The mere sight of this watch says it all: It is big, beautiful, durable, functional and simultaneously modern and classic. Talk about form meeting function…
Seiko continues to build amazing watches on top of its innovative yet intriguing Spring Drive system. What we have here today is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT Ref SBDB001 - a watch that’s nothing less than a thing of beauty and most certainly nothing short of everyday usability.
In case you haven’t heard about Seiko’s Spring Drive system, it is a watch movement that was developed by Seiko Epson through a seamless but hardworking collaboration with Seiko Instruments and Seiko Holdings. Its main and rare feature is a continuously sweeping second hand, instead of the traditional beats per time unit as seen with traditional mechanical/automatic and most quartz watches.
This said movement, one that took 28 years and over 600 prototypes to perfect from 1977 to 2005, is mostly associated with the high-end brand Grand Seiko and is of late available in many high-end Seikos such as Credor, Galante, Izul, Ananta and Prospex series.
The appeal of an archetypal Japanese Seiko-styled watch - classic yet modern, comfortable and informal - has gathered much pace in recent years. Undoubtedly, much if it would catch the imagination precisely because it has proven to be a kind of iconography for the brand itself - a kind of visual shorthand for what the Japanese, at least superficially, represented: Attention to detail, individuality and reliability.
And the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT is no exception.
While most GMT watches place the hours for the second time zone on the bezel, this Seiko has a slightly different proposition. Sporting a 24-hour hand for the purpose of a second time zone read, the numbers are actually inside the bezel, around the perimeter of the dial. This means that you can have the bezel free for your standard dive time functionality.
This goes without saying that purists will be noting on how the watch will be slightly less functional in terms of a GMT watch as having the hours on the bi-directional rotating bezel so that you can easily check times in other time zones. But unlike naysayers, we reckon it’s nice having a different functionality on the same watch, considering having three time zones on a watch, like the Rolex GMT-Master II Ceramic 116710LN that we talked about in our previous article, may seem a tad over the top.
The SBDB001 functions with a 72-hour power reserve and automatic winding, with the date situated at the 3 o’clock marker. As with all Spring Drive system capabilities, the power reserve indicator is shown around the 9 o’clock marker. While all these sound impressive, the icing on the cake has to be the fact that the watch is made from titanium, which means it’s a whole lot lighter than you can possibly imagine, especially for watch of this size and calibre.
Measuring 45mm in diameter and 17mm thick, the functionality of the Marinemaster Spring Drive GMT extends with a diver extension should you decide to put on your wet suit and take this piece down for a dive, which will max out at the 600-metre mark. And there’s really nothing to worry about wrecking the watch because the one-piece structure and its rear air tight cover provide it complete safety from water eve in deep sea. Plus, the material of the glass cover of this watch is sapphire glass, allowing it to make its outer surface harder, durable and scratch resistant.
Retailing at $4,700 at Goldman Luxury Watches, what you have is a rare instance of restrained simplicity in a luxury Japanese watch, similar or even perhaps more superior to how the Swiss would have done it. Is it worth it for this price? We say every bit so.