Vintage Dive Watches Resurface as Seiko Introduces New SPB239 and SPB237, Inspired by ’60s and ’70s Models


Few dive watches, historical or modern, enjoy such persistent praise from knowledgeable aficionados as those produced by Seiko. With a vast catalog of offerings at many different price points and levels of precision, the Japanese brand excels in producing watches that appeal to a wide variety of enthusiasts. Recently, Seiko once again revisited its archives to introduce two new vintage-inspired divers. The dual release includes the SPB239, which is a re-interpretation of Seiko’s first dive watch from 1965 (aka the 62MAS), and the SPB237, which a revamp of another noteworthy Seiko diver from the 1970s.

Like many previous watches that Seiko has produced in a neo-vintage style, both of these new models channel many of the signature historical attributes of their historical predecessors while adding upgraded materials, finishing, and colorways, as well as slight adjustments to their silhouettes. The watches follow up on the 55th anniversary quartet of releases launched in 2020, two of which also recalled the historical watches referenced here.


Most notable about this pair of new releases is their shared use of a new water-resistant fabric strap (above). The straps use a traditional braiding technique from Japan called “Seichu,” which according to the brand provides them with a tensile strength four times stronger than that of previous fabrics used in its watches. This material also offers greater resistance to degradation via water and sunlight.

SPB239

Focusing first on the SPB239, we find a familiar, vintage 62MAS-inspired dial design distinguished by a black and faux-patina colorway. The watch uses a 40.5-mm by 13.2-mm steel case, with primarily brushed finishing and polished accents on its sharp edges. The lugs of the watch are quite blocky — a signature of the vintage model — helping keep the overall look very sleek. Over the top of the case is a unidirectional bezel with a prominent 60-minute diving scale in the same colorway as the dial.

The dial’s sunray textured surface is outlined with a simple outer minute ring and has applied, lume-filled markers at each hour position except at 3 o’clock, where a contrasting date window is found. Sweeping over it all are two large, lume-filled hands for the hour and minutes and a rectangular-tipped pointer for the seconds.

Inside the SPB239 is the Seiko Caliber 6R35, an automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve, making it well equipped for casual wear during the week. Beating steadily at 21,600 vph, the movement is protected behind a solid caseback, which helps provide the watch with an appropriate 200-meter water resistance.

SPB237

Turning to the SPB237, we see a rounder overall design, this one drawing its influence from the “Tuna” styles first developed in the 1970s by Seiko. Accordingly, the watch sits larger on the wrist, measuring 42.7 mm in diameter, though at the same height as the previous model at 13.2 mm. The brushed finishing of the case is accented with polishing only on the teeth of the bezel and the edge of the crown. As on the vintage model that inspires this watch, said crown sits at 4:30 and is flanked by curvaceously integrated guards. Like the SPB239, the SPB237 features a unidirectional divers’ bezel, which like the previous watch complements the textured gray look of the dial that it frames.

The dial itself is somewhat more intricate in its style than that of the 1965-inspired watch. The aforementioned grey texture serves as the background, edged by a curved outer minute ring surrounding a bolder secondary minute ring. Luminous, applied hours markers reside within that ring, interrupted only at 3 o’clock by a date window. The markers echo the style of the vintage-inspired central handset, which includes a seconds pointer in the traditional style used by Seiko for its neo-vintage-style watches.

Like the SPB239, the SPB237 is powered by the Seiko Caliber 6R35, complete with its 70-hour power reserve. The 200-meter water resistant watch also features a solid caseback, imparting to it a hardy, substantial, no-nonsense appearance.

Price and Availability

Available as of June 2021 via authorized boutiques, the sharp-looking SPB239 will retail for $1,300, while the rounder SPB237 is marked for slightly less, at $1,200. Both are set to go into regular production.

To learn more, visit Seiko, here.

8 Responses to “Vintage Dive Watches Resurface as Seiko Introduces New SPB239 and SPB237, Inspired by ’60s and ’70s Models”

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  1. Naveen

    Too high a Cost being a vintage model as my arms are very small for sporting one. Thanks

    Reply
  2. Gerry Dimatos

    Cheap Chinese copies have no place on Watchtime or the general watch community. Copies of any kind of any brand need to be shunned and shamed.

    Reply
  3. Gerry Dimatos

    Why is anyone contemplating Chinese copies ? Any copies of watch designs should be shunned and shamed.

    Reply
  4. Gerry Dimatos

    I love Seiko and GS as a brand but not the 6R35 movement. Whilst the power reserve is great and has manual winding and hacking those looking for accuracy will be bitterly disappointed. The tolerances of this movement are simply too loose to be ignored….

    Reply
  5. Dennis Sudimak

    Any chance you could send me a copy of the article from February’s issue dive watch comebacks

    Reply
  6. I wonder if there are as many divers as there are dive watches…

    Reply
  7. Numerous Chinese brands are making these watches with their own brand names with equal or better quality at a fraction of the cost.

    Reply
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