BY DHANANJAY PATHAK
Seiko unveiled its first ‘Black Series’ collection of dive watches in 2020, and since then, the brand has consistently expanded the ‘Black Series’ family with cool-looking all-black variations of its popular dive watches. For 2022, the Japanese brand has added four new watches to its ‘Black Series’ collection, which includes the SLA061J1, SPB257J1, SPB253J1, and SPB255J1.
Like previous iterations of the Seiko’s ‘Black Series’ watches, the talking point with these new releases is their all-black theme. Starting from the 200-meter water-resistant black PVD coated stainless steel case to the dial, all these watches are fully draped in black giving them a stealthy demeanor. But that’s not all, as Seiko has done a great job of making these rugged tools feel lively and playful by adding a nice burst of bright orange accents. All watches also feature custard-colored lume application for a retro look and come mated to a dark brown nato strap except the SLA061J1, which is accompanied by a black coated stainless-steel bracelet. Now, let’s have a quick look at the individual references.
SLA061J1 and SPB257J1
Both SLA061J1 and SPB257J1 pay a tribute to a popular vintage Seiko dive watch reference, the 6105. Both watches feature a true to original cushion style 44mm and 42.7mm case with an offset threaded crown that sits nicely nestled within the quirky protruding case walls around the 4 o’clock position. Like the case, the dial on these watches also takes the vintage route and features a nice black base with applied blocky markers, faceted hour and minute hands, and distinctive second’s hand. That said, there are a few noteworthy differences between the SLA061J1 and the SPB257J1.
While the dial on both these watches is black, the SLA061J1 makes things more visually enticing through its textured dial inspired by the pattern of sand under the sea. Furthermore, the date on the SLA061J1 comes with a color-matched date wheel and is placed neatly between 4 and 5, whereas the date on the SPB257J1 sits at a more conventional 3 O’clock position. The bezel of the SLA061J1 is more monochromatic with white markings throughout, whereas the SPB257J1 gets the first 20 minutes highlighted in orange.
Internally, the SLA061J1 is powered by the 8L35 movement that operates at 4 Hz and offers a healthy autonomy of around 50 hours. The SPB257J1, on the contrary, is driven by the calibre 6R35 that ticks at a lower frequency of 3 Hz and offers a power reserve of around 70 hours when fully wound. The SLA061J1 is limited to 1000 pieces and retails for USD 3,300, and the SPB257J1 is limited to 5500 pieces and retails for USD 1,300.
The SPB253J1 pays an homage to Seiko’s first-ever dive watch released in 1965. Taking styling cues from its vintage inspiration, the SPB253J1 comes with a skin diver style case that measures a modest 40.5mm in diameter and features curved angular lugs for enhanced wrist comfort. The black dial forms the perfect backdrop for the rectangular lume filed indices and faceted hands. Sitting on top of the case is a black bezel with grey and orange markings (only for the first 15 minutes). This also happens to be the only watch out of the four that features the crown at the 3 o’clock position. The SPB253J1 is also powered by the automatic Seiko calibre 6R35 and is limited to 5500 pieces. The watch retails for USD 1,200.
The SPB255J1 is the latest serving of the modern re-interpretation of a Seiko dive watch reference from 1968. The 42mm case on the SPB255J1 features an interesting geometry with sharp bevels that run on both sides blending smoothly into the lugs. On the dial front, this one is slightly different from the others in that it still features applied markers on top of a pitch-black background, however, they are a combination of circles and rectangles. Ticking underneath the closed case back is once again, the Seiko calibre 6R35 and the spb255J1 is also limited to 5500 pieces worldwide. The SPB255J1 also retails for USD 1,200.
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