Introducing: Two New Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 And SRQ049 Chronographs
Today is a great day for fans of Seiko chronographs. Here, we have the brand-new Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049, which are based on early 1970s models from the Japanese brand. These two new watches ooze ’70s charm and have the capable 8R48 caliber running the show.
We get a standard-production panda dial (SRQ047) and a limited-edition reverse panda dial (SRQ049). The latter is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces and comes with a secondary leather strap included. Let’s see what these two new Seiko watches are all about.
A golden age for Seiko chronographs
These two new releases take inspiration from a 1972 Seiko chronograph. You can consider this a bit of a golden era for Seiko chronographs due to what happened three years earlier. As you may know, the race was on to produce the first-ever automatic chronograph movement. Seiko was right there at the heart of that race.
In 1960, Zenith acquired chronograph manufacturer Martel in a bid to be the first to succeed. The brand finally announced its aptly named El Primero in January of 1969. Only two months later, the members of the Chronomatic group — Breitling, Hamilton–Buren, Heuer, and Dubois Dépraz — announced that they had succeeded in mounting a chronograph module on an automatic caliber.
In May of that same year, Seiko launched the Speedtimer. This, too, was powered by an automatic chronograph caliber developed by the brand. Later on, versions were discovered with even earlier serial numbers, which may put them right between the El Primero and the Chronomatic announcements. Whatever the exact order of accomplishing this horological milestone, Seiko was right there at the source of it all. This new Speedtimer pays homage to an early ’70s version that, at the time, was absolutely revolutionary tech.
The new Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049
So, what do we have here today? These are two 42mm × 14.6mm automatic chronographs in hard-coated stainless steel. Both come on equally hard-coated stainless steel bracelets in a characterful nine-row style. The limited-edition reverse panda SRP049 includes an additional black leather strap. The watches both feature a curved sapphire crystal with an AR coating on the underside and a 100m water resistance rating.
Inside, we find the Seiko caliber 8R48. It ticks away at a 28,800vph frequency and features a vertical clutch and column wheel for responsive, clicky pusher action. The power reserve is rated at 45 hours. Seiko doesn’t specify an accuracy range for these specific watches, so I assume the caliber’s standard range of +25/-15 seconds per day applies here too. You get your running seconds at three, an hour counter at six, and a 30-minute counter at nine. A round-windowed date sits at four-thirty as well.
With its twin rows of very narrow links, the bracelet is very ’70s in its appearance. Fine adjustment is available via half-links as the small folding clasp doesn’t allow for any micro-adjustments. Rest assured, the half-links are so short that you should be able to dial in a very precise fit.
The Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049 take inspiration from a 1972 model
In 1972, Seiko released a higher-end version of its 1969 Seiko 5 Sports Speedtimer. These references 6138-8001 (reverse panda) and 6138-8020 (panda dial) featured a vertical layout, with the chronograph sub-dials at six and 12. At three, you would find a day-date complication.
Except for this dial layout, the new Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049 models are very closely related to that early ’70s ancestor. The case, although thoroughly modern, is clearly inspired by it. So is the bracelet. Additionally, the signature orange-tipped central chronograph seconds hand also makes an appearance here.
Another feature taken from the original is the blueish-gray and white tachymeter rehaut. It is the same on both variants, resulting in a different look for each. It is an interesting feature as I would assume most designers would reverse the colors for each dial. To my eye, it makes the reverse panda dial look slightly smaller than the panda version.
Initial impressions of the Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049
I am quite impressed by the new Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049. I am a big fan of how Seiko does the odes to its history. The watches capture the magic of early references without getting overly sentimental and vintage in styling. These new chronographs are no exception; they show their lineage while also looking forward.
I particularly like the SRQ047 with its silvery brushed dial. It looks quite busy in a very attractive way. So, no complaints? Well, of course, I can nitpick a few things. I could do without the Prospex “X” on the dial. I also wish that the advancement of technology would have made these watches thinner than their predecessors, but it hasn’t. Lastly, if I were to design my dream version, the case would probably measure around 38–39mm rather than the current 42mm size.
But this is indeed nitpicking. Overall, I quite like the look of these new watches. And I do have a soft spot for slightly higher-end Seiko chronographs. There is a certain stealthiness to them. They always feel like the aficionado’s choice, which I find quite cool.
Pricing and availability
The Seiko Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049 will be available in Seiko boutiques and select retail stores worldwide from December 2023. The non-limited SRQ047 is priced at €2,700. The SRQ049 is limited to 1,000 pieces and priced at €2,900.
What do you think about these new Seiko Speedtimer chronographs? Let us know in the comments below!