In a matter of days, the Japanese brand will start selling its updated Seiko Prospex Solar Diver (Ref. SBDJ007) quartz diving watch. Being equipped with Seiko’s own solar-powered Caliber V157 movement that, as you have probably already guessed, harnesses solar energy in order to constantly recharge its on-board battery, the new time keeper will run out of juice long after your kids get tired with it and sell it on Craigslist.
Frankly, it took me around 30 minutes to write this line. Like many Japanese watches in this price range (it is announced that it will sell in Japan at some $320 or even less), the watch doesn’t look strikingly elegant. As usual, some of its design elements are grossly exaggerated, just like that hideous radiator grille on the new generation of Lexus SUVs, while others were made too plain, probably in an attempt to cut manufacturing and assembly costs. I obviously refer to the unidirectional rotating bezel with its prominent notches that make grip easier, but make my eyes bleed, as an example of the former, and those flat as a board hour and minute hands as a nice example of the latter. In fact, the flat pointers are unfortunately the first thing that will turn many persons off this otherwise great model.
Still, compared to many recent “ordinary” Seiko watches (the gorgeous Grand Seiko sub-brand plays in a higher league), this one looks like a step in the right direction. While overloaded with visual features, the dial of the watch looks balanced (well, as balanced as a cluttered dial may be) and is fairly easy to read.
Its legibility will probably only increase deep under water when the huge seconds/minutes markers will not be visible, while the oversized hour markers and diamond-shaped luminous elements on the open-worked hour and minute hands, as well as the round counterweight on the second hand, will glow brightly in the dark.
According to official specs, the Seiko Prospex Solar Diver (Ref. SBDJ007) is animated by their time-proven Caliber V157 quartz movement. Equipped with a manganese titanium-lithium rechargeable battery and a solar cell on its dial, the watch needs to be exposed to natural or artificial light on a daily basis, but in return you will never have to replace the battery reducing your own ecological footprint.
As far as I understand, the watch will be strictly JDM, but there are already a number of web-sites offering the timekeeper at about $250 USD, which makes it a very nice choice for a person that needs an accurate and reliable companion for some recreational diving or just snorkeling.
See also: 2013 Seiko SARZ033 Automatic Series
WWR preliminary verdict:
Build quality: 3.5/5
Value for money: 3.5/5
Seiko Prospex Solar Diver (Ref. SBDJ007) watch specification
Movement: Quartz, Caliber V157, solar-powered, Made in Japan
Power reserve: Virtually unlimited
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.80 mm
Lug width: 20.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Open-worked, luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap
Case back: Solid