Following a successful 2020 celebrating the 60th anniversary of Grand Seiko, this year it is the turn of its patriarch Seiko, which was founded 140 years ago in what is now the Chūō City area of greater Toyko.
The eyes of the world will — we hope — be turning towards Tokyo for this summer’s Olympic Games, highlighting the technological and economic miracle of the area, and is surrounding natural beauty.
This combination has inspired Seiko since 1881 and guides its world-leading watchmakers today.
It is 140 years since Kintaro Hattori created Seiko at just 21-years-old, and his youth allowed him to devote half a century to building the business into the largest watch producer in his native Japan.
This year’s anniversary is a huge deal to the brand, and it is kicking off with a series of creations that embody the spirit of Mr Hattori starring fresh Prospex, Presage and Astron watches inspired by the landscapes, oceans and cities of Japan.
2021’s Prospex diver’s watches are inspired by the island of Iriomote, a divers’ paradise in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Japan’s mainland that is home to several species of rare flora and fauna, coral reefs, jungle, mangrove forests, beaches, rivers and waterfalls.
There are two mechanical watches in the anniversary Prospex collection based on Seiko’s 1968 diving timekeepers and one solar chronograph.
Top of the line is the SPB207, a 300 meter water resistant, eight-beat diver’s watch suitable for saturation as well as air diving. The 3,000 piece limited edition houses Seiko’s Caliber 8L35 and retails for £1,250.
A second reference, the 200 meter water resistant SLA047 with a six beat caliber, will have a production run of 6,000 and a price of £3,000.
Finally, Seiko has unveiled the Prospex, a 200m solar chronograph limited edition of 4,000 pieces priced at £700.
All three watches go on sale in March on stainless steel with an extra silicone strap.
The first Presage of the year is a mechanical automatic version of the Sharp Edged Series first seen last year.
Seiko says its design is inspired by the Tokyo dawn, with an angular style that causes the watch to sparkle as light hits it from different directions.
It uses the same Asanoha or hemp leaf pattern as some of 2020’s references, a style that has been used for over a thousand years in Japanese fabrics.
The gold colour accents of the indexes and hands are set onto a black dial reminiscent of the sunlight that illuminates Tokyo in the early dawn.
The 39.3mm steel on steel watch, limited world-wide to 4,000 pieces, has black DLC coating that contrasts with the shimmering brown and gold dial. It has an open case back exposing the Caliber 6R35 automatic movement with 70 hour power reserve.
Seiko retailers will have the watch on sale for £1,060 in February.
The final watch unveiled in January, at the beginning of what is certain to be a year packed with fresh timepieces, is an addition to the sporty Astron family.
The Astron GPS Solar Dual-Time 5X53: SSH083 uses Seiko’s 5X53 GPS controlled movement with time zone adjustment dual-time and AM/PM indication along with a perpetual calendar that will show the cored date until February 2100.
Its design is inspired by Japanese cherry blossom seen at night when they give off an ethereal glow under the stars. The watch’s black steel case and bracelet act as the night sky while its dial, that fades from purple to pink reflects the blossoms.
The 42.7mm watch is produced in a limited run of 1,500 and goes on sale in February for £2,100.