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Alongside Seiko’s rich and ever-growing sporting heritage in the field of professional diving most of us are vastly familiar with throughout the Prospex collection, producing high-precision timing instruments has also been a forte for the Japanese brand as one of the earliest brands to produce an automatic chronograph in the watchmaking industry. That being said, Seiko introduces a series of six new stunning chronographs models to the Prospex line up, consisting of two mechanical models and four stunning solar-powered Seiko models that joins the collection.
Inheriting a design inspired from some of Seiko’s most historical chronographs including the 1964 Crown Chronograph, Seiko’s and Japan’s first chronograph wristwatch, and the 1969 Seiko Speedtimer chronograph which was powered by the innovative in-house Cal. 6139 automatic chronograph movement, these new releases alluringly revisits Seiko’s prodigious tradition in sports timing while flexing their modern watchmaking expertise in producing some really good-looking, yet performance-oriented chronographs — Seiko definitely hit a home run with this one.
|Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph 40th Anniversary - Ltd Ed 4000pcs Ref. SBER005
Seiko set a stage for themselves on a international level with the endorsement of their incredibly accurate time-measuring equipments by sports federations worldwide in many of the world’s leading sports events, this success was made possible with the incorporation of Seiko’s “heart-shaped cam” mechanism, a revolutionary development which delivered a level of precision once thought unachievable by manual sports timing devices. Following the release of the 1964 Crown Chronograph during the Summer Olympics, in May 1969, Seiko launched the Seiko Speedtimer, the world’s first mass-produced automatic chronograph timepiece driven by a column wheel and vertical clutch, an especially favored feature that became widespread in today’s scene of high-end chronograph watches. These were phenomenal watches that allowed Seiko to be established as one of the leaders in wristwatch chronograph technology, and these series of newly-released models certainly pays a strong tribute to the mighty performance and visual beauty of their eminent forefathers.
In 2023, Seiko decided to commemorate their 40th anniversary of the world’s first analog quartz chronograph that was born in 1983, with the limited edition Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph Ref. SBER005.
Seiko Cal. 8A50 solar-powered quartz chronograph movement
Encased in a robust 316L stainless steel case construction, the latest member is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph 40th Anniversary - Ref. SBER005 vaguely resembles the case shape of some of Seiko’s modern 62MAS reissues with its slightly rounded lug design, a well-crafted case design many Seiko lovers are largely familiar with. Measuring with a pleasing diameter of 42mm, a lug to lug distance of 48.2mm and a thickness of only 12.9mm, the sub-42mm size will definitely satisfy the masses with just the perfect amount of wrist presence without feeling overwhelming while remaining extremely versatile for a whole range of wrist sizes. Like many of Seiko’s other Prospex models, the finishes here are skilfully executed to a high level of detail with circular satin brushing on the top of the lugs and a smooth high polish at the side of the case. Pairing with the watch is a sporty 20mm stainless steel 3-link bracelet, secured with solid end-links, tapering down gracefully to about 18mm at the clasp.
Being a watch originally built for the tracking of time, and now measuring up to 1/100 of a second, the Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph houses four sub-dials, where three of them acts as the chronograph counters, which is utilized in conjunction with the to measure elapsed time of an event. Taking a closer look at the finer details, the case bestows 100m of water resistance and 4,800 A/m magnetic resistance for its wearer. The case then clads three push buttons which are hobnail shaped, located at 2, 7, and 10 o’clock positions which activates and stop the chronograph functions, and also in different modes. Lastly, the signed crown at 4 o’clock allows the wearer to adjust the standard time.
Satin brushed and high polish case profile
The highlight of the 40th anniversary model got to be its dial design. Limited to 4000 pieces, the Khaki grey dial of the Prospex Speedtimer is delicately finished in a vertical brushed texture to ensure a high level of readability and legibility, an attribute critical for a sports watch meant for professional use. Equipped with four contrasting black subdials at the cardinal points, with the 3 o’clock subdial displaying the 1/100 second time, the 9 o’clock subdial showing the 1/10 seconds. The 12 o’clock measures the conventional 60 seconds when the chronograph is activated. Notably, the 6 o’clock dedicated to dual functions: the usual time reading subdial will be activated to be a 60-minute elapsed time counter when the chronograph starts running. The dial is flanged with a matching black chapter ring, with indications of each sub-dials readings as well as the “mode” and time adjustment.
Bearing a close resemblance to the 1969 Seiko Speedtimer and celebrating their 40-year history the Seiko’s first analog chronograph that displayed time increments in 1/100th of a second in 1992, nine years after the birth of the analog quartz chronograph. The hour indices are intricately applied with applied markers, accompanying the broad sword-style handsets, which are treated with Seiko’s renowned LumiBrite paint for an easy time-reading experience even in the dark. The minute hand in tandem with the other subdials’ second hands, are done in bright orange, which is direct nod back to the sixties chronograph epoch. The dial is then complete with a curved scratch-resistant sapphire glass, treated with generous amounts of anti-reflective coating to ensure utmost clarity.
|Seiko's LumiBrite luminous
Underneath the solidly-constructed exterior, the Prospex Solar Speedtimer Chronograph is driven by the reliable Seiko Cal. 8A50 solar-powered quartz chronograph movement, boasting a power reserve of about 6 months on a full charge and an accuracy rating of approximately ±15 seconds a month. As mentioned above, the chronograph is operated through the pushers on the side of the case, the movement features a 1 second, 1/10, 1/100-second chronograph with 60-minute registration functions.
Paying tribute to one of Seiko’s most legendary chronograph timepieces, the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph 40th Anniversary - Ref. SBER005 showcases the modern watchmaking prowess of the Japanese watch manufacturing giant in a gorgeous value-packed Prospex chronograph that got so many things right. The watch design embodies the design concept of a speed timer that "measures time accurately." From the lovely dimensions to the exceptional craftsmanship, Seiko’s rich timekeeping heritage is unmistakably reflected in both the iconic visual aesthetics and remarkable timing precision of this new release, and we can definitely expect this one to be a fan-favorite in no time.