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).
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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|
|Size||47mm x 50mm x 14mm, Tuna shape, 22mm lug width|