Considering what we’ve seen from Seiko* at Baselworld over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that the Seiko SLA033 would be the most talked-about release for the brand at Baselworld 2019. As a couple of broke watch snobs, naturally, we haven’t gotten our hands on this one, haven’t been in communication with Seiko (ha!), and – let’s be real – probably can’t even afford to piss into the River Rhine without bankrupting our tiny business. So, we have to admire from a distance and surprisingly, I think that this is actually a pretty sharp release if you’re comfortable spending within this bracket. Let’s take a quick look at the Seiko SLA033 dive watch – a modern tribute to the Seiko 6105 “Willard.”
Now that paying over $4,000 for a Seiko dive watch is a “normal” thing to do, it really helps to step back, bite your tongue, and see what’s really being offered here. Aside from the 62MAS, I think that the 6105 8110/8119 variant with the larger case is the absolute embodiment of a Seiko diver. I love the organic approach Seiko took with the crown guard structure and how the watch serves as a totally hot-rodded version of the 62MAS if you look closely. I’m sorry, but the current vintage options floating around the market are some of the crumbiest examples you can get – so it must be nice to pay the premium for a reissue that should, theoretically, offer superior performance. But don’t get me started on the fact that some current 8L movements can potentially offer unreliable performance.
Speaking of the movement, we’re witnessing the same approach Seiko took with the 62MAS and the 6159. The Seiko SLA033 is equipped with the 8L35 automatic movement with 50 hours of power reserve and an operating frequency of 4Hz. Other touches include Zaratsu polishing, a sapphire crystal, and some kind of proprietary “super-hard” case coating according to Seiko. The watch is expensive but compared to the 62MAS reissue (SLA017) I feel it almost exists harmoniously with the price range Seiko is shooting for. At the very least… pricing is more understandable than those damned Seiko Prospex LX models – don’t get me started.
Seiko SLA033 Specs
- Case Diameter: 45mm
- Case Thickness: 13mm
- Lug Width: 20mm
- Movement: Seiko 8L35
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Strap: Rubber “Seiko Waffle” Variant
- Water Resistance: 200m
- Price: $4,250
I’m not sure what you guys think, but I’m actually really curious about trying to get one of these in for real hands-on impressions and in-house photos. Obviously, this isn’t typically the kind of Seiko we’d talk about, but I’m just so curious about what this feels like in person. It is absolutely gorgeous in the renders and photos I’ve seen, so maybe this is just a selfish endeavor… let me know. Also, it doesn’t seem like Seiko is offering a cheaper, 6R-equipped modern “reinterpretation” like they did with the 62MAS and 6159. Let’s see if that comes later in the year. What do you think? Seiko
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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.