A reinvented flagship – the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1965Tom Austin
- 59 years on, Seiko debuts three new pieces for the Marinemaster line for 2024, paying homage to not only Seiko’s first watch for divers but also the first dive watch to be made in Japan.
- The main collection comprises of the black and blue watches, while the remaining silver and white variation is offered as a limited edition run of 1,000 pieces.
- Re-thinking their approach to dive watches, Seiko has used an ultra-thin movement and case design to come up with their thinnest dive watch to date.
We all think dive watches have an archetype, and with good reason, because the best dive watches in history tend to consist of the tried-and-tested 40mm-ish case, rotating bezel and über-legible dial recipe. In 1965, a Japanese brand by the name of Seiko was busy releasing their first-ever dive watch, the 62MAS. It was Japan’s first dive watch too, capable of submerging 150 metres under water and equipped with a luminous dial and rotating bezel. This watch helped Seiko propel to further success and formed the foundation for multiple incredible dive watches that we know Seiko all too well for today. That very watch is tributed with the new SJE097, SJE099 and SJE101, a trio of vintage-inspired divers that also bring back the Marinemaster name.
The new Marinemaster is set to be Seiko’s all-new flagship dive watch, injecting that DNA from the SJE093 and 62MAS and creating something worthy of celebrating Seiko’s 100th year with. There are three watches in the collection, an ice-blue dial version with a matching blue bezel, then a more traditional all-black dial and black bezel, both of which make up the standard pieces in the new collection. Then finally there’s the silvery-white dial and steel bezel variation, of which there will only be 1,000 editions released, all for the slightly lower price of A$4,650.
Classically proportioned as a dive watch, the stainless steel case is sized at 39.5mm, with heavy bevelling on the case flanks, and finished with a super-hard coating for extra durability. In fitting an exhibition caseback, Seiko has managed to shave 0.2mm from the overall thickness of the SJE093 and squeeze the new Marinemaster down to 12.3mm, making it the thinnest-ever Seiko diver, and the only one to feature a see-through case back. The rotating unidirectional bezel is heavily knurled to make turning it a breeze when wearing gloves and comes with a lumed pip at twelve. One thing it does lack as a professional diver is crown guards, but luckily the crown is screw-down, offering at least some sturdiness and providing the case with 200 meters of water resistance, along with the box-shape sapphire crystal finishing off the case sealing duties. Ensuring the watch stays attached to your wrist is an all-new stainless steel bracelet, with elliptical links and a combination of polished and brushed surfaces. It’s a challenge for brands to make steel bracelets look different these days, but Seiko has done a great job here, with making a classic yet unique bracelet which doesn’t look like it will appear dated quickly.
The dials on all three watches feature the same horizontal stripe pattern, adding some texture and refinement. The massive rectangular lume plots to ensure legibility underwater, as does the simple rectangular handset. A neat feature I didn’t immediately spot is the tiny circular date window between 4 and 5, the 62MAS had a large date window at 3, so this subtle change is a nice nod to other Seiko models. Sitting underneath the dial is the key to the watch’s thin proportions, the 6L37 automatic movement. New for 2023, the movement features a 4Hz beat rate and a 45-hour power reserve. Albeit not one of Seiko’s highest-rated movements, it’s certainly not entry-level either, which accounts for the watch’s slightly more approachable price point. It’s also great to finally be able to see a movement on a Seiko diver, thanks to the exhibition caseback.
The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation, despite its long name, is a fitting re-imagining of the 1965 original 62MAS, representing how far Seiko have come in six decades and comes together as a wearable, functional and as you would expect, perfectly capable dive watch. Its price means that it’s now competing against serious opposition, and ones that Seiko usually sought to undercut, and still does, albeit with less competitive specs on paper. However, it’s not inexpensive either, and perhaps this is the yet another 2024 trend that we’re not ready for – increased watch prices.
Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation pricing and availability
The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster 1965 will be Seiko boutique exclusives from December 2023, with other retailers receiving them in January 2024. The SJE097 model is a limited edition of 1,000 pieces. Price: A$4,650
|Prospex Marinemaster 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation
|39.5mm (D) x 12.3mm (T)
|Textured white, black or ice blue
|Stainless steel bracelet, folding clasp
|6L37, in-house, automatic
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date
|SJE097 limited to 1,000 pieces