BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Naomi Uemura, ever heard the name? No? Well, that’s okay, I hadn’t heard of him either, but researching him for this article was pretty interesting. As it turns out, Uemura seems to be a fellow who likes to solo explore, having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc solo before his 30th birthday. Uemura also climbed Denali (the highest peak in North America) solo in 1970. He also rafted the Amazon solo and was the first person to do so, and was the first person to reach the North Pole solo in 1978. On the 13th of February 1984, the Japanese explorer disappeared when attempting to climb Denali once more. Today, he’s still listed as missing, and we may never know whether he made it to the top and decided to start a new life or if he’s just one of many whose life was taken when climbing to the summit.
Seiko’s new Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Reinterpretation Naomi Uemura SLA069 pays tribute to this great man. The 44mm x 13mm hardened stainless steel diver features a Turtle-inspired case which is very 1970s, with big rounded corners and a mostly blobby appearance. The offset crown and edge of the bezel are coloured in light blue to provide some contrast, especially with the black bezel. The case is water resistant to 200m.
The dial is a snowy white colour and texture; different pressing and etching techniques are used to bring Mont Blanc to life. Mont Blanc was Uemura’s first major solo climb, and the angle of the mountain range depicted is the same as Uemura would’ve climbed from. The dial is easy to read, with chunky markings standing out against the backdrop and a lot of LumiBrite, Seiko’s lume, in use. There’s also an offset date window.
Inside is the self-winding calibre 8L35, which has a 50-hour power reserve and 4Hz beat rate. Seiko says this movement is accurate within -15/+10s per day, and it’s covered by a solid steel back.
Presented with a multi-link steel bracelet, which has also been hardened, this tribute to one of Japan’s greatest is limited to 500 examples with a retail price of $2,900/€3,000.
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