Recreating the past is always a double-edged sword in watchmaking. You can get it right, like Zenith with their sharp dressed, perfectly balanced A384 homage to the original El Primero model. Or you can get it very wrong, like Breitling did when they committed the sin of making an AVI 765 revival in rose gold. You don’t make military watches with rose gold cases matey, end of. Breitling also made the chrono pushers on the revival 765 stick out like coat pegs, rather than fit a bit more flush to the case, as on the original 50s model.
It’s all personal opinion of course, but these things matter because why else are you buying a new, recreation watch rather than an original, antique collectors item? That’s right, you want modern tech housed in a vintage case and dial, like an AC Cobra replica. You also want something that will be genuinely collectable in the future too, surely?
So Seiko are being brave making a King model to celebrate 140 years of business. The 1965 watch was a classic of the 60s era, and has that neat, functional three hand look that the Swiss mastered so well in the 1950s. But is reviving the sleek, Madmen style, with new technology in movement design and assembly, enough to justify a steep price tag?
Here’s the word from Seiko;
The new re-creation brings the 1965 KSK back to life in every detail. The combination of the flat dial with the faceted indexes and broad, sharp hands re-creates the refined elegance of the original. The sharp, bold faceted lugs feature large flat planes and razor sharp angles and are Zaratsu polished to a distortion-free mirror finish. Just as on the first KSK, the index at twelve o’clock has a bright sparkle thanks to the way it is intricately faceted. The case back carries the King Seiko name and the same shield design as the original and the buckle, too, is an accurate reproduction. The Seiko name and a “W” mark that signifies the KSK’s water-resistance appear on the crown.
Powered by Seiko’s slimline automatic caliber, 6L35
While the re-creation is faithful in every aspect to the original design, it is completely up-todate in technology, function and form. Even with an automatic movement and the addition of a date window, the new watch retains its slim profile and is just 0.5mm thicker than the original, thanks to the thinness of Caliber 6L35. The case is slightly wider than the original at 38.1mm and the crystal is a boxed-shaped sapphire with an anti-reflective coating in the inner surface that delivers high legibility from any angle. The case’s durability is also enhanced by the super-hard coating which protects the watch from scratches.
The King Seiko KSK re-creation will be available from January 2021 as a limited edition of 3,000 at Seiko boutiques and at selected retail partners worldwide.
Verdict: Beautiful work, but at £3000 it’s too expensive for a Seiko, unless it says Grand on the dial, not King. Like many Seiko watches it has an understated look, a simple elegance that you can admire and as a timekeeper it will be streets ahead of an original King, Hi-Beat or Diashock that you might find at a vintage watch dealer’s website. The 6L35 movement is a great movement, I have one myself in the shape of a £300 Presage. Therein lies a problem – why pay three grand for the same engine in a different case?