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The 6 Best Seiko Reissues, Reinterpretations, Re-creations and Recrafts

Posted on August 25 2021

Seiko Reissue Watches

Some watches have a place in watchmaking history.

They have an iconic design or a new feature. Or it could be that they capture the spirit of the times and inspire strong memories.

Whatever the reason, some watches matter more than others.

But they often become scarce. Or they're expensive.

Age can be an issue too. Old watches show wear and tear and may need repairs.

The solution is to build a new version. The best of both worlds. The look and feel of a desirable vintage piece, but with modern workmanship and technology.

A watch that oozes vintage charm but also has a full manufacturers warranty.

And who better to recreate designs from their back catalogue than Japanese giants Seiko?

Seiko Reissues, Reinterpretations, Re-creations and Recrafts


As Japan's leading watch manufacturer Seiko has a long history of innovation. Seiko watches have been worn on the wrists of celebrities and were favoured by soldiers around the world. They made influential divers watches and were a pioneer of quartz and kinetic models.

Collectors love vintage Seiko's. And the prices reflect that passion.

So it's no surprise that Seiko regularly delves into its own archives to inspire its new models. They use a variety of terms. Sometimes it's a reissue, and other times it's more of a reinterpretation.

But the results are consistent.

We get a new vintage-looking Seiko.

The prices can vary widely. Some models are very expensive, while others are very affordable. So I'd like to show you a bit of both.

Let's jump in. Trust me, if you've ever lusted after a scarce vintage Seiko, you'll love some of these current designs.

Seiko 62MAS Watch

The 62MAS was Seiko and Japan's first dive watch. It's the best place to start with a Seiko reissue.

The original was a distinctive and functional piece with the appearance of a classic Skin Diver's watch. That means a slim case with prominent lugs and a simple black bezel.

First released in 1965, this watch influenced many later Seiko diver's

The 62MAS was a straightforward automatic watch. But it had 150M of water resistance. That was impressive when previous Seiko watches could only boast 50M.

At the time of the watches release, manufacturers were breaking new dive records. Diver's were going ever deeper - for both work and recreation. But not everyone into dive watches needed that functionality.

Watch companies spotted a gap and began to release lighter, slimmer dive watches. These were aimed at more casual divers.

It was at this point that Seiko built their debut dive watch. The name 62MAS comes from the watches features - an autoMAtic Selfdater.

If you're familiar with Skin Diver watches you'll recognise that DNA in the Seiko. And the reissue faithfully recreates that aesthetic.

Skin Diver watches of the time had generic cases (often built by Squale). So this watch has an angular case with pronounced lugs. This is matched with a simple rotating bezel.

The dial is also familiar to fans of vintage Seiko divers. It has simple rectangular markers and straight hands. But despite these common features, it's a beautiful design. And this modern reinterpretation successfully captures the dive watch chic of the time.

The new model isn't a replica.

The case is larger, as are the hands. The bezel is chunkier and more modern looking and the whole watch looks a little crisper than the 1960s watch.

And of course, the new version has gold hands and accents.

Technically, the reissue is an upgrade of the original. The water resistance is increased from 150 to 200M and the modern Seiko movement is an improvement. That's why this watch is top of my list.

Seiko Prospex 1965 62MAS Reissue SPB147J1

  • 40.5mm Diameter
  • 13.2mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Seiko Captain Willard Watch

This watch, the Seiko Captain Willard, is a similar offering to the 62MAS. It's one of Seiko's most iconic divers and a favourite among the brand's fans.

The Seiko Captain Willard was a real Seiko watch that was first released in 1968. Officially known as the Seiko 6105, it was a tough dive watch that was on sale in Vietnam during the war.

It's a great watch in its own right. It had 150M of water resistance, an in-house automatic movement and a very distinctive 'turtle' case.

But the watches real fame comes from Hollywood. In Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen's character - Captain Willard - wore the Seiko 6105.

There have been a few reissues by Seiko, with this green version being my favourite. Let's not worry that Sheen wore the black variation onscreen.

Surprisingly, the reissue is slightly smaller than the original. As a fan of smaller watches that is a plus for me. But at 42mm, this isn't a small watch. It's just more compact than the original

Stylistically, it's closer to the original.

The beautiful green version has a strong military vibe. I like that. The turtle or cushion case looks like a vintage diver. But the drab green feels authentic to the time period and its use in Vietnam.

But the watch is a legitimate diver and has 200M of water resistance. And the other specs are good too - they should be - this isn't an inexpensive watch.

It has a sapphire crystal and a Seiko in-house automatic movement with a 70-hour power reserve.

But it's the design that wins here. It's instantly recognisable and has been popular since the 1970s. This is an accessible way to get that retro-styling now.

Seiko Prospex Captain Willard 1970s Recreation SPB153J1

  • 42.7mm Diameter
  • 13.2mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Seiko Alpinist 1959 Reinterpretation Watch

Before Seiko designed dive watches they built tool or explorer models.

The most well-known are their Alpinist line. These models were developed for the 'Yamaotoko', or Japanese 'Mountain Man'. The kind of man who spends his weekdays in the office and the weekends climbing mountains.

These watches were designed to be versatile. They could be used in both environments. They're tough but refined. Legible, but stylish. In short, they're functional without being sporty.

It's a concept that has proven popular and pre-dates the brands more well-known dive watches.

The Alpinist line is still available. It has now been widened to include watches that celebrate their debut models.

The inspiration for this modern reinterpretation was a hand-winding model known as the Laurel Alpinist. It was a modest 35mm wide. This new version is slightly larger at 38mm. And rather than hand-winding, it is powered by an automatic movement.

The vintage inspiration is still obvious.

It has a simple, clean dial with bold triangular markers. The prominent hands are dauphine-style. Overall, it's a straightforward three-handed watch, reminiscent of the Rolex Explorer 1.

But that simple design, with its round case and slim profile, doesn't do justice to the watches specs. This watch has 200M of water resistance and a sapphire crystal.

Along with the reliable Japanese made movement, this makes for a tough watch, despite the modest size. It's the same dimensions as my Bulova Hack and I see this watch performing the same role.

The finishing is exquisite and features applied markers and gold accents on the smokey grey dial.

This is a versatile watch. More at home in the office than the previous two divers. It's ideal if you want more flexibility.

Seiko Prospex Alpinist 1959 Re-Interpretation SPB243J1

  • 38mm Diameter
  • 12.9mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Seiko Presage 60s style watch

The Presage 60s style is a new release that takes its inspiration from a 1960s Seiko chronograph. It's a stunning watch that is available in a couple of colourways. This black Fifty-Fathoms style is the most authentic.

This watch isn't an exact homage to a previous model. Instead, it's influenced by Seiko's Crown Chronograph from 1964. But obviously, this isn't a chronograph.

Still, it borrows heavily from the earlier design, successfully recreating an exciting era for the brand.

It's more affordable than some of the others on my list and features an in-house Calibre 4R35 automatic movement.

I love the look of this watch. The hands are similar to the Alpinist, but the overall appearance is closer to Blancpain's 1950s diver.

And it's the appearance that wins me over with this watch. It might have a Hardlex crystal rather than sapphire. And many Seiko fans will think that it's a bit pricey. Then there is the water-resistance. It's only 50M.

But this watch is a beauty.

The dial has textured areas and handsome applied indices. The hands give the watch a retro elegance. And the case? At 40mm wide and with an exhibition back, it's a great choice.

At first, this watch might seem a little overpriced. Especially when compared to Seiko's budget lines like the Seiko 5 collection. But a watch is more than a list of specs.

Judged purely on aesthetics, this is a brilliant new release from the brand.

Seiko Presage 60s Style SRPG09J1

  • 40.8mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Hardlex Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Seiko Recraft Automatic Watch

This Seiko Recraft model is a more affordable way to get a vintage-styled automatic watch. Rather than a 1960s inspired design, this model has a 70s vibe.

It's fun, colourful and inexpensive.

There are two features that jump out at you when you first see this watch. The case and the dial.

The case is a substantial 43mm cushion case design. It's typical of the period and reminiscent of the watches our dads wore in the 1970s.

The second eye-catching feature is the dial. It's the focal point of the watch. The deep green colouring is accented with gold. It has a pleasing gradient effect and a black minute track. It's a retro design that compliments the case.

At the rear, there is an exhibition back and you can see the automatic movement. It's not a unique feature but works well with a watch that is harking back to a previous era.

This is a bold watch. A watch that doesn't hint at vintage inspiration, but goes all-in. It's also the most affordable watch on my list.

Seiko Recraft SNKM97

  • 43.5mm Diameter
  • 12mm Thick
  • 20mm Lug Width
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Hardlex Crystal
  • 50M Water Resistance


Seiko Prospex 1968

The 62MAS was Seiko's first diver, but following on its heels was 1968s 6159-7001. This was a chunkier, more heavy-duty diver. It gave us the design features that you'll recognise from later Seiko models.

It's a design that Seiko has recreated more than once. The SPB185J1 is the latest iteration.

It has the same bold round markers that are frequently used on Seiko's divers. And a crown at 4 o'clock like the iconic SKX007 and the Captain Willard.

But this is a more expensive watch than the discontinued SKX007. However, it does feature their mid-range 6R35 automatic movement.

Like the Captain Willard model, Seiko has listened to its customers. Many of whom favour slightly smaller watches. So the 1968 re-issue is 42mm - rather than the 44mm of previous models.

But this isn't a subtle watch. It's still imposing.

And that is how it should be. It's not a Skin Diver like the 62MAS. Instead, this model is a professional diver. A tough watch designed for long periods in water.

So it has a highly legible dial and 200M of water resistance. The 4 o'clock crown helps it wear comfortably and the glass is upgraded from Hardlex to sapphire.

Despite the vintage inspiration, this watch has a modern aesthetic. If you like your divers tough, masculine and with a touch of vintage appeal. Take a closer look at the 1968 re-issue.

Seiko Prospex 1968 Re-Issue SPB185J1

  • 42mm Diameter
  • 12.5mm Thick
  • Stainless Steel
  • Japanese Automatic Movement
  • Sapphire Crystal
  • 200M Water Resistance


Conclusion


Seiko has a strong heritage.

They've been at the forefront of watchmaking innovation. Inevitably, they've made some influential and iconic watches through the decades.

And watch fans want to wear them. We want to wear the best watches from Seiko, regardless of age. That's easier said than done and Seiko have responded to our demands.

Like many of the well-established watch brands, they've periodically reissued their best vintage models.

Some of these are high-spec expensive watches and some are more modest and affordable. I've included both in my article.

I'm sure that you'll find something here. Be it a re-creation of Seiko's debut dive watch or a modern interpretation of their 'mountain man' piece.

Either way, let me know your thoughts below. Did I leave a favourite of yours off my list? How do you feel about some of these watches being released as pricey limited editions?


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