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The Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 is part of the now sixth reissue of the popular mountaineering watch. With its subtle retro design, this addition to the Prospex collection is primarily intended to remind us of the “Green Alpinist”, the SARB017, which has become a real collector’s item among enthusiasts.
Seiko in the Uhrenlounge
The Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 was kindly provided to me for this watch review by the online-portal uhrenlounge.de. The Uhrenlounge of Aika Jewelers from Dresden specializes in the online sale of watches from well-known manufacturers such as Oris, Tissot, Hamilton and of course Seiko, with whom the watch lounge cooperates as an authorized global brand retailer. At the end of this review you will get links to the store, where you will find a Seiko offer that is second to none, as well as many other interesting timepieces! If you have any questions about watches, the competent customer service of the Uhrenlounge is at your disposal.
A watch for alpinists
For sixty years now, the Alpinist has regularly appeared in Seiko’s model range. In 1961, the Japanese watch giant first introduced the model to provide primarily Japanese mountaineers and explorers with a functional and robust wristwatch. The wandering mountaineers are called “Yama-otoko” by the Japanese, which could probably be translated as “Alpinist” and explains the nickname of the mountaineering watch.
Now in its sixth edition, the Seiko “Alpinist” is part of the Prospex collection. Not too much has changed in the characteristic and Seiko-typical design. The inner workings have been fundamentally renewed, and a few more color variants have been added. Among them is my today’s test model with the reference number SPB155J1. With its green dial including color gradient, it is considered as a homage to the “Green Alpinist” (reference number SARB017), which is legendary for Seiko fans.
The data sheet sounds promising. Inside the mountaineering watch, Seiko installs its in-house 6R35 manufacture caliber, which could already prove its extraordinary performance during the test of the Seiko Prospex SPB143J1 Automatic 200m. Plus a stainless steel case, a transparent caseback and much more. I am curious to see how my first Seiko non-diving watch performs in the test!
The white box is a size smaller than the bulky Seiko Prospex Tuna Solar Black SNE577P1, my last Seiko watch. I unbox the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 and examine the automatic timepiece for the first time. I like my first “Land” model of the manufacturer extraordinarily well. With its appealing retro design including the green dial, this configuration might be the most popular model of the Alpinist series. The shiny stainless steel conveys value, as it is known and appreciated by Seiko.
The Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 on the wrist
I open the folding clasp of the stainless steel bracelet and put the retro timepiece on. “Timelessly beautiful” would be the appropriate description of the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 on the wrist. The compact watch does not stand out with its large dimensions or experimental design, but inspires with understatement and elegance. The green dial nevertheless ensures that the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 is perceived as a special watch. Who wears this color combination, shows style and consciousness.
With a diameter of a very compact 38 millimeters, the case height measures 12.9 millimeters. Thus, with harmonious proportions, the automatic watch still lies quite flat on the wrist.
A solid case with exciting details
Let’s take a look at the case in detail. Basically, it consists of a central structure that curves into the lugs and is made of stainless steel. Here, Seiko has opted for polished as well as satin finishes. On the other hand, the bezel on the top and the caseback on the bottom of the central structure are completely polished and define the appearance of the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1. The most striking design feature of the bezel is its beveled shape, which I have rarely seen before.
The caseback, which is screwed down six times, impresses with its viewing window, which Seiko has omitted on my previous test watches. It has an appealing size and allows a view of the movement, which we will take a closer look at in a moment. The various specifications of the men’s watch are neatly engraved on the edge. So is the water resistance, the value of which Seiko specifies at 20 bar. 200 meters of diving depth is a very good value for a watch that is not designated as a diver. Deep mountain lakes are no obstacle for the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1.
Admittedly, I am quite glad that Seiko chose high-quality sapphire for the watch crystal. From experience, the Japanese like to use their own Hardlex crystal, which is a refined mineral crystal, for models in the three-digit price segment. It serves its purpose, no question. But there’s nothing like sapphire crystal. Especially when it is anti-reflective, as on the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1, and can thus be read perfectly well in the sun. The characteristic curvature is typical for watches from the 60s.
The Seiko 6R35 in detail
With the screw-down crown, I wind up the movement. The second hand starts to move and runs smoothly around the dial – a foretaste of the manufacture caliber.
Among the ubiquitous Swiss movements from Sellita or ETA, the Seiko 6R35 is often not on the radar. Completely wrongly, in my opinion. Seiko builds the automatic movement in-house and prepares it precisely for use in its watches. In everyday use, the manufacture caliber is a real workhorse and has a power reserve of up to 70(!) hours. This puts Seiko ahead of many of the established automatic movements. With 24 jewels, it reaches 21600 vibrations per hour. Similar to its endurance is the accuracy of the caliber. Through the viewing window, you can admire the 6R35 along with its manufacturer-branded rotor.
Dial and bracelet of the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1
The dark green dial has an interesting, slightly roughened surface texture, which makes it look kind of rustic, in line with the original application of the watch. Of course, a gradient is not missing, through which the green tone becomes almost black at the outer edge.
On the dial itself, not only the passionate mountaineer will find all the important information. Unagitated and discreet, the Arabic indices, minute track and name lettering were printed in tasteful white and cream tones. In the dark, indices and hands are easy to read thanks to luminous material. I find the playful shape of the hands themselves very interesting and appealing. At 3 o’clock, Seiko has given its Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 a simple date window, which, like the rest of the dial, is mainly one thing: functional.
Finally, a few words about the bracelet. It blends seamlessly with the stainless steel design of the case and has a satin finish. Thanks to a folding clasp with integrated safety pushers, it offers the wearer of the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 a secure hold in everyday life. There is nothing to complain about the wearing comfort. This was very good during the test days.
A nice detail: the engraved Seiko lettering on the folding clasp.
My conclusion about the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1
With the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1, I was able to test my first “land” watch from the Prospex collection. The conclusion is positive across the board. This Alpinist is a more than solid wristwatch with sporty, adventurous genes. The dark green timepiece masters life in the great outdoors with good quality, a powerful movement, and water resistance that’s worthy of a diver’s watch.
And what else? Certainly, the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 is more suitable for those who want to wear these values on their wrist in everyday life. The design of the mountaineering watch, which is functional and retrospective, is also suitable for this field of application. True Seiko fans will get their money’s worth with the Alpinist either way! Speaking of costs, the Seiko Prospex “Alpinist” SPB155J1 is priced at 699,- euros. Considering the usual good Seiko quality, this is a fair price – typical Seiko.
Below you can find all links to the store of Uhrenlounge. Finally, I would like to thank them for the good cooperation during the test of the watch!