Earlier today, as part of a host of new 2020 releases, Japan’s Seiko unveiled four new watches celebrating the 55th anniversary of the brand’s first dive watch. The first three of these are a trilogy of vintage re-issues, using the 1970s “Tuna” 6159, the 1960s Hi-Beat 6215 and 62MAS 6217 as base designs (vintage models pictured below), with each new model featuring a brand new steel alloy material produced by the brand dubbed “Ever-Bright Steel.” These three historical references have been some of the most popular designs produced by Seiko in its history, with each having been re-issued in its own right at different points over the past few years, so it’s no surprise the brand is using them again now to celebrate another anniversary as well as to showcase a new material.
“Ever-Bright Steel,” according to the brand, is even more corrosive resistant than the 316L surgical-grade steel alloy most commonly used in luxury watches today — which is itself remarkably corrosion resistant. To support this claim, Seiko has cited the “extensive” use of the material “in the surfaces, linings, bolts and other components of marine structures and vessels so as to avoid corrosion in a chloride-rich environment such as sea water.” The brand has also discussed the higher PREN (Pitting Resistance Equivalent Number) value of the alloy being 1.7 times higher than 316L steel, PREN being a “widely accepted standard used to measure corrosion resistance.”
According to Seiko, the new alloy is also somewhat brighter than traditional steel, due solely to the color of the material rather than any special finishing on the metal such as “Zaratsu polishing,” a technique popularly used in sister brand Grand Seiko’s watches but not used in the models featured here from the “mainline” Seiko brand.
The first of these new watches is the 1965 Diver’s Re-creation, which is a re-issue of the vintage 62MAS ref. 6217. This model uses a 39.9-mm brushed “Ever-Brilliant Steel” case, with a large screw-down crown at 3 o’clock, and featuring a black 60-minute unidirectional diving bezel to outline the face. The blue-grey dial of the watch is protected by a vintage-style “box-shaped” sapphire crystal meant to recall the acrylic used in such models historically. On its dial is a simple white outer minute ring, applied rectangular hour markers with a 3 o’clock date window, and complementary rectangular hour and minute hands sweeping over the dial with a rectangle-tipped lollipop seconds hand. Inside this watch is Seiko’s Hi-Beat 8L55 automatic caliber, with a 36,000-vph frequency and a 55-hour power reserve.
The 1965 Diver’s Re-creation will be limited to 1,100 editions and will retail at $6,300. The movement is protected by a solid screw-down case back, providing the watch with a 200-meter depth rating.
The second of the re-issues is the 1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation, which uses the historical Hi-Beat ref. 6215 as its direct inspiration. This model, as mentioned, also uses a brushed “Ever-Brilliant Steel” case, though this one’s screw-down crown is at 4;30 and its case is larger, at 44.8-mm. Surrounding the dial is another black unidirectional 60-minute diving bezel, with this bezel noticeably using thicker markings compared to the 1965 Diver’s Re-creation and a white triangle marker at its top — both features faithful to the historical 6215.
On the edge of the dial is a slightly angled outer white minute ring, with applied circle and rectangular hour markers and another 3 o’clock date window. Passing over the dial are two Super-LumiNova-filled sword hands, with the 6215’s iconic red-dot seconds hand accompanying them. The same 8L55 automatic caliber as in the previous model beats inside, though this watch is somewhat more capable for professional diving, featuring a 300-m depth rating.
The 1968 Professional Diver’s 300m Re-creation will retail at $6,800 USD will be also be limited to 1,100 editions.
The final model in the vintage-inspired trilogy is the 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation, which is the latest re-issue of the distinct and historical “Grandfather Tuna” Ref. 6159 of the 1970s. Notably, this model opts for a traditional titanium case and only uses the new “Ever-Brilliant Steel” for its bezel. It maintains a whopping size on the wrist, at 52.4 mm in diameter and 17.2 mm in height. This model features a screw-down, 4:30-positioned crown, a thick, toothed unidirectional 60-minute bezel in black with white accents, and a black outer shell protected using a “super hard” coating.
On the dial of the watch we see the continued use of the blue-grey color, along with a simple white outer minute ring, a traditional configuration of printed circle hour markers with a rounded triangle at the 12 o’clock position, and a small date window at the 3 o’clock. Passing over the dial are the Tuna’s traditional arrow and sword-style hands for the hour and minutes, with a simple pointer used for the seconds; just below these indicators are some of the watch’s details, like its magnetic resistance of 40,000 A/m printed in red, and its dive rating of 1000 meters, in white.
Inside the 1975 Professional Diver’s 600m Re-creation is the automatic caliber 8L35, which beats at 28,800 vph and stores a 50-hour power reserve. This new “Tuna” model will also be limited to 1,100 editions, though they will sell for somewhat less, at $4,500. The lower price likely is due to the decreased use of the updated steel material (which the brand has been explicit in describing its difficulty to manufacture), in addition to the somewhat lower-beat 8L35 mechanism used.
The final model in the new package of releases is the 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation, which similarly uses the vintage 62MAS 6217 as its inspiration, though with a few more modern design updates and a significantly more affordable price tag compared to the previous three models. Compared to the previous three, this new watch uses traditional stainless steel as compared to the new “Everbright” material, and is slightly larger than the other 6217-inspired piece, at 40.5-mm.
This re-interpretation model features a unidirectional 60-minute diving bezel topped with a white triangle and uses a 3 o’clock screw-down crown. On the dial of the watch — which continues the use of the blue-grey color — we find a white outer minute ring, applied rectangular minute markers, and a darkly outlined 3 o’clock date window. Passing over the dial are rectangular sword hour and minute markers, with a gold-toned rectangle-tipped lollipop hand for the running seconds. This model features the 6R35 automatic mechanism as its power source, hosting the slowest frequency among the new releases’ movements (21,600 vph), though consequently also offering the longest power reserve among them (70 hours).
The 1965 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation will retail as the most affordable of the new releases, at $1,350, and will be the most widely available, limited to 5,500 pieces.
To learn more about these new watches, be sure to visit Seiko’s website, here.