The 'Men In Black' are Back Again. As much as you might want to label that as a Hollywood kind of intro, it is a tagline perfect enough to usher in the return of Seiko's stealthy Black Series. With Seiko, you know what you get but It still doesn't mean you can't get awed by the sheer quality and this series is a typical example of that. This time around, they bring to us a trio of limited editions that comes with lush green hardware, upgraded movements, improved construction and a brighter and longer lasting lume.
Seiko Prospex Limited Edition Black Series Night Vision : the Solar SNE587P1, the SRPH97K1 (aka the “Samurai”), and the SRPH99K1 (aka the “Land Tortoise”), image source : firstclasswatches.co.uk
These Night vision watches come with lot of lume to aid readability and also light tubes to create ultimate visibility but while you want to commend the brand for doing so, it's only right you know a bit of history about watchmaking’s most sizzling aesthetic touch.
Certain timepieces are famous for their lume like the Marathon Watch and the Luminox Navy Seal Watch but it's still worth knowing, even though their technology isn't a recent phenomenon. The first shot at luminescence began with radium paint. With this, watchmakers in the 20th century painted the hour markers of watches but like it's origin- Radium- It had its cancerous con to it and was Soon banned by lawmakers in 1968. Then came Promethium. While this was also radioactive, it provided some form of leeway in the sense that it is significantly less radioactive than radium but watchmakers only used it for a short while before it was ousted and we moved on to tritium.
The Marathon Watch GSAR Diver uses self-contained Tritium gas
tubes to ensure constant visibility in low light situations
Is tritium radioactive? Well, this isotope of hydrogen still is radioactive but it's weak radioactivity level ensured that watchmakers used it right up to the 90's and till date, it's useful for research purposes, nuclear experiments amongst others. Then came Luminova, and we finally got a substance that wasn't radioactive. And while that distinguishes it from radium and tritium, it also bears the similarity with them being that it's luminescence still remains strong over the watch's lifetime.
Right after, we got the Swiss variety, The Super-LumiNova and I must say, this LumiNova variant produced by the RC Tritec AG company has changed everything. And while top brands like Seiko have proprietary variants now, this innovation founded in the early 90's has ensured that you can now find lume in watches at all price points. Talking about price points, we have a quality series that marks it's return with timepieces that don't retail above €700 but still maintains the feel of a watch that possibly costs multiple times more. Let's take a closer look at all three.
Seiko Black Series watches have been around for a few years. Like the rest of the Black Series, this unusual blue-green luminous material is applied to their hour markers - LumiBrite is Seiko's own luminous material, which promises a higher and longer-lasting and completely free from radioactive substance.
It's only right we start from the top, from the King. Named the ‘King’ for its modern-day improvements, this is the most classic of the watches in the collection and happens to be the first time a King Samurai reference has been found in the Seiko Black Series with a limited edition of only 8,000 pieces.
Seiko King Samurai SRPH97K1 genuinely masculine with DLC Hexad metal watch band
For the 2022 Black Series, we see the King Samurai SRPH97K1 come in a 43.8mm case (12.8mm height and 48.7mm lug-to-lug) and forged out of stainless steel with the black hard coating not only used for the case itself, but making its way down to the bezel and the crown also. Priced at 690 Euros, it has a main novelty that comes from the color of the luminescent material, which is executed in bright green color and gives the watch an animated side to it.
This King Samurai SRPH97K1 also come with a sapphire crystal, ceramic unidirectional bezel, 200m water-resistance, 41h power reserve black silicone strap and 4R35 caliber.
This is an evolution of the famous Seiko turtle- one of Seiko's famous dive watches. But while it is a step up, it still retains the aesthetic of the previous Tortoise collections with baton-shaped hour markers including a double marker for the 12 o’clock position, filled up with green-colored lume on the backdrop of a matte dark grey dial. The watch is best worn on a black textile strap.
Seiko Black Land Tortoise SRPH99K1 Ultra-cool appearance reaches another level with Black Sailcloth watch band
Seiko Dark Vision Tortoise SRPH99K1 with a business style looks with a Brown Horween Chromexcel Watch Strap
It also has a classic display that is topped by a sapphire crystal and it's 41h power Reserve means you get to enjoy it better and wear it longer.
This Land Tortoise SRPH99K1 also come with a black hard coated stainless steel, aluminum unidirectional bezel, 200m water-resistance and 4R35 calibre.
It's elusive, but that makes it stands out. With only 6,000 pieces made, it carves a name out for itself with not being named after the cult nickname attached to the other two in this series. But instead demonstrates its solar-powered movement and a V147 calibre to match that is conveniently powered by both natural and artificial light.
This V147 Calibre also powers a number of mid-size Seiko divers with references namely the SNE56, SNE58, and SNE59. For a tool watch, this makes a lot of sense showing its rich history having taking inspiration from Seiko’s 1965 Diver’s watch, also known as Japan’s inaugural diving instrument watch.
Seiko Black Series Prospex Solar SNE587P1, image source : fratellowatches
It comes with a sapphire crystal and a screw-down crown and case back, giving this model a solid 200 meters worth of water resistance. While this shows similarity to the other two watches in the series, there is an undeniable Sense of originality in that it's the only one equipped with a three-link stainless steel bracelet complete with black hard coating.
It also has a 38.5mm case diameter, a 46.5mm lug-to-lug distance, and a 10.6mm thickness/height. It's 60-minute unidirectional bezel is a grooved one it's textured grey dial does well to mirror the rest of the series.
Written by Victor, images by Toni and others as noted
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