Introducing Seiko Prospex Marinemaster SJE097, SJE099 & SJE101
If you’re remotely familiar with Seiko, you’ll have no doubt come across some rather unusual nicknames nailed to their models. “Tuna”, “Sumo” and “Monster” being just some. These names were originally attributed by fans of Seiko to identify specific design details like the Tuna-shaped case or the Monster’s toothy bezel. These monikers have stuck so well, now even Seiko uses them.
Seiko SJE099 - Credit Seiko
Another Seiko nickname widely associated with the brand’s Prospex Diver’s collection is Marinemaster. The name was first heard in 2000 and marked one particular reference, SBDX001. The watch was noted as one of Seiko’s most advanced dive watches, and in fact one of the most advanced dive watches of the time, offering a large 44mm-wide steel case, 300 metre water resistance and helium-proof construction. It laid the foundation for all Seiko Prospex watches that followed.
The three new Seiko Prospex Marinemaster watches launched for 2023, which are found under references SJE097, SJE099 and SJE101, are not the first models nicknamed Marinemaster since the original. There have been several variations including a special 2015 anniversary edition SBDX012. The new trio is a little different, however. It’s still a premium diver’s watch with plenty of modern-day spec, but there are obvious retro-inspired details that can be attributed to Seiko’s first diver’s watch, their famous 1965 62MAS.
Seiko SJE097 - Credit Seiko
The most obvious change to the new Seiko Prospex Marinemaster watches compared to those before it is the dimensions. The cases are more compact and sit lower on the wrist, measuring to just 39.5mm wide and 12.3mm in height. This certainly gives the watch broader range when compared to the 44mm original. It still has a decent presence on the wrist though, with box-shaped sapphire crystal, strong polished bevels and chamfering on the bezel.
The case still has a screw down crown and case back but the latter now offers a view of the movement inside. There’s also now only a water resistant rating of 200 metres which seems like a shame since predecessors were worthy of 300 metres of pressure. The bezel is still unidirectional and printed with a 60 minute scale with its coloured insert differing depending the model.
Seiko SJE101 - Credit Seiko
Reference SJE099 elects a light blue dial and dark blue bezel insert with the diver’s scale printed in white. The SJE101 is the most classic-looking offering the same white printed scale on a black bezel to pair with a black dial. Finally, reference SJE097, which is the only limited edition in the line-up, has a silvery white dial and brushed steel bezel insert with a black 60 minute scale.
All three dials have horizontal grooves across the surfaces and raised markers and large baton hands with Lumibrite. No doubt, I’m not the only one that wishes there was no date window between the 4 and 5 o’clock marker. But alas, Seiko have a tendency of adding in the complication where it’s not always necessary.
Calibre 6L37 - Credit Seiko
Powering the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster watches is the Calibre 6L37 automatic winding movement. It arrives with a 45 hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Finishing off each novelty is a newly designed stainless steel bracelet. It has a rather retro design with tear-drop shaped links and a push-button release with secure lock and diver’s extension.
The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster watches will launch in December 2023 and retail at £2,990. Black and blue-dialled references SJE099 and SJE101 are part of the permanent collection while the limited edition SJE097 is part of a 1,000 piece run.
Seiko SJE097 - Credit Seiko
I’m glad to see the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster make its return, and I’m sure these compact, less tool-like designs will fare well with some Seiko wearers. For me however, I can’t help but wish the Japanese watchmaker had stuck to the original DNA a little more closely. At the end of the day, the Marinemaster was named as such for its beefy sizing and strong set of spec. The reduced water resistant rating is a real shame and the date complication at 4:30H just seems put there out of habit. But what do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below.
- Brand: Seiko
- Model: Prospex Marinemaster SJE097, SJE099 & SJE101
- Price: Starts from £2,990
- Material: Stainless steel
- Movement: Calibre 6L37 automatic winding
- Complications: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Dial: Black, blue or silver-white with horizontal grooving, Lumibrite hands and markers
- Size: 39.5mm wide, 12.3mm tall
- When the reviewer would personally wear it: If I was going to pick one, I’d choose the limited edition reference SJE097, but truthfully, I’d rather try and source one of the original Marinemasters over this.
- A friend we’d recommend it to first: A collector of Seiko watches.
- Best characteristics of the watch: The horizontal grooving on the dials is nice.
- The worst characteristics of the watch: The reduced water resistance and date window.
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