If you’ve been following the TBWS podcast for a while, you’ll probably know that Seiko’s pricing approach on certain high-profile re-editions is a bit of a sore spot for me. At this point and with the release of this new Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers SJE093, it might be time for me to let it go. It just seems like the days of getting a cool vintage-correct launch at an affordable price (like the SRP777) are becoming less and less frequent. But whatever you think about the pricing, this new Prospex diver seems to be a stale followup to the SLA017 62MAS re-edition from 2017. I just don’t get it. In fact, it looks like a flat-out cash grab more than anything.
No matter how you look at it, the Seiko 62MAS is one of the coolest divers ever built. I rank it right up there with watches like the Fifty-Fathoms and the original Doxa Sub 300 models. It’s the ultimate essence of the Seiko sports watch and I will always love the design. The new Seiko SJE093 aims to deliver something even closer to the original Seiko ref. 6217 diver from 1965, mostly in the way of case sizing. In that regard, I guess this is cool—seeing as how many took issue with what was effectively a 40mm case size on the last pricey re-edition, the SLA017. What puzzles me here is Seiko’s movement choice to bring the case dimensions down “drastically” according to some watch bloggers. Come on guys. Drastically? Really?
The last re-edition SLA017 was powered by the 8L35 (essentially a non-branded Grand Seiko 9S55) and was priced at basically $4,000 USD. Fine. And that movement/run even had its own embarrassing problems, which Klein Vintage Watch documented here. But to achieve the new vintage correct dimensions (now 38mm diameter x 12.5mm thick), Seiko went with a slimmed down version of the 6L35 called the 6L37. For reference, the 6L35 was introduced in 2018 with a limited edition Presage model … a $2,200 USD watch.
So, let’s keep track of this. Seiko moved from an 8-series movement down to a 6-series movement to get the watch down to a 38mm case diameter with a 12.5mm case thickness—”drastically” different from the 39.9mm case diameter x 14.1mm case thickness, of the previous SLA017.
But to top it off, they are now charging what’s basically the same price they did for the 8L-equipped SLA017 in 2017— €3,700 EUR or $4,033 USD at the time of this release. Nice one, Seiko.
Editor’s note: Some readers are reporting an announced USD pricing of $3,500, which is not all that better.
Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers SJE093 Specs
- Case diameter: 38mm
- Case thickness: 12.5mm
- Lug-to-lug: 46mm
- Water resistance: 200m
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Movement: Seiko 6L37
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Bracelet: Seiko silicone, Tropic-style
- Price: €3,700, but also $3,500 USD
Back when Tudor released the wildly successful Black Bay Fifty-Eight back in 2018, they developed a new slimmed down in-house movement called the MT5402. And if memory serves me right, they charged even less for the Fifty-Eight than they did for the “full size” Black Bays at the time. At the very least, it seems like Tudor prices down as they slim things down … all with in-house tech and Rolex-family finishing. Speaking of which, it looks like pre-owned Black Bay Fifty-Eight models have dropped down to the mid-$2k range on the pre-owned market recently. Maybe think about that, as you look at this
$4,000+ Seiko with a 6-series movement. It just doesn’t make sense and I’m deeply disappointed in Seiko, because this really should be half the price.
That’s it. I have run out of tears to weep and teeth to gnash. You can find out more about the Seiko Prospex 1965 Divers SJE093 on the brand’s official site.
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.