Looking at our stats, I see that demand for recommendations regarding diving watches is a seasonal thing with most visitors coming in summer and then gradually declining till Christmas only to start growing again in early January. “Pilots” are different animals: I have an impression that people are always interested in “aviators” regardless of the time of season. So, for your reading pleasure, a choice of fifteen timekeepers from under $200 to more than $10,000 as priced by online retailers that I find worthy of being considered while shopping for your new (or maybe your very first!) pilot’s watch this year.
Already released as the Japanese Domestic Market (ah, that legendary ‘JDM’ abbreviation that’s been rice-rocket freaks’ and watch aficionados’ darling for so many decades!) models, the 2017 limited-edition Seiko Prospex Diver Scuba Giugiaro Design (available at the time of writing as refs. SBEE001 & SBEE002) is an almost perfect re-issue of the model from the 1980s that had a great potential, but for some reason failed to become an icon of industrial design. I can only welcome the Japanese brand’s decision to give the collection a second chance, even as only a limited-edition model.
The 2016 PROSPEX Radio Sync Solar World Time Chronograph features exterior design cues similar to other “aviators” released by Seiko during the last five or six years (those including not only relatively expensive members of their higher-range Prospex family like this ref. SSC279, but also a lot more affordable ones like their older SND253P1). The chronograph is available in three different finishes fully covering the niche of XXL-sized timekeepers designed with the price-conscious public in mind. While a lot of prospective customers will only wince looking at this 48 mm monster, I am sure that the model will be successful in the long run. I mean, look at this watch! This watch is amazing!
Seiko has recently presented the new Recraft line of affordable dress watches. The collection comes in different color variations and features stainless steel and gold-toned versions. The main selling point? The finely crafted, mildly oversized cases, of course! Also, the in-house Caliber 7S26 self-winding movement. It is the same inexpensive, bullet-proof mechanism that also animated their Seiko SKX781 Orange Monster diver.
Although not as technologically advanced as the stunning Astron GPS Stratosphere, the 2014 Seiko Prospex Solar Quartz Chronograph (Ref. SSC279) is also about five times less expensive. Offered at MSRP of just $450 (and you can find one on eBay at less than USD $350), it looks cool for a daily beater, and its built-in solar charger makes the gadget a must-have for a person that spends more time outdoors than inside an air-conditioned office. Just don’t forget to swap the brown leather strap for something more practical, like a solid steel bracelet or a hypoallergenic silicon band.
Seiko has officially presented its Seiko Astron Stratosphere GPS-enabled watch. Although currently there is nothing more than a presentation page on their corporate site, it is already clear that the new version looks a lot more impressive than the high-tech Astron GPS Solar World Timer in black titanium that the Japanese brand started selling in October 2012. Just look at this huge, domed sapphire crystal that covers not only the dial itself but also the bezel with its luminous UTC city codes. Isn’t it amazing?
Equipped with Seiko’s own solar-powered Caliber V157 movement that harnesses solar energy in order to constantly recharge its onboard battery, the updated Seiko Prospex Solar Diver (Ref. SBDJ007) will run out of juice long after your kids get tired with it and sell it on Craigslist.
This one is good news for numerous fans of the Alien franchise that are also into the watch-collecting business. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of their partnership with the Italian industrial designer Giorgetto Giugiaro (this gentleman of many virtues is also responsible for such works of art as the iconic DeLorean DMC-12, BMW Nazca C2, and 1972 Maserati Merak), the watchmaking branch of the Japanese brand Seiko has introduced a limited edition Seiko 30th Anniversary Speedmaster Chronograph JDM (Ref. SCED003) that looks almost like a re-issue of the famous “Bishop watch” from 1986 Aliens blockbuster.
The famous Grand Seiko line of expensive timekeepers has recently been updated with a limited edition model. Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their signature Seiko Caliber 9F, the ultra-precise quartz movement that was first brought to market back in 1993, the Japanese watchmaker introduces their new Grand Seiko Caliber 9F 20th Anniversary Limited Edition (Ref. SBGX103).
I always had an impression that the SARZ series of sporty automatic watches were sold only on the Japanese domestic market. Yet, it looks like this mildly refreshed MY 2013 Seiko SARZ033 collection will actually make it across the Pond and will probably make landfall not only in North America but, hopefully, here in Europe, too.
Seiko has released a number of limited editions recently. For this year, they introduce yet another rugged-looking model. Limited to just 300 numbered pieces, the new Seiko Prospex Landmaster Miura Everest (Ref. SBDB007J) is built to celebrate the indomitable spirit of Mr. Yuichiro Miura, a Japanese mountain climber who, being 70 years old, became the oldest man on Earth to ever climb Everest. Now, ten years later, the man prepares to reassure his position by making another go to the world’s highest mountain.
Besides the somewhat extravagant quartz-powered Prospex Marinemaster Golgo 13, Seiko has also recently revealed another “collaboration” model based on the same series of manga comic books: a rugged and grim Seiko Land Golgo 13 Automatic Limited Edition (Ref. SBDC021) equipped with a self-winding movement. Although not as dramatic as the Marinemaster, this one is a nice improvement on the original Prospex Fieldmaster (Ref. SBDC013), which it seems to be based upon.
Seiko has recently updated its family of expensive divers with a new limited edition model. Created together with the local Shogakukan publishing company, the new Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Golgo 13 Limited Edition (Ref. SBBN023) pays homage to the iconic “Golgo 13” series of manga comic books, which is centered around the eponymous character who happens to be a professional assassin. Although the character prefers to do his job with a scoped M-16 automatic rifle (a strange choice of weapon for a professional killer, but at least it looks nice on pictures), there is always a room for a diving suit and a good old speargun.
At the Baselworld 2012, the luxury sub-brand of the Japanese watchmaking giant has presented a pair of limited-edition versions of their GMT model. The Grand Seiko GMT 10th Anniversary Edition with the reference number SBGM029 is the most impressive with its noble blue dial and striking yellow gold accents of the second time zone indicator and the predictably “GMT” inscription at six o’clock.
Seiko has recently introduced yet another member of its line of accurate and not particularly expensive “aviators.” The 2011 Solar Pilot Alarm Chronograph (ref. SSC009) offers a loud alarm, a bidirectionally rotating Breitling-style slide-rule bezel, as well as a 60-minute chronograph accurate up to 1/5th of a second.