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Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary | Image: Seiko

Seiko Updates the Iconic 1969 King Seiko Watch on its 100th Anniversary


How do you mark 100 years in the watch game? According to Seiko, with a stunning reimagining of arguably its most remarkable timepiece. Like so many great companies, the Japanese watchmaker is celebrating a full century of historic benchmarks by looking backward and forward at the same time, unveiling the King Seiko KS1969. A revival of sorts, the timepiece combines the unique design language of the iconic precursor with a slimline Calibre 6L35 movement and other modern upgrades.

The original King Seiko 45KCM from 1969 | Image: Seiko
The original King Seiko 45KCM from 1969 | Image: Seiko

As its name would suggest, the King Seiko KS1969 takes design cues from the King Seiko 45KCM from 1969, a curvaceous stunner that redefined its namesake series upon arrival. Rather than rest on its retro laurels, however, the updated model incorporates a slew of contemporary details. Among them is a new multi-row bracelet with shorter links and mirror-polished-and-brushed finishing. Not only does the bracelet emit a subtle sparkle when reflecting light, but it combines with the slim case’s low centre of gravity to ensure ergonomic wearability.

Speaking of ergonomics, the new King Seiko KS1969 is a slim stunner that measures just 9.9mm in thickness. Thanks to the wonders of modern manufacturing, the brand was able to equip the piece with a powerful and similarly slim Calibre 6L35. The movement features 26 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second), cultivating prime accuracy and a power reserve of up to 45 hours when fully wound.

King Seiko 1969KS Ref. SJE109 | Image: Seiko
King Seiko 1969KS Ref. SJE109 | Image: Seiko

Above all else, the latest release renders a visual statement by way of the signature case design. It’s here that the model draws a direct line back to the 1969 precursor, which turned heads with its curvy contours and inspired all the King Seikos that followed. Not just known for its unique design, the 1969 King Seiko was also touted as a resoundingly wearable dress watch. It’s then only fitting (no pun intended) that the updated model likewise delivers absolute comfort when sitting on the wrist. Around the back is a King Seiko “shield” engraving, representing another nod to the history-making precursor.

In addition to the updated bracelet and movement, the new King Seiko also comes with rounded, box-shaped glass that’s more in line with contemporary dress codes. And while the caseback layout does draw upon the original model, it’s been flattened and modernised. Another key detail is the multi-faceted index at 12 o’clock on the display, the pattern of which purposefully evokes the feather fletching of an arrow in traditional Japanese archery.

Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary | Image: Seiko
Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary | Image: Seiko

The latest King Seiko series is being offered with silver, purple, and green dials, with each dial imparting its own respective symbolic meaning. The texture of the silver dial evokes Tokyo’s modern-day cityscape while the gradation on the green dial takes inspiration from the city’s natural greenery. And that’s not just any old purple on the purple dial, but “Edo purple,” a traditional Japanese colour that came into prominence during the Edo Period.

In honour of its 100th anniversary, Seiko will also introduce a limited-edition King Seiko KS1969 with the same curvature and mechanics as its iconic brethren. However, this one features a light blue-green dial with a textured pattern that resembles the scaly skin of a rising dragon.

King Seiko 1969KS Ref. SJE109 | Image: Seiko
King Seiko 1969KS Ref. SJE109 | Image: Seiko

The animal sign on the Japanese zodiac for 2024, the dragon is also a Japanese symbol of prosperity. For Seiko, it represents both the past 100 years of success and the next 100 years to come. Plus, who doesn’t love dragons? The brand will release just 700 units of the dragon model at a suggested retail price of AUD$4,650.

The three new King Seiko watches and the limited-edition commemorative timepiece will be available starting July 2024 at the Seiko Boutiques and select retail partners worldwide. Here’s to another 100 years of impeccable wristwear!

Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary | Image: Seiko
Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary | Image: Seiko

Seiko King Seiko Ref. KS1969: SJE115 100th Anniversary

  • Brand: Seiko
  • Model: King Seiko KS1969 100th Anniversary
  • Reference: Ref. KS1969: SJE115
  • Diameter: 39.4mm
  • Movement: Calibre 6L35
  • Water Resistance: 50m
  • Power Reserve: 45 hours
  • Price: AUD$4,650

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