HANDS-ON: The Seiko Prospex SPB213J1 is a modern diver offering versatility and valueZach Blass
Watch collecting can be intimidating for beginners with many people scared off by the exorbitant price tags. But you can get high quality watches at lower price points and, when it comes to presenting value-driven novelties, Seiko reigns supreme. The brand is particularly strong when it comes to diving watches, having perfected their offering since rolling out their first diver in 1965. The Seiko Prospex SPB213J1 Limited Edition Diver leverages the same case design as their original diver, but celebrates the 140th anniversary of the brand with modern colour tones that make the watch a very versatile wear.
The stainless-steel case very much resembles the original famed 62MAS dive watch presented by Seiko in 1965, which proved its mettle when it accompanied the wrists of researchers during the 8th Japanese Antarctic Research expedition in 1966. But it has since grown from its original dimension of 37.5mm in diameter. The Seiko Prospex SPB213J1 is now 40.5mm in diameter, 13.2mm thick, and 47.6mm lug-to-lug – a very manageable dimension on the wrist. The majority of the watch case is satin-brushed, with a radial brush to the front of the case and a horizontal brush around the perimeter of the caseband. There are some polished elements to the watch, with polished bevels to the lug shoulders that taper down to the polished squared-off facets of the lugs. The stainless steel has received what Seiko refers to as a super-hard coating to ensure its surfaces are highly scratch-resistant throughout. And with it’s screw-down crown, the SPB213J1 is also highly water resistant – rated to depths of up to 200 metres, 50 metres more than the original diver launched in 1965.
Underneath the curved sapphire crystal with its anti-reflective coating, is an off-white silver toned dial that dresses up the sporty diver. The subtle sunburst texture of the off white dial, paired with a blue uni-directional bezel, makes this watch incredibly versatile in aesthetic. While every bit as capable as other competitive divers, the colour scheme makes the SPB213J1 easy to pair with a variety of wardrobes and environments. It can be worn as a smart casual watch, without being overwhelmingly sporty in appearance, or serve as your wrist companion to the pool/beach on the vacation we all desperately yearn for.
The rectangular metal-framed hour markers and central hours on the dial are filled with LumiBrite, as are the minutes and seconds hands, to make the watch highly legible in darkness, whether at a late night at the pub or at increased depths in the ocean. The outer minutes track is printed in blue, with hash marks surrounding the perimeter of the dial to signal the minutes. The blued seconds hand and minutes track work to match the dive bezel of the watch, rendered in a slightly darker blue than the soft blue of the brushed stainless steel hard coated timing bezel. The third hour marker has been removed to make way for the calendar complication at 3′, but for those who are missing the index don’t fret. The 12′ hour index has two rectangles, so you still have 12 on the dial.
The SPB213J1 is outfitted with a stainless-steel bracelet, which has also received a super hard coating. The bracelet is given a utility-driven satin brush finish to the front and underside facets of the links, with the sides of the links mirror-polished.
The satin-brushed clasp has a secure three-fold closure with a push-button release bracelet extender. For those who prefer straps to bracelets, the drilled lugs make it super easy to swap between the bracelet and straps you may already have in your arsenal.
Inside the watch, beneath it’s solid screw-down caseback, is the Seiko in-house caliber 6R35 – a robust automatic movement regulated to +25/-15 seconds per day. The 6R35 also boasts 70 hours of power reserve, situating the watch competively against divers such as the Tudor Black Bay 58 at a fraction of the price.
Seiko Prospex SPB213J1 pricing and availability:
The Seiko Prospex SPB213J1 is a limited edition of 6000 pcs., available now via Seiko Boutiques and Authorized Dealers. Price: $1895 AUD