1. Newest Posts About dive watches

  2. Seiko Arnie: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sturdy Favorite

    Seiko Arnie: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sturdy Favorite

    Watches worn in films have made their mark on a lot of folks’ spheres of consciousness. Through the medium of film, the general public has become familiar with an array of iconic timepieces, especially if they are worn by renowned actors. Some popular examples include James Bond’s Omega Seamaster pieces and the Hamilton watches that show up in Tenet and Interstellar.  Appearances in pop culture can also be a huge factor that contributes to a particular watch amassing massive popularity and its own cult following. For those familiar with film and watch circles, the Seiko Arnie is perhaps one of the most famous instances of a watch receiving a huge following after an appearance in a film. Indeed, the influence of the American action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom the watch was named after, cannot be denied when it comes to the Seiko Arnie’s popularity. Read on to find out more about the Seiko Arnie and everything it has to offer.  History and Overview of the Seiko Arnie  Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing the Seiko Arnie on Commando (1985). Image by: 20th Century Fox The Seiko Arnie hails from the brand’s flagship Seiko Prospex collection. This series of watches is widely recognized for its amazing roster of dive watches, which includes well-known names such as the Seiko Marinemaster and Seiko Turtle. As an esteemed Japanese watch brand, Seiko has only continued to meet everyone’s expectations with the well-crafted Seiko Arnie.  Introduced in 1982, the original Seiko Arnie piece released was the Seiko H558. It was notable for being the first-ever hybrid dive watch to grace the world. The launch of the Seiko H558 further cemented Seiko’s position as one of the leading innovative watchmakers globally. It also showcased the exceptional designs that came with Japanese craftsmanship.  Back in the ‘80s, the Seiko H558 garnered much popularity thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The American actor utilized the watch in many of his action and sci-fi films, including massive hits like Commando (1985) and Predator (1987). This eventually led to the Seiko H558 being nicknamed after the actor, receiving the catchy  “Seiko Arnie” moniker. Over time, the Seiko Arnie gained a cult following which included not just watch enthusiasts, but also the actor’s growing fanbase worldwide. Seiko Arnie 2019 Image by: Seiko In August 2019, Seiko released a modern reissue of the well-loved 1982 Seiko H558. Dubbed the Modern Interpretation of the iconic 1982 Seiko Arnie, the brand-new Seiko Arnie watch came in a completely new build, including its construction and movement. It was launched in three different versions: Seiko Prospex Ref. SNJ025 (2019)Seiko Prospex Ref. SNJ027 (2019)Seiko Prospex Ref. SNJ028 (2019)Of the three reissue models, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SNJ025 bears the greatest resemblance to the original Seiko H558. It is also the most popular piece amongst watch connoisseurs. Let us get to know more about the modern Seiko Arnie in the next section of the article. Anatomy of the Seiko Arnie Case and Caseback The Seiko Arnie comes in a huge and chunky build that matches perfectly with the former bodybuilder and actor it is named for. Crafted in stainless steel, the case of this watch measures a thick 47.8mm in diameter and has a height of 13.8mm. These measurements suit folks whose wrist sizes border around medium to large. In spite of its immense construction, however, the Seiko Arnie actually wears quite lightly on the wrist, weighing around 114 grams. As such, you can easily and comfortably wear the Seiko Arnie even for long periods of time.  Surrounding the stainless steel case of this watch is a matte black shroud, which helps to emphasize its hefty look. This shroud is made from robust, shock-resistant plastic and adds to the lightweight build of the Seiko Arnie. If you are familiar with Seiko’s timepieces, you might have recognized this shroud feature from the design of the Seiko Tuna watches. Although it makes the case extra bulky, this shroud also provides the watch with an additional layer of protection against any accidental bumps or impacts.  On the underside of the Seiko Arnie, you can find a solid stainless steel caseback. It holds a delicate engraving of a cresting tsunami. This is a common feature seen in many Seiko dive watches. The caseback is also tightly screwed down. This prevents any water or dirt from leaking into the Seiko Arnie and damaging its inner mechanisms.   Crown and Pushers On the right side of the Seiko Arnie’s case, you will see a large crown made of polished stainless steel. Like the caseback, this crown is securely screwed down and helps to safekeep against the entry of moisture or dirt. The crown also comes with grooved edges, which makes it easier to grip and turn, especially when it is wet.  Located on the other side of the case are two thick, protruding pushers. The push-button at 8 o’clock is used to change the modes on the Seiko Arnie’s digital display. This includes switching between the watch’s stopwatch, alarm, date, and time display features. The push-button at 10 o’clock, on the other hand, controls the Seiko Arnie’s built-in LED backlight and stopwatch functions. Finally, using both pushers in conjunction allows you to set the watch’s alarm.  Bezel One of the most important components of a dive piece is its bezel, and Seiko Arnie does not fail to deliver. Fixed on top of the Seiko Arnie’s watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks. It does not have any backplay whatsoever. This ensures that you will not accidentally turn it backwards and lose track of your elapsed time underwater.  This bezel has thick, ridged edges that resemble the sides of a bottle cap, giving wearers a better grip. You do not have to worry about any difficulty in turning the bezel, since it sits taller than the surrounding plastic shroud. The bezel is also fitted with a black aluminum insert. It is filled with a 60-minute count-up scale and a luminous pip at 12 o’clock, which helps illuminate the watch face.  Dial Image by: Seiko Aside from its famous association with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Seiko Arnie is also recognized for its striking hybrid dial. It shows off a matte black finish and is filled with hour markers in various geometric shapes and arrow-headed sword hands outlined in silver. A chapter ring, placed around the dial, bears indicators in white for the minute track. All of these components are generously coated in the brand’s LumiBrite material, allowing for optimal legibility even in low-light environments.  A rectangular digital screen is placed on the topmost section of the dial. It displays the watch’s time, alarm, stopwatch, and calendar functions. Even in the dark, you can still see this digital display clearly thanks to the Seiko Arnie’s built-in LED backlight. The dial of this watch is also protected by a tough layer of scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal. It keeps the watch face safe from any hard impacts or scratches.  Strap Image by: Seiko The Seiko Arnie is paired with a sturdy silicone strap in black. It has thick, wave-like ridges that ensure the strap rests securely on your wrist. The strap’s durable silicone material is also completely waterproof, so it is a great partner for this dive watch.  In addition, the Seiko Arnie’s strap also comes with a multitude of adjustment holes. This allows the wearer to easily adjust their strap for a looser or tighter fit. It is also equipped with a stainless steel buckle, which keeps the strap safely fastened to your wrist.  Water Resistance The Seiko Arnie has an impressive water resistance capacity of up to 200 meters. You can bring it on all sorts of water adventures, from surfing and swimming to deep-water conquests like professional diving. As a dive watch, the Seiko Arnie is also ISO 6425-certified.  Movement  Driving the Seiko Arnie is an in-house Seiko Caliber H851. This is a solar-powered quartz movement which can be charged using exposure to any light source, artificial or natural. When fully charged, the Seiko Caliber H851 can last for up to six months. It also has a superb accuracy rate of +/-15 seconds per month.  Price Coming from a watch brand widely known for its affordable prices, the Seiko Arnie has an extremely budget-friendly price tag of just $419 USD. With its robust build and jam-packed features, this accessible price makes the Seiko Arnie well worth the purchase.  Alternatives to the Seiko Arnie 1. Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E For another dive piece that comes from a notable Japanese brand, check out the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E. This Citizen watch is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case with a height of 14mm, making it considerably smaller than the Seiko Arnie. With these dimensions, this Citizen watch can fit well on wrists of all sizes.  The Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E also has a sleek hybrid dial. It bears a matte black finish and contains trapezoidal hour indices and thick syringe hands. These hands and indices are all filled with a light green lume that adds a softer touch to this watch face. The minute hand is also outlined in orange, which pops brightly against the rest of the black backdrop. At 12 o’clock, a light gray digital display can be found.  This Citizen Promaster piece also comes with various functions such as alarms, depth measurements, and a stopwatch, all of which are displayed on the watch’s digital screen. Wearers can control these features using the small push-buttons found at 2, 8, and 10 o’clock. A screw-down crown is also located at 4 o’clock, with a stout water pressure sensor placed on the left side of the case. Like the Seiko Arnie, the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E is water-resistant up to depths of 200 meters.   You can get your hands on the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E for $459 USD. 2. Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00 For another robust dive watch with a very quintessential style, check out the Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00. This Mido piece utilizes a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a high-quality black rubber strap. Sitting atop the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel with an elapsed time scale insert made of black ceramic. Like the Seiko Arnie, it also possesses an outstanding water resistance rating of 200 meters.  Protected by a layer of sapphire crystal, the black dial of this watch is ornamented with rectangular hour indices, silver skeletal hands, and a day-date aperture at 3 o’clock. The seconds hand of this watch is tipped with orange, adding a burst of color to this watch face. These components are all treated with Super-LumiNova, which lights up the dial in the dark.  This Mido Ocean Star piece runs on an in-house Mido Caliber 80. Held together by 25 jewels, this self-winding movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and offers a stellar power supply of 80 hours.  The Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00 retails at $890 USD. 3. Oris Divers Ref. 01 733 7720 4354-07 4 21 18 If you would like to invest in a more expensive dive watch, this handsome timepiece from Oris might interest you. The Oris Divers Ref. 01 733 7720 4354-07 4 21 18 shows off a gorgeous combination of black and royal gold tones. It sports a 42mm stainless steel case and an elegant black rubber strap. Fitted on top of the case is a unidirectional count-up bezel, with a black ceramic insert and gold-tone edges.  Arranged on this watch’s black dial are luminous geometric hour markers and broad sword hands, which come in a lovely shade of rose gold. A trapezoidal date complication, outlined in gold, can also be spotted at 3 o’clock. All of these functions are driven by the watch’s Oris Caliber 733. Based on the Sellita SW200-1 movement, this caliber has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a standard 38-hour power reserve. You can buy this Oris Divers watch for around $2,200 USD.  Final Thoughts Through this in-depth look at the Seiko Arnie, we can say that it is certainly an incredible dive watch, especially with its modern, upgraded features and solid build. It is an apt timepiece for the modern-day man and can be utilized in all sorts of adventures, especially water-based ones. For those seeking a hefty dive piece with hybrid features, the Seiko Arnie is definitely a great option. All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated.  Photo credits: 20th Century Fox, Seiko PH, Seiko USA, and Seiko Watches. Are you on the hunt for an iconic vintage watch? Check out our review of the rare Rolex Coke.

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  4. Anatomy of the Watch Bezel: A Complete Guide

    Anatomy of the Watch Bezel: A Complete Guide

    Before we pull the trigger on purchasing a watch, we always take note of things like its case shape and bracelet material. However, another important component that can either make or break a watch is its bezel. Along with the dial, the watch bezel plays a pivotal role in the aesthetic of the whole model. Offering both form and function, the watch bezel is a crucial component that should not be overlooked. If you want to know more, read on as we discuss all you need to know about watch bezels, how they function, and some of the most iconic bezel designs in watchmaking history. What is a Watch Bezel?  A watch bezel is best described as a ring, affixed to the top of the watch case, that surrounds the watch’s dial. It sits on top of the watch crystal and helps to keep it in place. The watch bezel is considered one of the most versatile components of a timepiece. This is particularly because numerous variations of it exist. Watchmakers use specific materials such as steel, aluminum, and ceramic to craft the bezel. Oftentimes, the watch bezel is then treated with other metals such as gold or silver for design and durability purposes. A Brief Background on the Evolution of Watch Bezels There really is no exact date as to when the watch bezel was first created or identified as part of a watch. Nevertheless, its evolution throughout the years is quite evident. What initially started out as a fixed, decorative component soon became a way to add more utility to a timepiece. Many well-known brands like Rolex and Omega have actually pioneered a number of the innovative bezels we have today. For example, in the 1930s, Rolex was one of the first manufacturers to attach a rotating bezel to a watch, the Rolex Zerograph. At the time, the brand did not know that this ingenious complication would eventually become a fundamental part of diving watches in the future. In the same decade, TAG Heuer released a selection of timepieces featuring a variety of decorative bezels. This further cemented the idea that watch bezels were becoming a more prominent design and utility element in timepieces. Over the years, manufacturers have gone out of their way to create new and innovative bezel complications. These impressive bezels have changed the watchmaking game forever. Today, there are numerous kinds of watch bezels, all with different functions and features, for you to choose from. What Are Watch Bezels Made From?  Technological advancements in watchmaking mean that there are a variety of materials which watchmakers can choose from when it comes to crafting a watch bezel. Different bezel materials offer different advantages, which we will now go through in detail. Stainless Steel Stainless steel is one of the most prevalent materials used when creating timepieces. As such, it is little surprise that stainless steel bezels are quite common as well. There are two main reasons why manufacturers choose to go with stainless steel over other metals: durability and aesthetics. In terms of reliability and robustness, stainless steel is the most viable option when it comes to watch bezels. It is highly resistant to scratches and corrosion. A stainless steel bezel is thus able to withstand much of the wear and tear that comes with frequent use and a harsh environment. While stainless steel is prone to discoloration, it is a material that is guaranteed to last. Using stainless steel ensures that your watch bezel will remain in one piece no matter what. In terms of aesthetics, stainless steel has an appealing, lustrous sheen that is remarkably close to precious metals like silver. It also boasts a very versatile look, which allows watchmakers to experiment and play around with the design of the watch. For instance, stainless steel bezels work extremely well with two-toned watch cases. Aluminum  Aluminum bezels are also quite popular in the watchmaking industry. Aluminum is often compared to stainless steel, especially since it is just as abundant and practical. One strength of aluminum is that it is a more lightweight alternative, so it wears less heavily than a stainless steel bezel. It also mixes well with different coatings and pigments. However, a downside of aluminum is that it is known to be less sturdy than stainless steel. It is also quite reactive to different environmental exposures, and can be corroded if used for extended periods of time. Ceramic Despite being the newest material on this list, ceramic is an increasingly popular choice when it comes to making watch bezels. Ceramic is extremely robust and is known for exhibiting excellent scratch-resistant properties that exceed those of stainless steel and aluminum. This is great in ensuring the watch bezel remains pristine, even after years of use. Furthermore, ceramic is also lighter in weight, making it more ergonomic and comfortable to wear. However, ceramic has its fair share of cons as well. When too much pressure is applied to a ceramic bezel, it can be susceptible to some chipping or breaking here and there. Ceramic is also much more expensive than stainless steel or aluminum. Which Material Makes the Best Bezel?  As mentioned, each material has its advantages and disadvantages. People have to take into account different factors when deciding which watch bezel material to go with. For instance, a stainless steel bezel is a classic. It is ideal for those who prefer durable watches that age well. Aluminum bezels, on the other hand, are perfect for those seeking a more lightweight watch option. Finally, ceramic bezels are great for those who prefer stylish watches that will not suffer too much abuse. At the end of the day, your choice of preferred bezel material boils down to personal preferences. Types of Watch Bezels Now, let us move on to the most frequently-seen types of watch bezels and how they function.  1. Fixed/Plain Bezel The original watch bezel, a fixed or plain bezel is the most basic type. This type of watch bezel primarily functions as a decorative component. Aside from helping to keep the watch crystal in place, the fixed bezel does not have any additional functions or features. Watchmakers frequently use fixed bezels when they want to show off certain design elements such as embedded jewels, inscriptions, and the like. A contemporary example of the fixed bezel would be the Seiko 5 Sports SRE003K1, which hails from the popular Seiko 5 Sports series. 2. Count-up Bezel Next up, we have the count-up bezel. This type of watch bezel is more commonly referred to as a dive bezel, as it is often seen on dive watches. It showcases a scale that counts from 0 to 60 and is meant to be aligned with the minute markers on the watch’s dial. The count-up bezel’s scale is typically used by divers to calculate their elapsed time underwater. Moreover, this type of bezel follows a unidirectional rotation that goes counter-clockwise, which is used as an indicator by many divers as well. To use the count-up bezel, you have to align its zero marker – the luminous pip – to the current position of the minute hand. As the minute hand ticks, this will show you how much time has elapsed since you started diving. For example, if you start your dive at 9:20, you have to move the zero marker of the bezel to the 20-minute marker on the dial, which is where the minute-hand should be. As time goes on, the minute hand will tick forward, allowing you to keep track of exactly how many minutes have passed. 3. GMT/World Time Bezel A GMT bezel, also known as a world time bezel, is made for those who need to keep track of two different timezones. It is especially useful to frequent jetsetters. This type of watch bezel is characterized by a 24-hour scale, which is kept separate from the 12-hour display on the dial. Some GMT watches come with an additional GMT hand, while others feature rotating bezels. A GMT watch with an extra GMT hand is paired with the 24-hour GMT scale, which can be set to indicate one timezone. If your watch comes with just a rotating GMT bezel and no additional hands, however, you will have to manually turn it to your desired timezone. 4. Tachymeter Bezel The tachymeter bezel is commonly featured in sports watches and chronograph pieces relating to anything and everything automotive. This is usually a fixed bezel with a scale that has units beginning from 0 and going up to around 1,000. The main function of the tachymeter bezel is to calculate either distance or speed by using how much time has passed. In order to use the tachymeter, you need to know the distance between two points and the elapsed time needed to get from one end to another. You can then use the bezel’s tachymeter scale to calculate your traveling speed. 5. Compass Bezel A compass bezel is an important component in many outdoor watches. It aids explorers in figuring out directions, so they will not get lost. The compass bezel is marked with letter engravings that indicate North, South, East, and West. Additional markers can be found in between each cardinal direction, indicating the degrees.One interesting thing about the compass bezel is that it is reliant on the sun rather than magnetic properties. When using the compass bezel, you have to first use the sun to determine your orientation. If the sun is rising, change your position, with the cardinal direction E pointed at the sun. If the sun is setting, however, you have to change your position so that W pointed at the sun. This will allow you to tell which direction you are facing and where you need to go. 6. Countdown Bezel `a countdown bezel works in similar way to the count-up bezel. However, instead of calculating elapsed time, the countdown bezel acts more as a stopwatch. You will align your desired time limit to its corresponding marker on the dial. The countdown bezel is extremely versatile and is used by both professionals in their fields and in people’s everyday routines too. In order to properly use the countdown bezel, the zero marker on the bezel must be lined up with the time limit you are trying to set. For example, if you decide to jog around for 20 minutes, make sure to rotate the bezel so that the zero marker is at the 20-minute position on the dial. This will then allow you to keep track of how much time has passed and how much time you have left. 7. Pulsometer Bezel  A pulsometer is a very old-school bezel type that dates back to the 1920s. Serving a very practical and straightforward purpose, this was one of the very first bezel complications ever invented. It is designed to help those in the medical field keep track of a person’s heart rate. Typically, a pulsometer has a scale that counts from around 40 (left) units/pulses to 200 (right) units/pulses. When using a pulsometer bezel, you have to manually count out a person’s heartbeats once the timer starts. You can then refer to the pulsometer scale and use it to calculate the rate at which the person’s heart is beating. It should be noted that nowadays, the pulsometer bezel is a very rare type of watch bezel. The invention of smartwatches that can automatically determine a person’s heart rate has rendered the pulsometer bezel nearly obsolete. Bonus: Watches with Iconic Bezels Rolex Pepsi Bezel  The Rolex GMT-Master might just have the most famous watch bezel ever. It boasts the Pepsi bezel, which is an iconic two-tone GMT bezel. It comes in vibrant red and blue hues, resembling the logo of a soda brand, which is why it is dubbed the Pepsi bezel. Since its invention, many other watch brands have released their own versions of the Pepsi bezel. You can see this in watches such as the Timex Q Reissue and the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Ref. 79830RB-0001. Nevertheless, Rolex’s version remains the most legendary. The latest version of the Rolex Pepsi bezel has a 24-hour GMT scale and is made out of the brand’s patented Cerachrom material. TAG Heuer Carrera 160th Anniversary Tag Heuer is a brand that is known for its expertise in making tachymeter bezels. It has a long and rich history involving automobiles and the racing scene. This is probably how it has mastered the incorporation of tachymeter bezels in is watches. Take a look, for instance, at this limited edition TAG Heuer Carrera 160th Anniversary CBN2A1D.BA0643. It bears a fixed ceramic bezel in black with a tachymeter scale. Everything about this model serves as a tribute to the 160 years of the racing-inspired Tag Heuer Carrera series. Final Thoughts For those who are not that familiar with timepieces, the bezel is simply just a part of a watch. However, through this article, we have shown you just how much thought and effort watchmakers put into this versatile complication. From allowing watchmakers to exercise artistry and creativity to actually offering impressive utility, the watch bezel is definitely much more than just another watch component. It adds a lot of depth to a timepiece, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality.  Photo Credits: Official Brand Websites Hooked on timepieces? Check out this Guide on Buying the Perfect IWC Portofino watch.

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  5. Seiko Black Series: All You Need To Know About The All-Black Seiko Prospex Watches

    Seiko Black Series: All You Need To Know About The All-Black Seiko Prospex Watches

    For more than a century now, Seiko has been gracing the world with its excellent timepieces. It has contributed greatly to the watchmaking industry, as we can see from its quartz watch and dive watch innovations. Indeed, it is impressive how Seiko stands the test of time by constantly adapting to and developing new watch technology to keep up with the times.  Just this year, the brand released a special, limited-edition collection, the Seiko Black Series. Consisting of modern reissues that are based on older Seiko diving models, the Seiko Black Series consists of timepieces that are just uniquely Seiko. Read on to find out what the Seiko Black Series is all about and everything it has to offer.  Seiko Black Series: A Background While the Seiko Black Series was only released very recently, in 2022, its history actually dates back to as early as the 1960s. Most of the watches in this limited-edition series are modern re-interpretations of specific diving models from the 1960s and 1970s. In particular, the Seiko Prospex Black SPB253 is inspired by the 1965 Seiko Mechanical Diver, while the Seiko Prospex Black SPB255 is based on the 1968 Seiko Mechanical Diver. Finally, the Seiko Prospex Black SPB257 is a rebirth of the 1970 Seiko Mechanical Diver. We will look at each model in closer detail further down in this article.  Concept-wise, the Seiko Black Series revolves around the idea of night diving. This activity is something that many divers want to experience. Hence, Seiko opted to create four well-crafted dive watches that would serve as great companions even in the darkest environments possible. Indeed, even the collection’s name, the “Black Series”, is inspired by the night ocean that influences these watches’ designs.  An In-Depth Look at the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061   While we can definitely talk all day about each of the Seiko Black Series watches, let us first focus on the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061. This is arguably the most different out of the four models in the Seiko Black Series.  The Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 is based on the iconic Seiko Captain Willard from the 1970s, which explains its vintage-inspired exterior. The Seiko Captain Willard is especially famous due to its appearance in the 1979 blockbuster film Apocalypse Now. Aside from that, the Seiko Captain Willard is also known for being adventurer Naomi Uemura’s chosen companion during his 12,000km solo dog-sled excursion from Greenland to Alaska.  While these might seem like minor details, the history of the 1970s Seiko Captain Willard plays a big role in how the brand came up with the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061. In fact, the Japanese watch brand wanted to do the Seiko Captain Willard justice by making sure that its present-day version is just as durable and well-crafted as the original.  Compared to the other models in this lineup, the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 also boasts materials of higher quality and a superior mechanism. It also had a more limited production, with only 1,000 pieces made available for sale.  Case, Caseback and Bezel  The Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 is presented in a high-quality stainless steel case with a full hard-coating in black, which boosts its resistance against scratches and impacts. It has a diameter of 44mm, a lug-to-lug width of 49.3mm, and a thickness of 13mm. This watch falls on the bulkier end, which, combined with its bold all-black aesthetic, only helps it stand out even more.  The back of this watch’s case is also made from solid, hard-coated black stainless steel. It is firmly screwed-down, which prevents any external elements from leaking into the watch. This contributes greatly to the watch’s impressive 200-metre water resistance rating. At the same time, this caseback also bears inscriptions of the watch’s details. This includes its country of manufacture, its serial number, materials used, and more. This Seiko Black Series model also comes with a unidirectional rotating bezel that really complements its watch face. It features a count-up scale on its black aluminium insert, which is bound to form a lovely patina as you use this watch. This is great for those who love vintage aesthetics, as this diver will most likely age well over time. The bezel ring also boasts a LumiBrite coat, allowing for excellent visibility even in low-light conditions.    Lastly, in between the bezel and the dial, you can find a curved sapphire crystal. It is treated with anti-reflective coatings on its inner surface, which prevents any visual distortions from affecting your view of the dial. Sapphire crystal is known for its superb durability, so it is very effective at protecting the watch face from any scratches.  Bracelet  The Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 is fitted with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. Like the watch case, the entire bracelet is hard-coated in black, which only adds to the watch’s bold and rugged style. This bracelet also has a three-fold clasp with a secure lock and a push-button release extenders. This keeps the bracelet firmly fastened to your wrist and and allows you to quickly remove it when necessary.  The Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 is also offered with an additional silicone strap upon purchase. Like the other components of the watch, this silicone band and its hardware come in a sleek shade of black, completing the watch’s all-black look. When paired with the case, it gives the watch a more casual, laidback vibe than the stainless steel variation. Using the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 with a silicone strap makes it the perfect option for an everyday beater watch.  Dial  One of the most captivating features of this Seiko Black Series model is its lovely face. The Seiko Prospex SLA061 shows off a black dial with a beautiful sand ripple design, which adds both texture and depth to the watch’s face. This design element reiterates the concept upon which the Seiko Black Series is based: the darkness of the night ocean.  Aside from that, this watch face is also filled with thick hour indices and bevelled sword hands. In between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers, you can also find a small date aperture with a black background and white text. The hands and indices of this watch are all coated in LumiBrite, allowing for improved readability even in the dark. On the very rim of the dial, there is a minute scale in stick indices in white.  Movement Another thing that sets the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061 apart from the other pieces in the Seiko Black Series is that it is equipped with a more advanced mechanism. The SLA061 runs on an in-house Seiko Calibre 8L35, which was hand-crafted at the Seiko Watch Studio in Japan.  Held together by 26 jewels, the Seiko Calibre 8L35 is an automatic movement that boasts great reliability. It has an accuracy rate of +15/-10 seconds per day and a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.  Price Seiko is known for its very diverse portfolio, with watches that showcase drastically different specifications and price ranges. The Seiko Prospex Black SLA061, in particular, is one of the pricier models from the brand. This limited-edition watch, with its sophisticated, vintage-inspired aesthetic, sells at around $3,600 USD.  Other Models in the Seiko Black Series Now that we have talked about the Seiko Black Series’s stand-out model, let us take a look at the three remaining pieces in the collection. Note: As a special-edition series, the production of each Seiko Black Series model is limited. The three Seiko Black Series variants below had only 5,500 pieces released each. Every piece also comes with an additional silicone strap in black, like the Seiko Prospex Black SLA061.  1. Seiko Prospex Black SPB253 First, we have the Seiko Prospex Black SPB253, which was based on a mechanical diver from 1965. This is the cleanest model in the entire series with its well-defined, almost boxy case. It is the perfect combination of bold and sophisticated, making it quite a versatile accessory.  The SPB253 is housed in a 40.5mm stainless steel case in black and a rust-coloured strap made of polyester. Affixed to the top of the watch case is an aluminium count-up bezel. Embellished with vibrant orange accents, this bezel is coated in LumiBrite for better legibility.  Unlike the SLA061, the dial of this watch showcases a simpler matte black finish. It is adorned with luminescent black sword hands and rectangular hour indices, along with a date display at 3 o’clock. Orange and beige lume is also used to fill the hands and indices.  This watch is driven by a Japanese Seiko Calibre 6R35. This automatic movement shows off an outstanding power supply of 70 hours and can withstand water pressures of up to 200 metres.  With a price tag of just $1,200 USD, this is a much more affordable alternative to the SLA061.  2. Seiko Prospex Black SPB255  Next, we have the Seiko Prospex Black SPB255, based on a mechanical diver from 1968. Like its original, this Seiko Black Series watch has a sharp and chiselled exterior that makes the entire piece look robust and powerful. It is a great choice for those who love clean-cut and straightforward timepieces.  The SPB255 comes in a 42mm black case made of stainless steel, along with a dark brown polyester strap. Of all the watches in the Seiko Black Series, the SPB255 has the most flexible proportions as it was made to fit wrists of all sizes. A black count-up bezel with orange and silver indicators can be found on top of the watch case. Flipping this watch over, you can also find a solid stainless steel caseback. It is inscribed with the signature Seiko Tsunami logo.  The dial of this watch also comes in straightforward matte black. It contains luminous hour markers in various geometric shapes, along with sweeping sword hands and a date window at 3 o’clock. The seconds and minute hands of this watch are treated with soft orange lume, adding a bit of pop to this watch face.  This watch from the Seiko Black Series is also powered by a Seiko Calibre 6R35. This automatic movement is held together by 24 jewels and has a precision rate of +25/-15 seconds per day. It also possesses an excellent 70-hour power supply and a depth rating of 200 metres.  The Seiko Prospex Black SPB255 retails at $1,200 USD.  3. Seiko Prospex Black SPB257  Lastly, we have the Seiko Prospex Black SPB257. As another modern reissue of the 1970s Seiko Captain Willard, this model is the closest to the SLA061. Compared to the previous two models, this watch has a more rounded exterior. It is the ideal option for those who love chunky divers.   The SPB257 sports a 42.7mm cushion-shaped case made of black stainless steel and a rust-brown polyester strap. The funky and unconventional shape of this watch’s case is what sets it apart from the other pieces in the Seiko Black Series. Sitting atop the case is a count-up bezel with aluminium inserts and LumiBrite coatings in silver and orange.  The matte black dial of this watch follows a very clean and straightforward layout. It comprises thick hour indices and long black sword hands, which are treated with orange and beige lume. At 3 o’clock, you can also find a small date complication.  This model is also equipped with a sapphire crystal glass, a solid steel caseback, and a screw-down crown, all of which contribute to its 200-meter water resistance rating. Behind the caseback, you can also find a Seiko Calibre 6R35, which can last for up to 70 hours when fully wound.  The Seiko Prospex Black SPB257 costs approximately $1,300 USD.  Why Should You Get the Seiko Black Series?  If you are still on the fence on whether the Seiko Black Series is worth it or not, below are some points to help you decide.  Good Concept. One of the things that make the Seiko Black Series so great is that it was born out of a clear concept. It revolves around the idea of a night ocean, explaining the boldness of its exterior and the toughness of its mechanism. On top of that, the Seiko Black Series is also inspired by revolutionary, vintage Seiko timepieces from decades ago. This gives the Seiko Black Series more depth, adding to its appeal as a collector’s piece. Well-Executed. In relation to having a good concept, Seiko was also able to execute its ideas perfectly in the Seiko Black Series. Each element used in the Seiko Black Series was mindfully chosen to allow for utmost beauty and reliability. It is the perfect balance between beautiful aesthetics and excellent functionality, making it a no-brainer choice for divers and watch enthusiasts. Reasonably Priced. The Seiko Black Series, as a whole, definitely falls on the more expensive end for Seiko. Nevertheless, it is still a very reasonable price considering the quality you get with each model, especially when compared to other Swiss luxury watches in the market. The Seiko Black Series models are not just ordinary Seiko watches that are mass produced every year, they are limited-edition pieces that reflect superior craftsmanship in every way.Final Thoughts The Seiko Black Series is a reflection of the Japanese brand’s unwavering commitment to innovation. It chose to use groundbreaking vintage models and turn them into modern reinterpretations that are better in almost every way. Each model is equipped with excellent design and functionality, meant to resonate with divers of every kind. If you are looking for a dive watch worthy of your investment, you definitely will not regret checking out the Seiko Black Series.  Photo Credits: Seiko Official Site and WSIf you are interested in watch guides and reviews, check out this piece on the Robust Sinn U50!

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  6. Rolex Starbucks: A Review of the Rolex 126610LV

    Rolex Starbucks: A Review of the Rolex 126610LV

    Folks who are into watch collections know that the timepieces from Rolex are just about the most prestigious luxury watches money can buy you. Consider, for instance, the highly-coveted Rolex Submariner series.  The Rolex Submariner is famous for establishing the dominance of dive watches in the horological industry. As part of this repute, many Rolex Submariners are given a certain elite status and identity. This is why many popular Rolex Submariner models, like the Rolex Bluesy and the Rolex Smurf, have their own catchy nicknames. This also helps to distinguish each model in the eyes of the public.  In this article, we will be looking at a brand-new Submariner model: the Rolex Submariner Ref. 126610LV-0002. Despite its recency, the Ref. 126610LV-0002 has already received its own clever nickname, with many watch enthusiasts referring to it as the Rolex Starbucks. As one of the latest releases from the acclaimed Swiss watch brands, we are indeed intrigued by what Rolex Starbucks has to offer. Read on to find out more about the Rolex Starbucks, including its brief background and all its specifications.  Overview of the Rolex Starbucks Image by: Rolex Not even the pandemic could get in the way of Rolex releasing a new and handsome Rolex Submariner piece. Launched in September 2020, the Rolex Starbucks is quite a fresh entry into the watch industry. It is widely available in the market today.   As we mentioned, Rolex is quite well-known for its intriguing naming conventions. For decades, watch enthusiasts have gotten into the habit of associating specific Rolex models with famous figures and things in the field of popular culture. The Rolex Submariner Ref. 126610LV-0002, in particular, gained its name because its green-and-black colorway resembles the logo of the popular coffee chain, Starbucks. The Rolex Starbucks joins the ranks of other iconic green-themed Submariners like the Rolex Kermit and the Rolex Hulk.  Some people also refer to the Rolex Starbucks as the discontinued Rolex Kermit, because of its near-identical color palette. However, it should be noted that the Rolex Starbucks is actually far more advanced than the Rolex Kermit. It is packed with brand-new in-house construction and runs on the brand’s latest innovative movement.  Unlike vintage Submariners, you will not have any difficulty finding this watch in the market today. In fact, you can easily buy one in official Rolex stores and, of course, on our own WatchShopping website.  Anatomy of the Rolex Starbucks Case and caseback The Rolex Starbucks is presented in a 41mm case. It is made from the brand’s patented Oystersteel material. This case has a height of 12.4mm and a lug-to-lug width of 47.6mm. With these measurements, the Rolex Starbucks is relatively chunky. It will fit very nicely on medium-to-large-sized wrists. That said, if you have a slimmer wrist and you enjoy wearing oversized watches, the Rolex Starbucks can still serve as a great choice.   The watch’s robust Oystersteel composition makes it highly resistant to all sorts of cosmetic wear and tear such as corrosion and rust. In addition, the surface of the case is treated with a lovely satin finish, which is consistent with the finish on the watch’s lugs. This is contrasted against the polished flanks on both sides of the Rolex Starbucks’ case. This captivating interplay of different finishes gives the Rolex Starbucks a very visually interesting quality so that it has an especially lustrous look.  Flipping the Rolex Starbucks over, you will find a plain screw-down caseback. Like the rest of the case, this caseback is also made from solid Oystersteel. It is tightly screwed down, keeping the watch’s movement safe from any impacts or water damage.  Bezel Image by: Rolex One of the most distinctive aspects of any Rolex Submariner watch is its bezel. Like its Submariner peers, the Rolex Starbucks is equipped with a 60-click unidirectional Oystersteel bezel. It has knurled edges, which provide wearers with a better grip so they can turn it more easily. This is especially useful when you are trying to turn the bezel with wet hands or while wearing thick diving gloves.  The Rolex Starbucks’ bezel is fitted with a striking green Cerachrom bezel insert. It bears a 60-minute track for the watch’s elapsed time scale. Thanks to its high-tech Cerachrom composition, this bezel is also extremely scratch-proof and will not fade over time. The bezel also has a clean, polished finish. This gives it an exquisite shine, allowing it to strike an extraordinary contrast against the watch’s jet-black dial.  One advantage of having a bezel that only rotates unidirectionally is that you can prevent any accidental adjustment or backplay. This ensures that you will be able to track your elapsed time underwater more accurately.  Crown On the right side of the Rolex Starbucks’ case, you can find a polished screw-down crown. This crown has grooved, teeth-like edges, which give the wearer a trouble-free way of winding it. On the left and right side of the crown, you can find two hefty crown guards made from Oystersteel. These help keep the crown safe from any accidental impacts or shocks.  In addition, this crown is built with the brand’s innovative Triplock system. This offers top-notch security against the entry of any water, moisture, or dust. Thanks to its screw-down caseback and Triplock crown, the Rolex Starbucks has an outstanding depth rating of 300 meters. This makes it the perfect dive watch for all your underwater conquests like deep-sea diving, scuba diving, and more.  The top of the crown bears a delicate stamp of Rolex’s iconic crown emblem, adding an air of refinement to the Rolex Starbucks. Below the crown logo, you can find three small dots. These signify that the crown is equipped with a Triplock system.  Dial Image by: Rolex The Rolex Starbucks shows off a very straightforward and easy-to-read dial that is a signature of all Rolex Submariner watches. This dial has a stark black finish, which stands out in sharp relief against the metallic green bezel and all-silver watch case. It is decorated with luminous hour indices in various geometric shapes, classic Rolex Mercedes hands, and a magnified date display at 3 o’clock.    Rolex also treats its dial with an in-house luminous pigment known as Chromalight. This lume glows a vibrant, neon blue in the dark and is said to last for up to eight hours. It helps to light up the watch face, so wearers can read the time easily even when in the dark or underwater.  Finally, this dial is protected by a layer of sapphire crystal. As the most expensive watch crystal available on the mark, it is highly scratch-resistant and also shock-proof. It also keeps the dial away from any external damage like water, dust, or dirt. Bracelet The Rolex Starbucks is paired with an elegant three-link Oyster bracelet. Much like the watch case, this bracelet also comes with a mesh of different finishes. It has satin-finished top links, while the sides of the links are given a glossy polished finish.  This watch is also equipped with the brand’s Oysterlock system, which is an in-house safety deployant clasp. This deployant clasp comes with an additional flap, which ensures that the strap is securely fastened to your wrist and will not come loose at any time. Engraved on the center of the extra flap is an image of Rolex’s crown logo, which further boosts this watch’s luxurious demeanor.  In addition, located underneath the watch’s clasp is a built-in Glidelock clasp extension. This allows you to adjust the length of the Oyster bracelet so that it fits nicely even when you are wearing a diving suit.  Movement The Rolex Starbucks runs on an in-house Perpetual Caliber 3235 movement. This self-winding automatic movement is held together by 31 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It has an incredible power reserve of 70 hours or approximately three days. It also possesses an excellent accuracy rate of -2/+2 seconds per day. As one of Rolex’s most advanced movements, the Caliber 3235 is equipped with the innovative Parachrom Bleu hairspring. This boosts the movement’s resistance to strong magnetic fields and extreme temperature fluctuations. The Caliber 3235 is also highly resistant to shocks, which further proves the absolute durability of this state-of-the-art movement. Price Rolex watches are famous for their expensive price tags. As one of the latest creations from Rolex, the Rolex Starbucks certainly does not deviate in that respect. It has an exorbitant price tag of $19,599 USD. On the whole, the Rolex Starbucks is a great investment watch that will surely appreciate in price in the future.  Alternatives to the Rolex Starbucks If you want something a little different, or if the Rolex Starbucks is too expensive for your tastes, we have listed down a few excellent alternatives below.  1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610 50anniv If you have the budget for it and would like to invest in a more expensive Submariner piece, take a look at the Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610 50anniv. This 50th-anniversary piece from Rolex is encased in a 40mm stainless steel case, along with a three-link bracelet made from the same material. Its jet-black dial is adorned with luminescent geometric hour indices, Mercedes hands, and a magnified date window at 3 o’clock.  Affixed to the top of the watch’s case is a polished, lime green unidirectional bezel. This elapsed time scale bezel is the source of this watch’s ‘Rolex Kermit’ nickname. Underneath this handsome watch face, you can find an in-house Perpetual Caliber 3135 movement. Held together by 31 jewels, this self-winding movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a solid power supply of 50 hours. Much like the recent Rolex Starbucks, this watch also has a depth rating of 300 meters. Rolex has discontinued the production of this anniversary watch since 2010, so finding one can be a little difficult. Fortunately, we still carry them on our website. You can get your hands on this rare Rolex Submariner watch for $33,299 USD. 2. Oris Aquis Ref. 01 733 7730 4157-07 4 24 64EB If you are looking for a robust alternative to the Rolex Starbucks, check out this dive piece from Oris. The Oris Aquis Ref. 01 733 7730 4157-07 4 24 64EB utilizes a 43.5mm stainless steel case and a sturdy black rubber strap. On top of the watch case is a 60-click unidirectional rotating bezel in steel. Like the Rolex Starbucks, it is also equipped with a green ceramic elapsed time scale insert. This bezel is complemented by a dark green metallic dial, which is filled with luminous hour indices, thick hands, and a compact date aperture at 6 o’clock.  This Oris Aquis timepiece is driven by an in-house Caliber 733. Based on the Sellita SW200-1 movement, this self-winding automatic movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and has a standard power reserve of 38 hours. Similar to the Rolex Starbucks, this Oris Aquis watch also possesses an impressive water resistance of 300 meters, making it a perfect dive piece to use for your various deep-sea adventures.  This good-looking Oris timepiece retails at $2,000 USD. 3. Citizen Promaster Ref. NY0084-89E If you are looking for a low-cost alternative, check out the Citizen Promaster Ref. NY0084-89E. This Citizen dive watch is packed in a 42mm stainless steel case. It showcases the same green elapsed time scale bezel and jet-black dial as the Rolex Starbucks. The dial is furnished with luminous geometric hour indices, oversized syringe hands, and a day-date complication at 3 o’clock.  This dive watch runs on an in-house Caliber 8203 movement. Fitted with 21 jewels, this manual-winding movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and has an accuracy rate of +/-5 seconds per day. It also has a standard power reserve of 48 hours. In addition, this Citizen Promaster watch also showcases an unusual placement of its crown at 8 o’clock. This makes it the best choice for lefties who wear their watches on their right wrist. This Citizen dive watch sells at a budget-friendly price of just $259 USD. Final Thoughts After delving into the Rolex Starbucks, we have come to the conclusion that it is without a doubt one of the best creations from Rolex today. The Swiss craftsmanship poured into crafting this alluring masterpiece completely reflects how Rolex watches are meticulously produced.  If you have the money, now may be the perfect time to grab this perfect watch, which is truly a treasure worth keeping. All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: Rolex. Featured image courtesy of Rolex. Love arcade games and watch collectibles? Check out our article on the awesome Street Fighter V and Seiko Watch Collaboration!

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  7. Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition

    Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition

    One of the most special watches on the market is the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition. This limited-edition watch was released in remembrance of the late American hero, Carl Brashear. With its sleek build, high-quality craftsmanship, and unique history, this is one of the most sought-after Swiss watches by the collector community.  Oris started its collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation back in 2015. As part of the collaboration with the Carl Brashear Foundation, Oris has launched a total of three timepieces, with the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition being its latest release. Without further ado, let us take a deeper look into the life of Carl Brashear and the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition, which so aptly represents the values he stood for.  Carl Brashear: A Paragon of Courage and Resolution Carl Brashear is a name that needs no introduction. The world knows him as a legendary sailor and hero who never gave up. Brashear was a man so driven and firm in his resolve to advance that no hardship could stop him from what he loved to do the most: sail. Much in line with that, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition is a sturdy, powerfully-built dive watch that can withstand any challenge. Childhood Brashear was born in 1931 to an underprivileged family in rural Kentucky. He was the sixth of eight children. Although Brashear had minimal access to education, it did not deter him or stop him from thinking big. From a very young age, Brashear developed a firm resolve of creating a better life for himself. And through unyielding efforts, he manifested his dreams. Navy Career Although Brashear was only moderately educated, he enrolled in the US Navy in 1948 and successfully graduated from its Diving and Salvage School in 1954. This made him the first African-American to graduate from the institute. Brashear excelled in his career and made great strides until he met with an accident during one of his underwater endeavors in 1966. The Navy assigned Brashear to retrieve a lost nuclear bomb from the sea. During this operation, Brashear hit a loose pipe with his lower left leg. As he was not given proper medical care due to a lack of resources, Brashear’s leg had to be amputated.  The Navy decided to retire Brashear from duty, given his disability. However, Brashear refused to do so. Armed with grit and the aid of a prosthetic leg, he started training himself to dive again. Brashear worked day and night so that he could become certified again to do what he loved most. And eventually, Brashear more than achieved his goal. He was the first black man ever to become a master diver. Over his career, Carl Brashear has broken many glass ceilings, setting the benchmark for excellence in the diving field.  Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition Specifications Photo from OrisCase, Bezel, and Crown Let us now take a look at the specifications of the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition itself. This watch comes in a 40mm bronze case which measures 12.8mm thick. With a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm and a lug width of 20mm, this watch has fairly standard measurements and can fit well on wrists of almost any size.  The vintage-looking case is reminiscent of the bronze material of the helmet used by Brashear during his career with the US Navy. It has polished sides, while the lugs bear a sleeker, brushed finish, creating a visually interesting interplay of textures. Affixed to the top of this watch’s case is a unidirectional 120-click bezel which is also made of bronze. It has a coin-edged design, which makes it easier for wearers to grip and turn it. Located at 3 o’clock is a thick bronze screw-down crown which you can use to wind and set the watch. Thanks to its screw-down crown and caseback, this watch has a solid depth rating of 100 meters, meeting the ISO 6425 standards for dive watches.  Strap This watch also sports a non-elastic brown marine national strap, which aptly exhibits the watch’s fundamental concept. This strap offers a very comfortable fit and its warm brown tones go well with the watch’s bronze case. Dial The dial of the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition, meanwhile, shows off a gradient design that recalls the deep underwater seas. It has a rich blue hue that transitions to black as it spreads outwards, much like the ocean waters. This dial is ornamented with raised hour markers in various geometric shapes and thick bronze sword hands, all of which are coated in lume. A small date window can also be found at 6 o’clock.  Movement Powering this watch is the in-house Oris Caliber 401. Thanks to its twin barrels, this movement has a five-day power reserve. It also utilises over 30 non-ferrous and anti-magnetic components, including a silicon escape wheel and a silicon anchor. This helps make the watch more resistant to magnetic forces and thus more accurate. Even when exposed to an incredible 2,250 gauss, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition has been proven to have less than a 10-second deviation a day. It also offers an excellent precision rate of +5/-3 seconds a day.  To add the cherry on top, the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition also comes with a 10-year warranty.  Special Case-Back Photo from OrisThe back of this watch’s case is made of solid stainless steel. Unlike the bronze material that makes up the rest of the case, this stainless steel caseback will not develop a patina. This avoids any potential skin irritations, ensuring that you will have a comfortable wearing experience.  The caseback also bears a beautiful Carl Brashear engraving, in which he is wearing his US Navy diving suit. Details on the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition are also carved on this caseback, including its serial number, depth rating, case material, and more.  Final Thoughts With only 2,000 pieces ever made, owning the Oris Carl Brashear Caliber 401 Limited Edition is a privilege that only a select few get to enjoy. Many watch aficionados dream of wearing one, but given the limited number of models produced by the company, this might be one of the hardest watches to acquire. Oris has perfectly commemorated the life of the great diver, Carl Brashear, with this watch. All photos from Oris’s official website Interested in learning about more stylish Oris dive watches? Check out our article on the classic Oris Divers Sixty-Five here.

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  8. Rolex Smurf: A Review of the Emblematic Rolex Submariner 116619LB

    Rolex Smurf: A Review of the Emblematic Rolex Submariner 116619LB

    Rolex is home to some of the most coveted timepieces in the world. It has a drool-worthy catalogue consisting of famous and diverse luxury pieces, such as the Rolex Batman and Rolex Pepsi, that every watch enthusiast and aficionado dreams of owning someday. One of the brand’s most emblematic watches is the Rolex Smurf, which hails from its iconic Submariner collection. Like its peers in the Submariner collection, the Rolex Smurf is a sturdily-built, luxurious dive watch. Indeed, having been in production for over ten years now, the Rolex Smurf remains one of Rolex’s most sought-after timepieces ever made. Stylish, sleek, and robust, in this article we will be taking an in-depth look at the Rolex Smurf and the reasons behind its enduring popularity Rolex Watches and Nicknames If you are new to the watchmaking world, you may not know about the habit some watch fans have of giving their favourite timepieces iconic nicknames. Oftentimes, when fans truly love a watch, they will give it a certain moniker based on its design, color, or structure. Some examples include Seiko’s dive watches, with popular examples like the Seiko Tuna or the Seiko Samurai. Rolex watches, too, are known for their witty labels which are used by the watch community more frequently than the actual names of these timepieces. For instance, many people have probably heard about watches such as the Rolex Coke or Rolex Hulk. In fact, you can probably take a guess as to the aesthetic and colorway of these watches just off their names. The Rolex Smurf is another one of these cleverly nicknamed Rolex watches. The reason behind this nickname should be pretty obvious, especially if you are familiar with the popular animated characters called The Smurfs. They are fictional creatures with bright blue skin that resembles the royal blue colorway of the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116619LB, hence the Rolex Smurf’s catchy nickname. All About The Rolex Smurf The Rolex Ref. 116619LB, which is more popularly referred to as the Rolex Smurf, came out in 2008. It was released in celebration of the brand’s 100th anniversary and the 55th anniversary of the iconic Rolex Submariner collection. The Rolex Smurf immediately caught the attention of watch collectors around the world, as it was the first Submariner watch to be made solely out of precious white gold metal. With that said, let us delve deeper into the Rolex Smurf to find out everything else it has to offer. Case and Bezel Right off the bat, the most notable thing about the Rolex Smurf is its solid, 18-carat white gold case that simply exudes the utmost luxury. It has a diameter of around 400mm and a lug width of 20mm. These are rather standard measurements, allowing the Rolex Smurf to fit quite nicely on wrists of all sizes. One of the main reasons behind the exceptional popularity of the Rolex Smurf is its unique coating. In most cases, white gold watches tend to showcase a shiny and extremely bright sheen that draws the eye. For the Rolex Smurf, however, the brand opted to apply a slightly duller, greyer brushed finish. This unusual finish allows the Rolex Smurf to truly stand out against other white gold watches. On the top of the Rolex Smurf’s watch case, you can find the brand’s signature elapsed time scale bezel. Fitted with a deep blue Cerachrom insert, this bezel is marked with 60-minute graduations and can rotate in one direction, clockwise only. This bezel also comes with 120 clean clicks, with virtually no backplay, so you do not have to worry about jostling the bezel and losing track of your elapsed time underwater. Enclosed within the bezel is a layer of sapphire crystal, which is the strongest watch crystal available on the market. Tough and extremely resistant against scratches, this watch crystal is perfect for those who value durability in a watch. Bracelet The Rolex Smurf is paired with a gorgeous Oyster bracelet that is also made out of luxurious 18-carat white gold. With its classic three-link design, this Oyster bracelet is one of Rolex’s trademark creations, perfectly fusing durability and comfort. Like the watch case, this bracelet is embellished with a sleek brushed finish. It is also equipped with an Oysterlock clasp, which keeps the bracelet firmly fastened on your wrist. The Oysterlock clasp is engraved with the brand’s iconic crown logo, adding an air of refinement to this timepiece. Dial  As with most Rolex Submariner timepieces, the dial is the star of the show. The Rolex Smurf showcases a captivating shade of blue that is truly unique to this model and is the source of the watch’s nickname. This dial also boasts a classic, easy-to-read Submariner layout. It comprises thick hour markers in various geometric shapes, signature Rolex Mercedes hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock that is magnified by a special cyclops lens. The hands and indices of this watch are generously coated with Super-LumiNova. This causes the watch face to light up in a bright, neon blue hue when viewed in the dark, allowing for optimal legibility at all times. Movement and Other Features People often tend to focus a little too much on the exteriors of Rolex Submariner watches, due to their admittedly vibrant and luxurious designs. However, just like every other model in Rolex’s catalogue, the inner mechanisms of the Rolex Smurf are certainly worthy of discussion too. The Rolex Smurf is equipped with a well-crafted in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. This is a COSC-certified automatic movement that possesses an impressive power reserve of 50 hours. It boasts top-notch time-telling precision, with an accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day. Finally, this movement also offers an excellent 300-meter depth rating, making it truly reliable both in and out of the water. Price  It is no secret that Rolex watches are some of the most valuable timepieces to ever exist. While the Rolex Smurf is not the most exorbitant Rolex model out there, it is still highly coveted, especially since it is no longer in production today. The current estimated value of the Rolex Smurf is around $63,500 USD, which is a very hefty price indeed. You can also expect the value of the Rolex Smurf to appreciate in the next years, due to its prestigious Rolex branding and its status rare timepiece that is no longer in production. Rolex Smurf: Selling Points Now that we know more about the Rolex Smurf, let us consider a few main reasons why you should definitely consider adding this watch to your collection. Valuable. The Rolex Smurf is an expensive model that makes for a great investment piece. Even though it has been more than a decade since the Rolex Smurf was launched, its popularity only continues to grow throughout the years. As such, it is an incredibly valuable, highly-coveted watch with a resale value that will only appreciate in the future. Renown. Another reason why the Rolex Smurf is worth your time is that it is a well-established model in the watchmaking scene. If you are trying to make your collection more credible or impressive, adding this renowned timepiece to your assortment will surely garner rave compliments from fellow enthusiasts.Symbolic. This last point is directed to all the watch connoisseurs and enthusiasts who value the essence and the story of a timepiece above all. Released in celebration of Rolex’s 100th anniversary, the Rolex Smurf possesses great symbolic value as it was a tribute to the brand’s storied past and to what it can offer moving forward. The fact that it incorporated new materials and design elements while simultaneously celebrating the historical value of Rolex as a brand showcases how the Rolex Smurf represents everything that Rolex is all about.Alternatives to the Rolex Smurf If you are having trouble getting your hands on the Rolex Smurf, below are some alternative models you can opt for instead. 1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB First up, we have the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB. Arguably on the same level as the Rolex Smurf when it comes to popularity, this Rolex timepiece showcases a very similar design to the Smurf, albeit with a different colorway and a slightly different vibe. This is a highly sought-after timepiece that would surely make any watch collector drool. The Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB is presented in a 40mm case made of 18-carat yellow gold, coupled with an Oyster bracelet made of the same material. Its gleaming, all-gold exterior gives off a flashier, more lavish feel that will draw the eyes of all who see it. Like the Rolex Smurf, this model also comes with a rotating elapsed time scale bezel that bears a royal blue Cerachrom insert. The dial of this watch, on the other hand, is a little different than the Rolex Smurf. Unlike the Smurf’s matte blue dial, this Rolex timepiece instead showcases a blue dial with a gorgeous, metallic sunray finish. This adds to the higher-end, classy look of this watch. The dial is also furnished with geometric hour markers, Mercedes hands, and a magnified date display at 3 o’clock. As with the Rolex Smurf, this timepiece is driven by an in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. Held together by 31 jewels, this COSC-certified automatic movement offers an accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day. It can last up to 50 hours when fully wound. This timepiece also has an excellent depth rating of 300 meters, befitting its status as a Rolex Submariner watch. Given all its impressive and extravagant characteristics, the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116618LB’s price tag of $39,995 USD is not surprising at all. 2. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001 Next up, we have the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001. This watch has a rather different design compared to the Rolex Smurf. Nevertheless, it shows off the same prestige and exclusivity as the Smurf, thanks to its similar colorway and use of luxurious materials. This watch serves as the ideal alternative for those seeking a blue-dial watch at the peak of luxury. This Patek Philippe watch comes in a 40mm cushion-shaped case and bracelet, both of which are made from 18-carat white gold. It showcases a matte blue dial with a horizontal teak pattern that adds to the sophisticated look of this watch. It also consists of white gold applique hour markers and blunt watch hands. Three unusual sub-dials are dotted around the dial. At 3 o’clock, you can find a quarter-month counter, while a day-of-the-week dial is placed at 9 o’clock. Located at 6 o’clock is a day-of-the-month dial, which also contains a lovely, starry moon phase indicator. A Patek Philippe Calibre 240 Q powers this watch. This is an automatic movement with a standard 48-hour power supply. The only downside to this watch, arguably, is the fact that it only has a water resistance capacity of 60 meters. While this is enough to survive any accidental splashes or showers, you will not be able to use this Patek Philippe Nautilus watch for any deepwater activities. Be prepared to shell out at least $449,000 USD to get your hands on the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5740/1G-001. 3. Seiko 5 Sports Ref. SBSA043 The Seiko 5 Sports Ref. SBSA043, on the other hand, serves as a more affordable alternative to the Rolex Smurf. It does not have the same luxurious feel as the previous models. Instead, this Seiko watch offers a more simple and more sporty aesthetic. It is perfect for those who want something similar to the Rolex Smurf without having to break the bank. This Seiko 5 Sports watch utilizes a 40mm stainless steel case and a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. Affixed to the top of the watch case is a steel bezel, which guards the watch’s face against any impacts or scratches. Enclosed within this bezel is a layer of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Through the watch’s sapphire crystal, you can get a clear view of the watch’s striking blue dial. It comes in a beautiful shade of sunray blue and is adorned with geometric hour markers, large syringe hands, and a day-date complication at 3 o’clock. Flipping the watch over, you will find a transparent caseback that is also made of stainless steel. This caseback gives you a glimpse of the Seiko Caliber 4R36 that runs inside. This Japanese automatic movement offers a decent power reserve of 40 hours. On top of that, the Seiko SBSA043 is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, making it suitable for most water activities. The Seiko SBSA043 costs approximately $490 USD. Final Thoughts  The Rolex Smurf is a gorgeous diving watch that really stands out among the rest. It comes in a mesmerizing shade of blue that perfectly complements its clever nickname. On top of that, it is also equipped with state-of-the-art functions and features that are powered by a well-crafted movement. While it is a little disappointing that the Rolex Smurf is no longer in production today, the guarantee of its constantly appreciating value makes this a great watch to add to your collection. Photo Credits: Watchshopping Site Interested in diving watches? Check out this piece on the Orient Mako II!

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  9. Get to Know the Robust Sinn U50

    Get to Know the Robust Sinn U50

    Despite being a rather underrated brand, the watchmaker Sinn certainly has what it takes to impress everyone with its versatile timepieces. Established in 1961 by pilot and entrepreneur Helmut Sinn, this German watch company has consistently produced an array of trustworthy, robust tool watches. For instance, the durable pilot chronograph Sinn 365 from the brand’s Instrument Chronographs lineup has long been a favorite of many watch enthusiasts.  In this article, however, instead of taking to the skies, we will be delving deep into the ocean depths with one of Sinn’s most interesting dive watch offerings: the Sinn Diving Watches Ref. 1050.030-Solid-2LSS. Commonly referred to as the Sinn U50, this German dive watch packs a ton of features in a very compact, rugged form. Housed under Sinn’s Diving Watches collection, the Sinn U50 is the quintessential dependable dive watch designed perfectly for the modern-day man. Without further ado, let us take a closer look at the Sinn U50 and everything it has to offer. For now, let’s take a look at the awesome features that the Sinn U50 has to offer. First Impressions Image by: Sinn Right off the bat, the Sinn U50 has a very robust look that simply screams masculine ruggedness. The watch’s dapper exterior and steel-grey makeup give it a very distinctive look that sets it apart from other, more common silver-tone watches.  You can also immediately tell that the Sinn U50 is a dive watch, thanks to its highly legible dial layout and its distinguishing elapsed time scale bezel. However, thanks to its sleek poise, the Sinn U50 can also easily be used as a dress watch. Indeed, given its versatility in both form and function, the Sinn U50 is a suitable timepiece for just about any occasion, be it water-based fun activities, formal events, or everyday use.  A Closer Look at the Sinn U50 Case and Caseback A handsome dive watch that is constructed with an exceptionally robust build, the Sinn U50 is encased in a 41mm German Submarine Steel case. Unlike ordinary stainless steel cases, German Submarine Steel is more durable and highly indestructible. It also comes with a deep grey hue, giving the watch a seriousness and gravitas that sets it apart from the usual silver-tone stainless steel timepieces.  The Sinn U50 is fairly slim, coming in at just 11.2mm thick, so you can easily and unobtrusively slip this watch under the cuff of your shirt. This is quite unique for dive watches since they tend to be quite hefty and bulky in size. Most watch enthusiasts will probably recognize that the Sinn U50 is a smaller version of the Sinn U1, which shows off a very similar design but is slightly bigger, with a 44mm diameter case size. As such, the Sinn U50 will fit quite well on small-to-average-sized wrists.  On top of its hardy German Submarine Steel build, the Sinn U50 is also coated with the brand’s in-house Tegiment technology. This Tegiment treatment bolsters the case hardness of the Sinn U50, further improving its already-impressive resistance to scratches and impacts. As such, you can expect added durability and toughness from the Sinn U50, courtesy of Sinn’s impressive innovations.  The Sinn U50 also has a smooth matte coating, which is truly a delightful treat to the eyes. Its muted luster pairs well with the dull gray sheen of the German Submarine Steel metal, adding to the watch’s masculine style. Flipping the watch over, you will see the same uniform matte finish on the watch’s caseback. Aside from that, this caseback also displays a stamped engraving of the U50 name.  Bezel Equipped on top of the watch case is a 60-click unidirectional rotating bezel. Like the case, the bezel is also crafted using German Submarine Steel and reinforced with the same in-house Tegiment material, making it extremely strong and resilient.  This bezel is also patterned with markers in black, white, and vivid red for the elapsed time scale. These colored markers contrast sharply against the silver-grey dial so they can be seen more easily. The white inverted triangle at 12 o’clock is also filled with lume, which helps keep the watch face illuminated in the dark.  Crown One feature that is sometimes seen on dive watches is the placement of the crown at the 4 o’clock position. Typically, on most timepieces, crowns are placed at 3 o’clock, perpendicular to the watch case. This can be uncomfortable for wearers, as the crown can end up digging into the skin of the wearer’s wrist. Placing the crown at 4 o’clock puts it at an angle against the wrist. This prevents it from pressing into your wrist so that you will have a more comfortable watch experience.  The Sinn U50 adopts exactly this design in order to maximize user comfort, with its long screw-down crown being placed neatly at 4 o’clock. This crown is very wide, with smooth ridges that provide you with a better grip, so you can turn and wind the watch more easily. Crafted using German Submarine Steel, this crown is covered in a matte finish and bears a neat, embossed image of Sinn’s emblem on top.  Dial Image by: Sinn The dial of the Sinn U50 is a highly aesthetic component that boosts the watch’s entire look. It follows a very simple and straightforward layout that prioritizes legibility. This is very important for dive watches like the U50 since it ensures that the dial will be easy to read at all times, even when you are in the midst of an underwater dive.  This matte black dial houses large, printed white hour indices, white minute markers, and a compact date aperture at 3 o’clock. It is also furnished with a pair of thick hour and minute syringe hands, along with a slimmer seconds hand that has a square-shaped tip. The hands of the watch all come in bright two-tone colors of red and white. They stand out clearly against the black backdrop of the dial, and the vibrant red hues in particular help add a pop of eye-catching color to the watch face.  Aside from its sizable indices, the dial also has a clear, luminous display that allows for optimal legibility, even in poor lighting conditions. The hour indices and hands are all generously coated in Super-LumiNova, which is the preferred brand of lume for most watchmakers. It provides steady and long-lasting luminescence, so you do not have to worry about it losing its effectiveness even after years. A layer of sapphire crystal is also used to protect the dial, safeguarding it from any scratches or hard knocks.  Bracelet The Sinn U50 is accompanied by an H-link bracelet made from stainless steel. The matte finish of the bracelet blends perfectly with that of the case and caseback, giving the whole watch a very smooth and clean look. The bracelet is locked using a safety deployment clasp, which keeps the bracelet firmly wrapped around your wrist. As the most secure type of watch clasp, it ensures that the bracelet will not simply come loose and slip off your wrist. Water Resistance An ultra-reliable dive watch, the Sinn U50 possesses an outstanding water resistance of up to 300 meters. It is also ISO-certified, which means it has undergone extensive testing throughout its manufacturing process, guaranteeing that it can survive harsh underwater depths. Both its caseback and crown are tightly screwed down, preventing any entry of water into the timepiece. Truly a meticulously crafted dive watch, you can bring the Sinn U50 with you on all your water-based conquests, be it swimming or deep-sea diving.  Movement The Sinn U50 is powered by an automatic Swiss Sellita Caliber SW300-1. This movement is relatively slim in size, measuring just 3.6mm thin, and is the main reason why the Sinn U50’s watch case is also quite slender. Held together by 25 jewels, the Sellita Caliber SW300-1 has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It also has a standard power reserve of 42 hours.  Price It’s safe to say that the Sinn U50 has what everyone is looking for in a dive watch. Aside from possessing a stunning, rugged appearance, this watch is also built with robust, heavy-duty construction and possesses excellent water resistance capabilities.  Despite how it exceeds people’s expectations for a dive watch, the Sinn U50 is actually priced quite reasonably. You can purchase this watch for around $3,079 USD, which is still relatively budget-friendly compared to the other luxury dive watches on the market. Alternatives to the Sinn U50 Below is a list of dive watches that we recommend as alternatives for the Sinn U50. These timepieces are all from trustworthy watch companies and are meticulously crafted, boasting reliable dive watch qualities. They are also offered at different price points, so you can select the piece that best fits your budget. 1. Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001  For a more luxurious alternative to the Sinn U50, take a look at the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001. Known as a subsidiary company of Rolex, the Swiss brand Tudor is famous for offering Rolex-quality watches at much more affordable prices. In particular, the brand is recognized for its iconic Black Bay collection, from which the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001 hails.  This Tudor watch utilizes a 42mm stainless steel case. Despite the average size of the watch case, this timepiece wears quite large on the wrist, thanks to its thick watch lugs and 55.7mm lug-to-lug measurement. As such, this watch might be a little uncomfortable for those with smaller wrists. However, if you have an average-to-large-sized wrist, or if you simply love wearing oversized watches, then this is just the right piece for you.  This watch also comes with a hybrid strap. This is quite a rare type of strap that you do not see much. It is made from an interesting combination of leather material lining the top of the strap, and rubber material underneath its lining. The hybrid strap is stylish, efficient, and most importantly, waterproof. Thus, it is a great choice for a dive watch like the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001.  The dial of this watch shows off a matte black finish, which stands out in sharp relief against the polished silver case. This dial has a classic Black Bay layout, comprising luminous geometric indices, Tudor’s iconic snowflake hands, and a small date window at 3 o’clock. Driving all of these features is an in-house Tudor Caliber MT5612. Aside from offering a 200-meter depth rating, this movement also has a stellar 70-hour power supply. The Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001 retails at $4,100 USD. 2. Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 The Japanese watch brand Seiko is known for having some of the best dive watches in the industry. Its Seiko Prospex collection offers an entire buffet of dive watches with outstanding features and diverse designs, giving you a massive variety of amazing timepieces to choose from. An excellent alternative to the Sinn U50, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 sports a 44.3mm stainless steel case, coupled with a three-link bracelet made from the same material.  Affixed to the top of the watch case is a smooth black elapsed time scale, with large white indicators for improved visibility. This bezel is wonderfully complemented by the watch’s black dial. This dial contains oversized geometric indices, thick sword hands, and a rectangular date display at 3 o’clock. The indices and hands are coated with Seiko’s patented LumiBrite pigment, which keeps the watch face illuminated in poor lighting conditions. This Seiko Prospex watch runs on an in-house Seiko Caliber 8L35. Containing 26 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It can last for up to 50 hours when fully wound, which gives it a slight advantage over the Sinn U50. In addition, like the Sinn U50, this watch also has a depth rating of 300 meters.  The Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 costs approximately $2,399 USD.  3. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 TAG Heuer is best known for producing racing watches under its popular Carrera lineup. Over the years, however, the Swiss brand has cultivated an impressive series of dive watches with its Aquaracer collection, which provides high-quality dive pieces at entry-level prices.  The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 is presented in a 41mm stainless steel case and a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. On top of the case, you can find a thick stainless steel bezel. Aside from bearing bold black indicators for its elapsed time scale, this bezel also features six claw-like structures, which gives the watch a more unique, distinctive look. Like the aforementioned models, this watch also shows off a jet-black dial. It is ornamented with luminous silver-tone indices, bold arrow hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock.  As opposed to the other dive watches in this article, all of which are automatic timepieces, this TAG Heuer model is powered by a quartz movement. This gives it an excellent battery life of about 24 months. As with the Sinn U50, this watch is also water-resistant up to depths of 300 meters.  In spite of its sleek, professional appearance, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 is the most affordable option on this list. It is priced at just $1,700 USD.  Final Thoughts The Sinn U50 certainly surpasses the requirements of what makes a great dive watch. Aside from its good-looking appearance, Sinn’s usage of robust German Submarine Steel is what truly makes this watch worth the purchase. Adding to that, the watch is a lovely, versatile timepiece that can be worn in just about any event and situation. The Sinn U50 is not only simply a tool to be used in swimming or diving, but it is also an accessory that adds more character to its wearer. All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: Sinn. Featured image courtesy of Sinn. Are you into motorsports or racing? Are you looking for the perfect racing watch? Check out our article on the Best Racing Watches this 2022 – you’ll never know, some pieces might spark an interest in you!

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  10. Seiko Marinemaster: All About Seiko’s Outstanding Diver

    Seiko Marinemaster: All About Seiko’s Outstanding Diver

    One of the world’s largest and most renowned watchmakers is the Japanese brand Seiko. The brand offers a wide range of outstanding watch models, including professional dive watches that are loved by watch enthusiasts worldwide. On top of that, Seiko is also known globally for its introduction of the quartz movement in the sphere of horology. Thanks to its ceaseless innovation and consistent production of high-quality watches, many watch aficionados have developed an inclination toward the brand’s products over the years.  Of all the dive watches in Seiko’s catalog, one particular standout is the Seiko Marinemaster. Powerful and robust, the Seiko Marinemaster is a distinctive timepiece that has carved out its own place in the brand’s history. Without further ado, let us get better acquainted with the Seiko Marinemaster, its history, achievements, and the best Marinemaster models that money can buy you.  Seiko Marinemaster: A Brief History First released in 1968, the Seiko Marinemaster has been around for a very long time, with many new Marinemaster models being released over the years. Because of the extensiveness of its history, we will only be discussing a few of the Marinemaster’s significant milestones, particularly those that relate to the models we will be discussing in greater detail later in this article:  1968: Seiko releases its first Hi-Beat dive watch, the Marinemaster. Launched just three years after Seiko first ventured into the dive watch market, the 1968 Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7001 showed off a monobloc case and an impressive 300-meter water resistance capacity. The high-beat frequency of this Marinemaster’s new, built-in driving system also ensured exceptionally precise timekeeping, even when used underwater.  1975: The first Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7010 was born. It came in a chunky yet lightweight titanium build and was made especially for professional diving. This Seiko Marinemaster model had an outstanding 600-meter depth rating and its outer case was bolstered by a thick shroud which provided additional protection from scratches and impacts.  1978: Three years later, an upgraded timepiece with a similar build to the 1975 Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7010 was released. This new Marinemaster was the first saturation diving watch ever to utilize an in-house quartz movement. It continues to epitomize Seiko’s dedication to never-ending innovation.  2005: Fast forward to thirty years later, and the Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. Ref. SBDB001 was introduced. This watch was crafted using lightweight titanium and equipped with a luxurious sapphire crystal, which served to protect the watch’s dial. This watch was well-suited for saturation diving with its water resistance capacity of 600 meters. Today, the Seiko Marinemaster sub-collection has expanded to hold a wide variety of timepieces, all of which fall under the extensive Seiko Prospex series. These, of course, include the “Tuna” Marinemaster models. Fun fact: the “Tuna” nickname awarded to these timepieces is a witty reference to the cylindrical shape of a tuna can. The Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster watches showcase round, shrouded cases that are said to resemble actual tuna cans, hence the nickname. This tuna can design continues to be used in modern Marinemaster models today.  In addition, there are two distinct features that tie every Marinemaster watch together. The first is an aesthetic one: the off-center placement of the Marinemaster’s huge crown on the right side of the case, at 4 o’clock. Secondly, each Marinemaster variant also possesses an excellent water resistance capacity that exceeds 200 meters.  Now that we are more familiar with the collection as a whole, let us take a look at some of the best Marinemaster models on the market.  Best Seiko Marinemaster Models 1. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN035 First on this list is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN035, which is also famously known as the “Ninja Tuna.” The striking all-black theme is what this timepiece is all about. This watch comes in a bulky 47.7mm case made of stainless steel. Not only is the case wide, but it is also quite thick, with a height of 14.7mm. This gives the Ninja Tuna a nice, substantial heft on your wrist. The black-tone case is coupled with a matching black silicone bracelet which is durable enough to carry the weight of the timepiece.  As per its all-black theme, the dial of this watch also comes in matte black. It has a fairly simple layout, with geometric hour markers and broad arrow-head hands, all of which are generously coated with lume. A day-date window is also located next to the 3 o’clock marker. Placed atop the case is an 120-click rotating bezel with a black insert for its elapsed time scale.  The Ninja Tuna is driven by a Seiko 7C46 quartz movement. Held together by seven jewels, this movement has an excellent battery life of five years. On top of that, the Ninja Tuna also has a respectable depth rating of 300 meters.  If you want a tough yet subtle-looking dive watch, you can get the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ninja Tuna Ref. SBBN035 for $1,149 USD. 2. Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017 Next on this list is the Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017. This Seiko Marinemaster watch is packed in a 44.3mm stainless steel case, along with a three-link case made of the same material. Both the case and bracelet are treated with Seiko’s unique Diashield coating. This enhances their resistance to scratches and protects the elegant, brushed mirror finish of the watch’s exterior.  The watch’s gear-edged elapsed time scale bezel and dial, on the other hand, come in jet-black. The dial is adorned with geometric hour indices and thick sword hands, all of which are coated in the brand’s patented LumiBrite material, allowing for optimal legibility even in the dark. A small date display, outlined in silver, also sits at 3 o’clock.  Driving this Seiko Marinemaster piece is the brand’s in-house 8L35 automatic movement. Based on the Grand Seiko 9S55 caliber, this movement has a solid 50-hour power reserve. The Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017 is also able to withstand water pressures of up to 300 meters.  This luxurious Seiko Marinemaster watch sells at around $2,999 USD. 3. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SLA021J1 In this entry, we have what is perhaps the most popular Marinemaster model ever: the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SLA021J1. This watch is presented in a 44.3mm stainless steel case with a bracelet made of the same material. The 15.4mm width of the case makes this watch thicker than the average dive watch.  As with the previous Marinemaster models, this watch shows off a stark black dial. It is furnished with LumiBrite-coated geometric indices, satin-finished hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. The yellow seconds hand also stands out clearly with its lovely, bright yellow tone, which adds a burst of vibrancy to this monochrome watch face.  This watch runs on the Seiko 8L35 automatic movement. Aside from having a reliable 50-hour power supply, it also has a depth rating of 300 meters.  This powerful Seiko Marinemaster classic is priced at approximately $2,399 USD.  4. Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB077J1  The next timepiece on this list is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SPB077J1. More commonly known as the Seiko Baby Marinemaster, this is a modern re-interpretation of Seiko’s 1968 Marinemaster 300m dive watch. It is housed in a 44mm stainless steel case that measures 13.1mm thick, making it relatively smaller and slimmer compared to other Seiko Marinemaster models. This is coupled with a sleek three-link stainless steel bracelet and a black elapsed time scale bezel.  Complementing the bezel is a matte black dial. This dial follows a straightforward design, comprising circular and trapezoidal hour indices, thick arrow-headed hands, and a compact date aperture at 3 o’clock. The hands and indices are all treated with Seiko’s LumiBrite material for optimal legibility at all times.  Underneath this simple watch face, you can find the brand’s in-house 6R15 automatic movement. This caliber possesses a 50-hour power supply and is equipped with hand-winding and hacking capabilities. Finally, as a “baby” version of the Seiko Marinemaster, this dive watch comes with a depth rating of just 200 meters.  The Seiko Prospex SPB077J1 costs $1,595 USD. It is a great choice for those seeking a more budget-friendly Seiko Marinemaster option.  5. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011 Next up, we have the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011. This watch comes in a robust titanium case measuring 46mm wide and 17mm thick, along with a bracelet made of the same material. Despite its large size, however, the watch’s titanium construction makes it quite lightweight compared to other stainless steel watches.  Standing out against the watch’s all-silver exterior is a black elapsed time scale bezel and a matching black dial. This dial has a slightly more complicated layout compared to the aforementioned Seiko Marinemaster models. It consists of LumiBrite-coated hour indices in various geometric shapes, broad sword hands, a date window at 3 o’clock. An arcing power reserve indicator is also located near the 9 o’clock marker.  This watch is powered by an in-house Seiko 5R66 movement. As an automatic movement, this caliber provides an extended power reserve of 72 hours. It also possesses an impressive depth rating of 600 meters, so you can easily use this watch for deep-sea saturation diving.  With its lightweight build and powerful movement, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011 is definitely a great pick. The price of this watch costs $3,699 USD. 6. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBDX014  The next watch on this list is the Seiko Marinemaster Ref. SBDX014, which is more commonly known as the “Emperor Tuna.” As befitting its name, this watch is encased in a majestic 48.2mm titanium case. Adding to its already massive size is the black ceramic shroud that surrounds the watch, giving it its robust “tuna can” shape. Despite its large build, however, the Emperor Tuna is actually quite light, thanks to its lightweight titanium case construction and sturdy black silicone bracelet.  The dazzling contrast between the black and rose gold hues of this watch is easily one of its most fascinating features. The lovely rose gold accents on the Emperor Tuna’s bezel and crown truly help make it distinct from its Marinemaster peers. This effect is enhanced by the watch’s geometric, LumiBrite-coated indices and rose gold-tone arrow hands, which stand out cleanly against the dial’s black finish. A tiny date display can also be found between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers.  Inside this luxurious-looking timepiece, you can find an in-house Seiko 8L35 movement, which possesses a reliable 50-hour power supply. In addition, the Emperor Tuna is also able to withstand water pressures of up to 1000 meters, which is excellent for saturation diving.  Priced at $3,149 USD, this one-of-a-kind Seiko Marinemaster watch is a must-have for any dive watch collector. 7. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005 Joining this list is the Seiko Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005, which stands out with its stylish silver-and-blue colourway. This watch utilizes a chunky 48.2mm titanium case which measures 19.77mm thick and a bracelet made of the same material. While its oversized case gives this watch a considerable presence on your wrist, its lightweight titanium build ensures that it is not too heavy to tote around. Fixed atop the case is a titanium bezel with a metallic blue elapsed time scale insert and a diagonal-cut design that adds more personality to this stylish watch.  Another highlight of this Seiko Marinemaster watch is its lovely blue dial, which showcases an alluring, ocean-inspired wave texture. This dial is beautifully contrasted by satin-finished sword hands and LumiBrite-covered geometric indices. A small date aperture can also be found between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. Driving this watch is an in-house Seiko 8L55 automatic movement. Held together by 37 jewels, this calibre can last for up to 55 hours when fully wound. Like the Seiko “Emperor Tuna” Marinemaster, this watch also has an excellent depth rating of 1000 meters.  The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005 is worth approximately $5,089 USD, making this one of the more expensive Seiko Marinemaster pieces available.  8. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi-Beat Ref. SLA025 Image by: eBay Eighth on the list is the limited-edition Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi Beat Ref. SLA025. As a homage to the 1968 Seiko Hi-Beat, this is a modern take on the aforementioned vintage dive watch. It uses a 44.7mm monobloc stainless steel case and a pyramid silicone strap in black. On top of the case, you can find a 120-click unidirectional bezel. This bezel is fitted with a black ceramic insert, bearing exquisite gold indicators for its elapsed time scale.  Like many other Marinemaster models, this watch also showcases a simple black dial. However, this watch distinguishes itself with the luxurious gold accents peppered across the dial. The dial’s luminous geometric indices and sword-shaped hands are all encased in gold plating, while the date complication at 3 o’clock is also framed in gold. This Marinemaster piece runs on the brand’s in-house 8L55 automatic caliber. This gives the watch a 55-hour power supply and a reliable depth rating of 300 meters.  As a limited-edition gem, there are only 1,500 pieces of the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi Beat Ref. SLA025 available in the world. It retails at around $4,900 USD. 9. Seiko Prospex Ref. SBDX043 Image by: Seiko Watches For the next watch, we have another limited edition timepiece, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBDX043. Released in honor of the brand’s 140th anniversary, this Marinemaster model is one of three limited-edition divers launched by Seiko under the branding of “Iriomote Island.” It is housed in a 44.3mm polished stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. Fixed on top of the case is a black elapsed time scale bezel, with ridged edges that provide wearers with a better grip.  The star of this watch, without a doubt, is its mesmerizing green dial. Boasting a rich green hue, this dial contains geometric hour indices and satin-finished hands that are filled with LumiBrite, maximizing legibility in the dark. Its seconds hand comes in a distinctive, bright yellow hue, adding a hint of vibrancy to this dark watch face. You can also find a compact date window located at 3 o’clock as well.  Like many other Seiko Marinemaster models, this timepiece is powered by the brand’s in-house Seiko 8L35 automatic movement. Aside from possessing a 50-hour power supply, this watch also has a solid 300-meter depth rating.  Seiko produced only 3,000 pieces of the Seiko Prospex Ref. SBDX043. Thanks to its exclusivity and its charming design, this Marinemaster model sells at $2,509 USD. 10. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027 For the last watch in this list, we have the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027, popularly known as the “Yellow Tuna”. This watch is presented in a colossal 49.3mm black-tone case and a robust silicone strap in black. Surrounding the case is a glossy black shroud made of ceramic which adds to the watch’s heft and protects it from any impacts or scratches. You do not have to worry about the Yellow Tuna’s large size, however, as it is actually quite light and comfortable to wear — thanks to its titanium build.  On top of the watch’s case, you can find a 120-click unidirectional bezel with a funky yellow insert for the elapsed time scale. This vibrant bezel helps give the watch a certain lively personality. Yellow accents can also be found scattered all over the watch’s black dial, in particular, on its minute and seconds hands, further enhancing the watch’s quirky vibe. Aside from that, this dial is also decorated with geometric hour markers in white, an arrow-headed hour hand, and a day-date display at 3 o’clock.  Driving all of these functions is the brand’s in-house Seiko 7C46 movement. This automatic movement carries a power reserve of about 50-hours. This is complemented by the watch’s incredible 1000-meter depth rating, which makes it well-equipped for long-distance saturation diving.  If you want a powerful yet fun dive watch, you can buy the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027 for approximately $2,049 USD. Final Thoughts The Seiko Marinemaster models are indeed amazing and innovative timepieces that have helped exhibit the excellence of Seiko’s craftsmanship over generations. Without a doubt, these Marinemaster pieces are a great inclusion to one’s growing dive watch collection. With their robust movements and impressive water-resistance capacities, you would definitely not want to miss out on these Seiko Marinemaster watches.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: eBay and Seiko Watches. Featured image courtesy of ludalmg90 on Flickr. Are you interested in military-inspired digital watches? Check out our review of the Nixon Regulus.

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  11. Seiko SPB149: The Affordable And Tough Descendant of the 62MAS

    Seiko SPB149: The Affordable And Tough Descendant of the 62MAS

    Since 1881, Seiko has had an undisputedly amazing and long history of creating innovative timepieces. In fact, the Japanese brand’s consistency in delivering reliable dive watches is recognized by watch enthusiasts worldwide. Also known for its budget-friendly timepieces, Seiko is one of the most popular watchmakers in the world, especially for those who are just starting out their watch collections.  In this article, we will be taking a look at an outstanding limited edition dive watch from Seiko: the Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB149. Hailing from the sports series of Seiko’s Prospex lineup, this watch was released recently in 2020. Since the Seiko SPB149 was launched in celebration of the 55th anniversary of Seiko’s first-ever dive watch, the 1965 Seiko Prospex Diver 62MAS Ref. 6217-8000, this timepiece is also known as the “1965 Diver’s Modern Re-Interpretation”. It perfectly encapsulates the original look and features of the 1965 Seiko Prospex Diver 62MAS, while also incorporating modern design elements and technology.  It should be noted that this particular Seiko Prospex model actually has three reference numbers: SPB149, SPB149J, and SPB149J1. For the sake of clarity, however, we shall henceforth refer to this watch as the Seiko SPB149. Without further ado, let us take a closer look at the Seiko SPB149, including its specifications, capabilities, and a brief foray into its Seiko 62MAS lineage.  The Seiko 62MAS Lineage Seiko Prospex 62MAS Ref. 6217-8000 (1965) Image by: bigsom from watchuseek The extensive history of Seiko’s dive watches dates back to its very first dive piece, the Seiko Prospex 62MAS Ref. 6217-8000. Who would have thought that this watch, created nearly 60 years ago, would have such an impact on the watchmaking world? Nevertheless, the influence and iconic design of the Seiko Prospex 62MAS has continued for years after its launch. As such, it is no surprise that Seiko chose to release the Seiko SPB149 in celebration of the Seiko Prospex 62MAS’s 55th anniversary.  Encased in a slender 38mm stainless steel case, the original Seiko Prospex 62MAS came with a textured black silicone strap and 150m of water resistance. It was powered by an in-house Seiko Caliber 6217, which possessed a power reserve of 31 hours. Today, the Seiko Prospex 62MAS is incredibly rare. It can be extremely hard to find the Seiko Prospex 62MAS, and as a result, resellers often sell this vintage watch quite expensively. The price for the Seiko Prospex 62MAS usually begins at $5,000 USD and can trend higher depending on the condition of the watch and the seller in question.  A Quick Look at 62MAS Descendants  Given the continuing legacy of the legendary Seiko 62MAS, Seiko has decided to capitalize on this by issuing several modern editions of this particular dive watch. These contemporary re-issues include: Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB051 / SPB051J1 (2017)Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB053 / SPB051J / SPB053J1 (2017)Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA017 / SLA017J1 (2017)Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA037 / SLA037J / SLA037J1 (2020)Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB143 / SPB143J1 (2020)Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB145 / SPB145J1 (2020)Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB147 / SPB147J1 (2020)Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB149 / SPB149J / SPB149J1 (2020) Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB213 / SPB213J1 (2021)In this article, we shall discuss the two limited-edition 55th-anniversary models that were released in 2020: the Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA037 and the Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB149. Anatomy of the Seiko SPB149 (2020): Case and Caseback The Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB149 shows off a majestic all-stainless steel build. This watch utilizes a 40.5mm stainless steel case with a height of 13.2mm. Despite being larger than the Seiko 62MAS, this is still quite a slim size for a watch, so the Seiko SPB149 is best suited for those with small-to-average-sized wrists. This case is completely brushed all over, while also bearing a smooth, polished finish on the upper sides of the watch case. This makes up an elegant combination of alternating matte and shiny tints, giving the Seiko SPB149 an impeccable luster that is incredibly satisfying to look at.  Affixed to the top of the watch case is a 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel. The brushed black finish of the ceramic bezel insert nicely contrasts against the white print of its elapsed time scale. This bezel also has coin-like edges, which makes it easier for wearers to hold and turn. This is a handy, hassle-free feature that provides wearers with a better grip, especially if they are wearing diving gloves. On the underside of the Seiko SPB149, you can find a solid stainless steel caseback that has been smoothly polished. At the center of the caseback is an engraved emblem of Seiko’s ocean wave logo. This elegant crest can also be found on the casebacks of most Seiko dive watches, with one example being the Seiko Monster. The watch’s serial number is also engraved on its caseback, making it feel more special and unique.  Crown Tucked on the right side of the case is a protruding screw-down crown. The subtle, grooved edges of the crown give wearers a better grip when turning the crown. As mentioned, this crown is firmly screwed down, safeguarding the watch’s inner mechanisms from the potential entry of any dust or moisture.  More importantly, this crown is also used to wind the mainspring of the Seiko SPB149, along with its date complication. If you want to use this crown to set the correct time, you have to first pull the crown out to the first position. Turning the crown while it is in the first position allows you to control the hour and minute hands. To set the correct date, pull the crown out to the second position and rotate it to choose the right date.  Dial In keeping with the Seiko SPB149’s ocean-inspired theme, the dial of this watch showcases a striking matte blue finish. The layout of this dial is incredibly reminiscent of the Seiko 62MAS’s, incorporating thick, rectangular hour indices and chunky blunt hands. A date window also sits at 3 o’clock, helping you keep track of which day it is. This dial is accented by a pale gold-toned seconds hand, which adds a softer touch to this dark watch face.  Seiko’s use of its LumiBrite technology also ensures that this dial is highly legible, even in poor visibility conditions. The hands and hour markers of this watch are all generously coated with lume, keeping the watch face well illuminated in the dark. A layer of sapphire crystal is also used to protect the dial, keeping it safe from any scratches or impacts.  Bracelet The Seiko SPB149 is offered with a three-link bracelet made of hardy stainless steel. Like the watch case, this stainless steel bracelet boasts alternating matte and polished sides. The front and back of the bracelet are well-brushed and play well against the polished finish applied to the bracelet’s sides.  This bracelet is secured by a clamshell lock with Seiko’s brand name subtly printed on it. The clasp has a double buckle feature, which allows wearers to quickly and effortlessly wear or remove this bracelet. In addition, this bracelet is equipped with a handy built-in dive extension. This is an incredibly useful function, enabling wearers to adjust the length of the bracelet for a more snug fit on their wrists.  Water Resistance Designed as a dive watch, the Seiko SPB149 boasts excellent waterproof capabilities. It possesses a solid water resistance capacity of 200 meters, which is double that of the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches. Moreover, the Seiko SPB149 is appropriately equipped with a luminescent dial and a reliable elapsed time scale bezel. These elements make the Seiko SPB149 a great companion for all your watersports activities like swimming and diving. Movement The Seiko SPB149 is driven by Seiko’s in-house Caliber 6R35 movement. This same in-house movement is also used in a number of other Seiko watches. These include the Seiko Alpinist models and some pieces from the Seiko Presage Sharp Edged series. As expected, Seiko makes sure that its timepieces are fully equipped with dependable mechanisms that power them. The Caliber 6R35 is a robust automatic movement that provides high performance and accuracy. Held by 24 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). On top of that, it has an outstanding power reserve of 70 hours. This exceeds the average power supply of most dive watches, making it an excellent choice for wearers who like to go on long adventures. Price As a limited edition piece with only 5,500 pieces available, the exclusive Seiko SPB149 is a special treasure to avid watch collectors. That said, the Seiko SPB149 actually retails at a relatively affordable price despite its quality and 62MAS heritage. The price for this watch ranges from $1,400 USD to $2,000 USD.  Moving on, let us take a look at the rubber strap counterpart of the Seiko SPB149: the Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA037.  Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA037 (2020) Image by: Seiko Watches The second watch Seiko introduced in celebration of the Seiko 62MAS’s 55th anniversary is the Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA037. Also referred to as the “1965 Diver’s Recreation”, this watch effortlessly mimics the quintessential design and durability of the original Seiko 62MAS. Instead, the Seiko SLA037 distinguishes itself by shying away from its predecessor’s black theme, opting instead for a blue-on-blue watch makeup.  This watch comes in a 39.9mm stainless steel case, making it just slightly bigger than the Seiko 62MAS. It is fitted with a box-shaped sapphire crystal and a textured blue rubber strap. On top of its dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel with an elapsed time scale insert in black. The dial of this watch also comes in a gorgeous sunray blue finish, complementing the strap. Aside from having an improved 200m depth rating, this watch runs on an in-house Seiko Caliber 8L55, which has an outstanding 70-hour power supply.  Like the Seiko SPB149, the Seiko SLA037 is a limited edition timepiece, with only 1,100 pieces available worldwide. Since it is more exclusive, it is also priced slightly higher, costing around $6,300 USD.  Alternatives to Seiko SPB149: 1. Bell & Ross Vintage Ref. BRV292-BU-G-ST/SST On the hunt for a fancier alternative? The Bell & Ross Vintage Ref. BRV292-BU-G-ST/SST is packed in a 41mm stainless steel case, paired with a bracelet made from the same material. On top of the case is a coin-edged unidirectional rotating bezel. Its metallic blue bezel insert is nicely contrasted by the lovely, rose gold tones of its elapsed time scale insert.  Complementing the watch’s bezel is its dark blue sunray dial, which looks almost black in the dark. It is adorned with luminous rose gold stick indices, large Arabic numeral hour markers, and sweeping pencil hands. Additionally, a small circular date aperture sits between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. All of these elements come together to make up a very stylish, elegant watch face.  Inside this Bell & Ross timepiece, you can find an in-house Bell & Ross Caliber BR-CAL.302. It can last for up to an average of 38 hours when fully wound. In addition, as a sturdy military timepiece, this watch is able to withstand water pressures of up to 100 meters. You can easily use this watch in light water activities such as swimming and snorkeling, although it is not recommended for diving purposes.  This Bell & Ross Vintage watch costs approximately $3,300 USD.  2. TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. CAZ101K.BA0842  For another dependable alternative to the Seiko SPB149, take a look at the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. CAZ101K.BA0842. While a lot of timepieces from the Formula 1 lineup are racing watches, this versatile watch also doubles as a dive piece. It is presented in a 43mm stainless steel case with a matching stainless steel bracelet. Fixed on top of the watch case is an oversized tachymeter scale which bolsters the watch’s toughness. A screw-down crown on the right side of the case also provides the watch with a solid 200-meter water resistance capacity.  The dial of this watch shows off a beautiful sunray blue finish. It is packed full of complications, including trapezoidal applique hour markers, thick sword hands, and a date complication at 4 o’clock. A large Arabic numeral hour marker can also be found at 12 o’clock. As a chronograph piece, this watch also incorporates three chronograph sub-dials for the 60-second, 30-minute, and 10-hour counters. These sub-dials come in a lighter shade of blue, adding more of a contrast to the watch face. Driving all of these functions is a handy quartz movement.  This TAG Heuer watch sells at around $1,700 USD.  Final Thoughts The Seiko SPB149 is both a historical and a modern timepiece built into one. As a tribute to the legendary Seiko 62MAS, the Seiko SPB149 demonstrates how the important feats in Seiko’s watchmaking history are honored in this modern climate. At the same time, it is also a powerful and durable timepiece that is great for those seeking a reliable entry-level dive watch.  With its surprisingly budget-friendly price and stylish design, the limited edition Seiko SPB149 is an excellent dive watch choice. All images courtesy of the Watch Shopping website, unless otherwise stated. Featured image courtesy of Seiko Watches and watchuseek. Interested in the famous Star Wars film series? Read our article on the watch collaboration between Citizen and Star Wars!

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  12. Seiko King Samurai: Up Close And Personal With This Regal Watch

    Seiko King Samurai: Up Close And Personal With This Regal Watch

    Seiko is one of the most popular brands in the horology market. It is known for creating many high-quality timepieces across very diverse ranges. In particular, the Japanese brand is home to a great many legendary divers, such as the Seiko Tuna and the Seiko Sea Urchin. Today, we will be focusing on a specific, underrated sub-collection from the brand that is not talked about enough: the Seiko King Samurai. So, without further ado, let us find out more about the Seiko King Samurai and see whether it really deserves its throne. A Brief History of the Seiko King Samurai  The Seiko King Samurai is the newest addition to the legendary Seiko Samurai series, which dates back to the early 2000s. Housed under the Prospex collection, the Seiko Samurai was dubbed as such because the early models showed off angular builds that looked similar to samurai swords. The first generation of Seiko Samurai watches was only in production from 2004 to 2008. Following that, Seiko stopped making Samurai timepieces for almost a decade, before reintroducing the Seiko Samurai series to the world in 2017. Since then, the brand has been consistently making newer variants of the said sword-inspired lineup. The Seiko King Samurai bust onto the scene in 2020, dropping three different models right off the bat. These watches serve as new and improved versions of the previous Samurai timepieces, so you can expect quite a lot of changes and improvements with the Seiko King Samurai. Having said all that, let us take a look at just what the Seiko King Samurai has to offer. A Closer Look at the Seiko Prospex King Samurai SRPE37K1 In this section, we will be reviewing the first Seiko King Samurai model to be released: the Ref. SRPE37K1.  Case and Caseback The Seiko King Samurai SRPE37K1 is housed in a high-quality stainless steel case with a diameter of 44mm. It also has a thickness of 13mm and a fairly large lug-to-lug width of 49mm. As you can tell from these measurements, this model has a sizeable, robust exterior that definitely adds to its sporty look. It is best suited for average-to-large-sized wrists. This Seiko King Samurai watch has a rather eye-catching crown at 3 o’clock, which is protected on both sides by short crown guards. The surface of this crown is textured with a pattern of crisscrossing lines, almost like the skin of a pineapple. This provides wearers with a better grip, so they can hold and turn the crown more easily. You can also find an anti-reflective sapphire crystal sitting atop the watch face, protecting it from any damage from scratches or impacts. Keeping the crystal in place is a unidirectional bezel that boasts a glossy black finish. This bezel is fitted with a ceramic insert that has indicators in white for its elapsed time scale. On the underside of the Seiko King Samurai is a solid stainless steel caseback that is tightly screwed down. It guards the watch’s inner mechanisms against any dust or moisture, giving the timepiece an impressive 200-meter depth rating, which is twice that of the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches. The brand’s Prospex emblem is also carefully engraved on the caseback, bolstering the refined aesthetic of this Seiko King Samurai watch. Bracelet To complement the sportiness and durability of the case, Seiko opted to pair the SRPE37K1 with a black silicone strap. It has a tough and rugged accordion-inspired design that adds a very casual yet stylish feel to the whole watch. The best thing about this bracelet is how nicely it sits on the wrist. The underside of the strap has a smooth and soft finish, allowing for maximum comfort despite its robust exterior.  Dial  The dial of the Seiko King Samurai SRPE37K1 is one of the most important components of this watch. It features a soft, white waffle design that stands out wonderfully against the black bezel and strap. This dial also consists of arrow-headed hands and trapezoidal and rectangular hour markers, all of which are outlined in black. These hands and indices are also generously coated with luminescent pigment so that wearers will have no trouble reading the watch face even in low-light environments. This King Samurai model is also equipped with a magnified date window at 3 o’clock, which is a new component in the Seiko Samurai series. Movement The Seiko King Samurai is as durable and impressive on the inside as it looks on the outside. It is driven by the Seiko automatic Caliber 4R35. This self-winding movement comprises 23 jewels and boasts a standard 41-hour power reserve. In addition, it also comes with manual-winding abilities, should you want to set the watch yourself. It also offers an average accuracy rate of +45/-35 seconds per day. Price  One of the best things about the Seiko King Samurai is that it comes with a very reasonable price tag. High-quality divers with impressive functions can be hard to find when you are on a tight budget, but thankfully, the Seiko King Samurai delivers at only $595 USD. Given this budget-friendly price tag, it is no wonder why the Seiko King Samurai is so well-loved by watch enthusiasts and casual patrons alike. Other Variations of the Seiko Samurai Now, let us move on to some of the best Seiko Samurai and Seiko King Samurai models you can get on the market.  1. Seiko Prospex King Samurai Ref. SRPE35K1 First, we have the Seiko Prospex King Samurai Ref. SRPE35K1, which was released alongside the SRPE37K1. It has a more classic and versatile design that makes it a great option for both everyday wear and formal ensembles. That said, its sportiness and robustness remain unchanged.  This Seiko King Samurai piece comes in a 44mm stainless steel case and three-link bracelet that give off a very professional, sophisticated feel. Affixed to the top of the case is a stainless steel unidirectional bezel, with a glossy black ceramic insert that bears the elapsed time scale. Another obvious difference between this model and the Ref. SRPE37K1 is that this watch has a matte black dial that contrasts sharply against its all-silver exterior. It also shows off an exquisite waffle pattern and is adorned with thick geometric hour markers, luminous arrow hands, and a magnified date display. Matching its rugged exterior, you can find an impressive 4R35 Caliber inside this Seiko King Samurai watch. This is an automatic movement with manual-winding capacities and a power supply of approximately 41-hours. You can also easily take this watch on any of your water adventures as it has a decent 200-meter water resistance rating. The only downside about this particular model is that it is slightly more expensive than the SRPE37K1, coming in at $625 USD instead. However, considering the versatile charm of the Seiko King Samurai SRPE35K1, most would agree that the $30 USD difference barely matters. 2. Seiko Prospex King Samurai Save The Ocean Ref. SRPF79K1 Next, we have the latest addition to the Seiko King Samurai line: the Seiko Prospex King Samurai Save The Ocean Ref. SRPF79K1. Like the aforementioned models, this is a handsome timepiece that simply exudes sophisticated sportiness. One cool thing about this watch is that it is part of the Japanese brand’s Save the Ocean advocacy, which aims to promote better treatment of marine life. This Seiko watch is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case, coupled with a comfortable silicone strap in blue. On top of the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel, with a glossy black elapsed time scale insert made of ceramic. While the older King Samurai models showed off simple waffle dials, this watch boasts an ocean-inspired dial that depicts an artistic image of stingrays under the sea. It also consists of a standard luminous display with large geometric hour markers, arrow-headed hands, and a magnified date aperture at 3 o’clock. Powering this robust diver is an automatic 4R35 caliber that you can also wind manually. Held together by 23 jewels, it beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and possesses a 41-hour power reserve. If you want to take the extra mile in saving the ocean, you can also easily bring this watch with you on your underwater missions, thanks to its 200-meter depth rating. According to Seiko, part of the sales profit from this particular Seiko King Samurai model will go to marine preservation advocacies. As such, you can make a difference with just $470 USD. 3. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1  In this entry, we have a Seiko Samurai model which was released before the Seiko King Samurai. This Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1 has a very cool and masculine exterior. To the untrained eye, it might look quite similar to the previous Seiko King Samurai models, but there are some notable differences. This Seiko Samurai watch utilizes a 44mm black-tone stainless steel case and a matching black silicone strap. Pressed on top of the watch case is a striking two-tone bezel that has a rougher matte finish compared to the glossy bezels of the Seiko King Samurai. The grey and black hues of this elapsed time scale bezel also go incredibly well with the watch’s black motif. The dial of this watch also comes in black, with a unique embossed pattern that mimics the waffle design of the first Seiko King Samurai models. It is furnished with luminescent hour markers, arrow-head hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. Hints of gold accents are also scattered across the watch face, which stands out clearly against the black backdrop and gives the watch a more elegant, refined look. This watch runs on an automatic 4R35 Caliber as well. It has a depth rating of 200 meters and can last for up to 41 hours when fully wound. The Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1 costs approximately $550 USD. 4. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB99K1  The Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB99K1, on the other hand, serves as a more casual and quintessential option for everyday use. Made in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), this watch shows off classic design codes that make it extremely flexible and easy to pair with just about any outfit. The vibrant red and blue colors of this watch also recall the iconic Rolex Pepsi, which is another reason why this Seiko Samurai watch is so appealing to watch enthusiasts. This Seiko Samurai watch sports a 44mm stainless steel case, coupled with a bracelet made of the same material. Its unidirectional rotating bezel is fitted with a lively red and blue ceramic insert for the elapsed time scale. The dial, on the other hand, is more muted, showcasing a patterned grey-black finish. This dial is decorated with large arrow hands, thick geometric hour markers, and a compact date display at 3 o’clock. Underneath the watch’s simple face, you can find a Seiko 4R35 Caliber, which contains 23 jewels and offers a 41-hour power supply. Since this watch was made in collaboration with PADI, its solid 200-meter water resistance capacity is also within expectations. Priced at $490 USD, the SRPB99K1 serves as one of the most versatile predecessors to the Seiko King Samurai.  5. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPC93K1  Last but certainly not least, we have the Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPC93K1. Like the Seiko King Samurai SRPF79K1, this Seiko Samurai model belongs to the brand’s Save The Ocean campaign. As such, a part of the proceeds from its sales will go towards marine life conservation projects. This is the perfect watch option for those who love the ocean and want to make a genuine difference. This Seiko Samurai model uses a 44mm stainless steel case and matching three-link bracelet. It boasts a rotating aluminum bezel, with a handsome two-toned insert that displays different shades of blue. Complementing this bezel is the watch’s gorgeous blue dial, which flaunts a color gradient that goes from vibrant sunray blue to a dark, almost black shade, reflecting the cavernous depths of the ocean. This dial also consists of geometric hour markers, large arrow hands, and a date aperture at 3 o’clock. This watch is driven by an automatic 4R35 Caliber. It possesses a 41-hour power supply and can withstand water pressures up to depths of 200 meters. If you enjoy advocating for marine life and you love diving, this Seiko Samurai timepiece is a must-have at just $520 USD. Alternatives to the Seiko King Samurai The Seiko King Samurai is arguably one of the hardest watches to replicate. This means that finding a good alternative to them can be difficult. That said, we have curated a list of timepieces that show off a similar vibe or aesthetic as the iconic King Samurai watches.  1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LV First up, we have the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LV, which you might know as the Rolex Hulk. It is one of the most sought-after models from Rolex and is considered the grail piece of many watch enthusiasts out there. Like the Seiko King Samurai, the Rolex Hulk possesses quintessential diving elements that take inspiration from vintage dive watches. This Rolex Submariner piece is presented in a robust 40mm Oystersteel case, paired with a matching Oystersteel bracelet. Both the case and bracelet are sleekly polished, giving the watch an appealing, shiny luster. On top of the watch case, you can find a rotating bezel that is fitted with a gleaming blue Cerachrom bezel. Specially developed by Rolex, this Cerachrom bezel is highly scratch-resistant and bears indicators in silver for the elapsed time scale. The dial of this watch also comes in a matching, rich sunray green finish. It follows a very simple layout, comprising big hour indices in various geometric shapes, the signature Rolex Mercedes hands, and a date complication magnified by a cyclops lens. Inside this watch, you can find a powerful in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. This is a COSC-certified movement, which is held together by 31 jewels and boasts a 50-hour power reserve. Aside from having an exceptional accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day, this watch also possesses an impressive 300-meter depth rating, making it both stylish and reliable. While it is not the most budget-friendly alternative to the Seiko King Samurai, the Rolex Hulk is a good option for serious watch collectors who want to delve into luxury names. Be prepared to shell out at least $36,330 USD to get this handsome Rolex Hulk. 2. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY201T.BA0927 Next, we have the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY201T.BA0927. Not only is this a lovely alternative to the Seiko King Samurai, but it is also a great entry-level option for any watch collection. It has a very modern and geometric exterior that is quite similar to other Seiko watches. It also belongs to the TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection, one of the most popular dive watch series in existence, so you can certainly expect great things from this model. This TAG Heuer watch is encased in a 43mm stainless steel case and a three-link bracelet crafted from the same material. This watch also has a GMT bezel in two-toned black and blue hues, giving it a stylish look that is very reminiscent of the popular Rolex Batman. The blue dial, on the other hand, showcases an elegant horizontal teak pattern that resembles the wooden flooring of yachts. It is adorned with trapezoidal hour markers, thick sword hands, and a magnified date display at 3 o’clock. All of these functions are driven by an automatic TAG Heuer Caliber 7, which has a decent power reserve of 42 hours. This watch also has a 300-meter depth rating, making it a great companion both on land and underwater. This handsome TAG Heuer timepiece is priced at just $3,400 USD. 3. OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 215.30.44.21.03.001 Last on our list is the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 215.30.44.21.03.001, which is a great alternative to the Seiko King Samurai SRPF79K1. It comes with similar marine-inspired elements that aim to reflect the beauty and wonder of the ocean.  This OMEGA Seamaster watch is housed in a 43.5mm stainless steel case, coupled with a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. On the left side of the case, you can find a stout helium escape valve, which prevents the internal pressure inside the case from building up as the watch goes deeper underwater. The case is also fitted with a lovely elapsed time scale bezel in dark blue, which helps keep the anti-reflective sapphire crystal in place. The dial of this watch has a dark blue matte finish. The components in this dial are all neatly organized and spaced out, so they do not look too cluttered together. It is decorated with blunt hour markers, broad arrow-headed hands, and a compact date window at 3 o’clock. At the core of this watch is an OMEGA Master Chronometer Caliber 8800. This is a self-winding movement with an extended 55-hour power supply. This OMEGA timepiece also has an outstanding water resistance capacity of 600 meters, which is more than enough for both casual and professional divers. Given all its impressive functions and features, a price tag of $6,500 USD for this stunning watch should not be surprising. Final Thoughts  The Seiko King Samurai is a new and improved addition to a series that has been in existence for quite a while now. The King Samurai models come with unique, updated changes that were meant to prove the brand’s unyielding commitment to innovation. People are drawn to the Seiko King Samurai, in particular, because it is deemed superior in specifications compared to the standard Seiko Samurai timepieces. Ultimately, it is definitely a watch worthy of its title as King! Photo Credits: Seiko Website and WatchShopping Site Interested in more reliable Japanese divers? Check out this piece on the Casio Duro!

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