In 2019 Seiko debuted a new Prospex range - the Prospex LX collection. Before getting into the individual model, let's get right into the whole philosophy of the emerging LX collection.
Seiko Prospex LX Skymaster Ref. SBDB031 / SNR033
The acronym "LX" basically means "light" in Latin according to Seiko, designed by a reputable Japanese designer; Mr. Ken Okuyama. He might be a stranger to many watch enthusiasts but not to those in the motor world, where he had worked on the Porsche 911 (specifically the 996), and while he was at Pininfarina, his designs including the Enzo, 456M, and California from Ferrari.
All these revivals of the "classics" show that Okuyama's effort on keeping the DNA for the brands through and through, therefore these can be seen in the new Seiko LX collection. "I aimed to take the unique inheritance and integrity that Seiko has built-in sports watches over the decades and to bring them alive in a design that has simplicity, harmony, power, and presence. The Prospex LX is a true Seiko with a thoroughly contemporary feel.." Mentioned Japan's designer.
Fan-shaped power reserve indicator reflects the SpringDrive movement underneath
Now onto the collection, both Seiko and Okuyama brought back the design of the 1960s professional divers and 90s tool watches, like the legendary duo Ref. 6215 and 6159. We definitely can see this in the Prospex LX Skymaster Ref. SBDB031/SNR033J1.
The sky variation SNR033J1 features a broad and flat surface case all made out of titanium to keep it lightweight. The case measures at 44.8mm wide and 14.7mm thick, all finished with high-end Zaratsu polishing modus operandi, a combination of satin-brushed and polished surfaces with a super-hard coating. The use of titanium means this watch is exceptionally comfortable due to its weight or lack of.
Okuyama knows his stuff, as he pays tribute to the 1960s “marine masters” (Ref. 6215, 6159) the new SNR033J1 features bi-directional friction titanium 24 hours bezel, with two-tone Horizon colorways (black and blue). The theme follows on to the dial. Underneath the sapphire crystal features a bright red GMT hand for showcasing the third time zone, corresponding to another 24 hours markers on the periphery. The dial in sunburst blue shade, is done elegantly, like for instance, having applied hour markers with elegant metal trims around them, paired with the signature fan-shaped applied power reserve at 8 o'clock. The date has the Grand Seiko's date font, and it does not stop there. The date window's frame has excellent satin finishing done, and one might not find this effort and details on other majority watches, even those that are priced much higher.
Full titanium case and bracelet with super-hard coating
Since having the power reserve indicator on the dial, Seiko's collector quickly recounts the movement that tucks neatly behind. The Prospex LX Skymaster Ref. SBDB031/SNR033J1 powered by Seiko's iconic Spring drive GMT movement, 5R66. The 30 jewels Spring drive dual-time (GMT) movement featured that particular power reserve of 72 hours (3 days) with an accuracy of ±1 second per day and used primarily in the Grand Seiko and high-end Marine Master collection that has a GMT function.
Let us digress a little here and spend some time understanding (or try to) the Spring drive concept. The Spring Drive is a conventional automatic movement with a few critical components replaced. Namely, the functional timekeeping parts are gone, which are the pallet fork, escape wheel, balance wheel, and hairspring. Replacing them is a tri-synchro regulator, which is a new way of extremely precisely controlling the amount of power coming out of the mainspring. The tri-synchro regulator converts kinetic energy from the mainspring into electrical energy, which powers a quartz crystal and an electromagnetic brake which slows the movement down following information from the quartz crystal.
At last, the SNR033J1 Skymaster completed the sports tool package with a full satin finished titanium bracelet with the Seiko signed clasp.
Seiko lumibrite glows brightly in the dark
Summing things up, the latest Prospex LX paved a new path for Seiko's sports line and the SBDB031/SNR033J1 spots on with impeccable movement, spectacular finished case, and bracelet. Its titanium case is quite something you have to see and feel in person to understand the amount of work Seiko's watchmakers have put into it, packed with a GMT function, date, power reserve counter, and DiaShield. If you are in the market for Seiko's finest Prospex sports watch, this is the watch to consider for sure. All that said, we bet many watch enthusiasts are pleased with Okuyama and Seiko's effort to revise and upgrade their professional tool watches from their archives, just like the Singer with their Porsches, and Pininfarina with Ferraris.