Launched at Baselworld last year, the Seiko Prospex LX is a series of solidly-engineered sports watches conceived for air, land and sea – and designed in collaboration with Ken Okuyama, once the Creative Director at Pininfarina and one of Japan’s most prolific car designers.
Powered by Seiko’s trademark Spring Drive movement, the Prospex LX Limited Edition SNR045 retains the familiar design modelled on the Seiko 1968 Hi-beat Diver, but now dressed in green. The textured dial is inspired by an underwater forest of moss pillars – nicknamed “kokebozu”, or “moss child”, by Japanese scientists – located at the bottom of a lake in Antarctica’s Skarvsnes Foreland.
With both its dial and glossy ceramic bezel in forest green, the watch is immediately striking – and reminiscent of well-known, hulking green dive watch. The all-green dive watch is fashionable now, and Seiko is one amongst a host of brands doing it, so the colour is not unique.
But Seiko executes its watches well – quality is excellent inside and out – and excels in highly-functional dive watches that perform well in legibility and usability. That sets this apart from the competition.
As a sucker for textured dials, the ribbed dial pattern – meant to evoke the aquatic moss pillars – is highly appealing. It adds depth and character to what is otherwise a no-nonsense “tool” watch.
I am not a fan of the power reserve indicator though, as it doesn’t work with the pattern dial. Generally, I can accept a power reserve display on a smooth-finish dial as on the regular-production LX divers, but on a patterned dial the indicator interrupts the texture.
Priced at a hefty US$6,000, the new diver encroaches into Grand Seiko territory. Though it is not a Grand Seiko, the LX diver does possess some features often associated with Grand Seiko, namely the Spring Drive movement and Zaratsu-polished case. Add to that the striking dial and 500-piece run, the price is justified, albeit in by a narrow margin.
A key part of the bold, sport look is the case design that takes its cues from Seiko’s first 300 m dive watch of 1968. Measuring 44.8 mm wide and 15.7 mm tall, the watch is large and thick, but because the case and bracelet are in titanium, it feels less chunky than it looks.
Thanks to the wide and aggressively-angled bevels, the case has a sculptural and three-dimensional look, making it one of my favourite sports watch designs. The appeal is also elevated by the Zaratsu polishing, a technique frequently employed by Seiko and Grand Seiko. Zaratsu results in an ultra-flat, mirrored finish that is practically distortion-free, something that really shines on the wide, polished surfaces of the case.
One of the downsides of a high-polished titanium case is its tendency to accrue highly-visible scratches. That’s alleviated with Diashield, a proprietary hard coating on the surface of the case.
As with most of Seiko’s top-of-the-line dive watches, the new LX diver is powered by a Spring Drive movement. A hybrid of sorts that combines a mechanical going train with an electronically-regulated oscillator, the Spring Drive is robust and also able to keep much more accurate time compared to a traditional mechanical movement, to within a second a day and 15 seconds a month – all characteristics that make the Spring Drive well suited to sports watches.
Specifically, the LX diver is powered by the 5R65, a practical movement that includes a date and a longish 72-hour power reserve
Notably, the 5R65 is functionally identical to the 9R65 found in several Grand Seiko models, except it has been dressed down, going without any of the decoration found on the Grand Seiko movements. Nothing is lost in terms of the wearing experience, since the watch has a closed, screw-down case back.
Key Facts and Price
Seiko Prospex LX Limited Edition “Underwater Forest”
Diameter: 44.8 mm
Height: 15.7 mm
Water resistance: 300 m
Movement: Cal. 5R65
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date and power reserve indicator
Power reserve: 72 hours
Limited edition: 500 pieces
Availability: From August at boutiques and authorised retailers
Price: US$6,000; or 693,000 Japanese yen
For more information, visit Seikowatches.com.
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