Wednesday, November 8, 2017

SEIKO Prospex 200M Diver Automatic SBDC053 (SPB053) – A Dress Diving Watch, A Review (plus Video)


During Baselworld 2017, Seiko launched a few modern interpretation of its famous iconic dive watch, the 62MAS. The closest to the original, the SLA017 (SBDX019) uses Seiko’s top of the range movement and materials. Seikoholics and fans gave it a five star rating and practically all examples (only 2000 pieces were made available) have been taken up. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky one and the review on that piece can be found here (Review of my SLA017/SBDX019).

The only downside of the SLA017 (SBDX019) was the limited number available as well as the high price set for it. Nevertheless, as to not disappoint the legions of Seiko fans, the Company came out with two examples with more modern re-edition or interpretation of the 62MAS and sold at a more reasonable price range.

The all bracelet model with matte black dial is the SBDC051 (SPB051) and the silicon strap sunburst blue dial SBDC053 (SPB053) . The listed price in Japan is YEN378,000, YEN108,000 and YEN86,400, respectively (as at 1 November 2017). When compared to the price of the SLA017 (SBDX019), the other two models are much cheaper. Like the SLA017 (SBDX019), these two models are also flying off the shelves due to surge in demand. 







Although I already got the SLA017 (SBDX019), I was curious to find out whether the lower priced alternatives are value-for-money alternatives. As it turns out, a great deal presented itself out of the blue (pun intended 😁) and I walked away as a proud owner of a new Seiko Prospex SBDC053 (SPB053).

All models under the 62MAS re-edition series are made in Japan. However, there are differences in dimensions and material used. Below is a quick recap of some of the main differences between the various models under the series.




SLA017 (SBDX019)
SBDC051 (SPB051)
SBDC053 (SPB053)
1.       Movement
2.       Strap
3.       Dial
4.       Diameter
5.       Lug width
6.       Lug-to-lug
7.       Thickness
8.       Weight
9.       Crystal
8L35
Bracelet or Silicone
Sunburst charcoal-grey
39.9 mm
19 mm
47.9 mm
14.1 mm
175g (B)110g (S)
Box-shaped sapphire
6R15
Bracelet
Matte black
42.6 mm
20mm
49.5 mm
13.8mm
189g
Curved sapphire
6R15
Silicone
Sunburst blue
42.6 mm
20mm
49.5 mm
13.8mm
124g
Curved sapphire



SBDC053 (SPB053) is made out of 316L stainless steel with Seiko’s special proprietary DiaShield “super-hard” surface protection treatment to minimize scratching. The watch is paired with a soft and flexible accordion-style silicon strap. The total package has a water rating of 200 meters or 20 ATM and magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m.



Although the watch is a dive watch, based on contemporary styling, it looks more like a sports watch. Even to those not interested in the historical lineage, the watch, in itself is attractive and has all the right curves to make it very flexible for all occasions.

The case is sized to reflect the current fashion at 42.6 mm diameter excluding the crown. Since the lugs have the more traditional horizontal design styling, the lug-to-lug size of is a sizable 49.5 mm. For some users, the size may cause some case overhang. The thickness of 13.8 mm is also not excessive as a good proportion of it is part of the curve sapphire crystal.



It is a good thing that the lugs are in the more contemporary 20 mm width instead of 19 mm in the original 62MAS as well as in the SLA017 (SBDX019). Paired with the excellent silicone strap, the combination screams ‘diver watch’ rather effectively. Nevertheless, most owners would never use the watch as it was intended to be used. They would be more accurately be defined as ‘desk divers’ and the standardized lug width allows a lot of customization when it come to strap choices. Moreover, the pass-through pinholes on the lugs facilitate strap changes easily. On another note, the standard Seiko silicone strap that is provided is for a wrist size of up to 21 cm in circumference.

The dial has that mesmerizing sunburst blue colour. The design is more-or-less based on the 62MAS with applied markers. The sloping inner side wall with minute markers ends at the dial surface. The flat dial surface has four lines of texts and the Prospex logo. The applied hour markers have polished stainless steel frame and a substantial amount of LumiBrite painted on them. In the dark, it is hard to not see the markers (provided they are sufficiently charged beforehand).

 

The hands are similar to Seiko Monster’s style hands that are wider and painted with LumiBrite so as to be highly legible in dark waters. There is an aperture at 3 o’clock for the date complication framed with a white line. With the date wheel having a white background, the aperture appears to help balance the symmetry of the hour markers.



Protecting the dial is a curved sapphire crystal. Finally, Seiko has decided to incorporate sapphire crystal in a mid-range dive watch. I do not have anything against the Hardlex crystal used in most of Seiko’s dive watches. In fact, Hardlex is so like sapphire crystal in performance (lower in performance to sapphire but not a lot more) but a lot cheaper. Nevertheless, fans do want options and Seiko took note. It also comes with an AR coating.

The bezel also has a blue finish. Having the DiaShield surface protection coating increases the scratch resistant considerably. In fact, I have to say that it looks like it’s made out ceramic due to the level of polishing. The unidirectional bezel turns properly with 120 clicks for a full cycle and there is barely any noticeable play. The pip glows brightly in the dark. The coinage-style end provide good grip.

Meanwhile, the surface of the watch casing has a combination of polished and brushed areas protected by Seiko’s strong DiaShield coating. I am quite careful with my watches and it is seldom I put them in a situation where they can get scratched. Based on reviews written about the DiaShield coating, almost all writers mentioned about its ability to protect. Although I am sure it works, I definitely do not want to put it to the test.



The unsigned screw-down crown sticks straight out of the watch casing without any protective backing at the 3 o’clock position. Since most modern dive watches have some form of crown protection, it is only natural that one feel decidedly ‘naked’ and ‘unprotected’ when looking at the crown design. Nevertheless, it is not a major issue and one should not be too bothered about it. Do note that Seiko decided to have an unsigned crown. As we all know, practically all new watches under the Prospex line now comes with the Prospex logo etched prominently on the crown surface. I personally do not have any issues with this although this subject has gotten a lot of negative vibes from some fans.

The threads on the crown engage as expected although it is not as smooth like that of a Swiss made watch. To be fair to Seiko, I believe this issue stems from the choice of ‘thread twist’. The Japanese maker tend to choose a higher ‘thread twist’ when compared to Swiss watchmakers. As such, to get the thread engaged properly, the watch with the higher ‘thread twist’ needs to more perfectly aligned. This increases the likelihood of misalignment which tends to be misinterpreted as being ‘low quality’.



The solid screw-down case-back has the classic tsunami logo in the middle. Underneath is the Seiko’s 6R15 movement. This is the 26 jewel movement using a Spron 510 mainspring which gives it a 50 hour power reserve. Operating at 21,600 BPH or 3 Hertz, it has hacking and hand winding capabilities. The movement also has a date complication. Accuracy has been factory rated at +25/-15 seconds per day although generally, one would find it to operate at much better accuracy that what has been stated.

The Wearing Experience

The silicone strap is nice and smooth. Rubber is a very common strap material in most of my dive watch collection and change to a silicone strap example is very refreshing. The signed buckle and the signed metal strap guide are well made and easy to engage.

The watch sits well on my wrist. The size is just nice. Not too big and tall to mess up with cuffs and such. Visually simple but the use of DiaShield and sapphire crystal makes the watch shines. This is another plus point for the watch to be used as a formal timepiece as well.

Below are some photos of the watch on my wrist. There is also a video of the same.





Pricing

The MSRP in Malaysia of the SBDC053 (SPB053) is RM3,508.60 (with GST) while the SBDC051 (SPB051) is RM4,664.00 (with GST). This is equivalent to YEN94,520 and YEN125,647, respectively (as at 1 November 2017). I was able to get mine for RM2,600.00.

Photo Gallery




3 comments:

  1. where can I check and get a good deal for this watch pls ?SBDC053 (SPB053)
    Why different code nos ... one for japan and one for malaysia ?
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The different coding is part of Seiko's SOP. Essentially the same. Most of the brick and mortar ADs in KL are currently out of stock. suggest you try some internet merchants.

      Delete
    2. Thanks .Internet I saw but afraid to get fakes or value of seiko too low to warrant fakes ? Any advice ? Saw one on lazada seller from Hong Kong wonder if reliable . Or any reliable internet merchant u can recommend . Thanks again .

      Delete

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