Seiko played a significant part in pioneering the world’s first automatic chronograph watches half a century ago, but these contributions to horological history aren’t always reflected in its current collections with mechanical chronographs. Today, however, Seiko addressed that void with the release of two limited-edition chronographs in its popular Prospex and Presage lines.
The Prospex SRQ029 (~$4,066 USD) refers to a model from 1970 called the Panda, while the Presage SRQ031 (~$3,737 USD) references the first Japanese chronograph wristwatch, the Seiko Crown Chrono, released in 1964. Neither is the type of faithful rerelease trending in watchmaking; instead, they are loosely based on vintage models, incorporating specific design features and a generally vintage Seiko feel. Both are limited to 1,000 pieces and will be available from Seiko boutiques and retailers in December.
The watches share the automatic 8R48 chronograph movement introduced in 2014. This gives each one a familiar layout of modern chronograph movements with subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock; the date (at 4:30); the ability to time up to 12 hours; and a power reserve of 45 hours. The 8R48 also features a column wheel and vertical clutch — two related features watch enthusiasts consider premium due to the cost and complexity as well as smooth chronograph articulation.
Both new models feature Seiko’s premium zaratsu case polishing but with slightly different dimensions. The Prospex SRQ029 measures 41mm wide and 16mm thick, whereas the Presage SRQ031 is 42mm wide and a little bit thinner at 15.3mm. Each is water-resistant to a hearty 100 meters.
Modern mechanical chronographs from Seiko are rare, but this may be a sign that the brand is willing to start incorporating the infamously difficult, but extremely popular, complication into more watches in the future.
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