The Seiko Prospex range recently saw a new King Samurai added to its line up but now its being expanded again with a limited edition design that dates back to 1968 with an Antarctic theme. However, while the design might be half a century old, the materials and technology used are entirely modern. This is the Prospex ‘Antarctic Ice’ 1968 Diver’s Re-Creation.
There are a few land mark years in the history of Seiko’s diving watches. The very first one was in 1965 with a water resistance of 150m and then in 1968 the formula was improved on to grant a water resistance of 300m. It is that design that the new Antarctic Ice is based on with a 42.6mm case, thick lugs and a large unidirectional rotating bezel with plenty of grip.
Oddly, the re-creation is only rated to 200m water resistance. However, on the plus side it’s now made from Seiko’s Ever-Bright Steel providing boosted corrosion resistance compared with the regular grade of stainless steel used in watchmaking. So on the whole it’s still as versatile and rugged as its heritage counterpart.
In fact, the connection to its predecessor goes deeper than its physical appearance and design. The original watch was worn by members of the 8th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE) and the modern re-creation is set to accompany the 63rd JARE Expedition to Antarctica. In honour of this event, the watch has been given a dark, icy blue dial with a gradient and ice blue markings on its bezel.
Housed inside is the Seiko calibre 8L35, an automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve. It was designed especially for Seiko’s range of diving watches and can be found in a dozen or more other watches, so it’s nothing we’re unfamiliar with. When you’re going on an expedition to a harsh environment, you want tried and tested technology.
The Prospex ‘Antarctic Ice’ 1968 Diver’s Re-Creation is limited to 1,300 pieces at a price of £4,100. Seiko are also producing a black dialled version with vintage inspired beige markings in a limited edition of 600 that stays true to the appearance of the original 1968 model. The biggest testament to the quality of Seiko’s tool watches is the longevity of their relationship with important scientific expeditions like JARE, certainly worth a consideration if you’re looking for a versatile timepiece.
Price & Specs:
Model: Seiko Prospex ‘Antarctic Ice’ 1968 Professional Diver’s Re-Creation
Ref: SLA055 (blue dial), SLA057 (black dial)
Case/dial: 42.6mm diameter x 13.05mm thickness, Ever-Brilliant steel case, blue dial (SLA055) or matte black (SLA057) with Lumibrite on hands, indexes and bezel
Water resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: In-house calibre 8L35, automatic and manual winding, 26 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50h
Functions: : Hours, minutes, seconds, date at 4:30
Strap: Black silicone with steel pin buckle clasp with additional fabric strap
Price/availability: £4,100 each, limited to 1,300 pieces (SLA055) and 600 pieces (SLA057), January 2022
More details at Seiko.