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In 1964, Seiko introduced a 12-ligne, hand-wound chronograph movement known as Caliber 5719, produced by their factory, Suwa Seikosha. The wristwatch chronograph known as its caliber- 5719-8992 features a single pusher chronograph function with horizontal coupling and a column wheel to control the whole star, stop and reset the system. Half a decade later, Seiko innovated what is supposed to be the first Seiko automatic chronograph; it is the highly coveted caliber 6139 that debuted in 1969. Although the Swiss counterparts brought to the chronograph table with their caliber 11s and El Primeros, the caliber 6139 is unique as it features additional day-date display with a 30 minute counter, and column wheel mechanism with vertical clutch system. Boy does it works like a robust workhorse for the following decades.
|Seiko Prospex Chronograph 50th Anniversary - Ltd Ed 1000pcs - Ref. SBEC005|
Before we get onto the Anniversary Chronograph, we like to elaborate more on what the Prospex line stood for in Seiko. Seiko has gone through decades of refinements and developing its mechanical watchmaking skills. This had led to the creation of Seiko's all-mechanical collection, the Prospex. The selection heavily based on Seiko's heritage, whereby most of the design cues translated from the 1913 Laurel (with a white enamel dial and Arabic numerals). However, the Prospex line has evolved since then with different aesthetics and designs while staying true to the pure-mechanical prospects without compromise.
Now back to the main topic right here, the Seiko Prospex Chronograph 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Ref. SBEC005 is Seiko's latest variation of the Prospex collection with a mechanical automatic chronograph, which is a rare thing to find nowadays in Seiko's collections. It heavily based on the first automatic Chronograph with 30 minutes and 12-hour counters that they manufactured in 1970; 6138-8020. Specifically, the SBEC005 is Seiko's tribute to the "Panda" variants- featuring a main white face with dual black tone sub-dials and tachymeter rehaut. The case is almost 1-to-1 in dimension from 40mm to 41mm wide and with a thickness of 16mm to keep things balanced. The watch kept its DNA, having full polished mid-case and case-back, semi L-shaped old-school lugs style with no rotating bezel, and all that what makes 6138-8020 Panda distinct. Further, though the vibe of the SBEC005 feels nostalgic and sixties, the finishing is impeccable with Seiko's Zaratsu polishing throughout the whole case. On the right side of the case, we got the two pump-pushers to start and reset the Chronograph, and a signed crown for time and date adjustments.
|Seiko Automatic Chronograph Caliber 8R48
Underneath the box-shaped crystal showcases Seiko's up-to-date chronograph format. The Tri-Compax layout fits nicely into the center of the dial, where the snailed dual color tone sub-dials create a precise depth for the wearer to view. The 30 minute and 12-hour counters are mainly in black color that matches with the inner tachymeter rehaut, whereas the running seconds counter at 3 o'clock is done in silver to match the main dial for the main time-reading. The sunburst silver dial further bears vertical brushed-finishings throughout, giving a nostalgic appeal with certain kind of character. Another nod to the original 6138-8020 model goes to the overall "panda" look with the applied "Seiko" logo and applied hour markers with black strips on the top surface. A necessary yet subtle date-display is set in-between the 4 and 5 o'clock position without any overlaps. Everything on the vintage-looking dial balance off blissfully without feeling cluttered and wearers will have no problem reading off both the time and sub-dials reading at all.
Flipping the watch over, the Seiko Prospex Chronograph 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Ref. SBEC005 powered by Seiko's top-end automatic caliber, 8R48, operating at 28,800 BPH (4 Hertz) with hacking and hand winding capabilities. Further, it features a column-wheel and vertical clutch system, which allows smoother usage of the Chronograph. This integrated Chronograph has 34 jewels with a power reserve of 45 hours through a Spron 510 mainspring.
|Elegant case finishing with chrono pushers|
The bracelet on the SBEC005 is also made entirely from titanium. Each link made up of 5 parts. Satin brushed on the three main parts and polished on the connecting elements. The two outer sections are oval, and the three center parts are faceted to give the bracelet a sense of quality and dimensions.
Limited to 1000 pieces, the Seiko Prospex Chronograph 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Ref. SBEC005 is a nicely executed chronograph that brings one back in celebration mood on Seiko's effort of pioneering a robust chronograph. If one is looking for a genuine, solid reissue of one's brand achievement in horology, this vertical clutch, column-wheel automatic, hooded in its original heritage case design, the 50th Anniversary Chronograph sets forth as a great example, and one will not be disappointed.