The Seiko Prospex Alpinist collection was inspired by the company’s 1959 watch collection by the same name, which is considered Seiko’s first sports watch.
Seiko introduced two new Alpinist model lines this year, both inspired by past designs, and equipped with modern Japanese mechanical movements.
We previously wrote about the 2020 Prospex Alpinist models, that most notably feature a rotating inner bezel with a 360-degree compass scaled printed on the flange, controlled by a second crown located at 4 o’clock. Those three references (SPB121 – green, SPB119 – cream, SPB117 – black) come in stainless steel cases measuring 39.5 mm x 13.2 mm and share the exact same caliber 6R35 movement. By comparison, the three new Prospex Alpinist references (SPB155 -green, SPB157 – blue, SPB159 – black), are housed in slightly smaller cases measuring 38 mm x 12.9 mm. Both styles measure the same 46.4 mm lug-to-lug.
While you’re losing the awesome inner bezel compass with these minimalist Prospex Alpinist references, you’re also trading that for a marginal size reduction which means the watches will better fit smaller wrist sizes. Plus, like with most standard watches, you’re still able to hold the watch horizontal, with the hour hand aimed at the sun, and then halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock is your due south bearing, which allows you to then determine all four cardinal compass points. The aforementioned models we initially covered, with the rotating bezel, allowing you to more easily visualize all the directions, but either watch uses the same principle.
Further differentiating the two sets of Alpinists wristwatches are the dials. For these new models, the dials a graduated, with lighter hues in the middle that are darker towards the peripheral. And the finish of the dials is textured (knock-down) versus smooth sun-ray finishing on the three Alpinists watches with compass bezels.
Additionally, the smaller, less complicated Alpinist references share the same prominent, skeletonized, luminescent cathedral hour and minute hands, and baton seconds hand (red-tipped on these new references), and generally the same look with the exception of different chapter rings. One of the biggest variations between the two is that the hour markers are applied on the compass equipped models and printed on these new gradients dials. And lastly, the date window is not magnified whereas those with the compass have a cyclops lens over the date aperture.
All six of the 2020 Prospex Alpinist timepieces feature a sapphire crystal protecting the front, a screw-in exhibition caseback, a screw-down crown, and 200 meters of water-resistance. The retail is $700 on a calfskin leather strap (SPB157 and SPB159) and $725 on a stainless steel bracelet (SPB155).
Learn more at Seiko Luxe.