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Seiko has become a well-respected brand whose watches have been enjoyed by millions since its founding in 1881. The brand is an undisputed king of watchmaking - from its first mechanical watch in 1913 to the 2014 prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) for its hi-beat caliber. In recent years, Seiko has worked hard to streamline its offerings. Expanding alongside the Prospex and Presage lines that have become more defined and stand on their own capably, Seiko has brought back their iconic Speedtimer line from its past.
It started in 1969 with the introduction of the Seiko Speedtimer, an important milestone for Seiko as this was the first step for the brand to introduce its own chronograph. It was also to be one of the world’s first automatic chronographs, featuring the robust Caliber 6139, whose precision in elapsed time measurement signalled advancement in the history of the automatic wristwatch.
Now, Seiko has re-introduced the Speedtimer range that has garnered attention from many watch enthusiasts. The Seiko Speedtimer range never disappoints with refreshing aesthetics while also take pride in its multitude of affordable watches with timeless designs. The watch we’re taking a look at today is precisely that.
|Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph Ice Blue Ref. SBDL109
Let’s start with the case dimension. The Seiko Speedtimer Solar Chronograph comes in a 41.4mm diameter, the watch has a lug-to-lug of 45.9mm and a thickness of 13mm. Do not let the diameter put you off, as the relatively short lug-to-lug coupled with the curved profile of the lugs will help the watch wear comfortably on the wrist and suit most wrist sizes. The SBDL109 is made of 316L stainless steel and features a mixture of satin-brushed and high-polished finishing. The bevelled edges of the lugs are polished, while the rest of the case is finely satin-brushed. Such a level of detailing is usually unseen for an entry-level watch, but Seiko manages to outdo itself again. The pump-pushers at the case side are polished in tandem with the 3 o’clock crown. When pushing those pushers, they worked buttery smooth, triggering the start, stop and reset for the chronograph functions.
The dial configuration is the classic and much-loved tri-compax layout - a sunburst light blue dial with gradient black sub-dials - bringing back the “panda” outlook. Retro applied indices are used throughout, with the indices at 3,6 and 9 shortened to accommodate the chronograph subdials. Seiko went with the classic 3-6-9 layout here, just like the original vintages, with the ticking second hand at 3, a 60-minute counter at 6, and a 24-hour indicator at 9. A date wheel is located at 4.30, which is a helpful complication that does not disrupt the dial’s proportions as it is color-matched. The watch will also allow you to calculate the speed of an object as it has a tachymeter scale etched on the bezel.
Seiko Cal. V192 solar-powered quartz chronograph movement
Covering the sunburst blue panda dial is a domed sapphire crystal for scratch resistance and dial clarity even in harsh lighting - thanks to the anti-reflective coating applied. The push-pull crown and screwed-down case back combine to give the watch 100m of water resistance which means that you could get wet with it without any worries. Seiko’s proprietary Lumibrite can also be found on the faceted hands and indices, allowing one to read the time even in dark conditions. We love the sporty touch whereby the second hand is done in bright red colour, matching with its 60-minute counter hand.
Powering the Speedtimer is the Seiko V192 movement. It is solar-powered and will thus not require battery replacements. It is also highly accurate, with a stated deviation of +/- 15 seconds per month. On a full charge, the movement will be able to run for six months continuously without a light source. The movement also has a low battery indicator where the second hand will tick once every 2 seconds to indicate that it is time to charge up your watch. Simply place the watch in an area with sufficient artificial or natural lighting to charge the movement. No need for special LED lights or anything! Solar calibers offer complete peace of mind and are a terrific alternative to the typical quartz watches. You’ll never have to worry about it not running when you just want a watch to grab and go. Solar calibres offer complete peace of mind and are a terrific alternative to the typical quartz watches.
Satin brushed and high polish case profile
Seiko pairs the Speedtimer Solar Chronograph Ice Blue Ref. SBDL109 on a 20mm oyster-style bracelet. The bracelet tapers gently to a signed Seiko folding buckle. It is robust and will match both dressier and casual settings, providing stability and comfortortability on the wrist.
The SBDL109 is yet another wonderful solar-powered chronograph that boasts handsome good looks and the specifications to ensure that it can be robust and take a beating if needed. It offers terrific value for money, and you could even feel its retro-ness of Seiko prowess in creating the chronographs for professionals. It makes the perfect grab-and-go watch in a casual blue tone, for any situation and occasion. Like how they almost ended the Swiss watch industry during the quartz crisis, Seiko has again made us realise that you do not need to spend a lot of money to add a terrific chronograph to your collection.