Japanese watchmaker Seiko made news earlier this month when it released a pair of vintage-inspired dive watches, the new SPB239 and SPB237 references. Proving it was not quite finished yet with resurrecting its historically influenced timepieces, Seiko now unveils a third in 2021: the Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver’s 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Ref. S23635.
The new watch, as its name indicates, is meant as a celebration of the first 1000-meter water-resistant, quartz-powered “Tuna” watch that Seiko released in 1986. That model, which followed up the original “Tuna” from 1975, represented at the time a major technological breakthrough in timekeeping and durability for Seiko dive watches. Several elements from the historical watch have found their way into the new one, including the use of a quartz caliber, the classic tuna-can case design that lent it its nickname, and several gold colorway details. It’s a design strongly connected to the past but also recognizably modern.
The anniversary model’s bulky 49.4-mm monocoque titanium case is 17.2 mm thick and protected via the large ceramic outer piece that defined the historical watch’s unique look. This outer shell helps provide the watch with excellent shock resistance and features a massive screw-down crown at the 4:30 position where many Seiko dive watches’ crowns are placed. The case, along with its outer portion, is secured via two screws on the top and bottom, with hidden lugs just beneath them connecting to a sturdy rubber strap and securing the watch to the wrist. The deeply-toothed, unidirectional, sapphire-insert diving bezel is operated through two gaps in the ceramic outer layer, in parallel to one another on the top right and bottom left sides of the case.
The dial, in Seiko’s stylish, familiar diver configuration, draws most of its influence directly from its 1986 source material. Outlined by a curved white-printed minute ring on its outer edge, the dial’s gradient surface is lighter blue at the center and almost black along the edges. Its large, lume-filled applied hour markers consist mostly of circles, with the exception of a slightly rounded triangle at 12 o’clock. At the 3 o’clock spot, as on the vintage edition, a slim day-date indicator replaces an hour marker.
The dial otherwise is relatively simple, with some descriptors towards the bottom and an applied Seiko logo opposite these, all under two massive, lume-filled hands for the passing powers and minutes and an accompanying orange-colored pointer is for the ticking seconds. The movement inside, Seiko’s quartz Caliber 7C46, is frequently considered one of the brand’s best offerings, being put to use almost exclusively in top-line models within the Seiko Prospex series. Among the caliber’s impressive specs are its accuracy to +/- 15 seconds per month and its 5-year battery life, with an EOL (end of life) indicator to alert the owner to the end of this period.
The Seiko Prospex 1986 Quartz Diver’s 35th Anniversary LE is expected to become available in July 2021 and is limited to 1,200 pieces. Pricing is currently set at €2,700 for the European market, with some American retailers, such as Topper Jewelers, currently listing the watch for pre-order at $2,600.
To learn more, you can visit Seiko, here.