Seiko, a brand name meant to denote exquisiteness or success (depending on the translation), is always releasing quality wares. Reaching back through their catalog of both watches and clocks, one can find generations of proud innovations and/or an evolution of timekeeping that has remained contemporary—no matter what era. From a bumpy start in the 19th century, to a meteoric wristwatch rise in the last half of the 20th, Seiko has established an empire of watchmaking that patrons of all walks can find their niche in.
One aspect of their brand that’s relatively new is their series of sports-style wristwatches. With their first sports watch releasing in 1959 (we did say “relatively” new), Seiko took on shock resistance and water resistance at the same time as major Swiss watchmakers. Gaining a bit of a cult following from that point on, Seiko’s sport watches remain affordable—and often retain classic field watch designs. A 2020 release of Seiko’s Prospex line is dropping models SPB123, SPB121, SPB119, and SPB117. These Professional Specification watches are leaning heavily into the field watch look of Seiko’s classic Alpinist series. However, Seiko is marketing them under their performance sports watch umbrella—with good reason. Each watch has a 200meter water resistance, a hearty 70hr-power-reserve 6R35 automatic movement, and internal compass bezel (easily rotated via a second crown).
Upmarketing and Evolving the Prospex
Essentially, each of these new Prospex watches are a hybrid of Alpinist and Prospex design. The standout piece which exemplifies this hybrid—especially in looks—is SPB121. Its stunning green dial with gold markers, silver stainless steel case, and tobacco-brown alligator band achieve the classic Alpinist look. While there are three other models in this series, the SPB121 tends to receive the most passionate adjectives and press regarding the overall look of each piece. Despite this, each model has its own unique layout and design—while staying on par with the overall hybrid aesthetic. SPB117 has a stainless steel oyster-style band and a black dial; SPB119 has a black band with white stitching—and a silver dial; SPB123 rocks a unique olive-green band, drawing from the SPB121 style, while retaining gold markers on a white dial. These beautiful hybridizations are upping the market value of the Prospex line with stellar style. There appears to be one for just about anyone’s taste.
Since the release is already upon us all, it’s worth adding the new Alpinist-inspired Prospex line to any collector’s list. Their price is a bit higher than Prospex of old, but at under $1K their solid (updated) 6R35 movements alone are a steal of a deal. With Seiko’s history of building both fashionable and performance style watches exemplified in each piece, their timeless quality goes beyond the clever up-marketing strategy of Seiko’s sales team. Blending decades of style and bolstering the Prospex line?; Yes, please. Let’s all look forward to getting a one-on-one with any one of these gems in the near future.
Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.