Though it’s often overshadowed by Seiko’s own divers, when the Seiko Alpinist was apparently discontinued, there was suddenly buzz around the classic sport watch. Vintage examples began trading for higher prices, and some limited editions were released and quickly sold out. Now, popular demand has been answered and the Alpinist is back and updated to fit coherently in the brand’s Prospex collection — and it’s brandishing some notable upgrades. Frankly, it looks damn good in each of its four current variants.
Many are attracted to the history associated with the Aplinist, introduced in 1959 for Japanese “mountain men,” and often considered the brand’s first sport watch. Along with the unique design and rugged specs, such as sapphire crystal and 200m of water-resistance, the restrained sizing of 39.5mm is also a welcome addition. The magnifying glass over the date, or “cyclops,” however, is always a controversial element in watch design. Another notable feature is the asymmetric crown at 4 o’clock, which controls a rotating inner bezel.
The new Seiko Alpinist comes in four different versions at launch with familiar color schemes, including an ever-popular iteration in green and a black-dial version with a steel bracelet, though the brand has held off on resurrecting the popular blue-dial version for now. All contain an upgraded Seiko 6R35 automatic movement that offers a very respectable 70 hours of power reserve.
Three new Seiko Prospex Alpinist models (SPB119, SPB121, and SPB123) come on a strap and have price of $725, whereas the black-dialed SPB119 on a bracelet is $750. Availability is expected in January 2020.