Seiko introduced the Alpinist wristwatch in 1961 with the intention of it becoming a reliable timepiece for Japanese mountain climbers and other sports enthusiasts alike. The production of this watch was vital because it was the first real attempt at making a sports watch by Seiko. Seiko Alpinist watches started being produced in 1961 and inspired by Yama-Otoko, which is Japanese for mountain men. Mountains cover much of the Japanese landscape, and the mountain men that worked or spent time in the mountains during their free time were supposedly the inspiration of this line of Seiko watches. These men required excellent gear that could handle the rugged terrain and that they could depend on for accuracy.
|Seiko Prospex Alpinist Sharks Tooth Black Ref. SBDC087 / SPB117
Fast forward to 2006, Seiko released the Alpinist Green Ref. SARB017 along with another two that were often forgotten; the SARB013 (Cream white) and SARB015 (Black dial) vairents, and they were an instant success. The popularity of the SARBs were due to the diversity and uniqueness of the watch. It can be worn in any situation, business or casual.
The green dial of the SARB017 and gilt markers along with its one of a kind case design have hit home-run for many watch enthusiasts for almost a decade and a half until it is about to run dry.
Did Seiko eradicate such a purposeful everyday sports watch due to its long run? At first, that’s what many of us have beliefs and not hoping for, but Seiko surprised us once again with the new Seiko Prospex Alpinist Sharks Tooth Black SBDC087/SPB117J1 equipped with their latest 6R35 caliber and several upgrade features while being the derivative of its brethren- the Sharks Tooth Alpinist Ref.SARB015.
|Hour markers reminiscing shark’s teeth
Let’s start with the prominent upgrade of the New Alpinist. The old nomenclature “Sharks Tooth” Alpinist SARB015 Black used the 6R15 automatic movement during its launch. Well, since the 6R15 produced in 2005, the Seiko Sumo range adopted this movement since day one, and have relied on it until 14 years later, where Seiko decided that they should refresh the collection with the latest engine- the 6R35.
The newest Alpinist Sharks Tooth Black Ref. SBDC087/SPB117J1 joins the pioneers (along with the new Sumos and Presage) to have a new movement; powered by Seiko’s latest automatic caliber, 6R35, which is an upgrade from the workhorse 6R15. It still operates at 21,600 BPH (3 Hertz) with hacking and hand winding capabilities. Its main updates are the increase of jewels to 24 and a power reserve of 70 hours from 50 hours on previous versions. All of it can be seen through its open case-back.
The case of this Ref. SBDC087/SPB117J1 has a new diameter of 39.5mm, excluding crown and 41mm, including crown. It has a 46.4mm length from lug to lug, with a 20 mm lug width. The wristwatch is not too thick, at just over 13 mm in thickness.
|Beautiful case with internal rotating bezel
Now, the Alpinist gets a much durable sapphire crystal with a utilitarian magnifying Cyclops. We do not exaggerate how useful the magnification of its date display right here, as the date window gets magnified fully, filling up the size of the Cyclops itself.
The stainless steel case carries the “Alpinist’s baton,” bearing a unique applied indexes with minute numerals and luminous plots flanging them. The no-nonsense matte black dial holds one of the most striking features of this watch, which has an easily recognizable applied pointy metal markers in the shape of a shark’s tooth. Their distinct looks and glossiness adds on the appeal of its dial that further draws back in relation to its 2006’s model. The beauty and slight aggressive look, you got to admire in person.
Since the new generation of professional tool watches in the Prospex line gets the “X” emblem on the dial side, the Alpinist Sharks Tooth Black Ref. SBDC087/SPB117J1 included. Seiko placed it at 6 o’clock, replacing the previous “Diashock 23 jewels” wordings, as to not throwing off balance of the dial’s entirety.
|Seiko luminous glows brightly in the dark
The main traits of what this the “Japanese Explorer” has to be its internal rotating bezel, which doubles up as a compass for the mountain climbers which the watch was intended for and is operated by rotating the second crown at 4 o’clock.
Lastly, The Alpinist is paired with the 20mm bracelet, fitted on single-lock mechanism that allows for easy removal. Overall the clasp locks with a reassuring click sound and a provides a balance fit on the wrist.
|Seiko’s Caliber 6R35 automatic
Summing things up, the all-new Seiko Alpinist came a long way since 1961, springing up from the ever modest beginning as an entry-level sporty explorer watch to become a concurring horological marvel in continuation with the livery today. It’s not difficult to know where Seiko took the inspiration from their explorer’s collection for mountaineering and outdoor activities, in line with the Alpinist concept and moniker, while in addition with the much-needed upgrades that all of us in agreement terms of its value proposition.