Another week, another review, right? I guess it is not difficult to guess that today we are going to talk about Seiko SPB129J1. Well, Limited Editions from this brand hardly would surprise anybody, but this one is a bit different. Here we get watch commemorating classic release – with similar design and extremely limited production number. Is it enough to justify its existence and price tag? I decided to check one of these watches in order to find the answer.
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Before we start it’s worth to take a look back because new release copies release that happened in 1960’s. Original watch was released for Tokyo Olympics and had name “Crown Chronograph”. New name inherited this name, but there is small thing which we will discuss further.
As for original watch, it featured metal bracelet and was a first Japanese release with stopwatch function. Seiko decided to copy original design and release in form of Limited Edition. Here we can turn attention to our SPB129J1.
Dial comes as almost exact copy of the original release. I say “almost” because here we get white date indicator at 3″ mark. Other than that there is another novelty – two extra colors (black and green) in addition to classic silver-ivory version. All three stay with black bezel. I decided to check this new green dialed watch and you can see its beauty on the photos and in video-review above.
Just like on the original “Crown Chronograph”, dial combines polished, brushed and grooved surfaces into one sleek composition. Sunray finish plays on the bright light and it is even more visible on green edition. Moreover, dial shade varies from green to light blue and it is enjoyable thing to look at. Amount of writings is reduced to the possible minimum, but it would be even better to leave only the Seiko logo.
Add here large applied indices together with classic handset, and you will understand what I am talking about. Legibility is on the top level here, and I doubt that you will have any issues in dark time. This is Seiko, so there is generous lume coating on hands and indices. All these features still look great and created sophisticated combo on your wrist.
Seiko SPB129J1 features stainless steel case with polished finish. Its size measures reasonable 41.3mm, but whole watch feels even smaller on the wrist. Thickness should be around 11.3mm, so it is not that massive timepiece as one might think.
Note also lugs – they look massive yet elegant and work together with bracelet to add vintage feel to the watch. Whole composition looks great and doesn’t feel outdated. It is just elegant timekeeping tool for man.
Dial is covered with sapphire glass, and that’s good. I am glad to see Japanese watchmaker picking this over mineral glass. As for serial number, you will find it engraved on metal case back.
Watch features unidirectional rotating bezel in black color. “Crown” nickname is attributed to this part and its design. As for real crown, this part is not big, but still easy to handle. Time setting is not difficult, and you can find “S” on its top.
New watch comes with bracelet only. Original release was also supplied with metal bracelet, so there is no surprise. It looks right in place here, but I am not sure how long there polished section would survive. Be careful and you would avoid ugly scratches on your Seiko.
I think it is also important to mention alternative options. I saw some people combining SPB129J1 with leather straps, but it looks awful to be honest. Just stay true to the stock option or try to find something as simple as it is possible – clean leather strap with solid color. All these croco and racing options just don’t work with new watch. Again, it is my personal taste, so if it is fine for you, just go ahead. 😉
As it was mentioned before, model got rid of one word in its name – “Chronograph”. There is no such function in the new release, but it received date indicator instead. I guess such function would be a bit more handy in everyday use, right? 🙂
Seiko SPB129J1 features 6R35 automatic movement which can be met in other models from Japanese watchmaker. Power reserve clocked at 70 hours and it is quite impressive number even today. Unfortunately it is covered with metal backplate, so you won’t be able to see the whole movement. From the other side, it is better than current clear case backs from Seiko with strange writings on them.
First of all let me remind of the watch size – it is just 41mm, what adds to the comfort of use. Lugs feature slight curve that helps watch hug your wrist. Whole dial is legible and I didn’t have any issue with time tracking. Bezel is easy to rotate thanks to its finish. I hope black color won’t be easy to scratch because it is one of the dominant cues here.
Small thing you should keep in mind – there are plenty of polished surfaces, so you will have to be careful around. Yes, it looks nice, but at least bracelet could stay in matte finish, right? Finding the right size is not an issue here, we get three-fold clasp with push button release.
Seiko SPB129J1 – Price and Availability
Somebody might call this model as homage, and they will be right. Nevertheless, it is great to see Limited Edition which is different as whole, not because of some special sign added on the dial. Each color will be limited to 1964 pieces, so I recommend to hurry if you want to get one. Price should be set around 850 USD, what sounds reasonable for such edition. Seiko SPB129J1 can be bought in Helveti webshop, just like any other watch from Japanese brand.
As for the watch itself, there should be some verdict, so let’s try to write one. This elegant watch looks like a great alternative to other rivals in the same price range. Moreover, there are few watches which can offer equal featureset for the same money. Modern movement, reputable brand, elegant design, there are no flaws in such combination. The only thing you have to keep mind – be ready to live with metal bracelet, because this options as the best fit. 😉
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