Seiko‘s reputation in the field of dive watches isn’t to be demonstrated anymore. Within its Prospex line (which stands for Professional Specifications), there are dozens of emblematic and ultra-capable models. However, if there was only one watch to remember, it should be (of course) the first. Known as the 62MAS, the 1965 Seiko Diver reference 6217 has been re-edited, in faithful or modernized ways, with high-end or accessible models, multiple times already in past years. But today, with its new Prospex 1965 Divers Re-creation SJE093, Seiko is bringing what’s probably the most faithful modern recreation of the 62MAS to date.
The 62MAS in a nutshell
The first… Simple as that. Just because of that, the Seiko 62MAS is a watch of great importance. Back in 1965 when it was presented, it was both Seiko’s and Japan’s first purpose-built dive watch. It took about 12 years for Seiko to react to the invasion of Swiss-made dive watches – which started in 1953 with Blancpain, Zodiac and Rolex. Nevertheless, the Seiko 62MAS has to be considered the mother of all upcoming aquatic watches of the brand. Fonts, dial colour, bezel style, case style, it’s all there… Many of Seiko’s modern dive watches are still deeply inspired by this reference 6217.
The Seiko 6217-8000/1, nicknamed 62MAS, had strong arguments: an automatic movement (calibre 6217A), a 150m water resistance, a large (at that time) 38mm case with a mono-bloc shape (rather massive integrated lugs, which guarantee the solidity of the case) for maximum protection and a dark grey dial with large indexes and hands, of course, all luminous. The bezel was already featuring a perfectly readable 60-minute insert, with all the required markings, but was still bi-directional. But what matters most is how influential this watch has been on both future releases of Seiko and the dive watch industry in general – remember that Seiko had played an important role in the definition of the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches.
Moving forward in time, the 62MAS has been a great source of inspiration in the past 6 years. It all started in 2017 when Seiko released the SLA017, a high-end and vintage-oriented re-edition of the 62MAS. Measuring 40mm in diameter, equipped with a modern movement (calibre 8L35) and contemporary materials, it faithfully(ish) brought back the flair of the past model. The 2020 Seiko SLA037 followed with a hi-beat movement and a more modern blue colour, however with the same overall specifications. Recently, the launch of the SLA065 Save the Ocean also brought back the style of the 1965 diver, however, this watch has to be considered a luxurious Modern Re-interpretation (to use the brand’s nomenclature).
There are also several more accessible models to mention, all considered Modern Re-interpretation watches. It started in 2017 with the SPB051 and SPB053, fairly large watches that failed to fully convince. Seiko rectified the situation in 2020 with the SPB143, SPB147 and SPB149 watches – more vintage, more compact, more appealing and more convincing altogether.
The Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers Re-creation SJE093
Today, Seiko introduces into the Prospex collection a re-creation of the 1965 watch with a design and dimensions that are virtually identical to the original, while its specifications are thoroughly up-to-date. In fact, looking closely at this new SJE093, you’ll see that it’s even closer to the original 62MAS than the already faithful SLA017 of 2017.
What does this mean? First of all, no surprises regarding the overall design and shape of the case. It is a one-to-one recreation of the original model, with the same angular case, lugs that are integrated, strong straight shoulder and a crown positioned at 3 o’clock. The bezel, which is now unidirectional, retains a fully-graduated 60-minute scale printed over a glossy metallic insert (no ceramic here). And in order to mimic the charm of a vintage plexi, the SJE093 features a box-shaped sapphire crystal, with AR coating inside.
What changes most compared to the SLA017 are the dimensions. From 40mm x 14.1mm, Seiko has moved down quite drastically as the SJE093 measures 38mm in diameter with a height of 12.5mm – which is identical or, at least, very close to the original 1965 model. Some enhancements have been made, however, regarding the diving capacities. Thanks to its screw-down crown and caseback with modern gaskets, it is now water-resistant to 200 metres. The back of this vintage re-edition is solid steel and faithful to the original 62MAS with the same dolphin emblem.
The dial of the Prospex SJE093 again comes as a no surprise. It is faithful to the original, with its sunray-brushed dark grey base and oversized, blocky applied markers largely filled with light beige-toned LumiBrite. Large, facetted hands, again identical to the original model, and a framed date window at 3 o’clock complete the display of a dial that isn’t the most legible (it’s quite reflective) but that is harmful. The fonts and inscriptions are also greatly inspired by the past, but actualized according to the specifications of the watch (jewel count and water-resistance).
Under the solid steel back is the new calibre 6L37. It is the first movement from the slimline 6L family made expressly for diver’s watches. While sharing the same base architecture, power reserve and accuracy as the 6L35, it has been updated to meet durability and shock resistance standards of the Prospex line, with modifications in construction and material. This movement beats at 4Hz and boasts 45h of power reserve. If identical to the 6L35, the claimed accuracy should be -10/+15 seconds/day (not exceptional, but we’ve touch upon this topic already).
Worn on a black high-strength silicone strap with tropic-like pattern, closed by a steel pin buckle, the Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers Re-creation 62MAS Limited Edition SJE093 will be a limited edition of 1,965 pieces, delivered in a special box that echoes the retro feel of those used throughout the 1960s. It will be available a Seiko boutiques and select retail stores from August 2023, and priced at EUR 3,700. For more details, please visit www.seikowatches.com.