It’s Two For Tuesday time and this week we check out the Seiko Marinemaster 300 versus the so-called Child Marinemaster. Let’s see if a mere 100 meters is all that separates these two (marine)masters of the deep.
Earlier than we get to the Marinemaster and its steady mate, let’s discuss Omega. Particularly, I asked you to consider the long-lasting Speedmaster Skilled in opposition to the far newer Seamaster 300M. Plainly practicality trumps the moon as a result of the fashionable diver took dwelling a stable 53% win. We thank the practically three,000 of you who voted and the numerous who commented. The feedback, by the way in which, have been virtually all in assist of the 300M and its on a regular basis skills. At the moment, we’ll have a look at two watches of the identical ilk and ask you to select.
Seiko and its slew of divers
Inside its Prospex collection, Seiko now provides a dizzying array of dive watches. I suppose that they at all times did, however they weren’t at all times accessible world wide. Living proof, the legendary Marinemaster 300 was type of a gray market particular for a lot of its adolescence because the SBDX001. Certain, there have been importers, however that was slightly dodgy. Then, Seiko started to increase throughout the time of the short-lived SBDX017 Marinemaster 300 and it was offered globally. We applauded these watches resulting from their unbelievable worth for cash proposition. Followers labeled them as giant-killers resulting from massive specs and pricing typically effectively under €2,000. Then issues modified.
Shifting upmarket with the Marinemaster and Prospex
Inside the previous couple of years, Seiko has made the choice to maneuver in a decidedly upmarket course. Sure, low-cost Seiko device watches are nonetheless on the market, however it’s believed that you just’re selecting from the final dregs of previous inventory. Going ahead, plainly the worth of entry for a mechanical Prospex diver will start within the €400 vary. And what of our beloved Marinemaster 300? As we’ll see, it nonetheless provides numerous bang for the buck (or Euro), however you’d higher convey over three,000 of them to the celebration to achieve entrance.
Seiko didn’t neglect about those that covet worth and specs within the €1,000 vary. The model provides a great deal of decisions on this fashionable phase. Particularly, that is the place the well-known Sumo holds court docket. But it surely’s additionally the place Seiko likes to market its “fashionable reinterpretation” dive watches such because the 62MAS, 6105 “Willard”, and the 6159. It’s this latter mannequin the place we’ll hover and take purpose with our trusty speargun. You’ll see why in a bit, however the truth that the 6159 fashionable reinterpretation has gained the nickname “Child Marinemaster” ought to provide you with a clue. This watch has change into a typical foil to the as soon as no-brainer alternative of the Marinemaster 300.
The Seiko Marinemaster 300
Let’s clear this up straight proper out of the gate. The present 300-meter Prospex dive watches from Seiko now not use the “Marinemaster” identify. Really, the identify isn’t used anyplace inside Seiko any longer. That also hasn’t stopped followers from utilizing the time period, although, as a result of at the moment’s Skilled diver is clearly an evolution of the well-known MM300. It was solely again in 2018 that Seiko quietly transitioned from the aforementioned SBDX017 to a modernized model of the Marinemaster 300. They made this transfer in true Seiko vogue with nothing lower than a restricted version.
The SLA019 kicked off issues for the brand new Marinemaster 300 and I occurred to purchase one. I’d by no means purchased an SBDX001 or SBDX017 and thought I’d be part of the membership with a stunning inexperienced mannequin that I lined up in a comparison article with the equally inexperienced Rolex Submariner Hulk. In any case, at the moment, Seiko hadn’t actually let on that the SLA019 was the start of a brand new breed of Marinemaster 300s. Now, we all know it to be the case.
The latest Marinemaster 300 Skilled diver differs from its predecessors with some high-class touches. Seiko lastly added a sapphire crystal in lieu of its homegrown Hardlex mineral glass. This was a gimme and one thing the followers had requested for ages. Equally, the dive bezel moved to ceramic and have become slightly bigger and table-flat. Little dial modifications have been launched primarily associated to added or deleted verbiage. The additional laborious coating Seiko calls DiaShield helps push back scratches to the case. The case remained a entrance loader and is available in at 44.3mm in diameter (50mm lug to lug) and 15.4mm in thickness. The lugs are cross-drilled which makes swapping the included stainless bracelet and silicone straps a breeze.
Selection comes at a worth
Because the introduction of the restricted SLA019, we’ve gained some common manufacturing fashions and one other restricted version. The SLA023 is darkish blue and the SLA021 is black (RJ reviewed that one final 12 months). Each retail for €three,200. There’s additionally the restricted version (600 items) black-cased SLA035 for €three,000, however it’s solely on rubber.
Regardless of improved specs, the truth that the Marinemaster 300 now retails for over €three,000 has truly precipitated it to lose a step. The truth is that that is now not a “discount” or fairly the large killer that it as soon as was. 3K is critical dinero and likewise opens the door to numerous different watches new and used from some fairly massive names. That being mentioned, this watch nonetheless comprises the improbable in-house caliber 8L35 computerized and that’s primarily an undecorated Grand Seiko motion. It runs at -10 to +15 seconds per day which doesn’t sound so sizzling, however house owners persistently report higher. A 50-hour energy reserve permits for a weekend-long relaxation.
A few issues
My beef with the Marinemaster 300 lies in two distinct areas. First, there’s no denying that this watch is one tall and chunky nugget. Whoever wears and owns this watch must possess giant wrists or has to get used to a towering presence. Plus, it makes day-after-day sporting difficult until you usually sport short-sleeved shirts. Then there’s the bracelet. Pretty much as good because the silicone rubber strap has change into, this bracelet nonetheless lags the competitors. I’ve at all times discovered the styling fussy and the clasp, whereas useful, seems low-cost. There’s numerous stamping there that doesn’t scream “three,000 EUROS”! I put on mine every now and then, however nowhere close to as typically as I do different divers with comparable capabilities.
Nonetheless, although, the Marinemaster 300 is a spec beast, and, if something, it would shine a lightweight on simply how low-cost previous fashions have been. In spite of everything, the place can also you get a completely in-house mechanical saturation diver for this worth? And let’s not neglect that the watch is effectively made and rocks a really clear, useful design with ridiculous lume. However let’s convey up what has maybe change into the Marinemaster 300’s greatest drawback and that’s the Child Marinemaster.
The Child Marinemaster
2018 was the year of the diver for Seiko. Apart from the SLA019 that debuted, Seiko introduced us a restricted version reissue of its 1968 Hello-Beat 300-meter diver. And, true to type, the model introduced serial manufacturing fashionable re-interpretations of the 6159. References SPB077 (black on bracelet) and SPB079 (blue on rubber) have been launched and thus was born the “Child Marinemaster”.
The Child Marinemaster introduced a 44mm stainless case (51mm lug to lug) with 200 meters of water resistance. Just like the Marinemaster 300, its case encompasses a DiaShield laborious coating and a sapphire crystal. The bezel makes do with a excessive gloss painted materials that we’re guessing is aluminum beneath. The mid-grade 6R15 brings 50 hours of energy reserve together with -15 to +25 seconds of accuracy per day. Most significantly, this collection of watches is available in at a thin minny 13.1mm in thickness.
A great deal of Child Marinemaster variants
Since 2018, we’ve additionally seen a continuous parade of recent colours and restricted version fashions added to the Child Marinemaster assortment. At the moment we now have the darkish inexperienced SPB105 on a bracelet for €1,100, the PADI version SPB087 on a rubber strap for €900, the blue SPB083 on bracelet/rubber for €1,200, the black SPB077 on the bracelet for €1,zero50 and the black with blue bezel SPB079 on a rubber band for €900. Whew! And that doesn’t even embody the inexperienced SBDC079 “Ginza Version” that I used to be lucky sufficient to seize final 12 months — there have been solely 300 of those JDM fashions.
Admittedly, the Child Marinemaster didn’t instantly catch on with followers. With its arrow and sword hour and minute arms, lots of people dismissed it. No, this contemporary type of arms hasn’t been met with common reward by longtime followers. Nonetheless, as soon as these watches hit Seiko’s rising variety of boutiques, the magic started to unfold. Folks tried them on and realized that this simply is perhaps the sweetest diver within the Seiko lineup.
An enormous distinction in thickness
I head again to that 13.1mm thickness and the two.3mm distinction between it and the Marinemaster 300 turns into readily obvious. The Child Marinemaster looks like a regular watch and that’s truly one thing we’ve missed in a center vary Seiko diver for a very long time. Plus, the Oyster-esque bracelet is an actual winner. It’s nowhere close to Rolex good, however it’s truly higher than the MM300’s hardware! It has an exterior wetsuit extension adjoining to the clasp that’s admittedly troublesome to make use of, however it a minimum of seems good.
Most of all, potential consumers have realized that 200 meters of water resistance is greater than sufficient for nearly any exercise. And for, in some situations, lower than one-third of the worth of the MM300, the Child Marinemaster simply makes extra sense. A purchaser will get the same case form, nice specs, a greater bracelet, and a extra fundamental motion for considerably much less. In essence, the Child has rendered the Marinemaster 300 to saturation area of interest standing and maybe the standing it at all times ought to have had.
Irrespective of your alternative, Seiko makes an ideal and reliable dive watch. If we glance particularly on the Marinemaster 300 and the Child Marinemaster, we’re speaking a couple of near-flagship mannequin and middle-range providing. Trying again over its historical past, there have been in all probability only a few who really wanted the Marinemaster 300, however it was so cheap. Additionally, whereas Seiko provided different fashions, none was maybe as compelling because the Child Marinemaster from a design and specs perspective. Moreover, the Marinemaster has now change into an costly proposition and that makes the Child all of the extra compelling. However these are simply my ideas. If it’s your cash and your determination, to go all the way in which with the large canine or do you go for two-thirds of the efficiency at one-third of the worth?