Hands-on practice: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation

An attractive compact sports watch.

Hyundai Seiko Alpinist is most familiar with its metal and forest green dial. It is a mid-range model and has long been loved by the public for its unique design and affordable price.

But today’s Alpinist has a unique double crown, which was launched in 1998, which is a far cry from the original Laurel Climber, who made its debut as a sports watch for climbers more than half a century ago.

Seiko has successfully expanded the current Alpinist series to cover a variety of models-all of which have alternating Arabic and arrow hour markers-but eventually returned to the original design in 1959 and introduced a four-repeat earlier Reissue of the ancient style. year.

Among the four models, the most prominent is Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation (refer to SJE085 or SBEN001), which is almost a reprint of its kind (other reprints are more loosely based on the original and officially known “Re-interpretations”).

Alpinist Re-creation is the most similar to the retro original. It is the flagship model of the remake, with a finer execution and a higher-end movement.

Alpinist Re-creation is an attractive little watch that comes almost entirely from the 1950s watch catalog-except for the date window-thanks to the small 36.6 mm case and retro-style dial.

The original design is still attractive today, which certainly helps. Although the appearance is clearly mid-20th century, it is both handsome and sporty. The style is cool retro rather than outdated. The simple and distinctive dial is eye-catching and distinctive, proving that the existence of the wrist does not necessarily stem from the large case.

Its simple design and compact size mean that Alpinist Re-creation may be the most unusual Seiko release this year, because most of the brand’s remakes are large diving watches. In fact, Alpinist’s minimalist style is rarely seen in Seiko’s current products.

Another feature that makes Alpinist Re-creation compelling is cal. Inside 6L35, this is one of Seiko’s highest specification mechanical movements in this price range.

Although cal. The 6L35 is not as complicated as the 9S series movement in the Grand Seiko watch, it is particularly thin for the Seiko movement which is only 3.69 mm high. This results in a case of only 11.1 mm, which is very thin for a Seiko sports watch.

In other words, both appearance and historical identity are very important-there is nothing on the market that resembles this-so the question is whether the fit and finish meet the price?

Not exactly, as we explain below, but Alpinist Re-creation has considerable charm, perhaps enough to make it forgivable.

Compact and charming
The diameter of the case is close to 35 millimeters of the vintage original, but it is slightly enlarged to 36.6 millimeters. It is still small by contemporary standards—in fact, this is one of the smallest Seiko sports watches in recent years—which is good news for collectors who like vintage-sized cases.

It is also very slim, but the case design still manages to incorporate some nuances in its form. It has an elegant silhouette, and the narrow middle of the case is reminiscent of today’s Credor dress watches (even thinner). The case does have a relatively high slanted bezel and similarly slanted back, ensuring that it still looks like a sports watch.

Among other attractive retro-style designs, the crown without a signature is a typical representative of Seiko. It replicates the original appearance, wide and flat, with a domed polished top, giving a convincing retro feel.

A visually interesting element is the lug. They are thin and long, but the wide polished bevel on the top edge makes them more interesting. In other words, the distortion of the reflection on the lug surface reveals the fact that the case is simply stamped and polished.

The finishing of the case is confusing because similarly priced models equipped with the same movement-such as the recently reissued SJE083 from King Seiko KSK-usually have a case polished using the “Zaratsu” method, resulting in a flatter surface.

Deep black
Perhaps the most attractive part of this watch is the piano black dial. Deep and shiny-black is enough to make the hands float-the appeal of the dial is enhanced by its simple and smart design.

First of all, the designer’s decision to oppose artificial patina is exciting. Although “aging” luminescent materials or “tropical” dials look great, they lack authenticity and are now too common. The well-planned faux bronze is designed to attract enthusiasts, but for the same reason, it ironically weakens its inherent appeal.

Although obviously modern, the green glow on Alpinist Re-creation does bring about what radium looked like when it was fresh and still highly radioactive in the late 1950s. The green luminous also complements the black dial, as both have cool tones, thus forming a harmonious palette.

Although not obvious at first glance, the printed white minute track actually plays an important role in the design of the dial. It divides the dial into two rings-a chapter ring for timekeeping and a central part with text-while avoiding the blank area that accompanies the minute track on the outer edge of the dial.

But the dial layout did not get full marks. “Automatic” at 6 o’clock should be “Alpinist”, just like the original. This will make the watch more distinctive-in any case, the buyer of this watch will know how the movement is wound.

The second hand is actually longer than it needs to be because the minute (or second) track is located on the inner edge of the hour mark. On the vintage original, the second hand is short to fit the internal track, but here it extends almost to the edge of the dial.

Like the watch case, the dial is simple to execute. The applied hour markers are stamped and polished, although their edges are not perfect. The result is a craftsman-like finish.

But these markers are attractive, in part because they resemble the hour markers on the dials of some old Seiko diving watches, embossed from the back to create a relief effect. cheapestwrist.co

In other words, the arrangement of the hour and minute hands is too simple. Compared with the edges of the marks, the edges of the pointers appear softer-thicker pointers cut with a diamond tip tool will definitely give them more clarity and refinement.

The inner 6L35 is hidden under the screw-in steel back cover, the center is concentrically brushed, and the edges are polished.

The center part of the back of the watch is etched with the material, movement and brand in a peculiarly large font, making them look out of place. But that was the typography on the vintage original, although the markings there were engraved instead of lightly etched like Alpinist Re-creation.

Carl. The 6L35 was allegedly developed as a direct replacement for the ETA 2982, explaining the similar thickness, beat rate and power reserve (it also became the basis of the Soprod A10, which is a Swiss-made movement that actually serves as a replacement Sales for ETA 2892).

As a result, calibration. The 6L35 is one of the few Seiko movements in its class that operates at 28,800 operations per hour (or 4 Hz), as most Seiko movements operate at a lower rate of 21,600 operations per hour.

The movement is not particularly small, but for some reason, the date position is awkward. The date window is in an unusual position-between four o’clock and five o’clock, but closer to four o’clock. So it destroys the symmetry of the dial and is located asymmetrically between the two hour markers.

The Alpinist Re-creation of 1959 is more attractive than the typical modern Seiko, although it is obviously more retro than modern in its feel. It is clean, simple and compact, a rare combination in the brand’s current catalog.

To be fair, Alpinist Re-creation is a good watch in many ways, but its value proposition is not exactly the same as other Seiko’s current products. All in all, this is a delightful watch that will undoubtedly win the favor of many Seiko enthusiasts, mainly because of its evocative historical design.

Seiko Prospex Mountaineer Reinvented in 1959
Reference SJE085 (Japan SBEN001)

Diameter: 36.6 mm
Height: 11.1 mm
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Waterproof performance: 100 m

Movement: 6L35
Features: hour, minute, second and date
Frequency: 28,000 times per hour (4 Hz)
Chain: Automatic
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: calfskin