Seiko’s Prospex LX collection is a curious thing, it sits in the middle ground between true Prospex, which has traditionally offered some of the best bang for your buck in entry level watches anywhere, and Grand Seiko.
The collection, launched just two years ago, preserves the sporty tool watch nature of Prospex but introduces some of the superior watchmaking elements from Grand Seiko including, for the first time, its mechanical/electronic hybrid movement, Spring Drive.
What is unusual about the collection is the sheer number of different influences behind the design; there’s not one clear narrative (which is watch marketing 101 these days) behind the LX, but to create a range-topping sports watch, Seiko has employed a number of often disparate ones.
The LX is loosely based on Seiko’s Professional Diver from 1968, but was designed by Ken Okuyama, someone better known for designing hypercars, and the collection’s most frequently used complication is the GMT, a function associated with air travel. In actual fact, the collection’s most commonly used complication is the power reserve, but that’s a given considering the exclusive use of the Spring Drive movement.
The latest addition to the line is the SNR049J1, a GMT with a split two-tone, night and day rotating bezel in black and blue and a distinctive split two-tone dial. We’ve seen split dials before, most notably on the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue, but where the D-Blue is a diver seeking to depict the light dwindling at depths, the Seiko is a GMT better suited to air travel and so instead depicts a high-altitude horizon where blue sky gives way to the darkness of space.
The inclusion of the automatic 5R66 Spring Drive movement means accuracy of +/- 1sec per day averaging to +/-15secs per month and the watch will keep running for 72 hours after you’ve taken it off. There’s also the added bonus of the smoothest sweeping seconds hand in the industry.
Given the number of different, sometimes conflicting, elements at play here it’s difficult to know how to pin down the SNR049J1. It’s a GMT wearing a wet suit but, with a water resistance of 100m, would you really want to use it beyond a spot of swimming? And this is another LX head-scratcher, why, when all of the watches within the collection use the same 44.8mm titanium case, are the GMTs rated at 10 bar (100m) while the non-GMTs manage 300m? Different crowns are used certainly but they are all of the screw down variety, so it’s not a limiting factor.
What we can all agree on is that the SNR049J1, with two 24-hour scales, one running around the perimeter of the dial and the second on the rotating bezel, make it a more than proficient GMT watch capable of displaying the time in three different time zones and withstanding the rigours of international travel.
Price & Specs:
Model: Seiko Prospex LX Skyline
Case/Dial: 44.8mm diameter x 14.7mm height, titanium
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Seiko spring drive calibre 5R66, 30 jewels
Power reserve: 72h (3 days)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, 24-hour hand, date at 3 o’clock, power reserve display
Strap: Titanium bracelet
Price/availability: £4,760, limited to 400 pieces
More details at Seiko.