famous Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura. During his expeditions all over the globe, Uemura wore a 1970 Seiko dive watch, as Lex explained in his review of the deep blue SLA049J1. Together with that limited-edition model, Seiko also released the gray-dialed SLA051J1 as part of the standard Prospex collection. The new Prospex SLA063J1 celebrates that same style and adds a vibrant dial to an already great watch. Seeing the watch reminds me of how much I adore the ’70s signature of the “Uemura diver”.

The story of the Seiko SLA063J1

Let me get back to that feeling of familiarity I hinted at in the opening paragraph. In the world of watches, “familiarity” often has a negative ring to it, but to me, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. When I first saw the images, I was impressed by the overall presence of the SLA063J1. The combination of the retro-inspired case with the sparkling blue dial and dark blue bezel looks amazing. Following that, my immediate thought was, “I wouldn’t mind wearing this at all!”

But as with so many Seiko re-editions, there is a story that came with this release. In short, Seiko sought to create a new dial inspired by “the aurora that shines in the polar sky.” This kind of poetic description is often reserved for Grand Seiko watches, but Seiko uses it to explain this dial as well. And indeed, the blue gradient of the dial does a beautiful job of living up to its inspiration. But let’s remind ourselves of the beauty of the watch beyond the dial color.

The design of the Seiko 1970 Diver

While the dial design of the new SLA063J1 is definitely special, it all starts with the case. There is something very appealing about what Seiko calls the “flowing case design with its asymmetrical extension that protect[s] the crown at four o’clock.” It is a strong reminder of the captivating ’70s style that Seiko used for a string of dive watches back in the day. The case of the SLA063J1 measures 44mm in diameter, 13mm thick, and 49.3mm from lug to lug. It is water resistant to 200 meters, which is 50 meters more than the original model from the 1970s. Additionally, the case has Seiko’s super-hard coating to protect it from scratches.

As you can see, the top of the case features a brushed finish, and the sides add a touch of brilliance with a full mirror polish. It creates a nice dynamic when looking at the watch from different perspectives. The aluminum insert of the unidirectional bezel is a beautiful and deep shade of blue. On these vintage reissues, I prefer aluminum over ceramic as it feels more authentic. The insert does get a hard blue coating to add further to the expression of the aurora story of the watch. Also adding to the authenticity is the dial design with its big rectangular hour markers and double marker at 12 o’clock. They are all filled with Seiko’s Lumibrite for better readability in darker conditions.

The blue dial adds great depth

Underneath the dual-curved sapphire with its anti-reflective inner coating, you will find the beautiful blue dial. As mentioned, it features a nice deep color gradient that adds great depth to the watch. Additionally, the dial features a really fine texture for even more impact. From the bezel insert to the center of the dial, you get a fading effect that looks rather stunning.

As we are used to with Seiko, the date window is placed between 4 and 5 o’clock. The date disc is executed in black with white printing. While it integrates quite well, it would have been even better if it were executed in the same blue color as the dial or bezel. With the watch limited to just 500 pieces, it would have made the visual impact and the story even better. Lastly, the handset really complements the overall style of the watch. While the hour and minute hands are quite straightforward, I love seeing them in combination with the dial design. The seconds hand adds a small touch of flair and color with its red dot.

Seiko’s high-end 8L35 caliber

Like so many of the more expensive Prospex divers, this watch runs on Seiko’s 8L35 movement. This automatic caliber is based on Grand Seiko’s 9S55 and is assembled by hand in the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan. The movement operates at 28,800vph, has 26 jewels, and delivers 50 hours of power reserve.

Furthermore, the watch comes with a five-link stainless steel bracelet that is predominantly brushed with polished intermediary links and edges. While I’m not necessarily a fan of polished bracelet components, they do add small hints of luxury and attention to detail. The bracelet comes with a three-fold clasp that feels very solid and works like a charm.

My impressions of the new Seiko Prospex SLA063J1

I love seeing this new Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation SLA063J1 Aurora Limited Edition (yes, that is its full name). The overall style of the watch is great, and the combo of the aurora-blue dial and bezel insert looks amazing. Is this a surprising release? No, definitely not. But when you like a design as much as I like that of the 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation, any great addition to the series is exciting. That’s exactly how this new Seiko Prospex SLA063J1 feels to me.

If you are not as much of a fan as I am, there is plenty more to choose from in the Prospex collection. I am pretty sure the 500 pieces that Seiko will produce of the new Aurora Limited Edition will find their way to eager owners. The watch is priced at €3,250, which is at the top end of the Seiko price spectrum. But what you get in return beats a lot of its competitors in both style and execution. Especially with this great new “Aurora” dial, it is hard to top!

For more information, visit the official Seiko website. Also, let us know in the comments section if you are a fan of this new limited edition or if you prefer one of the other 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretations.