Baselworld, the biggest watch event of the year, is happening now at the Messe Basel in Basel, Switzerland. We’ve got a team on the ground there to bring you the most exciting releases. Follow our coverage here, and also be sure to check out Instagram. We’ll be posting to our feed throughout the week.
Availability: Limited to 2,500 pieces; available from July 2019
Case Dimensions: 45mm wide, 13mm thick
Movement & Winding: Seiko 8L35 automatic
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Quick Take: With a similar approach to their 2018 releases, Seiko is reissuing the vintage Seiko 6105 dive watch that’s gained a cult status among fans and vintage collectors. It’s being called the Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033, and it will sit alongside modern dive watches apparently inspired by it in the new Prospex LX line.
The SLA033 is an incredibly cool and exciting watch, but given that it’s priced well into “luxury watch” territory, this release will be a bit painful for fans who fell in love with the brand and its vintage dive watches for their affordable, unpretentious personality. A high-end limited edition is a clear way to further raise Seiko’s profile with a sense of exclusivity and desire for the brand, but it risks alienating some fans. However, this is the price of moving generally upmarket, as Seiko has steadily done in recent years.
Who It’s For: Brand fans enamored with the very cool 1960s-1970s Seiko-diver aesthetic. These, however, need to be the type of watch collectors who appreciate both modern and vintage watches, and they also need to be able to rock a 45mm-wide watch that is over $4,000.
Key Features: The modern Seiko “Turtle” enjoys immense (deserved) popularity, and the 6105 could be considered the “father of the Turtle” with its curved case sides and 4 o’clock crown. As a reissue, the new limited-edition SLA033 Prospex 1970s Diver’s watch naturally features modern materials and movement. It’s a pretty faithful recreation, but some might lament that the SLA033 has been blown up to 45mm wide by 13mm thick. (Interestingly, this could be considered consistent with how the 41mm original would have been perceived on 1970s wrists generally accustomed to smaller watch sizes.) With a steel case featuring with Seiko’s “super-hard coating,” the SLA033 is water-resistant to 200m.
Inside is an automatic movement that Seiko says was designed specifically for dive watches, the 8L35. This movement hasn’t been featured in many watches yet, but it was also used in the recreation of the 62MAS from 2018 and certain Marinemasters. With a power reserve of 50 hours, the 8L35 is said to be equivalent to a Grand Seiko movement, albeit without the high-end finishing. This movement, along with the watch’s assembly in the prestigious Seiko Shizukuishi studio, where the brand’s top-range products are largely hand-produced and zaratzu case polishing, are several ways that Seiko is justifying the watch’s $4,250 price.
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