Looking at last year’s Seiko Prospex Alpinist 1959 Modern Re-interpretation, you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a particularly butch Presage Cocktail time. However, the Alpinist is reclaiming its mountaineering roots with the new Seiko Prospex Alpinist ‘Rock Face’ SPB355J1 European exclusive limited edition, which features a new textured dial.
The new piece has a 39.45mm diameter stainless steel case with brushed finishing that emphasises the sweeping lines of the lugs and bezel. It also sports the classic double crowns and crown guards of previous models like the Ref. SPB119J1, enhancing the tool watch vibe.
However, where the ‘Rock Face’ stands out from other Alpinists is the dial. It has a grey colouration with a tight texture of bumps and scratch-like lines that creates the impression of the craggy face of a mountain. It reads very Grand Seiko-esque, although the texture isn’t quite as refined as a watch like the recent GS ‘Snowscape’. But that difference is only very small considering the Grand Seiko is £8,000 and the Seiko is £800.
In addition to the rocky surface of the ‘Rock Face’, it has blue Arabic numerals and indexes, inspired by clear mountain skies. The blue also compliments the light blue accents of the north indications on the compass flange. Unfortunately, one thing that’s sure to prove irksome to some collectors is the fact that the date function hasn’t been correspondingly coloured and stands out starkly in its black and white.
Under the surface of the Seiko Prospex Alpinist ‘Rock Face’ SPB355J1 it houses the Seiko 6R35 automatic movement, which has a more than adventure ready power-reserve of 70-hours. Reliability in extreme circumstances is what the Alpinist collection has always been about, even in 1959 when it was first developed for ‘Yama-otoko’, Japanese mountain men.
As mentioned previously, the new Seiko Prospex Alpinist ‘Rock Face’ SPB355J1 is priced at £800. That’s a touch more than any of the regular Alpinists but that’s because it’s a limited edition of 3,000 pieces exclusive to Europe. Plus, it’s still great value over all. It’s always nice when a region exclusive is interesting like the ‘Rock Face’, although I’m still waiting for the day we see a UK exclusive Prospex ‘Tea’ edition, in a similar vein to the recent Australian ‘Eucalyptus’ – come on Seiko, you know they would sell.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Seiko Prospex Alpinist ‘Rock Face’ European Limited Edition
- Ref: SPB355J1
- Case/dial: 39.45mm diameter x 13.2mm thickness, stainless steel case, silver dial
- Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
- Movement: Seiko calibre 6R35, automatic with manual winding, 24 jewels
- Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
- Power reserve: 70h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: Grey nylon with additional blue leather strap
- Price/availability: £800, limited to 3,000 pieces, available exclusively in Europe from November.