Introducing: The Seiko SJE093 — A Perfected Re-Edition Of The 62MAS
I probably won’t have to tell you this, but the Seiko 6217-8000/8001, aka 62MAS, was Seiko’s very first professional diver’s watch in 1965. It’s the predecessor of all those magnificent Seiko divers that followed, and that’s exactly why it’s still such a desirable watch today. Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a few Seiko divers that were strongly inspired by that first one. But the Seiko Prospex SJE093 that’s being introduced today is the most aesthetically similar re-edition yet.
Over the past ten years, as with a lot of vintage icons, interest has grown quite a lot in the original Seiko 62MAS. Tomas already mentioned in his buying guide that prices have risen from a more accessible €1,000 to a much more serious price point of around €5,000. And many good examples never make it to the market because collectors are holding onto them. No wonder Seiko has made quite a few re-editions in recent years. If people can’t buy the real thing, then they might be interested in a modern remake. But none of those watches look as similar to the original 62MAS as today’s all-new Seiko SJE093 does. Let’s dive in!
In 2017, Seiko started launching watches inspired by the 62MAS. That year, there was both a more true-to-the-original SLA017 and a modern reiteration in the form of the SPB051 (among other variants). The SLA was limited to 2,000 pieces and housed a higher-end 8L35 movement, which is, essentially, a Grand Seiko 9S55. It originally retailed for a price of €3,800. The SPB was bigger (42.6mm) and more accessible with a lower-end 6R15 movement and, strangely enough, Broad-Arrow-esque hands. In the following years, Seiko continued to launch various re-editions of the 62MAS.
After the SLA017 came the SLA037 with the Hi-Beat 8L55 movement. It was limited to 1,100 pieces and sold for a whopping €6,500. That same year, the SLA043 launched, which was, basically, a blue-dialed version of the SLA017. It was limited to 1,700 pieces and sold for €4,800. And then, of course, also in 2020, there was the Seiko SPB143 and its many variations. I owned the non-limited and more affordable reiteration, but I found its 40.5mm case to be a bit too big for my wrist. And to an extent, that has been the case with all these re-editions — they’re all quite big.
A new movement is the key to success
All those SLA-series watches shared the same 39.9mm case, and I didn’t even mention the 41.3mm SLA065 and SLA067 that came out earlier this year. But the measurement that was really out of tune was the 14.1mm thickness. I tried those watches on my 17cm wrist, but they just sat really high and didn’t fit nicely. The original 62MAS is thinner at 13mm, and with the smaller 38mm case, it does wear a lot better. And I’m happy to say that the new SJE093 also wears very comfortably. It measures 38mm in diameter, just like the original, and it’s only 12.5mm thick. And that’s because Seiko is using a rather thin movement for it.
The new automatic caliber 6L37 is a more durable and shock-resistant version of the brand’s slimline 6L35. As such, the rest of the specs sound very familiar. It runs at 28,800vph, has a 45-hour power reserve, and is antimagnetic to 4,800 A/m. It’s also advertised to be accurate between -10 and +15 seconds a day. But I’m really happy that the new movement helps to keep the SJE093 as slim as it is.
The modernized version of the 62MAS
When it comes to the looks of the new re-edition, there’s nothing really surprising here. And in this case, that’s a very good thing. The 38mm circularly brushed skin-diver case measures 46mm from lug to lug and takes a 19mm strap, just like on the original 62MAS. The screw-down crown resembles the bigger version from the later 62MAS ref. 6217-8001. I think it looks very proud on the side of the case without any crown guards beside it. The bezel, with a hard-coated stainless steel insert, is still as slim and elegant as it used to be on the original.
And then we get to one of the best parts — the functional gray dial with the soft and subtle sunburst effect. On top of it are the big, flat, rectangular indices, and at 3 o’clock you’ll find the boldly framed date. The text on the dial looks just like it was printed in 1965, only now it’s updated with the current specs — 200m instead of a 150m depth rating, for example. And finally, behind the domed sapphire crystal, you’ll find the straight polished and brushed hands, which ensure you great legibility when reading the time. I mean, if you like the looks of the original 62MAS, what’s not to like here?
Of course, the indices, hands, and lume pip are filled with Seiko’s Lumibrite to ensure good readability in the dark. And to give the SJE093 even more of a ’60s vibe, the watch comes on a high-strength silicone Tropic-style strap.
I think the new Seiko SJE093 is the 62MAS re-edition that many of us have been waiting for. With its true-to-the-original dimensions and looks, it’s almost like you’re holding a new-old-stock 62MAS in your hands. It’s great that Seiko was finally able to create this because of the slim 6L37 movement. I do think, however, that it should have greater accuracy tolerances than it does, especially when you know that the SJE093 will retail for €3,700 when it comes out in August. The Tudor Black Bay 54 sells for just €100 more, but that watch is COSC certified and thus runs somewhere between -4 and +6 seconds a day.
The Seiko SJE093 will come in a special box that echoes the design of the packaging from the ’60s, and only 1,965 pieces will be available. So I suggest you contact your local Seiko dealer right now because I expect these watches to fly off the shelves. For more information, please check out the official Seiko website.
Let me know what you think of Seiko’s latest re-edition of its legendary 62MAS in the comments below!