[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he Seiko Sumo Ice Diver is the latest of numerous Seiko Special Editions to hit the market. This model comes in 3 different colorways-all meant to be examples of colors that reflect off of glaciers, hence naming it “Ice Diver”. The result is two somewhat unique colors for Seiko-the silver/grey dial shown here and a light blue variant, along with a green dial that I am not quite sure about, though I was not fortunate enough to see that one in person. This watch is a USA exclusive and will come packaged with a special flashlight as shown in the stock photo below and retails for $900. What are the changes and do they warrant the $150 price jump?
The Seiko Sumo was released in 2007 and quickly became one of the most popular dive watches in the “mid-tier” line of Seiko Divers. I say mid-tier because honestly, I am not sure where to place it. These days it retails for $750, it was a lot cheaper back in the day, but that was a different movement and no sapphire crystal-two big upgrades the Sumo received last year. Despite the larger size, this dive watch wears great on the wrist, and the combination of brushed and polished finishing Seiko usually reserves for their higher-end watches is on display here, making the Sumo stand out in their affordable line-up.
Seiko has quite a large catalog, from the Seiko 5 to the Grand Seiko and everything in between. With that, comes a lot of special editions and a lot of limited editions. If I wanted this article to be 3,000 words, I could sit here and type all of them out, but you get the idea. Some are exclusive to the USA, like this Seiko Sumo Ice Diver, some are Japanese only, Europe only, some are extremely limited and some are not. If you are a collector, meaning someone who likes to have as many variants as possible, this is probably both exciting and exhausting. With these special editions, the amount of upgrades and changes truly varies. For this Ice Diver, the ONLY changes are the dial texture, the date cyclops, and the dial and bezel color. Nothing else is different from the standard Seiko Sumo. This is not unheard of for Seiko though, as there are limited editions that have fewer changes than this watch, so I guess if you are a Sumo fan, you should be grateful that they did a little more than some others.
The waffle dial texture of this Seiko Sumo Ice Diver should look pretty familiar if you are a Seiko fanatic-it is pretty much the same as released on the Seiko King Samurai and Seiko King Turtle. Another feature, or detractor, depending on how you view it, taken from those aforementioned watches is the date cyclops. This seems to be the new thing for Seiko and these Prospex releases-waffle dials and cyclops. If you are someone that likes to collect a lot of different Seikos, you will have a lot of similar-looking pieces. One thing that did not make its way over to this icy timepiece is the ceramic bezel insert. Even though this watch is selling for $900, the aluminum insert is still very much here, though a sapphire crystal is used, that was one of the upgrades to the standard Sumo from last year, so not really “special” at this point. The movement is the same as well from the regular Sumo, the 6R35.
I think the biggest selling point is going to be the colors. The silver/grey version I have here was my immediate favorite of the bunch, so I am glad that is what was sent to me. I did not have a choice of what was being shipped for the review, so I was relieved when it wasn’t the ice blue or the hunter(?) green dial. Nothing wrong with either of those two colors, just they do not work for me. The monochromatic look of the grey bezel with silver dial is wonderful though, and even though we have seen this color combo in other Seiko models, it does pop with this Seiko Sumo Ice Diver. The bezel texture really works here, and of all the new releases with this dial texture, I feel it is best suited to this exact watch and this exact color. It is bright and refreshing while still being subdued compared to the other colors.
If you are not familiar with the Seiko Sumo, I suggest a simple google search as I am not going to give this watch a full rundown, it has been around a long time and the update that was given to it last year has been well covered as well. Seeing as this watch is unchanged except for the dial texture and colors, you can expect the same case back, same bracelet and clasp, and the same lume as well. When it comes to lume, let’s be real-Seiko is king for a reason, as you can see in the photo below. Seiko watches can have issues; misaligned bezels and chapter rings, loose crowns, uneven dial text, and the bracelets while functional could use more style, but one thing no one complains about is the lume.
The color is the reason to buy this Seiko Sumo Ice Diver in my opinion. The silver/grey combo is very striking, and just not a color you see from Seiko often, let alone other brands. If you were looking for some other special features for this Ice Diver, well, you are out of luck as you have just read, but that is par for the course with Seiko. Fortunately, if you are not a collector and just want a different color Sumo from the regular lineup, this one can be enticing. Problem is, you have to pony up an extra $150, at least at retail, but street pricing should hopefully be a little lower. I have no idea if grey is the new black, but this Ice diver will undoubtedly look “cool” on the wrist.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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