“Long live the King (Seiko)!”
This is the big one, folks! Seiko has revived the King Seiko collection! Unlike previous attempts (looking at you, KSK SJE083!), this one is a non-limited, series production line-up. It’s not even a single reference as the new collection comprises of five variants. All of them draw heavily upon the 1965 KSK (King Seiko Kisei-Tsuki) 44-9990 a.k.a. the “44KS”.
As a matter of fact, I reckon these new models do a slightly better job at recreating the magic of the original. The aforementioned SJE083 had a date window whereas the 44KS never came with one. With that said, it’s a minor niggle and I’m sure the 3,000 other people who got their hands on the SJE083 aren’t exactly losing sleep.
So, let’s crack on and see what’s what with the new King Seiko Collection…
“First off, that dial and case shape…”
Anyone familiar with Seiko, Grand Seiko and King Seiko would have their bells rung with the mention of a certain Mr. Taro Tanaka and the ‘Grammar of Design’. Mr Tanaka, Seiko’s first formally trained designer, introduced the ‘Grammar of Design’ in 1962. This set of ‘rules’ was to ensure a more holistic approach when it came to case and dial designs. What exactly were/are the rules?
- All surfaces on the case, dial, hands and hour markers had to be flat to best reflect light.
- Bezels had to be two-dimensional faceted curves.
- All surfaces cannot have any visual distortion – a mirror finish is a must!
- Cases cannot have “simple” round, generic designs.
With our quick trip down memory lane done and dusted, let’s look at the case of the new King Seikos. All five references have a brushed/polished stainless steel case that measures 37 mm across and 12.1 mm high. An AR-coated box sapphire crystal sits atop a no-date dial. There’s also no lume here so I think we can guess the environment Seiko expects these watches to be used in.
On the dial, text is kept to a minimum with only the “double branding” and ‘Automatic’ phrase to be found. The broad, faceted dauphine hands complement the applied and polished hour markers nicely. A trademark of King Seikos is also clearly visible at the 12 o’clock mark. A textured, twin baton layout sets it apart from the rest of the markers.
Flipping the watch around, it’s a solid caseback with the King Seiko emblem and the usual smattering of information such as the water resistance rating and whatnot. It’s 100 m, by the way.
“So, five variants you say?”
Yeah, the new King Seiko collection has five references with the SPB279 being the closest visually to the original 44KS. This one comes with a sunburst silver dial. The other references are the SPB281 with a silver, straight brushed dial and the SPB283 with a dark, charcoal dial. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, the SPB285 features a dark copper-brown dial while the SPB287 has a dark burgundy dial.
All models come standard on a seven-link polished/brushed stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp and push-button release. Additionally, five different leather straps will also come with the watch. There are four calf leather options (dark grey, black, light brown and dark brown) and one artificial suede strap in a lighter grey. All come with a King Seiko-branded pin buckle. Want a better idea of how these straps will look? There’s already a simulator live right here.
“What about the insides and can I afford this King?”
All five variants are equipped with the 24-jeweled 6R31 automatic calibre. The beat rate is a decent 3 Hz and accuracy is rated at +15/-25 sec per day. Hacking and hand winding is present and there’s a healthy power reserve of 70 hours. The new King Seiko models begin at €1,700 (RM7,938) and will hit Seiko boutiques and retailers in Malaysia by February 2022.