By now you’ve probably seen the recent buzz around a handful of new chronograph models announced by Seiko this week. After all, Seiko is known to tease fun releases around fall and if I’m being honest, it’s the more sporadic announcements that would usually catch my attention, even back when Baselworld was a thing. This time Seiko is honoring their Speedtimer and the official introduction of the 6139 movement – the world’s first automatic chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch. Now, while most of the press has been focused on two, very beautiful mechanical chronographs featuring the 8R46A, I want to take a moment to admire the accompanying solar releases, the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph SSC813, SSC815, SSC817, SSC819 models.
Powered by the Seiko Caliber V192, the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph models capture what I would consider to be the real sporty essence that the original Speedtimers represented when they were announced. Don’t get me wrong, I love the 8R46A-powered models. But when I look at this release, there’s just something a little more attractive about the solar models. This is definitely going to be a case of collectors hyping and swarming over the “low-tier” models, possibly to a point where we might see some scalping… hopefully not for long.
The stainless steel case on each of these measures a nice 39mm in diameter, 45.5mm lug-to-lug, and thickness comes in at just 13.3mm. Effectively, it’s the perfect recipe for a solar quartz chronograph us TBWS guys completely fawn over. I’m also happy to see Seiko intelligently matching lighter date wheels with the lighter dial options and a black date wheel with the black and navy dial colors. Another bit of mystery involves a strange spec in the press release that reads “24 Hour Hand (adjustable).” Come again?
This has led some to believe that these models have a sort of dual time capability but I think that’s unclear at this time. Unless there’s been some unspoken update to the V192, I think that third dial will simply function as an AM/PM indicator. But damn, I want it to be true. Other features include a domed sapphire crystal, solar charging, 100m of water resistance, LumiBrite, and a nice stainless steel bracelet that matches the satin brushed case.
Seiko is offering the Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph watches in four dial colors: navy, black, white, and gold. The dials all have a sort of sandblasted dial texture and I’d really like to know more about the tachymeter bezel, which seems to have some sort of colored coating on it. It’s been a while since I’ve pulled myself off the couch to write up a Seiko press piece. But again, these non-limited solar chronograph models look very special and I’m sure they’ll be a hit when the entire collection joins the market in November 2021.
The Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Solar Chronograph SSC813, SSC815, SSC817, SSC819 models are each priced at €680 and non-limited. Ideally, I’d like to see a lower street price once these watches start appearing in circulation. Who knows… I might snatch one up.
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.