Keith W. Strandberg, WorldTempus contributor
I have always gravitated to sports watches, because of their do-it-all nature. The best sports watches are timepieces that can be put under all sorts of stresses and still perform. Remember the old Timex slogan, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”? That’s what I look for in a sports watch.
This year’s GPHG has some great sports watches in the category, but two watches in particular stand out to me.The first is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional Diver’s 1000M Hi-Beat 36000. Seiko has a long history producing sports watches designed for professional use (its first high beat diver’s watch was introduced in 1968, water resistant to 300 meters), and this Prospex is no different. Using the Seiko high beat mechanical movement in a diver’s watch is a nice touch, and making a watch water resistant to 1,000 meters is no mean feat. The design is also reminiscent of Seiko’s early, iconic diver’s watches.
My second choice is the Tudor Pelagos. Not only is it water resistant to 500 meters, it has a clean and purposeful design that is very attractive, its blue-on-blue of the bezel and the dial echoing the deep blue sea. In addition, the Pelagos is powered by Tudor’s own in-house movement, complete with a power reserve of 70 hours.
Which one do I choose? To go out on the town, I’d wear the Tudor but to go beneath the waves, the Prospex is my choice.
Paul O’Neil, editor-in-chief, WorldTempus
No discussion needed here for me, since one of my top three watches from Basel this year has been preselected in this category. I may come under fire for choosing a non-Swiss brand, but Seiko already scooped a prize at the GPHG last year, and rightly so. As a non-diving diver’s watch fan I love the robust appeal of the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Professional 1000m, with its imposing 48.2mm case and its offset crown. The high-frequency Hi-Beat movement, which beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour, is an extra bonus. It’s just a shame that only 700 of these watches will be available worldwide, only a handful of which will make it to Europe, because it’s been on your editor-in-chief’s wish list since April.
Timmy Tan, editor-in-chief, Timewerke
There are more than 20 reasons why Seiko’s Prospex Marinemaster Professional Diver’s 1000m Hi-Beat 36,000 SBEX001 deserves to be named the best sports watch. The SBEX001 comes with pedigree; this SBEX001 Marinemaster is a descendant of Seiko’s first Professional Diver’s 600m, launched in 1975, that secured 23 world firsts and was granted 20 patents.
To begin with, that 1975 original was the world’s first diver’s watch to have a case made of titanium. What made it very special was that it had a two-layer case construction and though it was made for deep dives, having the water-resistance of 600 metres, Seiko did not include a helium-escape valve feature as the case was made to be impermeable to helium. The outer case not only protects the watch from hard knocks, it also keeps the bezel in place. Like the original, the 2015 Prospex Marinemaster Professional Diver’s 1000m can be used for saturation diving. New features include the Lumibrite where the lifespan of the luminescence is 60% longer than existing models and the Calibre 8L35 is adjusted for extreme depths.
Seiko tested the SBEX01 in the ocean and the movement only seized up after going down to 4,299 metres, which is more than quadruple its claimed water-resistance. This means that the SBEX001 is more than a sports watch; it is also a professional instrument.