As you might already know, I'm a big fan of the Seiko 62MAS series of vintage-inspired divers. I previously owned the gray dial version, SBDC101 (SPB143), and currently own the blue Save the Oceans Special Edition SBP297 (SBDC165). When my friend recently picked up the 1/5500 pieces Black Series Limited Edition SBDC153 (SBP253) from a Japanese site, I had to ask him to let me borrow it.
I knew that this is a great platform, and I love all-black watches like the SBDX035 (SLA035) MM300 Black Series LE that I reviewed recently, so I knew that I was in for a treat. I had had my eye on this since Seiko released it in parallel with the Willard and MM200 versions in 2022.
This review will focus mainly on the differences between the Black Series and the "standard" SPB143. If you'd like a comprehensive review of the model line, I'd recommend going back to that original review first.
The black treatment carries over well to the 62MAS. Although it loses some of its vintage skin diver vibe, the look works. I like that Seiko did not go with all-black hands and markers either, maintaining the great legibility of the original. The markers on this dial are a creamy off-white hue. Darker than those of other variants.
Wearing the SBP297 62MAS
The case dimensions are unchanged, thus this model wears as well as the SPB143 does. The all-black look reduces the visual width a bit, and it takes on a bit of a flatter look as well.
While the dial appears to be matte black at first, it exposes a very subtle metallic sparkle when exposed to bright light. Another great dial from Seiko
The black hour and minute hands also feature the half-brushed, half-polished finish of the silver ones of the standard model.
When reviewing other versions of this watch, I noted that those hour and minute hands are similar in size, and not the easiest to differentiate at a quick glance. Seiko alleviated this here by giving the minute hand a bright orange center.
This corresponds to the orange markings on the bezel, making the watch more legible, but also very cool looking. The bezel insert is machined steel as on other versions but with the remaining markers painted gray rather than white.
The orange lume is brighter than I expected based on past experience, but still not great. Interestingly, Seiko also changed the lume of the hour markers from bright green, to a bluish color.
The result is lume that is not as bright as other versions.
My SPB147 was a later version. Like it, newer versions of the 62MAS (including this SPB253) now have a lume marker at 3 o'clock. This is to comply with updated ISO dive watch requirements. The Citizen watches that I've reviewed also have this, as do a few of the newer Seiko Prospex watches that I've reviewed.
It seems that Seiko also applied different case finishing to this variant before applying the black coating. With the black MM300, I could clearly see that the case was polished under the black. This 62MAS seems to be fully either matte or brushed. It gives the watch a stealthy look that I am fine with.
Standard Straps and Replacement Straps for the SPB253
Seiko 62MAS watches either come with a stainless steel bracelet or a black silicone rubber strap. SPB253 comes with the latter option. It is similar to that of the other models that include a strap but with black hardware.
As an added bonus, it also comes with a polyester fabric strap with braiding that Seiko refers to as Seichu. It is supposed to be resistant to degradation caused by exposure to sunlight.
Unfortunately, my friend did not loan me the watch with either of the original straps (you've probably noticed this by now). A bummer for the review, but not a big problem for me!
This watch looks great with a variety of straps, and luckily StrapHabit offers a lot of options with black buckles. I've been mostly wearing it on an orange PSL Premium Sailcloth Colorway strap. Scroll to the end of the article to see and purchase more different looks.
Like other SPB divers, SPB297 is powered by Seiko's 6R35 caliber. It beats at 21,600vph, and features a solid 70-hour power reserve. It has 24 jewels, and is rated at +25 to -15 seconds per day.
Going into it, I knew that I was going to like this watch, and it didn't disappoint. The black treatment totally changes the feel of the 62MAS. It's a watch that I could see sitting in my collection alongside the Save the Ocean version without feeling like I had too much overlap (although my Sinn U1 S might have something to say about that. I liked it enough that I might offer to buy it if my friend ever sells his (and be able to wear it freely without worrying as much about scratches.
If you like the look of a black watch and are a fan of the Seiko 62MAS series, I recommend picking one up!
Name: Seiko Prospex Black Series Limited Edition 1965 Mechanical Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation
Reference Number: SPB253J1 (SBDC153)
Lug Width: 20mm
Movement: Seiko Caliber 6R35
Water Resistance: 200m
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Crystal: Domed sapphire with clear AR coating on the underside
Bezel: Stainless steel with brushed stainless steel insert, and Dia-Shield coating. Unidirectional, 120 clicks
Bracelet: Stainless steel with Dia-Shield super hard coating
Shop Replacement Straps for the Seiko Prospex 62MAS Black Series Limited Edition SBP253 (SBDC153):