Among the Seiko addicts the three letters SLA, like SLA 017 are raising pulses: they are associated with limited editions, reissues of iconic divers and higher prices. Way higher than the other Seikos…except of course the Grand Seiko territory.
As a Seiko nut, prone to fill my watch box mainly with vintage Seiko divers, the numbers and letters “62MAS” represent the quintessential Seiko diver. The one that started the entire lineage of Seiko divers that so many watch enthusiast loved throughout the last 5 decades. Although… In the collecting process one does not get immediately to the 62MAS… We usually start with an SKX. Then find out about 7002s and 7548s, which do look “exactly” like an SKX even for a Watch Idiot Savant not to mention a WIS’ better half :). Then discover the lovely curves of a 6309. And while looking around, you find out there is an even curvier one, the 6105 “Willard”… And then the 62MAS.
While hunting a good example of a 62MAS at a still reasonable price became more difficult than finding a parking lot in Bucharest downtown, I decided to pull the trigger on the reissue. I’ve been following all the reissues of Seiko since the 2000 historical collection. To me, the Seiko SLA 017 represents the closest to the original version from so (too) many perspectives. It was launched in 2017 with only 2000 pieces.
The watch is perfectly balanced, combining the vintage heritage look and feel with the modern worry free diver. It is very comfortable on any wrist, especially the smaller-mid ones. It has a 39mm diameter, 47mm lug to lug and a thickness of a little over 14mm. Some say is thick, but in my opinion it sits nice on the wrist and slips easy under the cuff. The lug width of 19mm seems the best to me and the only way this reissue could have been done. Not only it follows the heritage of the 62MAS but adds a lot to the wearability.
At 110 grams on the rubber, it is a relatively lighter watch if you compare it to other divers. But it has a heft which is extraordinary, enhanced by the marvelous rubber strap. It’s nothing like any other Seiko or aftermarket straps I have ever seen. And I do prefer my divers on rubbers. On the bracelet I cannot comment (maybe edit this post later on) as I got it afterwards and did not get the chance to wear it.
The crown marked with the word “Seiko” stands out by far compared to all the other Seiko crowns in the last decades. Moreover, it is also true to the original. It is at 3’oclock position, with no guards. It offers great grip and if the word “Seiko” lines up with the horizontal profile of the watch you can consider yourself one of the lucky 2000 owners :). Speaking of the alignment, there isn’t a Seiko diver owner that doesn’t break a sweat when this word pops up… :). The Seiko SLA 017 chapter ring aligns nicely with the dial hour and bezel markers. The bezel action is smooth and each of the 120 unidirectional clicks are solid.
The lume is great, which stands true for most of the Seiko divers. It has a nice greenish/yellowish look during normal light. To me, this also contributes to the fabulous resemblance to the original.
The dial of the Seiko SLA0 17 is the core of the overall experience of owning this watch. The grey sunburst is mesmerizing. As it is difficult to correctly capture it in pictures due to the doomed sapphire crystal, you have to hold it in your hand or on your wrist ideally every day 🙂 to really cherish the looks.
The 8L35 movement is a close relative of the Grand Seiko 9S55. It is where Seiko SLA owners (and MM300 and automatic Tunas and few others) may get the most mixed feelings. With a 26 jewels, hacking, hand winding and 50h power reserve, it is a reliable movement. It’s definitely not your typical Seiko movement beating at 28800 vph, with a nice sweep seconds hand movement – although not that nice if you are used with a 36000 vph or a spring drive :).
It has a declared variation of -10/+15 seconds per day which for a movement in a watches ranging from 2k up to 6k USD is difficult to accept for some watch enthusiasts. In real life the deviations are less than declared and consistent. Mine initially ran 10-12 seconds fast per day but after a proper adjustment at my favourite watchmaker its now consistently at plus 1-2 seconds per day, which is amazing.
In conclusion, to me the SLA0 17 is the best Seiko diver reissue to date. And although I am still thinking of a 62MAS :), having such an accurate design, look and feel compared to the original, combined with all the modern features, the SLA 017 in my opinion ticks all the boxes of a Seiko divers collector, vintage or modern.
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Text by: Razvan R.
Photos by: 7F&W