4 minutes

Seiko Prospex: A Collection of Incredibly Popular Adventurer’s Watches

By Jorg Weppelink

The Popular Seiko Prospex Line

In the world of luxury dive watches, there are many great brands. But when it comes to great affordable divers, Seiko is king. The Seiko Prospex collection is incredibly well-regarded among watch fans. Let’s take a look at the history of the Prospex and find out why it’s so popular.

History of the Seiko Prospex Collection

The name “Prospex” combines the words “professional” and “specs” or specifications. The collection’s history began back in 1965, a few years before the first Prospex watch actually came out. That is the year that Seiko released its first dive watch, the now legendary Seiko 62MAS. It marked the beginning of a long, rich tradition in diving watches.

Seiko 6217-8001 "62MAS Big Crown" with a patina dial
Seiko 6217-8001 “62MAS Big Crown” with a patina dial

Seiko’s first real professional diving watch and first true representative of the Prospex line was introduced two years later. The Seiko 6215-7000 featured with a monobloc case that was water-resistant up to 300 meters (30 bar, 984 feet), a screw-down crown at 4 o’clock, a bidirectional black diving bezel, and a black dial with large hour markers and gold details. The watch kick-started Seiko’s rich tradition of professional divers with impressive specs.

A Collection of Firsts

The Seiko 6215-7000 blazed the way for the rest of the collection, with its case and dial design becoming the blueprint for Seiko diving watches in the decades to come. Over the years, Seiko has combined this focus on professional specs with beautiful but ultra-functional designs, leading to a great number of firsts. A year after the release of the 6215, Seiko introduced the 6159-7000, the first diving watch to feature a high-beat movement for greater accuracy.

In 1975, Seiko introduced the first professional diving watch with a titanium case, known as the Tuna. The revolutionary design features a round titanium case with a polyurethane band to protect it. The shock- and corrosion-resistant, airtight diver was water-resistant up to 600 meters (60 bar, 1,969 feet). Seiko introduced the first quartz-powered Tuna three years later, which was even more accurate. The list of technical breakthroughs continued, shaping a unique history in diving timepieces.

Seiko Golden Tuna

That lineage of dive watches inspires the Seiko Prospex collection to this day. Seiko has introduced a long line of reissues of classics from the past, modern reinterpretations of its classics, and some amazing new models that are all created with the same important principles in mind. Together, they form the Prospex line.”

Overview Seiko Prospex Collection

The Seiko Prospex collection was officially introduced a little over a decade ago as a line of professional diving watches. The watches in the collection are easy to recognize, thanks to the Prospex “X” logo on the dial, a much-debated logo among lovers and haters. Over time, Seiko also added different sports watches to the Prospex collection. The Prospex name is currently used for Seiko’s series of sports watches for adventures on land, in the water, or in the air. As such, the brand has added a line of adventurer’s watches, also known to fans as the Alpinist line. The Japanese manufacturer also reintroduced the famous Speedtimer name for a series of retro-inspired sports chronographs.

Nevertheless, most watches in the Prospex collection are dive watches. As some of you will know, Seiko generally uses reference numbers as model names. As a result, Seiko enthusiasts started coming up with nicknames for their favorite models, which is why many of the more famous watches are known by nicknames like the Sumo, Tuna, Turtle, Willard, Monster, or Samurai. It makes talking about the wide variety of models easier than using reference numbers.

Picking Some Seiko Prospex Favorites

So what are some of the Seiko Prospex standouts? Let’s start with the tremendously popular Seiko Prospex SPB143. This modern reinterpretation of the diver that started it all in 1965 has turned out to be a real hit for the brand. Another popular model is the Seiko Prospex SPB103, also known as the Sumo. This watch is much beloved because it’s a modern Seiko diver, not a remake of a model from the past. However, it still retains a clear Seiko diver design rooted in the late 1960s, making it unmistakably Seiko.

Seiko SPB103 diving watch. Green ceramic bezel with green sunburst dial and white indicators. Crown is located at 4 o´clock.
Codename Sumo: The Seiko Prospex SPB103

Do you want to know why the Seiko Sumo is the most important watch in my collection?

On to some movie magic. Did you know Martin Sheen wore a Seiko in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now? That classic Seiko got its nickname from Sheen’s character in the film, Captain Willard. A couple of years ago, the brand introduced a modern version of the watch, the SPB151. The most famous is the green-dial, currently available with ref. SPB153. My last Prospex pick is the Seiko Marinemaster 300M. The Japanese manufacturer recently announced a new series of Marinemaster models based on the 62MAS from 1965. But when fans of the brand talk about the Marinemaster, they usually mean Seiko’s top-of-the-line SLA021. The watch links back in terms of design to Seiko’s first professional diving watches, and as such, the Marinemaster 300M is the ultimate Seiko Prospex.

The Seiko Prospex SPB151 is a watch with a built-in compass.
The Seiko Prospex SPB151

What makes Seiko Prospex watches so special?

Overall, the Seiko Prospex line is popular for many reasons. A big one is Seiko’s rich diving history and the recognizable style of its Prospex diving watches, firmly rooted in the past. And by cleverly updating the designs, Seiko ensures that they always feel relevant and look stunning. Another great aspect of the Prospex divers is that they are still capable dive watches with reliable movements. In today’s luxury watch industry, not many divers are tested. But you can take any of your Seiko Prospex dive watches diving without a single worry.

Lastly, Seiko’s Prospex line has grown into a series of watches for everyone, regardless of wrist size or budget. You can get a Seiko Prospex for under $500, and prices increase to roughly $3,700. This means that the Seiko Prospex collection is popular with a wide audience of watch enthusiasts who admire the brand’s rich tradition in diving watches and therefore love to wear their Seiko Prospex divers. This makes it one of the great success stories in watchmaking today.

About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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