Earlier this year, Seiko introduced three new versions of its unique Alpinist line.

Sometimes referred to as the “Japanese Explorer” watch — for 2020 Seiko upgraded the automatic caliber 6R35 which beats at 3Hz, has 24 jewels, and most notably, this modern movement has a power reserve of 70-hours (up from 50-hours on the previous generation).

The Prospex Alpinist is presented in a 39.5 mm 13.2 mm polished and brushed stainless steel case and comes with either a matte black (Ref. SPB117), cream (Ref. SPB119), or dark green (Ref. SPB121) dial. The Alpinist displays hours, minutes, seconds, and the date with a cyclops magnifier on the sapphire crystal.

Seiko Prospex Alpinist Ref. SPB119/SPB121

In addition to an attractive and easy to read dial layout the Alpinist features a rotating compass bezel under the crystal (on the flange) 0-360 degree markings in addition to directional bearings — all controlled by a dedicated crown at 4 o’clock. To determine the direction you hold the watch horizontally and point the hour hand at the sun, then halfway between that point and 12 o’clock is South. From there you can set the internal compass bezel accordingly.

Considering the utility of the compass, as well as 200-meter water-resistance, high legibility, and robust shock-resistance of the case and movement — the Prospex Alpinist is a sports watch that falls into the more serious tool and professional watch category.

The dual crowns screw-down and the caseback has an exhibition window that’s the screw-in variety. The interlug width is 20 mm.

Retail is $725 on a leather strap and $750 with a stainless steel bracelet.

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