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Top 10 Seiko dive watches

Posted on August 13 2020

Top 10 Seiko dive watches

 

An icon in design

 

Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or a casual collector, you’ll most certainly have heard of the dive watch. Love it or loathe it, the dive watch is here to stay. Having made waves (pun not intended) in the industry, there is no denying that the dive watch is certainly one of watchmaking’s most iconic and recognizable designs.

 

 

Whether it was intended or not, it has become an icon and a staple in horology. Anybody who is anybody has, at the very least, owned or seen a dive watch and it should come as no surprise that almost every watchmaker that exists today has made a diver. Even one among the ‘Holy-trinity of watchmaking’ has succumbed to this trend; I’m looking at you, Audemars Piguet.

 

The appeal of the dive watch

 

So, what is it then, that makes this type of watch tick? Is it the design? Or its rugged dependability? Well, I think it’s both and also something else entirely. To really understand the appeal that these watches have and why they’re thriving in this industry, perhaps it’ll be clearer if I let you in on a little secret.

Most dive watches made are rarely ever used for diving, and even fewer are actually ever submerged let alone brought anywhere near the depth of the limit of their water-resistance.

 

 

That makes the popularity of these watches even more puzzling. But let’s put things into perspective. Most supercars these days, produces almost as much, if not more power than a Formula 1 car, but will they ever be used to their fullest potential? Rarely, if ever, but that doesn’t stop brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren from selling thousands of units a year.

Often, it’s the knowing that matters; you squeeze the throttle of a 720S, feel the massive power of the 4.0l Twin-turbocharged V8 lying in wait and revel at the near-instantaneous speed and ease of overtaking a fellow motorist.

Watch companies know this and understand the appreciation of potential, which is mainly why there is an abundance of divers adorning store shelves everywhere. But with the luxury of variety, comes the dilemma of choice.

 

 

With so many to choose from, which one is the right one for you? Well, that’s what we’re here to take a look at, and answer that question with some of the best divers that one of the best and largest watchmakers in the world has to offer: Seiko. Whether you’re looking to spend a few hundred or several thousand on your dive watch, Seiko has you covered. And with that out of the way, let’s dive right in.

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SPB087J1 MEN'S WATCH

 


We’re starting off our list strong with this one, the Seiko Prospex SPB087J1 in the ever-popular and attractive Pepsi colourway. This special edition release, done in collaboration with Seiko’s long-time partner and diving association PADI, is one of the newer additions to Seiko’s expanding Marinemaster 200 (MM200) line up.

Now right off the bat, first impressions of this watch, as is with most of Seiko’s offerings these days are great. Everything about this watch screams “professional tool watch” from the matte black dial, bright, highly legible luminescent markers and hands as well as the highly functional Pepsi coloured bezel.

Yes the Pepsi bezel isn’t coloured this way solely to look good it’s actually functional, with the last (or first if you’re actually using it to time a dive) 45 minutes in blue and the final 15 minutes in red indicating that you should probably get out of the water soon before your oxygen supply runs out.

The round markers and the distinctive indices at 12 O clock are decidedly more lifted compared to the MM200’s predecessors. The overall case diameter of the SPB083J1 sits at a relatively large 44mm with a 20mm lug width. It’s protected by an anti-reflective scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and its case is treated with Seiko’s Diashield coating, ensuring improved scratch and corrosion resistance.

Power comes from Seiko’s trusty Caliber 6R15 automatic, a step up from the 4R Caliber. And as expected, the movement comes with hacking, hand winding and a modestly beefy 50 hours of power reserve and a respectable 21,600 VPH (3HZ) frequency. The Seiko Prospex SPB087J1 is a proper diver and a real eye-catcher too thanks to that iconic Pepsi bezel.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 6r15
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Sapphire
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size - 44

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SRPE09K1 MEN'S WATCH

 


Up next is the Seiko SRPE09K1 Save the Ocean Monster, part of Seiko’s 4th generation line of Monsters and also the Save the Ocean special edition line. Though this line is aptly nicknamed the Great White Shark, which I will get into in a bit.

Now the 4th generation Monster is one of my personal favourites from Seiko’s Prospex releases recently and having one personally (the SRPD27K1) I think it’s safe for me to say that it is one of the best affordable dive watches that you can get today. For those of you unfamiliar with Seiko’s rather unconventional nicknames for their watches (and yes there are plenty of them like Tuna, Turtle, Samurai etc.) the ‘Monster’ was aptly named due to well, its relatively monstrous-looking appearance.

Though with this modern iteration it’s a much tamer and more restrained brute compared to its predecessors. The SRPE09K1 adds a gorgeous wave-patterned sunburst blue dial where if you look closely there is, of course, the dorsal fin of a great white shark along the 7 to 8 O’clock markers, and the caudal fin of the predator on the counterweight of the second’s hand too (hence the Great white shark moniker).

On paper, it does sound like there’s quite a lot going on with this watch, but in person, it’s a different story. The laser-etched wave patterning on the sunburst blue dial is certainly the star of the show and the little Easter eggs such as the sharks’ fins blend nicely with the dial and are almost unnoticeable at a glance. It’s the little details like this that really makes this watch stand out and complete the overall look to this very handsome (albeit unconventional), and very well thought out watch.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 4r36
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 43mm 

 

SEIKO PROSPEX AUTOMATIC SRPC41K1 MEN'S BLUE RUBBER STRAP WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-automatic-srpc41k1-mens-watch

 

Up next, we have the smallest watch on the list, and also our second Pepsi too. But what the SRPC41K1 lacks in size, it makes up for in presence and performance. Like every other watch on the list, it’s an ISO rated diver and like its big brother, the SRPC41K1 is a ‘turtle’ and much like its bigger brother, the SPB087J1, it comes in the ever-popular and recognizable Pepsi colourway as well.

The SRPC41K1 or the ‘Baby Turtle’ as it is fondly known by to the Seiko faithful, features a 42mm x 45.6mm case making it a very wearable timepiece with an almost vintage-style appeal thanks to its smaller proportions.

The dial features a subtle grey gradient wave pattern that adds a subtle flair to its otherwise utilitarian design and it’s paired nicely with a set of oblong-shaped hour markers that are, of course, coated generously with Seiko’s proprietary Lumibrite luminescent paint.

The watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house, workhorse 4r35b caliber offering a date display, 41 hours of power reserve and a modest 21,600vph (3Hz) frequency. Overall, if you’re looking for a timeless, iconic design from Seiko’s catalogue of divers for under $500, it’s hard to do better than the SRPC41K1.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 4r35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 42mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SOLAR SBEP005 MEN'S BLACK RUBBER STRAP WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-sbep005-mens-watch

 

Being the only digital watch here, you might think it’s a strange choice to include this SPEB005 in our list of divers, but hear me out. I did mention that there’s something for everybody on Seiko’s catalogue of divers and for those who want something that more modern, somewhat futuristic and a lot more functional than the more romantic and sentimental mechanical watches, there is the SPEB005 ‘Digi-tuna’.

The Tuna-can design has been a staple and icon of dive watch designs for Seiko since the 1960s and to see that design digitalized is actually rather cool. I know the mechanical purists might find this statement to be blasphemy, but I think we ought to embrace change rather than be wary of it in this day and age.

Take it from me, my collection of watches are all mechanical and though digital watches aren’t my cup of tea, I can certainly see the appeal. Functionally, they’re undoubtedly superior to mechanical timepieces and visually, they’re certainly very different from the watches that we’ve grown so used to.

The SPEB005 features a chronograph, calendar, alarm, world timer, dual time, a solar power source and of course, a 200m water resistance as well. So in the functional department, it certainly has its mechanical counterparts licked. The SPEB005 isn’t a watch for everybody, but that’s what makes it work in my opinion, it’s a perfect blend of modern technology in a retro and old-school case.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – S802
  • Movement Type - Japanese solar
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 52mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SPB143J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-spb143j1-mens-watch

 

 Inspired by the classic 62-MAS, Seiko’s original dive watch that made its debut in 1965, the Seiko SPB143J1 is, in my opinion, one of the nicest looking divers you can buy today for under two thousand dollars.

There’s plenty to like about this watch right off the bat. From the uniquely subtle grey sunburst dial to the immaculate finishing around the entire watch and of course, the in-house movement that is powering it.

Though it is really the look of the watch that sells it for me, harking back to the 62-MAS, it’s also the best and most accessible representation of that classic piece so far.

Powering the SPB143J1 is Seiko’s proprietary in-house 6R35 automatic caliber. It operates at 3Hz (21,600 VPH) offers a whopping 70 hours of power reserve and can be hand-wound with hacking seconds as well. The watch comes in a very comfortable 40.5mm diameter which fits nicely on most wrists, has a water resistance of 200m and is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal as well for added sweetness.

Of course, no Seiko diver is complete without a generous application of the brand’s proprietary Lumibrite luminescent material. And this results in an incredibly legible and visually enjoyable time-telling experience when the lights go out.

The SPB143J1 exemplifies everything there is to love about Japanese watchmaking, which is often stereotyped as a very spartan and utilitarian no thrills and frills affair. With a beautifully finished dial, multi-coloured lume pips and the performance of a proper professional diver, the SPB143J1 is a properly excellent timepiece to own whether you’re looking to add a classic design to your collection or looking for a companion for your next deep dive.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 6r35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Sapphire
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 40.5mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SOLAR CHRONOGRAPH SSC618P1 MEN'S BLACK RUBBER STRAP WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-solar-chronograph-ssc618p1-mens-watch

 

This is probably the dressiest watch on the list, and probably the only one that wouldn’t look out of place with a suit. Simply put, the rose-gold SSC618P1, is a beautiful watch. It’s a watch that to me, is both beauty and the beast, with the soft warm tones of rose-gold adding a delicate flair to an otherwise brutish, utilitarian design.

There’s just something about a rose-gold diver that really appeals to me--it’s the perfect blend of dressy sophistication meeting casual sportiness. It shouldn’t work, yet it does so effortlessly. And the watch is, as you would expect from any of Seiko’s Prospex divers, a proper ISO rated tool watch.

Though I’d definitely say this watch would sit more comfortably under a tux in a cocktail bar rather than being strapped against a diving suit, leagues beneath the waves, though it can easily thrive in both conditions. The rose-gold colourway gives the watch a much softer, almost dressy tone, it still has all the design elements and boldness of a true tool watch but toned down for a much more different and sophisticated appeal. If you, like me, are the sort who would happily pair a diver with a suit, then the SSC618P1 is certainly the watch for you.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – V175
  • Movement Type - Japanese solar
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 5mm
  • Chronograph- Triple register with 24-hour indicator

 

SEIKO PROSPEX AUTOMATIC "SAVE THE OCEAN" TURTLE SRPC91K1 MEN'S BLACK RUBBER STRAP WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-automatic-srpc91k1-mens-watch

 

The next watch in our entry is certainly one of the larger ones here, coming in at a hefty 45mm in diameter, though thanks to its case design and relatively shorter lug to lug length.

With a 200m water resistance rating, striking blue dial and highly legible hands, indices and bezel markers, the Seiko Prospex Turtle SRPC91K1 certainly ticks all the boxes as a true dive watch. Though being a part of the Prospex line pretty much guarantees the watch’s pedigree and performance as a proper professional tool watch.

But with all that said, it’s the way the watch looks that really drew us to it. The SRPC91K1 features a gorgeous horizontally striped deep blue gradient dial that fades vertically from a rich deep blue to an abyssal black.

The laser etched horizontal and asymmetrical striping on the gradient blue dial which would sound like a visual nightmare on paper, is executed beautifully and gives the already gorgeous dial that bit more character. It’s the little details like this that really makes this watch stand out and complete the overall look to this very handsome, and very well thought special edition.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 4r36
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 44mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SLA021J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-sla021j1-mens-watch

 

If you were to have only one diver, then it would have to be the Rolex Submariner (Blancpain Fifty Fathoms for me but hey, different strokes for different folks). It’s an icon in design and it wouldn’t be too far from the truth to say that it is the Submariner that kick-started the trend of dive watches after its inception in 1953.

But a steady surge in demand over the years has led to enormous price jumps and ever-growing waiting lists spanning till the next leap year (if you’re lucky), making the Submariner a watch you can’t necessarily get even if you can afford it. But just because you can’t get the default, doesn’t mean you can’t get something else that is as interesting, and maybe, just maybe a little more special.

Introducing the Seiko Marinemaster SLA021J1, a commemorative release to the first Marinemaster from 1968, Seiko’s reference 6159. Powered by Seiko’s Caliber 8L35 and beating at 28,800VPH (4Hz), the Marinemaster pays proper tribute to the original 1968 hi-beat drive Ref. 6159-7001 and then some. Though not equipped with the high-beat 36,000VPH (5Hz) 8L55 caliber, the 8L35 is still a force to be reckoned with, with a respectably high frequency of 28,800VPH (4Hz).

 

 

The 8L35 is essentially an undecorated version of the Grand Seiko's 9S55 caliber, with 26 jewels, 50 hours of power reserve and an accuracy of -10 to +15 seconds per day and it’s a proper demonstration of Japanese watchmaking prowess. Coming with a 44.3mm mono-bloc case (missing the traditional case-back where the movement is installed from the front), it ensures rugged durability and water resistance of up to 300m.

The case has also been hardened with a super-hard (DLC) coating making it more scratch-resistant and wear-resistant, it is certainly tougher than your run-of-the-mill diver. A sapphire crystal with a dual-sided anti-reflective protects the proud blue dial and it features a knurled crown at 4 o'clock (a common and recognizable staple in Seiko's divers). This may be the most expensive watch on the list coming in at over $4,000, but like its peers, it sure as hell punches way above its weight for its price point.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 8L35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Sapphire
  • Water Resistance - 300 meters
  • Case Size – 3mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SPB101J1 MEN'S WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-spb101j1-mens-watch

 

Whether you’re a casual collector or a seasoned professional diver, you’ve certainly heard of Seiko’s Sumo. It is undoubtedly one of Seiko’s most acclaimed dive watches. As if this list hasn’t more or less established it already, Seiko’s reputation for dive watches is indisputable, with one of the largest collections of diving watches and prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand.

The Sumo is one of the many much-loved and respected dive watches produced by Seiko. Simple, reliable and not exactly elegant but still a rather handsome brute as is often the case with Seiko’s divers and it punches well above its weight for its price point too.

It fills a gap between the higher-end SLA021J1 MM300 and the entry-level divers i.e. Turtle, Samurai, Tuna Etc. It’s a real favourite among Seiko fans thanks to its high-end looks at a not-so-high-end price. Sporting an exceptional case that is polished to a mirror finish on the sides and brushed neatly on the surface, this timepiece is a true show of workmanship.

With a classic unfussy matte black dial adorned with indexes that are generously applied with luminescence, along with a robust and reliable 6R35 automatic caliber providing an impressive 70 hours of power, the Sumo is an excellent mid-range diver and a properly good looking one at this price point.

Thanks to its, highly recognizable and timeless design as well as its properly reliable performance, the Sumo is a proper piece of kit for both the enthusiast and the professional.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 6r35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Sapphire
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 5mm

 

SEIKO PROSPEX AUTOMATIC SRPA81K1 MEN'S BLACK RUBBER STRAP WATCH

https://www.h2hubwatches.com/collections/seiko-prospex/products/seiko-prospex-automatic-srpa81k1-mens-watch

 

And last, but certainly not the least considering its size, is the Seiko SRPA81K1 ‘Baby Tuna’. Despite the rather diminutive sounding name. It’s still a rather hefty watch coming in at 52mm in diameter, it is easily the largest watch here despite being a ‘baby’.

It’s the second Tuna we have here, the first one being the futuristic SBEP005 Digi-Tuna, and now we have the more old-school, mechanically driven Baby Tuna. They’re both designed and cased similarly but you don’t need me to tell you that they’re very different watches.

The Baby Tuna is the watch that will certainly bring the smile back for the purists who believe that the Tuna should only case an analogue movement. The watch is powered by Seiko’s workhorse 4r36 in-house caliber featuring a useful day-date display, 41 hours of power reserve and a modest 21,600vph (3Hz) frequency.

It comes in a very stealthy and sleek all-black colourway, with a black outer shroud, black PVD steel case, black bezel and black dial, of course, to top it all off. Though thanks to the nicely contrasting white coloured markers, that are also generously applied with lume, the watch is still highly legible and is, of course, still a viable companion to take along to a dive. If you’re a fan of the iconic Tuna can design and are looking for something a wee bit smaller (relatively speaking) then the SRPA81K1 Baby Tuna is certainly for you.

 

Key Features

  • Caliber Number – 4r36
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic
  • Materials - Stainless steel
  • Crystal- Hardlex
  • Water Resistance - 200 meters
  • Case Size – 52mm

 

The perfect all-rounder?

So here they are, our top 10 divers from one of the very best watchmakers in the world. Whether you’re looking to add an iconic design to your collection or a find the perfect companion for your next underwater expedition, there should always be a space on your wrist for a dive watch. Wear it with a pair of jeans on a weekend out, under a cuff in a boardroom meeting or as a back-up to your dive computer, whichever you choose, these timelessly iconic machines will always be the perfect all-rounder.