Earlier this year Seiko brought back the King Seiko designation for a new stand-alone collection, following a superb limited edition presented in 2020. This new Seiko King Seiko line kicked off with five different references, all built around the same design codes. With dials ranging from silver to black and even deep burgundy red, it was a very welcome and charismatic release. Now, several months on, Seiko introduces a more funky take on the King Seiko recipe. Here’s our hands-on introduction to the Seiko King Seiko SPB291.
We won’t go into details on how King Seiko came to life in the 1960s and was one end of an internal rivalry with Grand Seiko. Decades later, the hatchet remains buried but the King Seiko name was revived with the King Seiko KSK SJE083. Two more years later and Seiko relaunched it as a full collection, which now welcomes a new member to the family.
The exterior hasn’t changed one bit, as this release focuses on the dial instead. So we still have that compact 37mm wide and 12.1mm tall stainless steel case with faceted lugs and a bevelled bezel. It gets its dashing vintage looks from the 1965 King Seiko KSK, which was also the inspiration behind the SJE083. A boxed sapphire crystal covers the dial, while a solid caseback with a King Seiko emblem hides the mechanical movement.
Seiko has shown tremendous skill in the use of colours and textures, and this new King Seiko SPB291 reaffirms that once more. The dial takes inspiration from the Kameido Tenjin Shrine in Tokyo, close to where King Seiko first saw the light of day. The Kameido Tenjin Shrine is fabled for the wisteria gardens, with purple blossoms in spring. The sunray-brushed dial gets a touch of the same colour purple, with a slight gradient effect. Combined with faceted indices and hands (the 12 o’clock index is double the width and textured), it results in a funky and fresh look.
The Seiko King Seiko SPB291 uses the relatively modern automatic Seiko Calibre 6R31. It uses the same basic construction as the 6R35 but lacks the date indication. And that’s perhaps one of the best things about this new collection, as the original King Seiko it is modelled after also was a time-only watch. They could have easily chosen to include a date indication, but fortunately, they haven’t. The movement runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and delivers a more than decent 70 hours of power reserve.
The new Seiko King Seiko SPB291 comes on the same seven-link bracelet as the previous editions, with the bonus of a light grey leather strap with purple stitching. It will be available as a boutique exclusive edition from July 2022 and retails for EUR 1,850.
For more information, please visit SeikoWatches.com
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.