Our Favorites: Seiko Surprises And Delights With Its First Releases Of 2021
This year Seiko celebrates its 140th anniversary. Here are some of the most highly anticipated releases from the brand, including Seiko 5, Prospex, Presage, and Astron.
On Wednesday, Grand Seiko and Seiko held a virtual version of its annual Tokyo Summit.
It was a lively presentation, presided over by Chairman & CEO Shinji Hattori, whose great-grandfather Kintaro Hattori founded Seiko 140 years ago. And despite it being an online party, the overriding feeling of the event was celebratory. Indeed, the theme was having respect for the past but keeping a keen eye on the future.
A lot is going on, and we’re still processing all the launches. No doubt there will be more announcements throughout the year, but we won’t keep you waiting! Here some of the 2021 Seiko releases that we are most looking forward to seeing in the metal.
Seiko 5 Sports 140th Anniversary Limited Edition
The Seiko 5 has long been a favorite starter watch because it is rugged and reliable and has a handsome, sporty design. Due to its accessibility, the Seiko 5 sometimes gets written off as just a beater, but this limited edition stands out. For the very first time in Seiko 5 Sports history, it is being offered in white.
Matched with a blue bezel and hands and housed in a 42.50mm stainless steel case with an integrated bracelet, the Seiko 5 Sports 140th Anniversary Limited Edition might be the perfect summer watch.
All of Seiko’s 2021 releases pay tribute to Seiko’s past in some manner. The Seiko 5 Sports 140th Anniversary Limited Edition uses the company’s trusty automatic 4R36 caliber (that you can view through the Hardlex glass caseback) to deliver the everyday wear reliability for which the collection has long been valued.
Limited to 11,000 pieces, the Seiko 5 Sports 140th Anniversary Limited Edition (SRPG47) is priced at $295 and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in May 2021.
Seiko Prospex 1970’s Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation Limited Edition
Seiko’s 140th anniversary is not the only anniversary the brand is celebrating in 2021. This year would also mark the 80th birthday of Naomi Uemura, the fearless adventurer who vanished on February 13, 1984. Before his disappearance, he was the first man to reach the North Pole solo and the first man to raft the Amazon alone, his trusty Seiko as his only company.
The new Prospex 1970's Divers Modern Re-interpretation (SLA051) is, as its name suggests, a modern re-interpretation of the 1970 diver’s watch that Uemura wore on his solo dogsled run from Greenland to Alaska.
We love that the textured charcoal gray dial and bezel are faithful to the original timepiece. We adore the vintage feel of the broad hour markers and familiar wide hands with their generous application of white Lumibrite for high visibility. The brushed stainless steel surface of the 44mm case and integrated bracelet are also irresistible. The case surface also has a super hard protective coating to ensure that the watch will stay looking good for years to come.
The silhouette of the SLA051 has been tweaked to sit ergonomically on the wrist. Additionally, a fine Zaratsu finish accentuates the sharp lines along the curves of the case and the bracelet links.
Although it boasts several premium touches, the SLA051 is, ultimately, built for adventure, and updates to the 1970 classic are on full display. The curved sapphire crystal has an anti-reflective coating on the inner surface to make sure you can read the time in the deepest, darkest depths of the sea. Also, the screw-down crown and caseback are rated to 200-meter water resistance and magnetic resistance to 4,800 A/m.
Inside, it’s powered by the 8L35 automatic movement, with manual winding and a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.
The Seiko Prospex 1970’s Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation (SLA051) is priced at $2,900 and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in July 2021.
Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Series GMT
"Always one step ahead of the rest," was Kintaro Hattori's credo. And though this principle has guided Seiko for over a century of innovation, the brand also recognizes that a good watch also has to appeal to a customer’s emotions. That is why the company updated its slogan in 2014.
It is also why the execution of its classical Asanoha, or hemp leaf, pattern embossed dial on the 2021 Presage is so exciting. This Asanoha motif has been used for over a thousand years in Japanese textiles and architecture, and seeing it come to life on an iridescent green dial is simply stunning. It is also available in black, blue, and boutique only brown, but it is the green (SPB219) we envy.
The Presage collection is completely mechanical. We are excited by the color play of the dial, the angularity of the indices and hands, and the sharpness of the finishing on the 40.50mm case and bracelet, but the functions and complications are what keep us coming back.
In this instance, the watch is powered by the automatic 6R24 caliber manual-winding movement with a power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a retrograde date at 6 o’clock. You can admire this sophisticated mechanism through the see-through, screw-down caseback.
All four watches in the Sharp Edged Series GMT series are priced at $1,400 and will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in June 2021.
Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition
Last but certainly not least is the Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition (SSH097). This big boy not only honors Seiko’s history of innovation in solar-powered and GPS technology, but it also pays tribute to the Japanese video game developers at Kojima Productions and their most memorable character and mascot, Ludens.
Just like the interwoven pattern on the dial recalls Ludens’ carbon face mask motif, the design of this limited edition incorporates several elements inspired by the character’s suit. The silhouette of Ludens’ helmet is printed both at the 9 o’clock position and on the caseback.
The SSH097 also incorporates several other Kojima design codes, including the company’s slogan “FROM SAPIENS TO LUDENS” engraved on the bezel side at the 6 o’clock position. On the bezel itself, the time zone cities are printed in Kojima’s signature font.
According to Hattori, the original Astron still stands as one of Seiko’s proudest achievements. That means the 2021 edition has a lot to live up to, and we think it does.
Even if you’re not a gamer, the 42.80mm gray titanium case and its bracelet makes this GMT look out of this world. The Caliber 5X53 GPS solar movement keeps the watch powered for five months when fully charged (and about two years when in power save mode). The Caliber 5X53 is the Astron collection’s most advanced movement, plus it is the world's smallest and thinnest GPS solar watch, so you know it wears comfortably too.
Thanks to its connection to a GPS satellite network, the SSH097 delivers the precision of an atomic clock. And due to being solar-powered, you don’t have to worry about winding it. Still, we imagine you won’t be able to stop thinking about it.
Limited to 1,000 pieces, the Seiko Astron GPS Solar Kojima Productions Limited Edition (SSH097) will be available in Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide in June 2021. For more information, visit Seiko's website.
(Images © Seiko Watches)