Introducing the Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver's Modern Re-interpretation GMTBy Sheng Lee
Over the past year or so, Seiko has been adding GMT functionality to its entry-level dive watches, including the Seiko 5 Sports and Prospex “Sumo”. Now, the brand is taking it a step further with the release of the Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation GMT. This newest Prospex addition also marks the debut of a new movement, the cal. 9R54, which not only includes a dual-time zone function but also offers an extended power reserve of up to 72 hours.
Seiko’s Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation is a mid-range dive watch that ticks many right boxes: a retro design, comfortable proportions, and an up-to-date movement with a 70-hour power reserve, making it an accessible choice for those looking for a handsome and versatile dive watch at a reasonable price.
The GMT version builds on its predecessor and introduces a few attractive enhancements. In addition to its obvious functional upgrade, the inclusion of the GMT feature also adds more detail to the dial. For instance, the new sloped flange with a 24-hour scale provides the dial with a stepped appearance, giving it a more nuanced visual quality than the regular version’s flat dial. The GMT hand in a high-contrast colour further adds to the watch’s aesthetics.
The new GMT watch comes in three versions, one of which is a limited edition with a light blue dial and a glacial ice texture, making it the highlight of the series. While the regular versions feature standard dials, they are still just as attractive. These versions use subtle variations in colours to achieve a lot. For example, the combination of gold with either black or green is understated yet beautiful, and the red tip on the second hand is also a noteworthy feature.
It is important to note that although the watch has an external rotating bezel, it only displays two different times instead of the typical three. This is because these watches were designed for diving purposes, hence the bezel is unidirectional with a 60-minute scale instead of a 24-hour scale. This shows that the brand values the watch’s original professional-grade design while incorporating new features for improved functionality.
Beating away inside the GMT is the new cal. 6R54, which has the longest power reserve among the 6R family, with a running time of 72 hours. While Seiko introduced the cal. 6R64 GMT movement a few years ago, it had a shorter 45-hour power reserve and a power reserve indicator. The new cal, 6R54 calibre does away with the indicator but more than makes up for it with a 3-day running time.
In contrast to the cal. 6R64, the cal. 6R54 does not feature the ability to quickly adjust the local hour hand. Instead, the GMT hand can be advanced forward or backward in hourly increments, which may be more suited to tracking a second time zone from the comfort of one’s home rather than while travelling across different countries.
Despite the additional GMT functionality, the 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation GMT is only 0.4 mm thicker than the regular version, bringing it to a thickness of 12.9 mm, which still makes it slimmer than some of Seiko’s time-only dive watches. The watch’s width of 42 mm also makes it wearable in Seiko’s standard and smaller than both the Seiko 5 Sports GMT and “Sumo” GMT. In other words, the GMT adds both function and style to the base model without compromising wearability.
One area for potential improvement, however, is the configuration of the GMT function, especially considering its premium price. Some watches at this price point or lower, such as the Presage Sharp Edge GMT from the same brand, offer a “true” GMT function where the local hour hand can be easily adjusted.
Seiko Prospex 1968 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation GMT
Movement: cal. 6R54; automatic; 72 hours power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, and GMT
Case: 42 x 12.9 mm; steel; water resistant to 200 m
Strap: Steel bracelet and an additional polyester strap for the SPB385
Price: EUR 1,700 for SPB381 and SPB383, EUR 1,900 for the SPB385
Availability: Limited edition of 4000 pieces for SPB385