Every so often at Worn & Wound, we like to dive deep into the Seiko catalog and bring you news about watches that haven’t been given an official release stateside. Often referred to as “JDM” watches, many of Seiko’s most collectible timepieces are released in Japan (or other Asian countries) only. That, of course, doesn’t mean you can’t buy them in America. Through the miracle of e-commerce, it’s easier than ever to import what were once hard to find watches, whether through large online retailers that many of us use constantly, or more boutique specialty sites that conveniently point us toward the stuff we’re missing here in the USA. The fun, though, isn’t simply in placing an order and watching the tracking info from the other side of the planet. It’s in the hunt, and finding something unusual that you’ve never seen before. Let’s take a look at three new entries in the Prospex series recently spotted on Gnomon Watches, and Seiko’s global website.

Seiko Prospex Automatic Field Compass

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black, green
  • Dimensions: 43 x 14.4mm
  • Crystal: Hardlex***
  • Water Resistance: 200 meters*
  • Crown: Screw down********
  • Movement: 4R36
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather
  • Price: $410-$440
  • Reference Number: SRPD35J1, SRPD33J1, SRPD31J1
  • Expected Release: Available now

The Prospex Automatic Field Compass is essentially a modern take on a field watch, with the addition of a rotating compass bezel. Seiko is no stranger to compass bezels — the Alpinist series, available in a variety of colors over the years (and also JDM) uses an internal compass bezel to a somewhat more formal or refined effect than the watches in this series, which strike me as pure tools. The watch is water resistant to 200 meters, and also magnetic resistant to 4,800 A/m. It’s a big watch, at 43mm, but the size is well used on the dial, as large Arabic numerals and hour markers are incorporated to make legibility a cinch. Even the text and numerals on the compass bezel, which in my experience with similar watches tends to be far too small to read easily, are highly visible. All in all, the proportions seem spot on.*

The most unusual feature of the watch is likely the “bridge” over the crown at 2:00, which is used to operate the compass bezel.This is an interesting alternative to a traditional crown guard, and is in striking opposition to the winding and setting crown at 4:00, which sits flush to the case when screwed down. Mostly, though, it gives the watch an appealing instrument like vibe that I think is hard to argue with if this kind of thing is even a little bit up your alley.**

The Automatic Field Compass is available in three variants. There are two versions with standard brushed and polished stainless steel cases, one with a black dial, the other in green. The third variant has a black dial with a blacked out case, and presents as extremely sleek and sporty. To my eyes, the green dial is the one to get. If you already own the green Alpinist and fancy yourself a JDM collector, this would be an interesting companion piece. The green dial also seems to complement the yellowish vintage lume the best — it somehow feels less like faux-tina on the green dial.

The Prospex Automatic Field Compass can be purchased by US customers on the Gnomon website. Additional information about these watches on English language outlets is a bit thin, but again, so much of the fun of these international releases is the unexpected mystery around them, and the inevitable detective work that ensues among the dedicated enthusiast community. Feel free to drop a comment below if you’ve come across these watches yourself, or have other JDM favorites to share.*Seiko via Gnomon Watches

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