Seiko at Baselworld 2016: The Highlights
In 2015, Seiko upped its international game by bringing some great pieces to Baselworld that, previously, would have been kept solely in the Japanese market. We saw a heavy focus on the Prospex series with new Tunas and a huge anniversary Marinemaster in titanium. This year, Seiko celebrates its 135th anniversary as a company (every year, Seiko finds something to celebrate ending in a “5” or a “0”), so the company brought more great novelties. This is in no way a comprehensive list of everything new, but instead a glimpse at some of the things coming our way. Enjoy the look!
Seiko Presage Automatic Watch 60th Anniversary
In order to celebrate Seiko’s 60th anniversary of its first automatic watch, the brand brought along two stunning chronographs. The watches were non-functioning and clearly “hot off the press”, so the movements were not even inside the pieces. These chronographs, as part of the reinvigorated Presage line, are limited to 1,000 pieces and come in a white enamel dial or a black lacquer. I love the simple look and don’t even mind the simple date window at 4:30.
The font and hands used on these models harkens back to the 1913 Laurel, which was Seiko’s first wristwatch. The column-wheel 8R48 sits inside. The watches are a wearable 42mm and feature sapphire glass (display in back) and are water resistant to 100m.
I like the simplicity of these pieces – my only minor complete is that they’re quite thick. The watches will be available from September 2016 and will cost 2500 Euros in white and 2850 in black. Head here for more information.
Prospex Marinemaster GPS Solar Dual-Time
Here was a surprising piece. The massive Prospex Marinemaster GPS Solar Dual-Time swings in some Astron features with its GPS functionality (the first Prospex to do so). It comes in at a booming 48.5mm but wears a bit smaller due to the slim lugs (think titanium Landmaster and you’re close). The design is meant to be “snag-free” as it’s a sailing watch that shouldn’t catch on any riggings, etc.
Honestly, I love the colors and it actually reminds me of the vintage Omega Big Blue – check that case profile. It features time zone adjustment and 200m water resistance. The watch will be made as a limited edition of 1,500 pieces and will cost 3300 Euros. Head here for more information on this great piece.
Prospex World Time
The next piece I really liked from Seiko was the new Prospex World Time. It comes in at around 700 Euros and features a really cool angular case that reminds me a bit of the vintage 6139 Pogue. This piece comes in at 44.6mm – how does Seiko make such huge watches wear so well?!?! It uses solar power, features a 24-hour chronograph and displays multi-city time zones. Again, to me, the bold colors, deep rehaut and teardrop hour indices make for an attractive piece. Head to the Seiko site for more information.
Prospex SRPA21K1 PADI “Turtle”
I’m not usually a fan of collaborative models, but the PADI “Turtle” has allowed me to change my mind. The Pepsi bezel, red hand, and subtle red indices on the inner bezel insert “pop”! Plus, for a 430 Euro retail price with bracelet, it’s a great deal. 45mm is the size, but if you’ve tried one on, then you know it fits like a glove. Spec-wise, these are exactly on a par with the recently reviewed pieces by Robert-Jan. For more specs, head here.
Prospex SUN065P1 PADI Kinetic Diver
Following on a similar theme as the Turtle above, the Kinetic Diver marks the second watch in the collaboration with PADI. It also features a red and white motif but uses an all blue bezel in lieu of the former’s Pepsi style. The functionality is the same as the other Kinetic Divers in the series, which means that it’s 47.5mm in diameter, features a GMT function and is water resistant to 200m. Here again, the color scheme just “works” for this watch and I expect it to be a huge seller – in fact, I think three members of our team have placed an order for it! It has a list price of 630 Euros. The Kinetic Diver may be found here.
Grand Seiko Black Ceramic Limited Edition
The big release for Grand Seiko this year came in the form of two similar models with different dial colors. Grand Seiko placed it’s interesting Spring Drive 9R96 chronograph movement with GMT into a new five(!!) piece case made of ceramic and titanium. The black dial version will come in a 500 piece edition while the green “Shinshu forest” piece will see a production level of 600. These are big pieces with a diameter of 46.4mm and prices to match at roughly 15,000 Euros. To be honest, I liked these pieces but when it comes to Grand Seiko, I’m a bigger fan of the simple mechanical watches.
Of course, the finishing is ridiculous and if I were buying, I’d go green all the way. More info on this new GS can be found here.
Astron GPS Solar
There’s no doubt about it – I love my Astron. It’s my go anywhere, do anything watch, but I’m also a chronograph guy. I know, though, that not everyone wants a chronograph, though, and it seems that Seiko received the message. This year, a “3-hand” version of the Astron debuts in a smaller, 44.8mm case and only in titanium. The watch, of course, features Seiko’s GPS functionality that changes time in accordance with your location. A huge variety of styles and colors are available and this will cost roughly 1700 – 2000 Euros depending on model choice and strap. It’s obvious that the solar and GPS technologies that make up Seiko are the brand’s new “bread and butter” as they are selling very well all over the world. The size and pricing of this model should make it a huge hit. Me? I’m still a chronograph guy, but I understand the appeal of this model. See the Astron press release here.
Overall, as mentioned, Seiko at Baselworld 2016 was very Prospex and very Solar. Sure, I love my mechanical watches, but Seiko executes their tech so well that I can’t help but be impressed. As always, a big thanks to the Seiko Netherlands crew for their time and hospitality. Let us know what you like and stay tuned for deeper reviews on some of these releases.