Seiko Introduces A Colorful Tribute To Legendary Explorer Naomi Uemura With The Prospex SLA069
Seiko has graced us before with a Naomi Uemura limited edition. Back in 2021, the brand celebrated the 80th birthday of the Japanese explorer. Unfortunately, he disappeared after reaching the summit of Mt. Denali in 1984 at age 43, but he left behind a great legacy in exploration. Today, we see the release of the next limited edition in honor of Uemura. The Seiko Prospex SLA069 celebrates the conquering of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. The watch introduces a special dial depicting Mont Blanc and features a special blue bezel. It’s time to find out more.
Naomi Uemura is one of those legendary names that will you definitely know if you are a fan of mountaineering. The Japanese explorer did more than “just” climb mountains, though. He was the first person to reach the North Pole solo, the first person to raft the Amazon solo, and the first person to conquer Mt. Denali in Alaska solo. And this is just a small selection of highlights from the man’s great achievements, many of which were done solo. Uemura took great pride in conquering challenges on his own.
The Uemura diver
On his wrist during many of these challenges, Uemura wore the Seiko 1970s diver’s watch. It’s a watch that has become known as the Seiko “Uemura diver.” I love it because it is one of the standout designs of the 1970s. Seiko obviously has quite a few dive watches from the 1970s that stand out, but the Uemura diver looks awesome with its case shape. The case is characterized by the asymmetrical extension that protected the crown at the 4 o’clock position. Seiko has taken that original design and created a modern version of that watch.
The full name of the piece is the Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Modern Re-interpretation: The Naomi Uemura Limited Edition SLA069. Are you still with us? All kidding aside, the Uemura 80th-anniversary edition that came out in 2021 was a great release. It featured a beautiful grainy blue dial and blue bezel that perfectly complemented the case’s shape. For this new edition, Seiko decided to commemorate Uemura’s conquering of Mont Blanc in 1966 at age 25.
The special textured white dial of the SLA069
The watch features a modern interpretation of the original 1970 Diver case. It measures 44mm in diameter and 13mm thick, and it is water resistant to 200 meters. The case is graced by the standout blue stainless steel bezel with a dark blue bezel inlay. The crown at 4 o’clock is also executed in light blue, making this a rather colorful watch. According to the Seiko press materials, the blue color of the bezel and crown is inspired by the blue shadows surrounding Mont Blanc.
Speaking of which, the white dial features a depiction of Mont Blanc within a texture that mimics the mountain’s rocky and snowy surface. Seiko achieved this by using special pressing and etching techniques, and overall, it gives the dial a nice degree of depth. Placed on top of the dial, you will find the rectangular markers filled with Seiko’s Lumibrite material. Hovering above everything are the compact sword-style hands that fit the overall style perfectly.
This is a special edition for the true Uemura fans
Inside the case, Seiko equips this SLA069 with its top-of-the-range caliber 8L35. This automatic movement operates at 28,800vph and has a 50-hour power reserve. As some of you will know, it’s based on the Grand Seiko caliber 9S55. As with GS movements, the 8L family is assembled by hand at the Shizukuishi Watch Studio in northern Japan. Completing the watch is the familiar stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp, push-button release, safety lock, and diving extension.
Altogether, I think this new tribute to legendary explorer Naomi Uemura is an acquired taste. The colorful presence is inspired by the man’s many impressive achievements, so the story has a solid foundation. But the execution gives the watch a distinct presence that is strictly for lovers of colorful pieces of hardcore Uemura fans. As a result, the 500 pieces of this numbered limited edition that will sell for €3,000 from May on will find their way to the right collectors and fans.
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