In 2000, the release of the limited edition Seiko Historical SBDX005 barely created a ripple in the worldwide watch collecting community. At the time, there was not a Seiko watch discussion forum in existence, and knowlege about Japan only Seiko releases was very limited among most watch collectors outside of Japan. My, how things have changed.
The announcement of the SBDX011 in March of 2009 created a stir on both the Japanese themed and diving watch forums. For years, collectors have been waiting for another Prospex automatic shrouded diver in Seiko’s lineup, and the absence of one in the Prospex lineup was glaringly obvious.
Comparisons of the SBDX011 to the SBDX005 are inevitable. Upon first glance, the two watches look identical, and of course, both are homages to Seikos original shrouded diver, the 6159 600M. However, subtle differences between the 005 and 011 do exist, and upon inspection, it’s safe to say that much like the SBDX005 was an updated version of the 6159 600M, the 011 is further refinement of the 005. Let’s take a look.
The silver accents of the 005 have been eliminated with the 011 which looks stealthy and subdued in comparison. Seiko claims that at depth, the all black design increases overall legibility of the watch. In comparison to the 011, the 005 Historical almost looks blingy with it’s glossy bezel and shiny hands.
Looking at the shrouds, the impression is that the newer model is much more refined than the Historical. The tight uniform brushing on the 011 almost makes the matt pebble grained 005 look unfinished. The shroud on the 011 is held in place by hex screws. Seiko has been switching to these screws on their newer shroud designs. The thought is that these screws can be torqued tighter eliminating the possiblity of the screws loosening. The finish on these screws is quite nice. The signed crown is a welcome addition.
Here we can see that while the hands are essentially the same design, they’ve been refinished and deblinged on the 011.
In keeping with the stealth theme of the 011, Seiko has toned down the bezel by dropping the gorgeous laquer bezel and replacing it with the more tool like polyurethane protected version first seen on the vintage 6159 600m. The bezel on the 011 has 120 clicks vs. 60 on the 005.
Not only is the dial on the newer diver darker, but the lume is inserted into raised silver markers. There also seems to be an odd bronze colored anti-reflective coating on the crystal which is now sapphire.
Compared to it’s older brother, the new SBDX looks almost dressy.
Dimensionally, the watches seem to be identical. I don’t discern any noticeable differences in weight either.
Here’s a shot of the casebacks.
It’s nice that once again Seiko is producing a high end automatic shrouded diver. At a current street price of approximately $2,300 dollars, this is not an inexpensive watch. However, in comparison to other watches with over 30 years of continuous real world testing, engineering, field use, and in-house production, the SBDX011 is the bargain among a very limited, exclusive and expensive club of dive watches.