Seikos history began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori established the K. Hattori retail and repair store. In 1892 Seikosha was established to make wall clocks. 1895 saw the production of their first pocket watch. 1913 saw the launch of their first wristwatch, the Laurel. In 1924 the first Seiko was manufactured. Daini Seikosha (now Seiko Instruments Inc.) was established in 1937. Seiko was listed on the Tokyo stock exchange in 1949. The Suwa factory became independent and formed Suwa Seikosha Co., Ltd. (now Seiko Epson Corporation in 1959). In 1956 Seiko launched Marvel as their first true in-house-made watch; they continued to make this watch until 1959. Japan’s first chronograph watch was introduced for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics; it was called the Seiko Crown Chronograph monopusher. Not stopping there Seiko launched Japan's first true divers watch the Seiko Diver’s 150M fitted with the automatic Caliber 6217 which later was given the nickname “62MAS” by collectors. The company name was changed to the Seiko Corporation in 1990. Innovation at Seiko continues today with GPS Solar watches and many more.
When it comes to modern Seiko and references, there really aren't many that come as close to fame as the Alpinist. Seiko introduced the Alpinist in 1961, under their sub-brand of Laurel which is Seiko's oldest sub-brand first seen in 1913. It was inspired by the Yama-Otoko Japanese for Mountain. These men required equipment to be robust and accurate as they led many expeditions. Seiko reintroduced the Alpinist in 1995 after a 30-year gap. The SPB197J1 was introduced in 2021 incorporating many of the features of the previous generations. Here we have an Unworn 2020 Seiko Alpinist "Mountain Glacier" SPB199J1 limited to 2020 pieces. A satin-brushed 39mm stainless steel case with tapering lugs. The lug to lug length of 46mm and a thickness of 13mm ensures a comfortable fit on your wrist. On the right side, we have a screw-down crown with crown guards and at 4 o’clock a second crown is used to adjust the rotating inner compass bezel. A stepped plain bezel holds a flat scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. An outer rotating compass ring encircles the dial. Its stunning sunburst dial with the colour of a mountain glacier in blue hues. Applied steel Arabic numerals with alternating dagger indexes and lume pips mark the hours. At 3 o’clock a date window with a cyclops magnification on the sapphire crystal. Elegant lume filled cathedral hands are complemented with a fine centre seconds hand with a lume tip, giving the watch a vintage look and feel. On the reverse a screw-down exhibition case back. Inside an Automatic Seiko 6R35, 24 jewels, 21,600 beats per hour. The watch comes fitted on its original 20mm leather strap and also comes with its Seiko presentation box and papers.
This watch has such an intriguing dial that catches the light beautifully and really plays with it, giving you a different tone and style in different light situations. I have been fairly vocal in saying I'm not a fan of the Alpinist SABR017 in green, however these new additions in various colours really do catch my eye and I can appreciate them far more personally.