New at Little Treasury today is the Seiko Prospex LX SNR041 “Violet Gold” limited edition. The SNR041 is one of the latest releases in Seiko’s premium LX series of sports watches; the “LX” stands for light, referring both to the lightweight titanium construction and how light plays beautifully with the Zaratsu polished surfaces.
The deep brown-purple “Violet Gold” dial and bezel are designed to mimic “the flickering reflections on the sea of the morning sun filtering in from the sky at dawn.” The bezel is made of Cermet, a proprietary metal-ceramic composite that allows for a metallic, high-polish finish while retaining the scratch resistance of ceramic. On the 44.8mm case, the transitions between the brushed and Zaratsu mirror-polished surfaces are crisp and precise, and the entire case and bracelet are covered with Seiko’s “super hard” coating, allowing for hardness comparable to that of steel. The bracelet features an almost full-brushed finish and a ratcheting dive extension on the clasp which, in addition to being necessary for divers, is super convenient for on-the-go micro-adjustments.
At the heart of the watch is the Seiko Caliber 5R66, an unfinished Grand Seiko Spring Drive movement that boasts the same smooth glide, 72-hour power reserves, and +/- 15 seconds per month accuracy as the Grand Seiko caliber 9R65.
While the watch itself is undoubtedly a compelling piece, at $6,500, the SNR041 is at first glance a confusing release from a brand best known for its affordable sports models under $1000. The SNR041 is a premium watch at a premium price, competing directly in price point with Grand Seiko models. Comparing it to the $7100 Grand Seiko SBGA231 diver, the only difference in quality is the discrepancy between movement finish and the bracelet finishing, and the cermet bezel on the SNR041 is an upgrade in appearance and material from the standard coated titanium bezel on the Grand Seiko. While the full-brushed finish on the bracelet of the SNR041 is sure to please tool watch purists, this design choice is something of a missed opportunity, as it fails to create the level of design continuity seen on the SBGA231, where (undoubtedly at a greater cost) Zaratsu polished surfaces and chamfers on the bracelet complement the finishing on the case.
It is in design, however, that the Seiko and Grand Seiko divers differ greatly. Sport watches are new to Grand Seiko and, as such, the SBGA231 adheres to the brand’s more traditional, restrained design language. On the other hand, Seiko has been at the forefront of dive watch technology since the advent of professional diving. In design, the SNR041 is greatly influenced by Seiko’s legendary Seiko Marinemaster 300, a tough-as-nails professional diver that has something of a cult following amongst Seiko collectors.
Everything from the crown to the case shape to the dial is virtually identical to the Marinemaster, albeit at a larger scale (though the SNR041 has a case back and the Marinemaster does not). But hey, if there is a $1150 “Baby Marinemaster” and a $3100 “Marinemaster,” why not have a $6500 “Daddy Marinemaster?” With Seiko’s loyal following in mind, this release begins to make sense.
Limited to only 200 pieces, it was never intended for the mass market. This is a watch for the hardcore Seiko aficionado, who not only appreciates their $250 SKX007 but also wants to experience the best that Seiko has to offer. In the end, with the Prospex LX SNR041, Seiko was able to create a diver that is undoubtedly premium, yet distinctly Seiko.
The Seiko Prospex LX SNR041 is available now at Little Treasury and is priced at $6500. It is limited to 200 pieces.