It’s (Seichu) strap on time! ¬‿¬
Alright, folks. Let’s get down to brass tacks. The newly-unveiled Seiko Prospex SPB237 and SPB239 are nice watches to begin with but all eyes are on the straps that they come with. The NATO straps feature a traditional Japanese braiding technique known as ‘Seichu‘. Going back to the history books, this is the same technique used to braid the ‘obijime‘ cord. You might be asking, “The what cord?!”
That’s the cord used to keep a kimono sash in place. Now, aside from the uniquely Japanese aesthetics these straps offer, Seiko is also keen to point out that these ‘Seichu‘ have four times the tensile strength compared to its regular fabric straps. Additionally, these straps also offer a fair bit of resistance to UV degradation. On top of that, this particular braiding technique affords improved flexibility and air permeability.
I guess what Seiko is trying to tell us is that these new straps are perfect for abuse. So, to the ones who are gunning for these models, I implore you to use your watches (and these straps!) as much as possible. Use them often, use them hard.
“So, I take it there’s nothing to talk about in regards to the watches?”
Oh, no. There’s quite a fair bit, I must say. Let’s begin with the SPB237. Adding on to the existing “Captain Willard” collection, the SPB237 differs itself from the rest by adopting a muted grey dial with a textured surface. For this model, Seiko has chosen a khaki/cream shade of LumiBrite for the indices and hands which, in addition to the dial’s colour scheme, gives off a very “earthy” vibe.
Moving on, the other noticeable difference lies in the bezel insert. Building on the whole “earthy” colour scheme, there’s a textured ash-grey insert while the dive time markers appear to have a muted khaki-grey tone. All in all, it’s a very subtle scheme and one that, to me at least, sets itself apart in a sea of faux patina dive watches.
There are no changes to the specifications of the case, however. The SPB237 still comes with a stainless steel, 42.7 mm case. A sapphire crystal with AR coating also comes as standard and water resistance is quoted at 200 m.
“Next up, the SPB239!”
Yes, yes I know… It’s another 62MAS-inspired timepiece but if they look this good, can you really blame Seiko for milking it? And if the sales numbers are anything to go by on, it looks like a win-win for both sides. So, what’s different with this reference model, you ask? Aside from the ‘Seichu‘ straps, it’s all aesthetics.
The watch still comes with a stainless steel, 40.5 mm case and a sapphire crystal sits atop the dial. The brushed black bezel also features an engraved dive timing scale. The figures and track appear in a shade of deep khaki – a colour cue that’s echoed elsewhere on this watch quite frequently.
Like the SPB237, Seiko has gone for a khaki-toned LumiBrite application here. This is offset by a black dial with the tiniest hint of a sunburst finish. The final elements – the dark yellow text lines and minute track – really complete the SPB239 from an aesthetic point of view.
It’s pretty much the same story here, guys. Both models are powered by Seiko’s 24-jeweled 6R35 calibre which beats at a rate of 3 Hz and has 70 hours of power reserve.
Before we close, we’ll go back to the straps again. The SPB237 will arrive with two ‘Seichu‘ straps, one in olive green and grey. On the other hand, the SPB239 will ship with a dark brown strap alongside a khaki tan unit. The latter will go on sale locally in June 2021 while the latter arrives in Malaysian showrooms in July.