The Seiko King Seiko collection is expanding with two new references, SJE089 and SJE091. Seiko reintroduced the King Seiko collection back in 2020 with 38mm models, and last year, the brand showed us the new 37mm models. The new King Seiko SJE089 and SJE091 references measure 38.6mm in diameter but only 10.7mm in height.

King Seiko SJE089 and SJE091

They’re not only slimmer than the previous King Seiko models with the 6R movement but also even thinner (okay, 0.2mm) than the original 1965 KSK model. This reduction is not only thanks to the enhanced and thinner 6L35 movement but also a new case construction and a lower box-shaped crystal. Thus far, we’ve seen the use of the 6R31, 6R33, and 6R35 movements in the King Seiko collection. Now, however, the 6L35 makes its first appearance in a non-limited King Seiko release. Thomas wrote about the most recent limited edition housing this caliber here.

Positioning of King Seiko in the Seiko spectrum

To me, it seems that Seiko is positioning these new watches just beneath the Grand Seiko SBGW (Elegance) collection. These King Seiko SJE089 and SJE091 models offer a cool vintage look with a higher-grade 6L movement (instead of 6R). This puts them between Presage and Grand Seiko if you wish. The new King Seiko SJE089 and SJE091 references have a retail price of €3,400.

Perhaps like you, I tend to scroll down till I see a price before reading about the watch in full. Knowing that the other non-limited King Seiko models are between €1,800 and €2,000, it took some reading to understand why these new references are significantly more expensive.

Seiko 6L35 movement

As I already touched upon it, using Seiko’s slimline caliber 6L35 justifies a higher price than the 6R-powered models. The Seiko 6L35 is a higher-grade movement than its 6R cousins and is closer to the famous ETA 2892-A2 in terms of performance and dimensions. It allows Seiko to develop thinner cases, which has been the trend for a while now.

The Seiko 6L35 ticks at 28,800vph and is more accurate than the 6R movements. However, it also does have a lower power reserve than those (45 hours instead of 70). In all honesty, I’d rather have a slimmer case than a large power reserve, especially for a three-hand automatic watch. This case is not only thinner but, according to Seiko, the lugs also have become slimmer.

King Seiko’s details

The new King Seiko comes in two flavors, with either a silver sunray dial (SJE089) or a black dial (SJE091). As you see in the picture above, there are a lot of details to be found on the dial too. The applied hour markers have these engraved ridges and polished bevels, while the 12 o’clock one has a hobnail (or Clous de Paris) pattern. The hands are a combination of polished and brushed facets for optimal legibility.

King Seiko bracelet

I don’t want to go too deeply into the characteristics of the King Seiko as we’ve covered them several times. However, one thing which is hard to neglect is the wonderful bracelet. All the little “bricks” have brushed surfaces, and the outer links have angled sides. The double-folding clasp bears the King Seiko signature. I see no reason to do so, but you can, of course, also easily add a leather strap (19mm width) to this watch.

Some afterthoughts on the new King Seiko models

In the 1960s, King Seiko went head to head with Grand Seiko, and based on that historical in-house competition, I found it somewhat strange that the “reintroduced” King Seiko was positioned so much lower. All is relative, of course, but Grand Seiko today is priced quite differently from the modern King Seiko. By using 6R movements for the King Seiko watches, I would say that the pricing is fair and indeed positioned lower than today’s Grand Seiko. With the new 6L-powered King Seiko, the quality gap between King and Grand Seiko becomes smaller, and so does the price difference.

The price of €3,400 might upset some Seiko fans. If that’s the case, they still have the 6R-powered models that retail below €2,000 for them. And if you truly appreciate Seiko for using the 6L movement in this new King Seiko model, you can decide to spend €3,400 on the SJE089 or SJE091. The aesthetic differences between the more affordable King Seiko models and the new SJE089 and SJE091 are negligible, I would say. That said, if I’ve learned one thing in all these years, it’s that Seiko buyers don’t buy to show off anyway. It’s about enjoying the little details and specifications all by oneself.

The new King Seiko SJE089 and SJE091 will be available from July 2023 onwards. You can find information on the Seiko website.

Watch specifications

King Seiko
SJE089 / SJE091
Silver sunray (SJE089) or black (SJE091) with applied indices
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
38.6mm (diameter) × 10.7mm (thickness)
Box-shaped sapphire
Case Back
Solid stainless steel, screw-down
Seiko 6L35 — automatic winding, 28,800vph frequency, 45-hour power reserve, 26 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM
Stainless steel brick-style seven-row bracelet with push-button butterfly clasp
Time (hours, minutes, central seconds) and date