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The Seiko Prospex LX SNR035J looks like it’s been sent to put a hit on anyone that questions its (high) price point The Seiko Prospex LX SNR035J looks like it’s been sent to put a hit on anyone that questions its (high) price point

The Seiko Prospex LX SNR035J looks like it’s been sent to put a hit on anyone that questions its (high) price point

Andrew McUtchen

Editor’s note: There’s the simple fact that Seiko are turning up the heat on the Swiss watch industry, and then there’s the way they’re doing it. Both are 100% worth taking note of. For example, let’s re-examine the Seiko Prospex LX SNR035J, a high-spec Spring Drive GMT at a shade under $8000AUD, that carries with it a murdered out vibe. In the metal, it borders on menacing. It is sleeker than your average Seiko diver, with muscular shoulders. It is pared back of anything that is not absolutely necessary for it to do its job to an elite level. It is awesome. Seeing this one in the archive took me back to the day we first discovered it. We had to take our collective breath then at the boldness of the aesthetics, and let’s just say it, the brazen nature of the price jump. A year and a few months later, it’s no less noteworthy, and it seems almost quaint that we would question the strategy, as the LX range has been wildly popular. It’s really not hard to see why. The force is strong – and the force is dark – with this collection.    

Prospex is Seiko-speak for “Professional Specification”, a family of professionally oriented tool-watches that was born in 1968 and built to last. And, Seiko being Seiko, that build quality is legendary. As such, these watches have attracted a cult following, in both the actual and desk-diving fraternities.

Now, at their press conference at Baselworld 2019, Seiko just upped the stakes once more, with the Prospex LX. A series of (for now) six watches that are gloriously over-specced, premium Prospex watches. There are three watches in plain steel, and three blacked-out variants. Prospex LX — built around the timeless pillars of sea, land and sky — is a series that has the Swiss mainstream sports watches firmly in their sights. And they’re priced to match. Australian RRPs for the line are in the range of $7000-9000, which I suspect might have more than a few fans (and professional peers) doing a quick double take.

For a Seiko-labelled watch, these are definitely premium prices, but does the quality match up? Well, from my handling of these pre-production prototypes, I’ve got to say yes. The cases have many of the hallmarks you’d associate with Grand Seiko, and the movements, well, they’re Spring Drive. But design-wise, these watches are pure Prospex. You only need to look at the diver — SNR029J — to see the family resemblance, and the compass-bezelled GMT SNR025J is just the sort of over-tooled mountain-ready awesomeness I’d hoped to see coming out of Seiko. And the sapphire-bezelled ‘sky’ GMT? It’s just pretty.

Prospex LX an important collection for Seiko. Not only are they great-looking pieces that embody the best of what Prospex is about, they show clearly that Seiko is looking to the future, and that in their vision of the future, a premium sports watch — leveraging the power of the Prospex name, combined with their high-end Grand Seiko experience — has a prominent place.

Seiko Prospex LX SNR029J

Seiko Prospex LX SNR025J

Seiko Prospex LX SNR033J

Seiko Prospex LX SNR027J

Seiko Prospex LX SNR031J

Seiko Prospex LX SNR035J