Seiko Pays Tribute to Naomi Uemura’s Life of Adventure with Two 1970 Diver Re-interpretation Watches


With its new duo of Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation watches, Japan’s Seiko revisits one of its earliest commercially available dive watches and re-interprets and upgrades its popular vintage design for a modern audience. The pair includes a new gray-dial model (Ref. SLA051) and a limited-edition blue-dial model (Ref. SLA049).

The latter model celebrates the 80th birthday of Naomi Uemura, a Japanese adventurer best known for his solo expeditions taking on some of the most challenging trials the Earth has to offer, including reaching the North Pole, rafting the Amazon River, and climbing Alaska’s treacherous Denali, all by his own metal, alone.

Uemura was also a well-known wearer of Seiko watches — including the 1970 original diver (below), which he wore for his 12,500-km solo dog-sled from Greenland to Alaska from 1974-1976 — and for that reason is now paid homage by the brand in this latest, limited edition run.

Both new models sport a 1970s-inspired brushed steel case, with hardy dimensions of 44 mm in diameter by 13 mm thick; short, rounded lugs; a screw-down crown at 4:30; and glowing sides and crown guards to give the watch a more compact and rounded look in line with the style seen in the vintage model. The case is topped by a stylized unidirectional bezel, slightly slimmer than that seen on many of Seiko’s contemporary dive watches. Both the gray- and blue-dial models come standard with steel bracelets, though the blue edition also includes a sporty-looking blue silicon strap.

The curved sapphire crystal, complete with an anti-reflective coating, covers the modern re-interpreted diver dial n textured blue or gray. The dial features a simple white outer minute track, with bold markers every five minutes. Positioned within this ring are the lume-filled hour markers, with Seiko’s signature pentagon at 12 o’clock, rectangles at the other three quarter-hours and simpler squares for the remaining positions. At the 4:30 position we find a slightly hidden date window, almost matching the position of the crown.

Closer to the dial’s center, below 12 o’clock, is a printed Seiko logo, while a Prospex logo and some of the watch’s descriptors, such as its 200-meter water resistance, are located above 6 o’clock. Two luminous-filled sword hands display the hour and minute, while Seiko’s signature red-dotted hand — the one used frequently in many of its vintage-inspired dive watches — counts the seconds.  

Powering the 1970 Diver Re-interpretation models is the Seiko Caliber 8L35, an in-house workhorse movement employed across much of the breadth of Seiko’s stable, and especially often in its range of hardy dive watches. The automatic movement boasts a 50-hour power reserve, beats at 28,800 vph, and resists magnetism up to 4,800 A/m.

The blue-dial SLA049 will be limited to 1,200 total editions, while the gray-dial SLA051 will be produced on an ongoing basis. Both models will be available at Seiko boutiques and authorized retailers beginning July 2021, with the blue version marked at $3,100 and the gray edition at $2,900.

To learn more and inquire for purchase, visit Seiko’s website, here.

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