The ever-popular and highly collectible Seiko Alpinist has made a welcome return to the Seiko catalog. It was the first Seiko sports watch ever produced when it was launched back in the halcyon days of sports watches in 1959. There’s a lot to love about the Seiko Alpinist. Affordable pricing being just one of its advantages. (That’s not to say there won’t be some, no, make that several complaints about the new prices.) The Alpinist has a charming vintage aura that has stayed with the brand even in these latest iterations, even Seiko themselves describe the new watches as ‘Alpinist inspired’ as they go about offering these new interpretations.
This rugged, dependable watch is one of the earliest examples that takes the bracing sport of Alpine mountaineering as its inspiration (watches from the brand Alpina being the other). This in part is what gives this field watch series its unique personality.
You could never say that it’s impossible to get hold of an Alpinist, they do show up regularly as pre-owned watches across several sites, but they do have a certain rarity as they have not been a regular part of the Seiko lineup for quite some time. In the last couple of years, it’s been only limited editions that have been released. But now with the launch of SPB117, SPB119, SPB121, and SPB123 as additions to the Seiko Spring catalog, all this could be about to change. The new models offer tantalizing new approaches to the Alpinist legend.
The new Alpinists fall under the Prospex banner, which at first might be a little confusing, but it’s likely to be as a result of Seiko’s desire to feature all sports watches of any particular hue under the Prospex brand name. Here then are the four new models. They are all powered by the new 70-hour power reserve 6R35 movement with hacking. They are each 39.5 mm made from stainless steel and with water resistance to 200 meters. The Alpinist’s second crown is positioned at 4 o’clock for adjusting the internal compass bezel. Some won’t like this, but the new models have also been fitted with a cyclops magnifying lens for the date at 3 o’clock. Also, note the Prospex logo on the dial above 6 o’clock.
This Alpinist comes with a rather smart gloss black dial and unlike the other models in the range uses indices instead of numerals. This lends the watch a more sporty feel and is based on the 25-year-old 4S15-powered model. It’s the only one in the new collection to come on a stainless-steel bracelet. US$750.00
This tasteful new Alpinist harks back to the mid-90s and features applied silver indices and hands above a silvered sunburst dial. It comes on a black leather strap with white contrast stitching. US$725.00
The closest to the old school original, this model boasts the familiar green sunburst dial with the applied gold numerals and indices and gold cathedral hands. The watch comes on a brown alligator leather strap complete with a deployment clasp, other than that, this is an Alpinist your grandfather would recognize. US$725.00
Now this model you can only acquire overseas online or directly if you happen to be in Japan. It’s a more luxurious sleek and minimalist looking version with a champagne dial and gold numerals pairing. The champagne gold dial of the SPB123 is contrasted by an olive-green leather strap. US$725.00
With the exception of SPB123, each of these new Alpinists are already available at Seiko authorized dealers. An embarrassment of goodies, take your time to take your pick, they’re all good-looking new versions of the trusty Alpinist.
Mysteriously since assigning this story, the pages for the watches on Seiko’s website have vanished—unclear as to why, but we’ll keep an eye on things. For now, hit the links below.
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