We review all Seiko Divers between € 800 and € 1,550 to help orient you. Trust us, there are a lot of choices now!
Previously, it was quite easy to sort the Seiko range. Of course, there were a lot of options regardless of the kind of watch. When it comes to Seiko divers, however, I always felt there was a clear hierarchy. One started with the small SKX007 and evolved into the MM300. Along the way, watches such as the Samurai, Sumo or Shogun were available. Those days, it seems, are long gone and there is now plenty of choice in this all-important entry-level luxury price range. We’re here to make sense of it all – until Seiko unleashes another diver!
The basic rules – Seiko Divers
The easiest thing to understand in this guide is that I have chosen all Seiko divers with a list price of 800 € to 1550 €. These prices are here in Germany, so your local market will be different. Still, when it comes to specs and movement, I think you’ll see a lot of similarities, so the choices make sense. Also, I looked at all the models offered today.
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This is the key, as Seiko shakes things up frequently these days. Also, I have a feeling that a model is about to come out, but I mentioned it anyway. Finally, all of these models are Prospex parts and I have not disqualified any part due to the movement style. Let’s start!
The Seiko Sumo
the Sumo is the cheapest watch from our Seiko dive guide on € 830. However, this large stainless steel watch doesn’t give up on this list unless you consider avoiding retro styling as a downside. SPB101J1 (black) and SPB103J1 (green) were released in 2019 and received a lot of love. Yes, people were concerned about an increase of almost $ 200, but higher list prices are now the way at Seiko. For that extra amount, however, buyers receive a sapphire crystal and the upgraded 6R35 automatic with 70 hours of power reserve. At 45mm, the 200-meter Sumo isn’t a small watch, but it fits well due to the relatively short lugs. It was always the watch to buy if something like the MM300 was too expensive. There is a family resemblance there for a fraction of the cost
Mike’s Take: I have always loved the Sumo because it is a quirky and modern design from Seiko. It looks like a Seiko, but it doesn’t try to be retro. If you can get the size, this watch gives you almost every ability of the other Seiko divers on this list. Sumo is hard to deny.
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The Modern Reinterpretation of 62MAS – The Biggest Case
Here is a wild one. 2017 wasn’t that long ago, but the Seiko Divers that I’m going to show you here are basically about to come out. Just a few years ago, Seiko showed us a 62MAS reissue. Along with that, they came out with a modern reinterpretation. These watches were known as SPB051 (black on strap) and 053 (blue on silicone). They brought in the 6R15 50-hour automatic power reserve, 42.6mm diameter, sapphire crystal and super hard coating to prevent scratches on the 60s style stainless steel case. The controversy came with the combined, however. Seiko chose its modern arrow-shaped hour hand and dagger-style minute hand. As mentioned, the watches above seem to be gone now, but the PADI-inspired SPB071 still remains for 900 €.
Mike’s Take: I have to admit that I never liked these watches. If you do, however, it marks a period, albeit a very brief one, where Seiko tried to mix pure retro with a modern handset. Most watch enthusiasts were critical, but the original blue and black models would have sold quite well. Plus, if I’m not mistaken, he is one of Gerard’s favorite modern Seiko divers and rarely gets anything wrong. Ask him! Finally, it seems that there are currently some good deals on this.
The Modern Reinterpretation 6159 – Bigger Case
If 2017 was the year of the 62MAS, then 2018 was known to celebrate the famous 6159 diver’s watch. In addition to a high-priced limited-edition reissue, we were also shown new Seiko Divers under the guise of the modern reinterpretation. These 44mm by 51mm steel stanchions echoed the modern 62MAS with the 6R15, sapphire crystal, and super hard case coating. From the start, Seiko gave us the SPB079 (black dial with blue bezel on silicone) to 900 € and the SPB077 (all black on strap) for € 1,050. Since then they have offered several limited editions, blue dial versions like the SPB083 (blue dial and bezel with strap and bracelet) for € 1,200 and a green dial SPB105 on a bracelet for 1100 € as you see above. These watches also use the modern handset, but the complaints were muted. Maybe they just work better with the dial and case design.
Mike’s Take: I love the so called “MM200” so much that I bought one. It was the limited edition SBDC079 “Ginza Edition” with green dial and silver hands. These fit well on a small wrist and their 13.1mm thickness makes the MM300 look overdone. On the flip side, Seiko has just dropped a few smaller watches with this shape and more traditional hands. I guess these will be gone now, but I think these are future classics. If you like the size and design, it’s hard to go wrong here.
In 2019, Seiko gave us the SLA033. It was a high-end reissue of the 1970 reference 6105 diver worn by Martin Sheen in Apocalypse now like Captain Willard. Oddly enough, Seiko broke with tradition and didn’t give us modern reinterpretations at the same time. However, about a year later, new Seiko Divers arrived in this wonderfully asymmetrical shape. The amazing thing about these moderns Willards is how much they look like the originals. The modern handset? These have given way to historically correct right hands with brutal spikes. These watches are so close to their ancestors that I might regret an expensive purchase of SLA033. At 42.7mm by 15mm, they’re not small, but the cases are so “round” they wear beautifully. There is a dull olive SPB153 on the rubber for € 1,150, the black SPB151 on strap for € 1,350, and a new limited blue SPB183 for € 1,450. These steel watches use the 70 hours 6R35, have a sapphire crystal, an upgraded strap and a super hard case coating. The reception was just fantastic.
Mike’s Take: This is one of those versions that reminds me of the Turtle reissue. I say this because they have been very well received. They are stylish in person and while we may complain about the good old days of € 600 Seiko Divers, they add a lot of value to everyday life. If you like something other than a traditional case, but want a great ‘one-off’ watch, it’s hard to go wrong here. I would have a hard time choosing between black and green.
The modern reinterpretation of the 62MAS – smaller body
The next watch from our Seiko dive guide may well overtake the Willard in terms of overall popularity. In what amounts to a last-second U-turn for the normally conservative company, Seiko released a new take on the 62MAS just a few years after its last attempt. At first glance, I thought these new watches were just an attempt to remedy the modern handset with more traditional indicators. This is simply not the case, as these watches are smaller at only 40.5mm by 44mm and 13.2mm thick. The 200 meter steel divers also use the 6R35, bring sapphire crystal and contain a super hard coating. There is the SPB143 (gray dial with the black bezel on the strap) for € 1,250, SPB145 (gray-brown dial with aged lume on the strap – only in boutiques), SPB147 (brown-bronze dial with gold accents on the rubber) for € 1,050, and the SPB149 (blue dial on bracelet and limited to 5500 pieces) for € 1,350.
Mike’s Take: Much like the Willard, these Seiko Divers are so good that they make the high-priced re-releases seem like a questionable buy. I really like these and while the old ‘skin diver’ case form isn’t my favorite, it seems the watch world wanted a classic no-frills Seiko diver. Now they’re available, affordable, and hitting the shelves. With great portability and the ability to dress them up or down help justify the widespread enthusiasm.
The modern reinterpretation 6159 – smaller case
Well if you thought Seiko finished this year with the Willard and 62MAS, think again! Fair last week we have been informed of a new pair of convincing Seiko divers. And just like the 62MAS, these watches continue the downsizing trend of a recently released model. The new SPB187 in steel (blue dial and black bezel on strap) for € 1,250 and the SPB185 (black dial with metal bezel on strap) for € 1,250 comes in the form of the modern 6159 reinterpretation. However, they also dump the modern handset for the traditional look. Plus, with a diameter of just 42mm and a thickness of 12.5mm, they’re even easier to wear than their 44m counterparts (or, presumably, future predecessors). The brake light “shovel” needle and nicely updated 6159 dial join with sapphire crystal, 6R35, and super hard coating.
Mike’s Take: It is clear that all new Seiko divers in this line will receive the 6R35. I love all of the choices we have but are they too much? Who cares, because they look fantastic. It’s easily my favorite Seiko case shape and this one or the Willard will probably fight over my wallet. This metal bezel is truly a unique look for Seiko. On the other hand, I would consider waiting for additional colors, as they will almost certainly arrive at some point soon.
The Shogun – the newest of the Seiko divers
Seiko doesn’t just focus on downsizing its recent versions with more new versions. No, the brand’s assault on the accessible market for high-end diving watches was further stepped up last week with two new Seiko Divers that hit the ceiling of our price range. This is quite exciting for Seiko fans because these are new Shogun models. The Shogun is a unique watch in the brand’s mid-range universe with its titanium case and crown placement at 3 o’clock (ok, the 62MAS has it too). With the new SPB189 (black dial with bronze bezel and black bezel on strap) for € 1,550 and SPB191 (white dial with black bezel on silicone strap) for € 1,350, these watches also add some great ceramic bezels. A 43.5mm by 13.3mm case houses the 6R35 and sapphire crystal while offering 200 meters of water resistance.
Mike’s Take: I have always considered the Shogun to be a simpler and more elegant version of the cheaper version. Samurai. I have always found the cases a bit bulky and crude. That all changes with this version – especially this model with the bronze bezel. Of course, it’s expensive and titanium is a polarizing material, but this watch looks dear to me. I also tend to stress Seiko for relying too much on its past, and therefore, I should probably give more credit to modern, quirky designs like the Shogun.
The Tuna Can – the only 300 meter diver on the list
If you’ve made it this far in our list of mid-range Seiko divers, you are surprised. Seiko has revised – or canceled – its tuna line in 2020 and that also means the most affordable variant: the Can of tuna. Several years ago, Seiko gave the Tunas the modern handset. This year all of that has been revoked and we get the hands that debuted in the 70s. The reference S23629 still uses the same tried and tested 7C46 quartz (day and date functions are included) while providing resistance to water. water 300 meters. The stainless steel watch with Diashield case treatment measures 47.7mm and 14.1mm thick and brings sapphire crystal. These watches use a traditional screw-down case compared to the front loader construction of the 1000-meter Tunas. Still, this smaller design has been around for over 40 years and that makes it more than believable. € 1,500 (on silicone) is your entry price into this world of unique divers.
Mike’s Take: It’s hard not to like a Seiko Tuna in any form and while some don’t consider it to be a real tuna (ahem, Gerard), I don’t agree. This is a great watch and if you are considering a tuna that you can actually wear, this is really your only choice. These things are built like bank chests, wonderfully finished, and bring one of the most respected quartz movements in the game. It might not be the best everyday watch, but maybe your lifestyle or your profession might differ.
As you can see there is many options for Seiko divers from € 800 to € 1,550. In fact, if you look at where we were with Seiko just five years ago, we have a veritable cornucopia of choice now. overall. The best thing is that you can’t go wrong with any of these watches as they are all well made, sturdy and reliable. If you love retro, you are spoiled for choice with these modern reinterpretations. If you like new materials or original designs then head to the Shogun or Sumo. And finally, if you’ve got a quartz wrist beast made for the depths, now’s Tuna Can time. Let us know which Seiko diver is your favorite by voting below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments. Is there another model you would like to see come out or are you happy?