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Thursday, April 25, 2024

The New, Retro-Styled Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph SRQ047 and SRQ049

Each time we’re speaking about Seiko‘s sports activities watches, these produced below the Prospex vary, my thoughts shortly photos a dive watch… There’s no denying the affect of the Japanese watchmaker on this discipline. It has been instrumental. Nonetheless, we will’t scale back the historical past of Seiko’s skilled watches solely to aquatic fashions. The model has had an equally robust affect on the chronograph market – do not forget that in 1969, it was a part of a trio that offered the primary automated chronograph actions, with a watch named the Speedtimer. As a tribute to early Seventies fashions, Seiko brings again this identify as soon as extra with vintage-inspired references, the SRQ047 and SRQ049.

Following the creation of a number of sports activities timing gadgets within the early Nineteen Sixties, Seiko launched its first chronograph watch and motion in 1964, which coincidentally was the primary of its sort for a Japanese producer, with the Seiko Crown Chronograph and its calibre 5179. Launched for the Summer time Olympics, it as soon as once more confirmed the model’s devotion to sports activities timing. Much more essential perhaps is the launch in 1969, alongside Zenith (El Primero) and Heuer/Breitling/Hamilton (Calibre 11/Chronomatic), of one of many first automated chronograph actions, the calibre 6139, later changed by the calibre 6138. This motion would discover its means right into a collection of watches named… Speedtimer.

An early (circa 1969-1970) Speedtimer mannequin geared up with the Calibre 6139

We’ve seen a number of tributes to historic Seiko chronograph watches just lately, beginning in 2019 with the Fiftieth-anniversary Prospex SRQ029, and in 2021 Seiko introduced again the identify Speedtimer with a collection of enormous, reasonably cumbersome watches similar to the SRQ035 and SRQ037, the SRQ039 or the SRQ045. Whereas nonetheless utilizing the identify Speedtimer, some main updates have been completed this 12 months with two new references that not solely handle a few of the design flaws of the aforementioned fashions but in addition carry some cool classic touches.

1969 Seiko Panda Chronograph Calibre 6139 - Seiko's first automatic chronograph1969 Seiko Panda Chronograph Calibre 6139 - Seiko's first automatic chronograph
An early-Seventies Seiko Chronograph with calibre 6138 inside, which has been the inspiration for the SRQ047 and SRQ049

The brand new Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph SRQ047 and SRQ049 include a well-known design. Whereas the resemblance with the classic mannequin above is fairly apparent, there’s additionally a powerful reference to the Fiftieth-anniversary reference SRQ029. Nonetheless, these two new fashions include some unprecedented design parts and are set to carry a brand new design language to the mechanical chronograph assortment, reasonably completely different from what has been utilized in earlier Speedtimer watches.

At the start, whereas not drastically smaller than different Speedtimer watches, the form of the case and of a number of parts of the habillage has been revised to carry “visually” extra compact watches. The diameter is 42mm and the thickness, usually a priority with automated chronographs, is now set at 14.6mm – to be in comparison with 42.5mm x 15.1mm for Speedtimer fashions such because the SRQ045. Apart from the slight discount of the size, it’s largely the form of the case that has been up to date, with an nearly helmet-like centre case, an ode to Seventies fashions. The pushers, whereas nonetheless protruding considerably from the case, have been diminished too and the development of the case itself – perceive the distribution of the weather (bezel, mid-case, caseback) – has been revised to make these in any other case hefty fashions really feel a bit extra compact.

The design is cool, retro and charming, with apparent classic references combined with up to date execution. The mix of hairline finishes and polished accents, typical of Seiko’s trendy manufacturing, is especially properly executed right here and makes these new references, at the very least in my eyes, much more interesting than earlier Speedtimers. The remainder of the case is traditional, with a sapphire crystal on high, a big crown and a caseback that, for as soon as, retains issues hidden. It’s strong metal with engravings, with out a see-through again. The 100m water-resistance can also be nice for a chronograph.

Shifting right down to the dials, Seiko brings two traditional however efficient choices; Panda (SRQ047) or Reversed Panda (SRQ049, a restricted version). First, we will see that the show has advanced from a bi-compax to a tri-compax format, with the date now positioned in a round window at 4:30, on an identical disc. The darkish model (it’s laborious to outline the precise color, starting from black to darkish grey-blue) comes with a matte dial whereas the silver mannequin contains a straight brushed end. Each have utilized markers and palms with LumiBrite inserts and orange accents on the tip of the chronograph-related palms. Lastly, a contrasting inside tachymeter flange permits the calculation of common speeds.

Importantly, mixed with the brand new form of the case, these dials stuffed with distinction additionally are inclined to make the Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049 really feel barely smaller than earlier fashions. They’re additionally extra animated, and extra attention-grabbing to have a look at, with a slight classic be aware. As soon as on the wrist, their presence is simple however the brief lugs and the revamped case hold issues fairly respectable for a sports activities chronograph.

Invisible below its metal again (which doesn’t actually matter, for the reason that chronograph system is positioned dial-side) is the calibre 8R48, a surprisingly nice motion geared up with a vertical clutch and column wheel, guaranteeing a easy actuation of the perform and a exact begin of the seconds hand. This automated engine beats at a 4Hz frequency, with an escapement made lighter and stronger due to the usage of MEMS know-how.

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph SRQ043Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph SRQ043
Right here the calibre 8R46, the identical motion because the 8R48, solely with a distinct show.

Along with new instances and dials, these Prospex Speedtimer SRQ047 and SRQ049 chronograph watches additionally inaugurate a brand new bracelet (with super-hard coating just like the case), impressed by these discovered on Seventies watches. Its multi-link building is visually fairly cool but in addition nice on the wrist, with flexibility. It’s closed by a three-fold clasp with push button launch. The reference SRQ049 can also be delivered with a further leather-based strap with its personal folding clasp.

Each the SRQ047 and SRQ049 might be out there on the Seiko Boutiques and choose retail shops worldwide from December 2023. The SRQ047 might be a part of the everlasting assortment whereas the dark-toned SRQ049 is a restricted version of 1,000 items, commemorating the a centesimal 12 months of the Seiko identify. The traditional model retails for EUR 2,700 and the restricted version for EUR 2,900 (a bit extra accessible than earlier Speedtimer fashions, now priced at round 3,200 euros with a metal bracelet). For extra particulars, please go to seikowatches.com.


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