Earlier this year, famed Japanese watchmaker Seiko made waves with the launch of two vintage-inspired mechanical chronographs, each dubbed the Prospex Speedtimer. Inspired by Seiko’s — and Japan’s — first wrist-worn chronograph, the Crown Chronograph from 1964, the watches referenced a lesser known but significant piece of watchmaking history with an aesthetic that spoke directly to enthusiasts.
This month, Seiko showed that it wasn’t done with vintage callbacks in 2021 just yet, introducing another historically inspired timepiece called the Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph. The watch, which is made up of four colorways of the same base design, takes its inspiration from one of the most famous vintage chronographs around — from Seiko or otherwise. That historic watch, known as the Speedtimer Ref. 6139, was the market’s first widely available automatic chronograph, unveiled in May 1969 — which is notably earlier than the release of both Zenith’s El Primero and Heuer’s Caliber 11.
The new Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph is designed to channel that historic source material while also in line with the brand’s modern technological advancements and the distinctive styling of the Prospex collection. Available with either a white, gold, blue, or black dial — each with plenty of appealing accents and contrasts — the watch immediately has the look of a modern sports chronograph, purpose built for everyday wear. With a 39 mm by 13.3 mm steel case, the sizing is versatile without being dainty, its robust capabilities verified by a pair of sporty stepped pushers, a deeply toothed crown, and brushed finishing.
On top of the case, a contrasting fixed tachymetric bezel provides the frame for the dial and recalls the element first used on the vintage model from 1969; the blue-dialed edition even applies some contrasting red accents to its first quadrant to pay a more explicit homage to the historic model’s aesthetic. On the dial proper, the look is clean and focused, but filled with functionality. Its applied indices and subtle uses of fonts and numerals are clearly influenced by vintage sources, while other elements, such as the extended sword-style hands, are more contemporary in their design.
Among its functions the Prospex Speedtimer counts a 60-minute chronograph with 1/5 second accuracy, a date display, a 24-hour hand, and regular running timekeeping. The solar-powered Caliber V192 ensures the watch’s steady functioning without any risk of overcharging due to light exposure. In many ways, the movement represents the cutting edge of movement technology in much the same way as the automatic chronograph caliber within the original Speedtimer — a point driven home by the V192’s precision, accurate to +/-15 seconds per month.
The new Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph is available now, directly from Seiko and at authorized Seiko dealers, at an MSRP of $675.
To learn more, you can visit Seiko here.