Sixties Vibes are back again – Seiko SPB127 Tokio Limited

It’s been quite a time since I wrote a new blog entry. It’s not that there aren’t any new watches in my portfolio…but most of my the latest additions are new versions of watches I already own (like my new Kakume or my Doxa Silver Lung, see my Instagran channel) or other watches similar to them. It’s been some time since a brand new watch caught me – in design, price and coolness factor. Remember: The highlight in 2019 for me was Seiko’s New Arnie (read my article: https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/10/18/why-the-new-arnie-snj025-is-my-favorite-seiko-release-2019/). But in January 2020 a watch appeared in sneak peaks and the first official pictures caught me at first sight: The Presage Tokio Limited, released in three colors (ivory SPB127, green SPB129 and black SPB131)

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Seikos official announcement (picture property of Seiko Corp.)

Let’s take a look back at history. In 1964 the Olympic Games took place in Tokio. Of course Seiko was the official timekeeper. And Seiko showed his first chronograph: the 5179 monopusher released for a short time before and after the Olympic Games and the discontinued. My friend ajiba54 owns one beautiful piece and like all of his vintage watches it is nearly in mint condition.

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Tokio Monopusher 5179

I made some pictures of it in September 2019 for a calendar and the watch appeared on the Januray page. Coincidence? Fate? I don’t know but it was in January 2020 in my bureau looking at this calendar when I first heard of this reissue of the famous monopusher. But the reissue would not released as a monopusher chronograph but as a three hand watch. Although some people laughed about this fact, most of them stopped laughing when they saw the first pictures. The watch is almost the same design as the 1964 chrono! The second hand of the stop function transformed into the second hand of the recent time. And there was no extra pusher at two o’clock of course. On the dial there is the “Presage” writing. But beside this minor details the design remains the same.

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The SPB127 on a Borealis strap

Ok, why didn’t they made the reissue as chronograph? Oh, they did! The SRQ031 was the first reissue of the Tokio chrono, released in 2019 with a price tag of more than 3.000 Euro. At the same time the reissue of the 6138 Panda chrono was released (the SRQ029) and I think this watch caught most of the attention of the fans. Of course the SRQ031 is no monopusher.

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Seiko SRQ031 (picture property of Seiko Corp.)

Seiko doesn’t have a monopusher chronograph movement in it’s recent portfolio. Developing a new movement would have burst the price tag way over 5k, I guess, maybe 7k or 8k. So Seiko did, what Seiko always does: They released a cool affordable watch for a reasonable price. And as special watch for the new Olympic Games in Tokio 2020 they made it a limited edition of 1964 pieces in each of the three colors. Knowing the original Tokio watch it was clear I had to get the ivory version. And it was also clear that I will not use the steel bracelet and replace it with a tropical style strap.

The announcement said the watch will be released in March 2020. And at the end of March the was available – but only in Japan. Then Covid-19 stopped almost every business and the watches didn’t come to Europe for the next weeks. Ans as we all know, the Olympic Games shifted from 2020 to 2021 (but the name of the Games will still be “Tokio 2020”). In early May I got the long awaited message that my watch is on it’s way to my address…finally!

Let’s have a closer look at the watch. It has a rotating bezel with a 60 minute scale, but no clicks – It is no Diver. It has very elegant dauphin hands and the word “Presage” on the dial, but a very sporty look – it’s no dresswatch. So what kind of watch is it? I will define it as an elegant sports watch. This watch will fit a business suit and a casual outfit as well. So It’s a prefect piece for every occasion.

The applied indizes and Seiko logo, the three-dimensional dial and the polished case adds a distinctive feeling of elegance on a design made for a sports event. I also like the little squares of lumibrite next to the indices, the framed date and the little difference between the 12 o’clock index and the other indices.

Details matter…

The movement is the nuew 6R35, evolved form the 6R15, Seikos choice for their midrange watches. With 21.600 bpH, hacking, hand winding and a power reserve of 70h a modern an reliable movement.

Let’s have a last look at the strap. The watch comes with a steel bracelet in oyster style. I do like this bracelet on the black version emphasizing the more modern look of this version. It’s not my choice of the ivory version. It’s too modern for this vintage style watch in my eyes. For a better choice we only have to look at the ancestor of the SPB127. The Tokio chrono came with a tropic style strap and this is in my opinion also the perfect choice of the reissue. If you are lucky you can get an original strap from the 60s or 70s. They are more shiny than todays straps form Borealis (my recommendation if you don’t get a vintage strap) or other brands. You can see this combo at the picture with the first day cover. With this strap the watch is my favorite Seiko release in 2020 and one of the highlights in my modern collection. Sixties vibes are back again!

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SPB127 on a vintage tropic style strap
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