The SEIKO Transocean is a new model released 2016 as part of the Prospex line.
Prospex is the SEIKO professional line with (among other models) ISO-certified diver's watches.
The concept of the Prospex line is not new, SEIKO has released professional diver's watches since the 60s, but somewhere around 2014 the line Prospex was reinvented with the introduction of a new X logo and global wide marketing (and availability).
Before 2014 many of the Prospex line watches were strictly made and sold for the Japanese market, the Transocean however is still a JDM (Japanese domestic market) model.
The Transocean is in many ways a classic SEIKO tool diver's watch. It's not overly expensive with a price tag of Y130 000 + tax, it has a divers clasp extension and a lot of lume on dial and hands.
However, since 2014 we have seen a spread of the use of technical materials from SEIKO, the Transocean boasts both "Diashield coating" for scratch proofing and a sapphire crystal (with anti-reflecting coating of course).
"Diashield" and sapphire crystals have previously not been used by SEIKO for watches at this price point and Diashield was for many years used only on titanium watches like the Grand SEIKO SBGA011 or on the JDM SEIKO Brightz titanium models.
Now these "features" are spreading to other models which I think makes SEIKO Prospex watches even more interesting than before. Another nice upgrade is the bezel which seems to be made in one piece and is marketed as "ceramic". For me this is especially interesting since SEIKO usually (with some exceptions) use "hard-coated metal" instead. The 6R15 movement inside (21600bph, +50hrs, hack, wind) is of course a middle tier SEIKO movement logical for this price point. I would have preferred it to have the 28800bph 8L movement but the 6R is OK in my book since it keeps the price down.
The Transocean is marketed as a model for both business and sports activities (like scuba diving), it's supposed to be a model which transcends trends so to speak. That makes the Diashield, sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel even more logical.
- Measurements: 45mm x 45mm x 13,8mm
- Movement: 6R15: 21600bph, hack function, manual & automatic winding, 50 hrs power reserve.
- Material: Steel with Diashield coating, sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel.
- Price: 130 000 yen + tax.
- AD: Japan only model.
Let's start with the bracelet instead of the case this time since it is the signature feature of this model.
The first thing you notice is the integrated bracelet with the end pieces of the bracelet slightly raised and therefore slightly hiding and protecting the bezel. The bezel as you can see is held in place by small screws at 6 o clock and 12 o clock.
The links are flat and of "H type", the first model I saw from SEIKO with H-type links was the SBGX117 back in 2014 and it seems to be a type of construction they are going for with more new models. As usual with diver's watches SEIKO uses friction pins instead of screws which is preferred by me since screws require loc tite.
The Transocean uses the new type of clasp which was introduced 2014 with the new "Kinetic Tuna" (SUN019, SUN021). The clasp isn't "stamped" like common SEIKO clasps, it is a little thicker and a lot more sturdy. This is an upgrade SEIKO fans have waited many years for and I think it's surprising that it hasn't gotten more focus since it was introduced. The diver's extension is of the type we are used to from the SEIKO "Sumo" (SBDC001), it does the trick but not more than that.
The case measures 45mm x 45mm x 13.8mm. The case is marketed as "curved for wearing pleasure" and for me the UFO shape of the underside of the case is classic SEIKO. The sides are slanted to allow for turning the hand/wrist without bumping the watch. It makes for great wear-ability even on large watch models like the Transocean or the Tuna.
The overall shape of the case reminds me very much of the Tuna models but in a more dress like manner. The lugs are curved downwards and the lug/lug distance is short making the watch wear smaller than expected from a 45mm case. Sides are polished and the upper is brushed the classic SEIKO way.
The case-back is recessed into the case which is an interesting and comfortable solution not common on SEIKOs. It also gives the watch an interesting look when viewed from the side.
The bezel is as mentioned earlier made in one piece ceramics and the markings are lasered into the bezel. This of course makes the bezel shift color depending on light-conditions. The bezel is slightly raised and protects the crystal and is easy to grip where the bracelet isn't raised.
A closer look
The dial is black and the hands have the new SEIKO diver's style shape. When viewed at certain angles in certain light you can see that the dial isn't all black, but textured. The lume is as as expected with SEIKOs brilliant (although not the new formula) and the indexes have a nice depth to them. The new style hands are slightly folded in the middle.
On the wrist
The watch wears very good thanks to the downward lugs and the short lug/lug distance. There is not much to complain about when it comes to wear ability. The new clasp makes for a balanced weight distribution and the crown @ 4 o clock lets you flex your wrist either way without being hindered.
So is the new SEIKO Transocean a Sumokiller or a new style of Tuna? I say it's both. The Transocean has a lot in common with the 300m Tuna models but has a more stylish look to it. The only thing that makes it look like a tool watch is the size, If it were 42mm then most people would consider it an office watch.
The upgraded materials (sapphire, ceramics, Diashield) is a good start package to keep the watch looking fresh for a long time, this combined with the integrated bracelet is perhaps the "office" part of the watch while the overall case design and the size speaks more to the diver's watch lover in me.
The definition of a dress watch and the definition of a diver's watch has changed over the past years and the Transocean model is a logic model for that reason. It doesn't fill a void since most people nowadays are comfortable to use a diver's watch at work but somehow the concept makes sense to me and the model fits perfectly in the line up between the Sumo and the 300m Tuna.