Early this year, we at DiveIntoWatches.com briefly introduced you here to the first of two upcoming special editions marking the 50th anniversary of dive watches carrying the Seiko name (and it seems there are many more to come). Both the new Seiko Marinemaster (Ref. SBDX012) and the less expensive Ref. SBDC027 — basically a modified version of the Seiko Prospex “Sumo” (SBDC001) — have since then hit the shelves. And because the SBDC027 offers quite a bit more upgrades and changes to the standard model, and is produced in a much larger quantities, we thought it would be helpful to provide more details on that particular model now that we’ve had the chance to handle one in real life.
In general, we feel that there has never been a “Sumo” with a more balanced look than this 27th version of it — the new set of hands, the glossy bezel insert similar to the Marinemaster’s, plus the brownish, dark dial really did change the look of the watch for the better: Both the dial and bezel have become much less busy than the ones found on the base model, and this can also be considered a positive change. Sure, the watch may be considered a bit of a “compromise” if it’s viewed as a re-edition of Seiko’s first dive watch, but overall it is a very attractive new release.
As with the regular model, we still think that the 20-mm lug size is a bit too small for a 44-mm to 45-mm case when worn with the bracelet, and we feel that the proportions of the dial (especially with the significantly smaller hour hand) tend to be a touch too small when compared to the significantly more massive bezel and case. Also, a black polyethurane strap would have been a nice add-on, and a bit closer to that of the 1965 model, as would a Seiko Hardlex crystal. Nevertheless, both the bracelet and sapphire crystal should be regarded as a most welcome upgrade from a consumer’s point of view, and the watch should certainly not be criticized for not being true enough to its past.
Speaking of close: Over the years we have seen and reviewed so many Seikos that we weren’t expecting to find anything like the dust on the hands that this one had, or lume that has been applied that unevenly, as this one did. Also, the edges of the new hands seem unusually rough when compared to what we are used to getting from Seiko, regardless of the price level. However, since we’ve only reviewed this one model of the SBDC027, we expect and hope this to be that famous “exception that proves the rule.” Who knows, maybe Seiko’s Quality Control team was already celebrating the 50th anniversary when this piece was being dispatched.
The SBDC027 is powered by Seiko’s in-house Caliber 6R15, which comes with hacking seconds and can be wound manually. It is limited to 2,000 pieces and retails for 80,000 Japanese yen (about $675).
What we liked very much:
- Over-delivering in most aspects: great price/performance ratio
- The glossy black bezel insert similar to the one used for the Marinemaster
- The elegant gray/brown dial, which is so much less busy than the one on the “Sumo”
- For a returning customer, the SBDC027 offers more differences from to the base model than e.g. the SBDX012
What we absolutely loved:
- An affordable option to celebrate 50 years with a limited edition
- Great overall quality and an interesting movement alternative thanks to the 6R15
- Great wrist presence and a great-looking Seiko dive watch
What we would have changed:
- A black rubber or polyethurane strap in addition to the bracelet
- The Prospex logo could have been placed only on the caseback instead of also on the dial
- Even though sapphire is considered an upgrade to Hardlex: for a re-edition we would have preferred something more true to the history of Seiko
- It’s seems to be a bit of a compromise to equip a contemporary model from 2007 with a new dial/hand/bezel combination in order to celebrate a rather different model from the past
Manufacturer: Seiko Watch Corporation
Model: Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver 200m 50th Anniversary Limited Edition (2,000 pieces)
Case: 45-mm diameter, 13-mm height; stainless steel case with screw-down crown; massive caseback; sapphire crystal; unidirectional bezel (120 clicks), 200 meter water-resistance
Bracelet: 20-mm lug size, stainless steel bracelet
Dial: dark brown metallic with applied markers
Movement: Seiko Caliber 6R15 automatic movement, 23 jewels, approx. 50-hour power reserve
Price: 80,000 JPY (approx. $675)