Paying homage to their original Speedtimer, which they introduced in May 1969, Seiko has introduced two new series of chronographs. The first series comprises of two models, the first one is limited to 1000 pieces and its design is a tribute to Seiko’s stopwatch from 1964. The second model from the first series will have the same calibre which is Cal. 8R46, but it has different dial and case interpretations. The second series comprises of 4 solar chronographs and all the watches are part of Seiko’s Prospex collection.
As mentioned earlier, the first of the two models is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Limited Edition SRQ035 which has a dial that pays tribute to Seiko’s 1/5th second stopwatch from 1964 and has a very clean and legible dial design which is a direct inspiration from its predecessor, thanks to a large part to the contrasting plain white dial and black numerals over it. The watch is enclosed in a stainless steel case measuring a substantial 42.5mm and 15.1mm thick, which has a super-hard coating, affixed with a sapphire crystal and see-through caseback, offering 100m water resistance. This model comes with a 3-link stainless steel bracelet with super-hard coating, three-fold clasp with push-button release and and an additional calfskin strap.
The second one of these new models is the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SRQ037 which is a non-limited edition release and has the case, bracelet and movement similar to its limited edition counterpart, but this version has a dial that more closely resembles the Seiko Prospex lineup of watches. The dial is charcoal-grey with a sunbrushed pattern with the recessed sub-dials in black. Only the black flange with a tachymeter scale retains the similarity with SRQ035, otherwise, it’s a different dial with more of a classic look. The sharp and pointy hands received the beige-colored LumiBrite treatment and this version only comes with a 3-link steel bracelet.
While most of us have in mind Seiko‘s impressive background in the field of watches made for divers, the Japanese brand has far more to offer, especially when it comes to chronographs. I’m sure we don’t need to remind you that Seiko was one of the earliest manufacturers to build an automatic chronograph in 1969. And it was also the first brand to launch a chronograph on Japanese soil. Today, with this new series of automatic chronograph watches, Seiko pays tribute to its background in sports timing with watches inspired by high-precision equipment of the 1960s. Meet the new Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph SRQ035 & SRQ037 watches.
This might not be the most famous part of the brand’s history, but as Seiko explains: “In the 1960s, Seiko announced itself on the international sports timing stage with a whole new generation of high-precision equipment that was enthusiastically endorsed by many international sports federations and used to capture elapsed time at many of the world’s leading sports events. Central to this success was a range of stopwatches that incorporated Seiko’s innovative “heart-shaped cam” mechanism, a feature which delivered a level of precision once thought unachievable by manual sports timing devices.”
Later, in 1964, Seiko released its first chronograph watch and movement, which coincidentally was the first of its kind for a Japanese manufacturer, with the Seiko Crown Chronograph and its calibre 5179. Launched for the Summer Olympics, it once again showed the brand’s devotion to sports timing. More details about this Crown Chronograph 5179 and its modern reissue here. And then came one of the most fascinating races of the watchmaking industry to produce the first automatic chronograph. Alongside Zenith and the Heuer/Hamilton/Breiling venture, Seiko was among the first three brands to launch a chronograph movement with its calibre 6139 inside a watch named the Speedtimer.
Not only was it a pioneering movement, but the calibre 6139 was the only one equipped with a column wheel and vertical clutch – two devices that delivered real improvements in the measurement of elapsed time in a wristwatch and that are still considered today as the best possible architecture. Today, Seiko wants to pay tribute to this rich past by presenting two models inspired, both visually and mechanically, by these important watches and movements.