INTRODUCING: The Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph SRQ045 conjures black magic from a historical stopwatchD.C. Hannay
- Seiko’s latest addition to the Speedtimer line of chronographs sports a sinister new black finish
- The 8R46 column wheel caliber offers solid value for an in-house chrono movement
- The dial’s look is based on a historical Seiko stopwatch from the 1970s
Seiko was the first to market with the automatic chronograph, the original Speedtimer 6139, so there’s a long history in the space. And although mechanical chronographs are admittedly a niche product, Seiko’s chronos have always been viewed as good value for money, given their sporting legacy, and the fact that few others at the price offer a truly vertically integrated manufacture, including their own movements. Seiko’s been ramping up their offerings with several Prospex-series Speedtimers of late, and the new SRQ045 is a fine example of that trend, bringing some unique touches to the line.This newest Speedtimer, a limited edition of 600, brings a sinister black aesthetic to the catalogue, but there’s a historical callback at play here. The new model’s look is based on the Seiko stopwatches used during the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, and a striking package it is. Black is a classic look for ‘70s-styled chronographs (just ask Heuer and LeJour), and it just plain works. The 42.5mm round stainless-steel case is sizable, with a thickness of 15.1mm and a lug-to-lug of 50mm, but the black hard coating mitigates that larger size somewhat, and it’s certainly in line with other mechanical chronos. And surely, some of that case height is due to the curved sapphire crystal and screwdown display caseback. Water resistance is 100 metres, but as the pushers do not screw down, care must be taken in the event of a water landing. Finishing is an appealing blend of brushed and polished surfaces. The serial and limited-edition numbers are engraved on the outer ring of the caseback, along with the usual spec nomenclature.The evil overtones continue with the matte black sandblasted dial’s design cues, which features pops of red at five-minute intervals along with the white dial markings. The new Speedtimer would be perfect as the Official Timer of the Galactic Empire Games, with its Sith-adjacent colourway. The chrono’s dual registers at 3 and 9 bring balance to The Force, as does the colour-matched date wheel that peeks out of its window at 6. As a fan of dial symmetry, I’m all for it. Legibility is excellent, as it should be, given its size and intended use, with the chrono hand rendered in a nice bright white for contrast. Generous dollops of LumiBrite keep everything well-lit when the sun goes down.Under the see-through caseback, you’ll find the in-house Caliber 8R46, an automatic column wheel movement (that can also be hand-wound). The movement isn’t elaborately decorated, but you’ll find Geneva striping on the rotor, which is also engraved. Power reserve is an adequate (but not groundbreaking) 45 hours, and accuracy is listed at +25/-15 seconds per day. Action is crisp, with the chrono hand instantaneously snapping back upon reset.
The strap is nicely matched to the watch, rendered in supple padded black calf with matched stitching, and features a 20mm lug width, so strap-swapping options are plentiful. Attachment is via a black 3-fold clasp, and the whole package suits the aesthetic of the watch well. All told, the new SRQ045 is a well-made and priced mechanical chrono, one that brings some classic ‘70s touches to the modern iteration of the Speedtimer. The stealthy look is effective in reducing the perceived dimensions of the sizable timepiece, bringing a very attractive retro vibe to the whole affair, and if you’ve got a larger wrist, the latest Speedtimer is an enticing option for those looking for a fully in-house chrono with vintage flair.
The Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph SRQ045 pricing and availability:
The Seiko Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph SRQ045 is a limited edition of 600, priced at €3,000, and available February of 2023.
|Model||Speedtimer Chronograph SRQ045|
|Case Dimensions||42.5mm (D) x 15.1mm (T) x 50mm (L2L)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel, black hard coated|
|Dial||Black matte sandblasted|
|Strap||Black calfskin, deployant clasp|
|Movement||8R46 automatic chronograph|
|Power Reserve||45 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, chrono,|
|Availability||Limited edition of 600, available February 2023|