Introducing: The Seiko Prospex SPB377 And SPB379 — Also Known As The New Alpinist GMTs
It’s a return in style! These two new Seiko models are not the first GMTs ever in the Alpinist lineup. They are, however, the first mechanical GMTs that the brand has created within its popular line of adventurer’s watches. With the Prospex SPB377 and SPB379, Seiko has brought back a much-desired version of the Alpinist. There will be a lot of fans that will like these two new GMT versions. But are they as impressive as the quartz titanium Red Alpinist GMTs from the early 2000s? Time to find out more.
When Seiko sent us the press information for these two new Alpinist GMTs, I was really happy to see a return of a GMT version to the lineup. While Seiko has released both quartz and mechanical GMT divers in both the Prospex and Seiko 5 Sports lines, the one place where the GMT feels at home for me is the Alpinist line. This is the collection that represents exploring, traveling, and adventure. Therefore, it’s a great platform to integrate a complication that we normally associate with travel. And that is what Seiko did (well, sort of…but more on that later). I praised the brand’s designers for neatly integrating the GMT complication into the three GMT versions of the 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation. This time, I’m glad to find out it’s no different.
The new Seiko Prospex SPB377 and SPB379
As some of you might know, the GMT version of the Alpinist that came out in 2003 is quite legendary. Not only did it introduce a quartz movement with a perpetual calendar and GMT function, but it was also executed in titanium. On top of that, it also looks somewhat different with its full set of 12 markers and the 24-hour scale placed in between them. As Mike explained, Seiko produced three regular models — the SBCJ019 (black on a bracelet), SBCJ021 (cream on a bracelet), and SBCJ031 (cream on a strap) — and a very special and rare 500-piece SSASS limited edition for charity. While all of them are popular among Alpinist fans, especially the last one fetches a lot of money pre-owned.
So would Seiko bring back the same aesthetic in 2023, exactly 20 years later? The answer is “no.” This time around, the Seiko designers decided to integrate the GMT complication differently. So, let’s start at the beginning. Seiko introduces two references this time — the SPB377 with a blue dial and a blue leather strap and the SPB379 with a black dial and black leather strap. Both models have a 39.5mm case that is water resistant to 20 bar (roughly 200 meters). The dial features Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, whereas the regular Alpinist models — except for the black-dial version with its chevron indices — have numerals for the even hours and indices for the odd ones. Additionally, the 24-hour GMT scale is integrated into the stainless steel bezel. The result is surprising as it feels natural.
The design integrates the GMT function naturally
With this integration of elements, the new SPB377 and SPB379 bring a surprising but classic GMT look to the Alpinist line. In addition to the usual cathedral hands, we see a very neat integration of the GMT hand. This hand comes with a large red arrow-shaped tip filled with lume. The GMT hand indicates the time in another time zone on the stainless steel bezel with a 24-hour scale in black. For the black SPB379, this creates the look of a classic tool watch with the usual compass scale on the rehaut that can rotated by operating the crown at 4 o’clock. The date window has moved from 3 o’clock to a spot between 4 and 5 o’clock without the usual date magnifier.
When it comes to the blue-dial SPB377, the overall feel is slightly more extravagant despite having the same visual elements at play. “Lively” is probably the better word to describe the overall vibe. The blue sunburst dial is beautiful and gives the watch a nice bit of pizzazz. Otherwise, this version is very much in line with the black SPB379. The blue dial model has a blue leather strap, whereas the black model has a black leather strap. Both straps come fitted with a single-deployant clasp with a push-button release
The familiar Seiko caliber 6R54
Both watches are powered by the new Seiko caliber 6R54, which also powers the recent GMT divers in the Prospex collection. This in-house automatic GMT movement operates at 21,600vph and delivers 72 hours of power reserve. The new 6R54 allows you to set the 24-hour GMT hand independently. This makes the movement an office GMT rather than the more in-demand traveler’s GMT. While it’s perhaps not ideal, if you’re OK with reading local time on a 24-hour scale when traveling, it will do the job just fine.
The SPB377 and SPB379 will be available as of October 1st, and both will have a list price of €1,200. At that price point, they are significantly more affordable than the €1,700 GMT divers. That said, we are seeing the rise of traveler’s GMTs in the lower price brackets, which is an interesting development. While I love a great traveler’s GMT, I would also need to love the design, and that’s often not the case. That is why I would most certainly buy an office GMT if it looks good. And these two new Seiko Alpinist GMTs look quite good indeed.
Thoughts on the new Seiko Prospex SPB377 and SPB379
I like these new Seiko Prospex SPB377 and SPB379 models a lot. I have had a wish for Seiko to release new Alpinist GMTs for a while now. And I think the Seiko designers did a really good job making these two new models look charming, like true Alpinist watches, and balanced in their overall design. Am I in love with them? I would say I’m not…yet. Who knows what will happen when we get to take the new models for a little longer test spin?
Unfortunately, we only had the models you see here for a very brief period, so we hope to be able to do a proper hands-on for a better impression. First impressions can be lasting, though. My first impression is that these new Alpinist GMTs look really nice and seem super comfortable. In a review, I would love to see different straps and tell you more about the 39.5mm case on the wrist. But I do not doubt that the Prospex SPB377 and SPB379 will find a lot of new fans. While calling myself a diehard fan is perhaps a little premature, I might quickly turn into one.
For more information, visit the official Seiko website. Let us know your thoughts on the new Seiko Alpinist GMT models in the comments section too.