In 2019, it is an essential year for significant watch brands as they celebrated the importance of their anniversaries. From the land of the rising sun, Seiko has released exclusive watches to commemorate 40 years of the Anime franchise- Gundam.
Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional Char's Zaku II - Ltd Ed 1000pcs - Ref. SBDX029
We are no experts on the “Space Opera” serial, but we will briefly bring you through and the new Mobile Suit Gundam 40th anniversary series consists of special Seiko references that all represent specific interpretations of the show’s characters from the “Gundam-ist” anime series.
The Mobile Suit Gundam started in 1979 by animator Yoshiyuki Tomino where there are giant, human-piloted machine robots (Mobile Suits) that are controlled by a human pilot located in the cockpit at the torso. The 22nd-century war battles mainly being similar to the storyline of Star Wars, which the Japanese “space opera” leads to dozen of serials in television, toys and even video games, reaching a pop cult phenomenon.
Seiko marks the 40th anniversary of this iconic Japanese anime by launching the Prospex Marinemaster Professional Char’s Zaku II Limited Edition SBDX029, based on the Mobile Suit of Char Aznable, the antagonist in Gundam equivalent of Darth Vader from Star Wars, while the watch is essentially a crimson red Emperor Tuna with 1000m water resistant and the high-end 8L35 automatic caliber.
Crimson red theme based on the Mobile Suits Zaku
First off, a Seiko Tuna boasts of many firsts. The collection was the first to feature a titanium/stainless steel shroud, a monocoque case, an L-shaped gasket, and a vented rubber strap. Primarily built for functionality, the Seiko Tuna watches can withstand great depths as tools for professional divers.
Built in 1975, the first Seiko Tuna watch created in response to a letter the company received in 1968. A saturation diver from Kure City in the Hiroshima, Japan sent a complaint regarding Seiko divers watches, which the company had been making since 1965. These pre-Tuna models were not robust to impact and could not withstand exposure to deep underwater pressure for prolonged periods.
Seiko engineers took on the challenge to create the “ultimate professional diver’s watch. These engineers, led by Ikuo Tokunaga, decided to develop the new Seiko Tuna watches for saturation diving from the start. Tokunaga and his team began development in 1968 and released the first Seiko Tuna watch seven years later with more than 20 patents.
"Captain rank" signed crown
Being the top of the line Prospex and arguably the second highest Seiko dive watch(first being Grand Seiko), Seiko gave it the best it had.
The Seiko Prospex Marine Master Pro. Char’s Zaku II L.E Ref. SBDX029 is powered by Seiko's iconic high-grade Seiko 26-jewel automatic (8L35) movement which is an undecorated and unadjusted version of the Grand Seiko movement, caliber 9S55. The 8L35 beats at 28,800 bph and has hand-winding and hacking features. The movement has 50 hours of power reserve with an expected accuracy within -10/+15 seconds per day.
The 52mm titanium case based on the one-eyed Zaku Mobile Suits used by the atagonist, radiates a crimson red treatment on the bezel and dial, protected by a black chrome-like ceramic outer shroud with super-hard coating. Due to the lack of lugs in the Tuna design, the case is only 52mm lugs to lugs. That means this "Tuna" sits so comfortably on the wrist. We think it fits more like a conventional 45mm watch with lugs — the 52mm case constructed out of 2 layers, inner and outer case. The inner case is made of titanium and a monobloc construction. Without a need for a screw-down caseback, the movement cased from the top, before the dial and the crystal. This allows the watch to be water resistant to 1.000m (in fact, it reached 3.000m affixed to the exterior hull of KAIKO 7000 II, a remotely operated undersea research vehicle) and to be entirely impermeable to helium.
The outer case, a.k.a the shroud, still being made of highly resistant ceramic, features the Zaku’s model ref. “ MS-06S” at 9 o’clock, and a “lock” indication next to its screw-in crown that features the Zaku’s “captain” rank, represented by the distinct stripes. Further, this outer shell made both to protect the case from shocks and to prevent any unintentional rotation of the bezel.
Seiko's Lumibrite glows in the dark
The SBDX029’s dial design while being faithful to the original, continues to bear the Zaku’s traits. For an instant, the second's hand’s counterweight is done in red to reminiscence the Cyclops visor, along with the “power pipe” style chapter ring. On to the hour markers, it designed with large luminous dots, batons and triangular indexes like the original Tunas and large luminous hands. Both the hands and the indexes are coated with a military green color that matches the theme, and that perfectly mixes with the overall. The dial's makers and hands treated with Seiko's Lumibrite for excellent low light visibility. There's a lot of lume on this Tuna-like a ton of it. Probably, the most we've ever seen on a watch.
Sapphire crystal with anti-fogging coating for added toughness.
The Prospex Marinemaster Professional Char’s Zaku II Limited Edition SBDX029 Tuna comes with an ultra-soft rubber strap with its Zaku’s emblem. The lightweight of the Titanium case, the lugs-less design, and the flexible strap adds to the overall wearing comfort of this watch.