Seiko released a slew of new products this week, primarily focusing on the Prospex and Presage line. This new Prospex Speedtimer chronograph is our top pick from the releases.
Press release information with commentary in italics.
Seiko was one of the original players in the automatic chronograph market. This was the Speedtimer, their first chronograph, released in 1969. The Speedtimer is one of the 3 chronographs which have legitimate claim to be the the world’s first automatic chronograph, released in 1969- together with Zenith and a Swiss group of collaborators known as Chronomatic. This was an exciting race, which resulted in 3 legit claims. 1969 was also interesting as it was also the race for the world’s first quartz movement – also one with multiple legit claims, but that is another story for another day.
Zenith had acquired chronograph maker Martel in 1960, and announced their new column wheel based automatic high beat (36,000 bph) movement in 1967, though they only showed the C.3019 PHC in October 1969. Chronomatic grup comprised of Brietling, Buren, Hamilton, Heuer and Dubois-Depraz. The project was called “Project 99” and showed a cam lever operated chronograph module. The watch was shown on various base movements of the collaborators in Baselworld 1969. And Seiko had the C.6139 which was released in Japan in May 1969. The watch was the original Speedtimer. The movement had an integrated column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch. Production references have suggested that early Speedtimers date back to a March 1969 serial production date.
In October 2021, Seiko released a series of 2 automatic chronographs, one a limited edition of 1000 pieces, and the other in regular production. The base underlining theme is these chronographs are inspired by Seiko’s 1969 Speedtimer Cal. 6139 and leverages on the brand’s rich tradition in sports timing. The new watches were equipped with the 8R46 automatic column wheel chronograph with vertical clutch are part of the Prospex collection. In this new release, the line is extended with a new 400 piece limited edition series dedicated to the World Athletics in 2022, a global event to be held in Eugene, Oregon where Seiko has been the official timekeeper since 1985.
This new release will come with an interesting textured dial in a sand pattern with a special yellow for the chronograph s – both the central sweep chronograph seconds as well as the minute totalizer on the sub-dial at 9 o’clock, a reference to the Seiko timing blocks used in athletics events. According to the designer Masayuki Kimura, the design uses a flat, pump type pusher which is easier to push and is more comfortable to engage. And this new Speedtimer will have Lumibrite on the hour and minute hands as well as the indices, as is the specification for the 2021 Speedtimer releases, a first for chronographs.
The watch will sport the Cal, 8R46 movement, equiped with automatic winding, column wheel and a vertical clutch. The movement also feature an interesting hacking movement with a heart shaped cam operating under the balance wheel, ensuring that balance wheel is kept absolutely stationary while the watch is put in setting mode. This special cam device is protected by a Seiko patent.
Retail pricing is the same EUR 3,200 as with the regular, 1000 piece limited edition Prospex Speedtimer Chronographs., and just EUR 200 more than the non-limited edition version. Among the three automatic chronographs now in the Speedtimer lineup, this latest release is our pick, as it has the distinctive textured dial and is the smallest limited edition series. We look forward to handling the watch in person soon, and will report back with our detailed review and photographs when we do.
New: Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph World Athletics Championship 2022 SRQ041
Retail price for the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph is set at EUR 3,200. The series is a limited edition of 400 pieces. Availability is from June 2022.
Seiko’s tradition as a pioneer in sports timing began in the 1960’s, when the company introduced to the world’s sporting stage a range of timing devices that set a new global standard of precision. This tradition has continued and, since 1985, Seiko has been the timekeeper of choice of World Athletics. In 2022, for the 17th consecutive time, Seiko will deliver its state-of-the-art timing services to the World Athletics Championships which will take place in Eugene, Oregon, the spiritual home of the sport in the USA. This new Prospex Speedtimer Limited Edition Chronograph celebrates the sporting heritage of both Seiko and this hallowed venue and honors the performances of the approximately 1,800 athletes who will take part in the championships.
This new Speedtimer chronograph will be available as a limited edition of 400 from June 2022 at the Seiko Boutiques and selected retail partners worldwide.
Just as Seiko’s 1960’s suite of sports timers brought important innovation to the global sports arena, so the creation of the Seiko Speedtimer in 1969 was a crucial landmark in the history of the chronograph. Thanks to its vertical clutch and column wheel, it made the measurement of elapsed time more precise and error-free than ever before. Hand assembled by Seiko’s skilled watchmakers, this new Speedtimer is powered by Caliber 8R46, which, like the Caliber 6139 used in the original 1969 Speedtimer, incorporates vertical clutch and column wheel mechanisms to ensure the highest possible levels of precision and durability. The escapement is lightweight and strong, thanks to the use of MEMS technology which enhances the stability of the watch’s precision. The pushers are prominent and have a wide and flat upper surface area to facilitate accurate operability. With the push of the reset button, the hands return back to zero instantly and in perfect synchronization, ready for the next race.
Designed to celebrate sport at the highest international level
Every detail of the new Speedtimer reflects the high performance and reliability of Seiko’s sports timekeeping and captures the spirit of World Athletics. The sand patterned dial evokes the texture of the running track and the chronograph second hand as well as the 30-minute counter at 9 o’clock are in yellow, the color of all Seiko’s timing and measurement devices. The second hand is gently curved down towards the markers and its tip extends right to the edge of the dial so that the elapsed time can be read accurately at a glance. The hour and minute hands are generously coated with Lumibrite to enhance readability in the dark.
The watch is presented on a stainless steel bracelet that is specially designed and constructed for this series. Its thickness and weight combined with the low center of gravity of the case ensure stability and a high level of comfort on the wrist. If the wearer chooses, the bracelet can be replaced with the black leather strap that is also included and whose stitching is designed to increase the durability of the strap.
Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Mechanical Chronograph Specifications
World Athletics Championships Oregon22 Limited Edition: SRQ041 Limited edition of 400
Caliber 8R46, Automatic Chronograph, Column wheel and vertical clutch systems
Vibrations: 28,800 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second)
Power reserve: 45 hours
Stainless steel case and bracelet with super-hard coating
Dual-curved sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating in the inner surface
See-through screw case back
Water resistance: 10 bar
Magnetic resistance: 4,800 A/m
Diameter: 42.5mm Thickness: 15.1mm
Three-fold clasp with push button release
Additional calfskin strap included