Seiko Prospex Sky Solar Chronograph Blue Pilots Watch
Over the past few years, I have had some great opportunities to review some fantastic timepieces from well know micro-brands to some not so well known, as well as other interesting watches. When the opportunity presented itself to review one of the most well known watch brands around the globe, I had to immediately jump at the opportunity. When thinking about extremely well know watch brands, Seiko should be right at the top of any list. I have to admit, I have never been overly impressed with any Seiko watch that I have seen in my various department store watch displays. However, the Seiko Prospex lineup has always peaked my curiosity. For those that may not be aware of the difference, Seiko promotes their Prospex line-up to be built within the professional specifications based on the model intent whether diver, pilot or whatever. The problem with finding Prospex models is they are not always easy available in the United States and quite often the only way to get your hands on them is to order from vendors outside of the USA and incur the custom fees. The Seiko Prospex Sky Solar Chronograph Blue Pilots Watch is the subject of this review. This watch was provided by Duty Free Island Shop and one of the great aspects of watches from this vendor is implied in the company name “duty free”. This very nice pilot watch has a full retail price of $450 USD but sells for $222.95 USD through Duty Free Island Shop. The Prospex Sky Solar Pilot Watch model comes with the following basic specifications:
MOVEMENT: Seiko Solar Quartz
CASE: Stainless Steel
CASE DIAMETER: 44mm
STRAP: Stainless Steel
WATER RESISTANCE: 10ATM
WARRANTY: 1 Year International
Price From Duty Free Island Shop: $222.95 USD
First, the watch case is composed of stainless steel with contrasting brushed and high polished finishes. The case measures 44mm in diameter and right around 47mm including the crown. The lug tip to lug tip measurement is just over 51mm. The model is 14mm in height but will still slide nicely under a dress shirt cuff making it suitable for a wide range of occasions. The watch weighs a rather hefty 162 grams with an un-sized bracelet. These specifications will provide a substantial appearance on the wrist. A proportionately sized 7mm push pull crown is located at the 3 o’clock side of the case. The crown is extremely easy to grasp and engage. Based on my past experience, watches in this price range can have quite a bit of play or wiggle in the crown when engaged, but I can report the crown on this particular example is quite firm. The function pushers engage rather easily so be cautious or you may have the chronograph running fairly easy. The 7mm crown at the 10 o’clock position on the case operates an internal bezel which can be used in completing various fuel calculations. I really like the blue ring around the internal bezel crown which corresponds perfectly with the great looking blue dial.
Next, I’m not sure about everyone else but when I thought of the Prospex line, besides professional specifications I assumed the consumer would get the best of what Seiko has to offer. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed when I discovered this model was fitted with a mineral crystal. The domed mineral crystal measures a whopping 38mm in diameter, which provides a great view of the gorgeous looking blue dial. On many occasions I have experienced quite a bit of distortion or haze with mineral crystals but I can say this crystal is quite clear and doesn’t cause too much glare. Even though the crystal seems to be of good quality, I would have much preferred to see a sapphire crystal on a Prospex model. Beneath the crystal is one of the sharpest looking blue dials. The blue color is truly eye catching and seems to be almost a denim blue at certain angles. The dial is laid out in 3 eye chronograph format with 1/20 second counter at the 12 and 60 minute counter above the 6. The chronograph eyes allow for light consumption to charge the quartz movement. I really like the little details such as the airplane design integrated into the chronograph second hand. The constant running second hand is located at the 9 and an appropriately sized numeric date window is positioned at the 3. While I was surprised the model didn’t come with a sapphire crystal, I can say I was just as surprised to see applied hour markers surrounding the dial. Applied hour markers are an outstanding upgrade providing some excellent detail on watch in this price category. As with any Seiko watch model, the lume on the handset and the hour markers will be quite pleasing to most lume connoisseurs. The lume has quite a bit of afterglow and will provide for easy time telling well into the morning hours. When I completed the video, I thought the hour and minute hands were skeletonized, but they are not. The black line in the hands provide an illusion of skeletonization, which I prefer . Overall, I think the dial will most certainly catch the eye and create quite a bit of conversation as it provides a significant amount of detail and aesthetic appeal especially the striking blue color.
The case back is screwed down to the upper part of the case. The case back is quite bland with Seiko etched at the center and some general specification information and serial number etched below. Beneath the case back is a modern Seiko V176 solar quartz movement. This movement provides extreme accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month, insufficient charge warning, overcharging prevention function and an incredible 6 months power reserve.
Finishing off the Prospex Sky Solar Chrono is a nice looking stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet has the same great brushed and high polish finishes which correspond perfectly with the case. I really like the bracelet design a lot but have to point out the end links are folded and not solid end links. Being a Prospex model, I would have thought the bracelet would have been constructed with solid end links. The links are held together using friction pins which are quite easy to remove for bracelet sizing. The bracelet links measure 3.5mm in thickness and measures 20mm at the lug with no taper through to the clasp. I really like that Seiko utilized a diver’s clasp which is not always present on pilot watch bracelets. The clasp contains 4 micro adjustments to aid in obtaining a precise fit on the wrist. Besides the folded end links the only other feature of the bracelet that I’m not fond of is the stamped clasp. I have always felt that stamped clasps felt a bit flimsy compared to scissor style which just to me feel quite a bit more sturdy. Even with the folded end links and stamped clasp the bracelet is still well above average in my book.
As I mentioned in the beginning, the Seiko Prospex lineup has always peaked my curiosity. While I haven’t ever been impressed with any Seiko model in the local department store display case, I have to admit the Prospex line is far superior in my book. If you are going to buy a Seiko, why not grab the models that are built within professional specifications? The Prospex Sky Solar Chronograph Blue Dial has some great features from the solar powered quartz movement, great looking blue dial all the way down to the attractive bracelet. On top of those great features, don’t forget the solid lume and applied hour markers providing a level of detail not always found on watches in this price category. I almost forgot to mention, purchases from Duty Free Island do not automatically include watch boxes which I found refreshing. What normally happens with watch boxes? Clutter in the bottom a closet! Unless you specifically want a watch box, expect your watch to arrive in a nice little pouch like the one in the photographs.
7 3/4 inch wrist for reference
I would like to thank Duty Free Island Shop for working with WatchReport.com on this review. I would like to thank each of you for reading and ask that you take a moment to view the brief video presentation included with the review and subscribe to the WatchReport.com YouTube channel. I look forward to your thoughts and comments, as always.
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