This week, Japanese watchmaker Seiko unveiled the latest expansion to its popular Prospex dive-watch series with four new “Urban Safari”-themed watches. The models serve as additions to 2018’s Prospex Street Series collection, which served as one of the brand’s first explicit steps into the streetwear market, and offer a greater range of colorways, aesthetics, and movement options.
The new “Urban Safari” line includes two analog mechanical models, as well as two solar-powered hybrid analog-digital watches. Each of them uses the 1975-released Seiko ‘Tuna” diver as its primary design influence (pictured below), complete with the oversized tuna-can-style case, thick bezel, and distinct dive-watch dial configuration.
The two mechanical models include a khaki and a light gray option, both in 43.22-mm cases, constructed in a dark-colored brushed steel, and standing somewhat tall on the wrist at 12.67 mm thick. Like their “Tuna” ancestors, the models feature a 4 o’clock crown, though conspicuously opt for short lugs as compared to the historical hooded design. Surrounding the dial, we find a 60-minute diving bezel, with the first three quarters colored and the fourth quarter using a contrasting black. Under the Hardlex crystal is a matte dial, with applied luminescent hour markers, surrounded by a curved outer minute ring with a triangle at its top and a day/date window at the 3 o’clock position. Two rectangular hands are used for the hours and minutes, while a triangle-tipped pointer serves to count the running seconds.
Inside the two analog models is the automatic Caliber 4R36 which features a 41-hour power reserve, protected behind a solid caseback that also helps provide the watch with a 200-meter water resistance. While this water resistance is a far cry from the 600-meter resistance on the original “Tuna,” it does offer solid security in the water for the casual wearer.
The next two models in this pre-summer drop are hybrid-dial, solar-powered editions. These two pieces are available in either a khaki or dark green colorway, though this khaki version features more black coloring overall, with the khaki serving as the accent as compared to the opposite arrangement seen on the mechanical version. These models again use the modern “Tuna”-style case, though they are slightly larger on the wrist at 47.8 mm in diameter and 14.43 mm high. The case also doesn’t use the historic models’ 4 o’clock crown, instead opting for a 3 o’clock right-side crown along with two thick, left-side pushers to balance the design. Both models also feature a 60-minute diving bezel, though without the contrasting 3:1 bicolored look.
On the dial is an aesthetic fairly similar to that of the mechanical versions, differentiated by the upper three hour markers shortened and lowered on the face to make room for an LED display with a full-auto calendar, chronograph, and alarm, all operated via the aforementioned left-mounted pushers. The seconds hand also uses a simpler stick design with a featured circle counterweight.
Inside the two hybrid models is the Seiko Caliber H851, which is a quartz movement featuring a persistently useful solar-powered mechanism that allows wearers to hold off on battery replacements and servicing indefinitely.
The four new “Urban Safari” watches debut about half a year after the Japanese watchmaker unveiled the refreshed Seiko 5 Sports, an updated series of the iconic, affordable Seiko 5 line, which notably included a number of streetwear-focused colorways. The Urban Safari line expands these offerings, providing an upgraded sports watch for the growing market of younger, more fashion-focused consumers whose focus is more on style than mechanical functionality. That two of the models feature a solar-powered movement also speaks to this mission.
Each of the new watches will come on a matching silicone strap, with the mechanical models set to retail for $580 and the solar-powered editions marked at $550, and will be available at the end of May. To learn more and inquire for purchase, you can visit Seiko’s Street Series’ website, here.