Big hair, loud pastel color combinations, step aerobics—there’s a lot about the ’80s that we’re happy to leave in the past. But there are also a few things we miss, and our latest Watch of the Week really satisfies our nostalgia. It’s the Seiko SNJ025, a revamped version of the company’s iconic 1982 Hybrid Diver’s Watch, which was the first dive watch to combine analog hands and a digital display on one dial. It was released this past fall, and we’re thrilled to see it make a comeback.
First, a little history. The Hybrid Diver’s Watch, also known as the H558, was released in 1982. According to Seiko, the H558 initially won praise when it was worn on multiple climbs up Mount Everest (an interesting claim to fame for a dive watch). But that was just the start. The timepiece really gained a cult following once Arnold Schwarzenegger started wearing it in movies like Predator, says Men’s Journal Senior Editor Sal Vaglica. Despite that notable celebrity endorsement, the H558 went out of production in the early 1990s.
Fast forward to Baselword last year, and the watch resurfaced, this time as the SNJ025. It has the unmistakeable look of the original (it still sports the analog and digital combination), but it has also been modernized for today’s wearer. The H558 used a quartz movement, but the new version is solar-powered, which means there are no batteries to replace. Seiko also added a few other improvements while still remaining true to the watch’s eye-catching design.
“It keeps a lot of the features of the original, like a chronograph and alarm, but adds in a calendar and dual time,” says Vaglica. “It’s also a bit bigger than the original, at 47.8mm, so it’s a good fit for larger wrists.”
In addition, the watch features a power reserve display function (Seiko claims it has a 6-month reserve when fully charged), a screw-down crown and two pushers, a one-way rotating bezel for tracking elapsed time, and LumiBrite-coated hands and indices for good low-light readability. Seiko has also released a sleek blacked-out version (the SNJ028), and collaborated with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors on a special-edition model with a red and blue bezel (the SNJ027).
No matter which version you go with, you’ll get a quality dive watch. Each one is rated for water resistance down to 660 feet, and they come with a comfortable, water-friendly silicone strap.
Today, the H558 is a collector’s item. If you’re not one of the lucky few who own an original, the SNJ025 is a great way to get that classic style with some extra functionality thrown in, too. We think Dutch Schaefer would approve.