The Seiko 62mas Reissue: An Important First

In my new article I will take a closer look at the Seiko 62mas reissue, reference SLA017. I will explain why this watch is an important “first” for Seiko – and also for me.

The SLA017 was a surprise at Baselword 2017 in some points. It was the first true reissue of one of the famous divers form Seiko’s history especially for collectors (not counting the historical collection from the year 2000). The original historic diver was the famous 6217-8000, nicknamed 62mas, the first Seiko diver, released 1965.

Well you can say, the New Turtle is a reissue of the 6309-Turtle, but that’s not the same as with the SLA017 as you can easily see. With a price tag of 3.800 Euros in Germany and 2.000 pieces worldwide the target group of the SLA017 was clear.

The SLA017 was the first of the collector reissues followed by the SLA025 in 2018 and the SLA033 in 2019. So here we have the first “first”.

Original 62mas. Picture by ajiba54. The watch has a diameter of 37mm, slightly smaller than the SLA017

The watch came with a retail price of 3.800 Euro and that means – as far as I know – it was the most expensive Seiko ever (not counting Grand Seiko, Credor, …). And the watch scene, especially many Seiko fans had to chew on that. Seiko, that’s the brand with the SKX, the most modded watch, very good quality for very good price. But a Seiko at that price point?

Let’s take a look back in time. Until 2012 buying a Seiko in Germany means you were going to a big, non-luxury department store or a rather small watch retailer. Normally you bought a watch for 200, maybe 300 Euros. At least that was the normal way. For the fans and insiders it was well known that Seiko manufactured better and more expensive watches, but they were not available in Middle Europe. They were sold in Japan. The probably most famous of this watches was with no doubt the SBDX001 called Marinemaster 300. To buy this watch you had to import it from Japan and only few people did this.

Marinemaster 300 – SBDX017 (successor of the SBDX001)

In 2012 something changed. Seiko Germany decided to add the MM300 officially to the German collection. The retail price was about 2.000 Euros, marking the top of the mechanical collection in Germany. The same discussion as five years later with the SLA017 began, but time by time the scene accepted this retail price (and you could get a 15% discount easily, the same as with other brands). It was a good watch for a good price point (again…), even in comparison with the Swiss competitors. In many eyes it became a bargain with it’s 8L35 movement, the same as the Grand Seikos 9L (but undecorated). The monocoque case is truly unique, no helium valve needed. In tests the watch stands much more than the guaranteed 300m water resistance. Ok, the Hardlex remained a point of critics, but whatever advantages a sapphire crystal has, it splitters in thousand pieces if it gets hit really hard. No good idea for a diver. Hardlex crackens, but keeps intact, so it’s technically a better crystal if you are diving. If…

Well and today? The MM300 became a collector’s piece. It’s hard to find a flawless MM300 for less than 2.000 Euros and prices are still rising.

And then, five years later, the SLA017 appeared, same movement, sapphire crystal, only 200m water resistance, no monocoque case but with a more than 50% higher price point. Take that!

While many Seiko fans talked about the “far too expensive watch”, others bought. I have heard of some Rolex fans who bought this watch as their first Seiko and were impressed by the quality. Since I have a SLA017 and a MM300 I can tell you that the SLA017 is really one step ahead, not a big one, but a step. Yes, there were some incorrect placed crystals and this should not happen at this price point. Seiko had still some things to learn. But they corrected every piece they get and the SLA025 and SLA033 didn’t have any issues like that.

The SLA017 didn’t sell fast, but it did sell. About a year later all were sold. Some too optimistic buyers thought about quick money and tried to sell them fast for a higher price. But usually this didn’t worked out. You still can get a very good piece for about 3.300 – 3.500 with good patience. The best time of the SLA017 is yet to come, this I am sure.

But this first luxury diver made room for the later reissues, which are more expensive than the SLA017. And in 2019 Seiko released the even more expensive Prospex LX line. I don’t think they had done this move if the SLA017 had been a fail in selling. It was the SLA017 who paved this way. And this is the very important second “first”.

We will come to the last “first” and that’s my personal one. It was not my first Seiko and I sure wasn’t a Rolex collector any time. In the summer of 2017 I was looking for a replacement for my summer holiday diver, a blue Longines HydroConquest. The bad microadjustments made it impossible to fit this watch perfectly to my wrist. And well, to be honest, I had some hunger for a new watch. I think you can understand this. I don’t want to spend more than 300 Euros and that’s the price tag where it’s very hard to beat the big Japanese watch companies. I bought the SRP779, the New Turtle Pepsi, because I like the looks and I didn’t had a Pepsi before. When I received it, I was astonished about the value you get for 300 Euros – a true Seiko experience. Only four weeks later I was looking for a black diver and found the Sumo SBDC031, which was a real upgrade compared to the New Turtle. But the price was still very reasonable, I paid around 500 Euros! Compared to my Longines, the Sumo was better in case, finishing, bracelet and dial. Until today in my opinion you can’t find a better diver for a 500 Euro budget.

So in October 2017 it had to be a big move. I decided to buy the new SLA017 (gladly my wife accepted). Would it be as good as my most expensive watch so far, my beloved Panerai? Yes, it was. I got a flawless piece and it’s still my all time favourite watch today. If I had to sell all my watches – horrible scenario – and keep only one piece it would be the SLA017.

At the same time I had the pleasure to meet the best Seiko expert in Germany (and maybe in Europe), Mr. Baris Ö. aka ajiba54. I am proud that we became close friends in the last two years! You can read an interview with him in the last Seiko Germany magazine. So that’s another personal first.

The SLA017 came in a “German-retail-non-online” edition which means it came in a pelicase with the watch, two straps, a miniature of the Japanese expedition submarine Shinkai 2000 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSV_Shinkai_2000) and some documentation. Seiko Germany decided to value up the international set, which only contains the two straps – if you buy this watch through a retailer in a shop and not an online store. There are only 70-90 pieces of this set, I don’t know the real number. Compared to 2.000 pieces of the watch a rather small number.

So this was my personal “first”: the first really expensive Seiko in my collection. The Marinemaster 300 SBDX017 followed ten months later, let’s see what the future will bring.  

Diameter 39,5 mm
Lug2lug 48 mm
Height 12,5 mm
Movement 8L35
Lug width 19 mm
SLA017 on a Wjean chocolate bar strap
Flawless hands
Signed crown
Dial detail
Bezel and lugs
Date window through the domed sapphire crystal
Drilled Lugs
Caseback with dolphin
12 o’clock index
200m water resistance
Lumeshot (SLA017 on sturgeon leather strap from ch-vintagestraps)
Wristshot

Why the New Arnie (SNJ025) is my favorite Seiko release 2019

Seiko SNJ025 “New Arnie”

2019 was a great year for Seiko fans. The Japanese company released more new models than all other watch companies together, at least it seems so. Of course, I am little bit biased…

So let’s take a closer look at the novelties.

One really big move was the release of the new Seiko LX line, the most expensive Seikos ever (of cource not counting the Grand Seiko, Credor…). Made of titanium, spring drive driven high end models – they fascinated me from the first time I saw them on a private Seiko event in May 2019.

Another model shown on this event was the New Turtle Save The Ocean 3, loved by almost every person in the room, but not touching me (I love the New Turtle, but not the STOs).

Save the Ocean 3

They also showed the new Sumo, sapphire upgrade, new movement 6R35 and of course new price point. The movement is for sure interesting, but when it comes to looks I prefer my old Sumo. I like the fat numbers on the bezel.

The most surrounded watch on this event was without any doubt the reissue of the “Willard” (SLA033), one of Seiko’s most sought after icons and a real eye catcher.

SLA033 “Willard Reissue”

And last but not least some weird looking analogue/digital watch which in my mind I suddenly marked with the attribute “ugly”. Of course I knew the famous predecessor H558, worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in various movies in the 80s. We will talk about history later. But Seiko only showed the Pepsi version of the “New Arnie” (there was no Pepsi version of the H558), which is still not my favorite watch.

Later in the year Seiko released the new Seiko 5 Sports. You can read about this in my last blog entry. And the year hasn’t finished yet and I did not mention the countless special editions from other Seiko Models.

So why I am so fascinated about the New Arnie today? I will try to explain this.

First: History
The H558 was a true child of the 80s. With its both analogue and digital dial, its multiple functions including alarm and chronograph and its 150m water resistance it was technically an interesting watch and the first hybrid diver with all this attributes. It was released in 1982 with a price tag of 45.000 yen and built until 1990. There were some hybrid watches at this time from other companies. But it did not become famous because of the interesting technical points. It was action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger that wears this watch both private and in some of his best movies including “Predator” and “Commando”. He didn’t wore it in ”Terminator”, but as most people identify Mr. Schwarzenegger with his most famous role, the H558 became the terminator watch or more popular simply “The Arnie”. That’s one thousand points for coolness, even many years later, I guess.

Seiko H558 (photo by ajiba54)

For 29 Years Seiko didn’t made any successor and then as a surprise at Baselworld the SNJ025 appeared, quickly nicknamed “New Arnie” (you don’t need much creativity for this…). It’s not a 1:1 reissue, they changed the look of the watch, and in my opinion improved it. The big crowns on the left side make a better balance to the usual crown an 3 o’clock. I have heard this from many fellow collectors, so it seems Seiko made a great job here. They transported the rich history in a more modern shape without changing the design really much. Well done!

Second: Coolness
You can’t really separate this from the historical view and I don’t know how you really measure coolness. But it’s a difficult thing to find a cooler watch than the one, the biggest action star ever had worn. Funny thing is, I heard the attribute “cool” even from people that don’t know the Arnie connection. And do you know, how time setting works? You set the time on the digital display, push in the crown and the analogue hands follow like slaves. I have tried to show this in the video. Pretty cool, too.

Third: Uniqueness
Also a difficult thing, but I think this watch really stands out here. You can recognize the New Arnie from 10 meters away when you can see the wrist of its owner. Well maybe you mistake it for a H558, but I think that doesn’t count. In my mind that’s a remarkable thing today with thousand of lookalikes and wannabees. I think the Arnie will stay pretty unique even in the future, no Microbrand has the abilities to produce such a watch at this pricepoint, I am sure.

Fourth: Reliability
It’s a quartz watch, ok, and many collectors don’t like quartz watches. Its movement is made of plastic and contains no jewels. But it’s solar powered and if you put in a dark room for half a year it will still work. Buy and wear it, and for more than ten or twenty years you will not have any problems. You don’t have to set the date, it changes automatically until the year 2100. Its accuracy is good enough (Seiko says about 15 sec a month, mine runs with an accuracy of 5 sec a month) for almost every situation.

Fifth: Price point
The recommended retail price is 469 Euro in Germany, so this is an affordable watch for every collector. You don’t get a new Sumo for this and for sure no LX oder Willard Reissue. You can take the STO Turtle if you prefer mechanical watches. You don’t have to be wealthy, it’s still a watch for normal people.

One thing I almost forgot: The SNJ025 comes with a brand new developed flat vent of excellent quality. It’s very soft and comfortable and finally a diver strap from Seiko that doesn’t attract dust!

So in summary it’s a very cool and unique watch with rich history, reliable in every situation for a very reasonable price – and that’s why the New Arnie is my favorite Seiko release 2019.

Variations Black (SNJ025), Pepsi (SNJ027), Gold (SNJ028). Alas, no orange model like the H558.
Functions Time, Date, Chronograph, Alarm, Second Timezone, Backlight, Battery Level
Analogue Hands Stepper Motor (every 15 seconds a quarter minute), automatically following the digital display time
WR 200 m Water Resistance
Movement H851 Solar
Size 47mm x 50mm x 14mm, Tuna shape, 22mm lug width
Digital display in modus day/date
Solar powered H851 movement
Second hand hits the indices almos perfectly
Right crown screwed down (or better screwed up, because you close the crown the other was as usual), left crown not
Controlling the watch with the big crown on 3 o’clock
The superb new Seiko Flat Vent
As reliable as it could be
200 m water resistant
In my palm

Seiko 5KX – Thumbs up or down?

This year few moves from Seiko made a bigger wave in the scene than the end of the SKX and release of the new Diver style Seiko 5 Sports, quickly nicknamed 5KX.

Since I am one member of this scene, owner of a SKX (and some of it’s predecessors) and since a few weeks also owner of two new 5KX, I think I share my thoughts on this ‘case’.

Normally it’s a good idea to look at history first, for this will often clear some facts: neither is the SKX the first watch with this case design nor the best (in my opinion). That famous watch didn’t pop out of nowhere. In fact, the first watch with the SKX design was released in 1978. The reference was the 7548 and you wouldn’t believe it – it was a quartz watch. Today many collectors hull up their nose when it comes to quartz, but the 7548 movement was far better than our standard cheap quartz movement today (which power 99,9% of todays quartz watches). It was adjustable, had 5 jewels, contains no plastic parts, built to last. One of his successors, the 7C46 is still used in one of Seikos best dive watches, the Tuna family. The 7548 was a great success in his time, laid the base for future SKX-style watches.

Seiko 7548 from 1980

Successors of this watch were for example the famous 200m Professionell (also a quartz watch), the 7002 as a automatic watch and, in the late 90s, the most famous of all, the SKX. If you ask an expert which of this watches is the best, he will probably name the 200m Professionell.

The SKX was sold for many, many years (more than 20!) and became an icon for watch collectors, even if they are not especially Seiko fans. The downsides they gladly accept – the screwed down crown is in my eyes not very good and it’s almost impossible to fix the crown with the first attempt. Neither the second. The movement 7S26 was a reliable workhorse, but without hacking and handwinding very oldfashioned. To start the movement, one has to do the Seiko shuffle…a little bit weird.

Around the year 2015 something changed in Seiko’s portfolio, the Prospex X (or better P/S for professionell specifications) appeared and soon became an object of many bad comments from the fans. But Seiko continued (as always) and started new lines (for example the New Turtle) or prospexed old lines (for example the Sumo). The Turtle today is one of Seikos best selling watches. Turtle and Samurai became the entry level of the Prospex line of real divers.

Real divers? There was this old SKX left in the portfolio, loved by the fans, old fashioned, 20 years old. And now, with a bang (for many; others had awaited this years ago) Seiko discontinued the SKX. Take this, watch aficionado!

In my eyes, Seiko had three options:

  • “Prospexing” the SKX with a 4R36 as a direct competitor to Turtle/Samurai. The fans would have growled in anger because of the X on this icon!
  • Upgrade the SKX as a competitor to the Sumo with a 6R Movement. The fans would have growled in anger because of the remarkable higher price point!
  • End the SKX line for now and release the case design in a lower line like the Seiko 5, making it no competitor for any other diver. The fans would have growled in anger because of the downgrade (even it was not intended to make this watch the SKX successor)!

See something?

As we all know, option 3 was chosen. The handsome design came to the Seiko 5 line and the fans yelled “downgrade”. But that’s not right, it’s no downgrade, it’s a complete new watch with all features typical for a Seiko 5: movement 4R36, 100m WR, see-through bottom. The SKX is history. Some say “for now” and maybe in the future Seiko will bring option 2 to life…

Let’s have a closer look at the new Seiko 5 Sports now. I bought two of this new watch line in the last weeks, the orange SRPD59 and the crème SRPD67. The finishing of the watches is remarkable for this price point. I have heard many comments about misalignments, and yes, this happens, but my watches are perfect. I bought the two of them by two different authorized dealers (the Creme ist not available in Germany).
The 100m WR allows swimming and even snorkelling with this watches, but not real scuba diving – well I think very few of us are scuba divers and they use diving computers. So it’s more something that happens in your head. Then there is one thing I really don’t miss: the screwed down crown, as I mentioned before. The normal crown is much more convenient to my opinion. The screwed down crown of the SKX wasn’t really comfortable, in other price ranges Seiko can do this a lot better.

Let’s come to the bracelets. The Orange came with a new Oyster which has one thing in common with the famous SKX Jubilees: It rattles like a snake, at least my piece. So you have one familiar thing more…Otherwise it’s a reliable bracelet, absolute ok at this price point. The Crème came with a Mesh/Milanaise, which lifts the price about 70 Euros. I don’t know why. I would prefer the Oyster every time and I don’t like this bracelet, especially it’s clasp. Ok, truth to tell, I don’t like any Milanaise, so I am biased. I removed this and put on a GL831 from Uncle Seiko, which in my eyes is a perfect match. It’s easy to replace the bracelet because the 5KX has drilled lugs – which the SKX lacks.

They use the well known 4R36 and my watches are real good when it comes to accuracy. The Orange gains 5 sec/24h, the Crème gains 2 sec/24h, excellent for this movement.

With so many different colors of the new 5KX I think everyone will find his favourite and I highly recommend this watches. They are an eyecatcher for small money!

So for me: Thumbs up!

  SKX Seiko 5 Sports aka 5KX
Movement 7S26, no hacking, no handwinding 4R36, hacking and handwinding
Case 42mm, screwed down crown 42mm, drilled lugs, no screwed down crown
Water resistance 200m 100m
Glass Hardlex Hardlex
Bottom Screwed down, massive See-through
Price (Euro) 299 259-329
SRPD59 Orange
SRPD67 Creme
Processed With Darkroom

The Red Side of Life – Seiko Shogun Zimbe Red (SPB099)

Dear friends,

Today I want to introduce you to my new addition, a Seiko Shogun. But a very special Shogun: the Zimbe Shogun Red (SPB099). I was thrilled when I saw the first picures, but the price was too high for me…for two days. Then I could not resist this red dial. A red dial I had not in my collection and I also have a soft spot for well made LEs (see my Blue Alpinist).

What does Zimbe mean:
“Zimbe” is the name Seiko gave the Thailand Limited Editions, special editions that are sold only in Thailand and come in very few pieces, in this case, only 500 were manufactured.
Zimbe comes from the Japanese word for whale shark: Zimbe Zame. To meet a whale shark is one dream of a diver. These fish are extremely rare in Asia. Since I am not a diver, I can not tell, what it is to meet a whale shark. The whale shark logo can be found on the box, on a hangtag and on the back of the watch . Zimbe watches are generally very popular collector’s items, they sell out fast and prices move rapidly. The Shogun Red is the eleventh Zimbe.

Why is this Zimbe red:
The colors are reminiscent of the ceremonial armor of a Samurai – even if the watch is not a Samurai, but a Shogun. Shogun is the leader of the samurai, for centuries, Japan was in fact ruled by a Shogun. The common Seiko Shogun is only available with a black dial, but there was a Zimbe Shogun before with a black and blue dial.

A word on Titan:
The Seiko Zimbe Shogun is made of titanium, which is a love because of the low weight for some collectors and a hate for others for the same reason. Many – including me until a few months – connect a subjectively lower quality impression. I can reassure the skeptics: the impression of quality is top notch and hard to beat in the price league, I think the macros speak for themselves. Sharp (but not rough), clear edges, fine brush cut, precise processing, everything was great! Japan is the leading country for precision titanium processing (my titanium glasses from a traditional Swiss manufacturer are also “Made in Japan”) and Seiko here has particular expertise. This shows, for example, also the new Prospex LX line.

And what movement is in it?
In the watch works the 6R15D, the latest edition of the 6R15. In accuracy and stability of the rate in individual positions significantly improved over previous versions.

Red Zimbe with Zimbe Hangtag
Lumeshot

About me…

I am long-term watch enthusiast. Over the years I owned about 100 watches from all price ranges. My credo: Emotion is everything, when it comes to watches. Yes, there are bad watches, yes, there are cheap watches, yes there are luxury watches. But the joy and pride of the owner is all that counts, no matter the price.

So what can you expect? First of all photos (see also my Instagram account mpbene6110). Then some reviews. Then some opinions on watches that I didn’t have the time to make a review.

You will notice in no time, that Seiko is my favorite watch brand. I like the history, the value-for-money in every price range and … well maybe… I am bit Japan biased. But nethertheless I own other watches from other brands, German and Swiss. So it’s not only Japan.

A word about wristshots: Have in mind, that watches often appear bigger in wristshots because of short distance and wide angle lenses. My wrist is about 17,5 cm

Impressum:

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