We’re spoiled for choice when it comes to over-engineered dive watches these days. Whether new and modern or retro and stylish, there is no shortage of options for those seeking a capable dive companion. Yet, exceedingly few of us actually spend much time in the water, let alone in a manner that would necessitate a dive watch. Why, then, are we drawn to these watches? A case could certainly be made that the qualities required of a great dive watch also make them supremely practical everyday tools, and while true, I think there’s something else at play, and that’s the stories often associated with these watches and their lineage. These new dive watches from Seiko, dubbed the Ice Diver, are prime examples of just that.
Drawing inspiration from the role Seiko watches played within the Japanese Arctic Research Expedition (JARE) in the ‘60s, which saw early Seiko diver watches subjected to extreme conditions, Seiko is releasing a new collection of Prospex Ice Diver watches with three new references. The JARE has remained operational through phase IX, providing valuable research and insight on some of the most sensitive areas of the Arctic, and it was the early missions that laid the groundwork for today’s scientists and engineers. Seiko supported these early activities and supplied members with dive watches that could withstand the rigors of their field work. The reputation of these watches as reliable tools in any condition meant their use on the wrist of explorers like Naomi Uemura, and Yuichiro Miura.
The new Ice Diver watches aren’t throwbacks, however. With textured dials and modern Seiko design language, the watches feel suitable for use on today’s most arduous expeditions across the Arctic. The new watches are meant to invoke the shifting colors of polar ice depending on the light conditions. These colors appear on waffle textured dials in gray (SPB175), green (SPB177) or light blue (SPB179), each sporting a matching bezel. The 45mm steel case is sumo-style with wide lugs and deep chamfers mated to a steel linked bracelet with tri-fold clasp and extender. Wide hands and oversized hour markers, each brimmed with LumiBrite, make for supreme legibility, while a magnified date aperture at 3 o’clock adds a dash of practicality.
Within the Ice Diver watches beats the tried and true 6R35 automatic caliber with 70 hours of reserve. Traditional crown placement at 4 o’clock should help with wearability, which goes a long way at this size. A depth rating of 200m should suffice whatever your level of tolerance for extremes.
The Seiko Ice Divers are exclusive to the US market, and are available for order right now for the price of $ 900. Each watch is presented in a special box that includes a Prospex flashlight. Learn more from Seiko here.