The sixth edition of WatchTime New York is less than a month away, and with more than 25 participating watch brands set to showcase their latest novelties next month at Midtown Manhattan’s Gotham Hall on October 22-24 — among them a number of rare pieces that the public will see for the first time — the excitement is growing. Famed Japanese watchmaker Seiko joins the party with the East Coast debut of its new U.S.-exclusive Prospex SLA053 and SLA059 “Seigaiha” editions.
The new models, which follow on the heels of sister brand Grand Seiko’s own U.S.-exclusive announcement, each hail from Seiko’s popular Prospex line of dive watches. The pair features a “Seigaiha” (or “blue ocean waves”) pattern on their dials, in either a vivid blue (SLA053) or a deep burgundy (SLA059). Notably, the two follow up another set of U.S.-exclusive models launched by Seiko in 2020, the Prospex Ice Divers (below), indicating a continued interest by the Japanese brand in producing special pieces for one of its most important markets.
The “Seigaiha” editions are inspired by, and take their name from, a type of Japanese art that first appeared in the sixth century called Seigaiha. The style is best defined by the layering of concentric circles, which in Japanese culture has gained a particular prominence as a motif in art, fabrics, ceramics, and lacquerware, with each arched wave representing surges of good luck, peace, and good fortune, as well as power and resilience.
Each of the watches also draws symbolic inspiration from other sources — the blue-dialed SLA053 from the ocean waves under the moonlight, and the burgundy-dialed SLA059 from the first rays of sun brightening the dark seas at dawn. Each piece in this regard is meant to evoke the role of the moon waxing and waning, as represented in Shinto and Zen Buddhist traditions, according to Seiko, as a token of enlightenment, dreams and spirituality.
Outside of these stylistic inspirations, both watches feature the familiar Prospex dive-watch style, large on the wrist at 44.3 mm in diameter by 15.4 mm thick and water-resistant to 300 meters. The case as a whole is very sharp-looking, with the blue edition using a black, hard coating to darken its steel; both are otherwise the same in their faceted angles, deeply toothed unidirectional ceramic bezel, and distinctive 4 o’clock crown.
The layered, circular-patterned dial is on display behind a sapphire crystal, imparting an artistic touch to the otherwise hardy dive watch while not taking anything away from the high degree of legibility and functionality for which the Prospex collection is known. The dial elements outside of the Seigaiha circles are relatively straightforward: an outer curved minute ring, large applied indices, a 3 o’clock date window, and a bold set of hands sweeping over to indicate the time. Powering both versions of the watch is the 26-jewel automatic 8L35, which beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and maintains a 50-hour power reserve.
Both “Seigaiha” watches are to be available at retail exclusively in the United States, with the blue SLA053 available now, for $3,200 and limited to 500 editions, and the burgundy SLA059 set to be released in fall 2021, priced at $3,300 and non-limited. Each watch comes with a pair of matching cuff links.
To learn more, you can visit Seiko here. And to see the U.S. exclusives live and in person, in addition to so many more great watches launched this year, be sure to join us at WatchTime New York 2021 next month. To learn more and purchase tickets, click here!