Over two years later, one of the most visited blog posts on the StrapHabit site is still my 2021 review of the Seiko SBDC101 (a.k.a. SPB143). I, unfortunately, sold that watch to purchase a Prospex LX Spring Drive GMT, but it was such a great all-around watch that I've missed it since then.
After recently purchasing and reviewing the Citizen Fujitsubo, I thought that it compared very favorably to the 62MAS on paper, and also looked very similar (both are based on vintage dive watches from their respective brands.
I decided that a revisit to the Seiko 62MAS was in order. Because I had already owned the gray dial version, I decided to try something different. The Save the Ocean Special edition (SPB297) had a very interesting dial and was also blue like the Citizen. Thus, I purchased one to check out.
In the past, Seiko has released Save the Ocean versions of watches like the Samurai, Turtle, Tuna, and most recently the Slim Willard. In 2022, it released Save the Ocean versions of the Willard, MarineMaster 200, and this 62MAS in tandem, each watch with a dial design designed to evoke a different color of glacial ice.
This review will focus mainly on the differences between the SPB297 and SPB143. If you'd like a comprehensive review of the model line, I'd recommend going back to that original review.
Also stay tuned, because a comparison to the Citizen is coming soon.
Update: You can read it here.
On the SPB147, I noted that the main feature that you'll notice is the stainless steel bezel insert with a black coating. In the case of SPB297, however, the dial takes center stage. Grand Seiko is known for its beautiful dials, and it's exciting to see similar treatments applied to more affordable models.
Wearing the SBP297 62MAS
The 40.5mm wide by 13.2mm case and thus the wearability is the same as the SPB143. It's still an attractive size for a lot of people. Seiko does a nice job of visually slimming its 13.2mm thickness using contouring of the case sides.
At first glance, the dial is an attractive denim blue color. Zooming in closer reveals the attractive glacier texture. It's just the right mix between functional, and unique looking.
Despite the additional texture on the dial, legibility is still quite good on SPB297. The half-polished, half-brushed hands help to reflect light differently in different conditions. The hour and minute hands are a little difficult to differentiate at a quick glance, but it's nothing bad.
The story is similar in the dark. Some recent Seiko divers have been applying blue Lumibrite. Despite its blue dial, SPB297 uses green lume like SPB147. I find the whitish-green lume slightly brighter, so it's my preference despite not matching.
My SPB147 was a later version. Like it, newer versions of the 62MAS (including this SPB297) 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.
As with the 143, I find the black machined stainless steel bezel insert with white painted numerals attractive on the 62MAS. It especially pops against the blue dial.
Sometimes Seiko gives buyers two options with its Special or Limited Edition watches, but SPB297 comes with the same bracelet equipped on the SPB143. It's comfortable, features nice finishing and a dive extension on its clasp.
This watch does, of course look great with a variety of straps thanks to its classic design and tight lug gaps. I've been mostly wearing it on a Cobalt Blue leather 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 most usefully (to me anyway), features a 70-hour power reserve.
I previously opined that the 62MAS is my favorite diver available for around $1,000. While it might be slightly less versatile, the Save the Ocean edition adds an even more interesting dial to the equation. I don't think that anyone would reject the $50 price increase over the gray dial version, meaning that you're still getting a great watch for the money.
Is it also better than the Fujitsubo? Stay tuned to find out!
Name: Seiko Prospex 1965 Diver's Modern Re-interpretation Save the Ocean Special Edition
Reference Number: SPB297J1 (SBDC165)
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 Save the Ocean Special Edition SBP297 (SBDC165):