In 1965 Seiko created its dive watch to fit the needs of the divers throughout Japan. Around 1968, Seiko introduced the 6159, their first Hi-Beat caliber to be cased in a dive watch with a rate of 36,000 bph. The movement was important in the sense that the high frequency was not only accurate, but also created more stable precision with less effect from shock due to it's fast motion. For the 50th Anniversary of Seiko's first diver, Seiko has unleashed a new limited edition 1000m diver, with its first Hi-Beat caliber to be found outside of Grand Seiko since the late 70's. Today, we introduce you to the SBEX001, the Prospex Marinemaster Professional Limited Edition.
The SBEX001 is modernly large, but not just to be big, it serves a purpose. The unique design employs a one piece bright titanium case that features an L-Shaped gasket to make it impermeable to helium and appropriate for saturation diving. Being a 1000m diver is not easy, but through extensive testing and research, this 1000m rating ensures that the piece will function even in the deepest diving situations.
The design of the SBEX001 is reminiscent of the 6159 Hi-Beat with yellow gold accents on the hands indexes and bezel, with a red tipped seconds creating a similar color combination in a slightly different layout. The cases diameter is 48.2mm and 19.7mm thick, making for a large presence on the wrist, but essential functionality.
Seiko's proprietary Bright Titanium alloy is used to keep the piece light weight despite its size, and is coated in Diashield, a proprietary coating to add scratch resistance. The crystal is a thick sapphire to ensure it does not crack under pressure and also utilizes an anti-fogging coating.
The movement was quite a shock to Seiko fans as over the last 6 years, Seiko has only used their Hi-Beat calibers in Grand Seiko in the 9S85 caliber. The new 8L55 is essentially the same design as the 9S85, minus the level of decoration and regulation to meet the strict standards that is only designated to Grand Seiko. However, this caliber maintains a 55 hours power reserve due to the use of Spron 530 as found in GS, and will still maintain a higher accuracy then most calibers that move at a slower rate. Seiko also uses Spron 610 on this Prosepx model creating an even stronger resistance to shock and magnetism.
The bezel has a unique design that allows for maximum usability even when wearing diving gloves. Teh deep grooves give the user an opportunity to have smooth function despite conditions. The screws in the end links of the bracelet add a distinct look to the piece, but also secure the bezel to ensure it does not come off in harsh conditions. A crown at 4:00 also provides a comfortable wear whether diving or not.
A new form of Lumibrite has been implemented providing which can glow up to 60% longer then previous versions. The large dial allows for large indexes and hands to create an outstanding legibility. The SBEX001 will also use a ratcheting expansion clasp to allow for use over a wetsuit. While this Marinemaster Professional is more so a tool watch, the finishing applied is still the Zaratsu, or blade, polishing technique giving a mirror quality shine to compliment the mainly brushed attributes.
The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional Hi-Beat SBEX001 is estimated for delivery around July or August in the US, and is estimated to retail around $6,000. Only 700 pieces will be made on this limited edition and will include an extra strength silicone strap in the package. To pre-order, please feel free to call us at 1-800-486-3996 as they will surely not be around long.