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Seiko & JAMSTEC

Seiko & JAMSTEC

The History of Seiko Diver’s watches

Introduced in 1965, Seiko invented a number of technologies that raised the level of security in diver’s watches and those innovative watches have been appreciated by divers and adventurers globally.
With half a century of history and a proud of important innovation, Seiko's diver's watch have many times been chosen by adventurers who faced the challenges of the world's most harsh environments.

Solving the problems of adventure

Reliability at the North and South Poles, and in every extreme environment

Since 1966, Seiko has been chosen four times to accompany Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition on its research missions. More recently, numerous adventurers and explorers have taken Seiko to the summit of Mount Everest and all the world's major peaks, proving the value of experience in making watches that are designed for every extreme.

Reliability at the North and South Poles, and in every extreme environment
Reliability at the North and South Poles, and in every extreme environment

Reliability at the North and South Poles, and in every extreme environment

Since 1966, Seiko has been chosen four times to accompany Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition on its research missions. More recently, numerous adventurers and explorers have taken Seiko to the summit of Mount Everest and all the world's major peaks, proving the value of experience in making watches that are designed for every extreme.<

The letter that lead to the world’s first professional diver’s watch.

The letter that lead to the world’s first professional diver’s watch.

Everything started with a letter from a professional diver in the Hiroshima prefecture of Japan. The diver explained that no watch was robust enough to withstand the stresses and strains he experienced when using a diving capsule and saturation diving techniques in the deep sea. The letter was seen by Seiko’s engineers as an important challenge. They set to work and in 1975, the world's first titanium cased diver's watch, the Professional Diver's 600m, was created.

Meeting the challenges

Exceeding expectations of water resistance

In its quest for constant progress, Seiko has long co-operated with organizations in Japan, USA and elsewhere who could assist with testing its diver's watches in extreme conditions. In 1983, two Professional Diver's 600m watches were affixed to the manipulators of ‘SHINKAI 2000', the manned research submersible operated by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology). The watches were originally intended for use up to 600m, yet they withstood water pressure at a depth of 1,062m. The watches' legibility, precision and strength had passed the test with flying colors.

Exceeding expectations of water resistance
Exceeding expectations of water resistance

Exceeding expectations of water resistance

In its quest for constant progress, Seiko has long co-operated with organizations in Japan, USA and elsewhere who could assist with testing its diver's watches in extreme conditions. In 1983, two Professional Diver's 600m watches were affixed to the manipulators of ‘SHINKAI 2000', the manned research submersible operated by JAMSTEC (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology). The watches were originally intended for use up to 600m, yet they withstood water pressure at a depth of 1,062m. The watches' legibility, precision and strength had passed the test with flying colors.

A test even more extreme confirmed the evolution of Seiko diver’s watches.

A test even more extreme confirmed the evolution of Seiko diver’s watches.

In 2014, the Professional Diver's 1000m was recently subjected to the most extreme test imaginable. Affixed to the exterior hull of ‘KAIKO 7000 II', a remotely operated undersea research vehicle, both mechanical and quartz versions of the Professional Diver's 1000m were taken down to the ocean's depths. All the watches functioned perfectly down to a depth of over 3,000m.

*The watches were selected at random

The never-ending technical challenge of the deep sea environment.

In 2015, a new, tougher challenge appeared. Diver’s watches of 1,000m water resistance was attached to the manipulator of the ‘SHINKAI 6500’ submersible. The manipulator was new and it was being exhaustively tested, so our watches spent 16 hours and 40 minutes over three days at depths of up to 1,398m. Once again, the watch passed the test with flying colors, with its precision well within specified limits.

*The watches were selected at random

The never-ending technical challenge of the deep sea environment.
The never-ending technical challenge of the deep sea environment.

The never-ending technical challenge of the deep sea environment.

In 2015, a new, tougher challenge appeared. Diver’s watches of 1,000m water resistance was attached to the manipulator of the ‘SHINKAI 6500’ submersible. The manipulator was new and it was being exhaustively tested, so our watches spent 16 hours and 40 minutes over three days at depths of up to 1,398m. Once again, the watch passed the test with flying colors, with its precision well within specified limits.

*The watches were selected at random

The test watch

The test watch

SBEX003

Driving system: Automatic with manual winding mechanism
Water resistance: 1,000m for saturation diving

The test watch

*The watches were selected at random

JAMSTEC

JAMSTEC

JAMSTEC

Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) has the main objective to contribute to the advancement of scientific research in addition to the improvement of marine science and technology by proceeding the fundamental research and development on marine, and the cooperative activities on the research related to the Ocean for the benefit of the peace and human welfare.

Manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’

‘SHINKAI 6500’ is a manned submersible that can dive to depths of 6,500 meters – deeper than any other manned submersible for scientific research all over the world today. In 1991, ‘SHINKAI 6500’ began its mission to study seafloor topography and geology and research deep-sea organisms in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean as well as the Japan waters. The total number of dives reached 1,446 in 2015.

Manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’
Manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’

‘SHINKAI 6500’ is a manned submersible that can dive to depths of 6,500 meters – deeper than any other manned submersible for scientific research all over the world today. In 1991, ‘SHINKAI 6500’ began its mission to study seafloor topography and geology and research deep-sea organisms in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean as well as the Japan waters. The total number of dives reached 1,446 in 2015.

Manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’ Pilot Keita Matsumoto

Manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’

Pilot Keita Matsumoto

Mr. Keita Matsumoto, the pilot and the chief mechanic of the manned research submersible ‘SHINKAI 6500’. More than 20 years, he pilot and maintenance ‘SHINKAI 2000’ and ‘SHINKAI 6500’ and in total, the dive counts more than 360 times (at ‘SHINKAI 6500’, more than 150 times). He is leading the deep sea investigation as an expert pilot.

Courtesy of JAMSTEC and Nippon Marine Enterprises, Ltd.

PROSPEX
Interview

Pilot Interview

Interview

The deep sea

The deep sea

Describe how you felt on your first deep-sea dive

I remember the awe I felt at the amount of life at the bottom of the sea. There is a phenomenon known as marine snow, and at times down there amidst this blizzard of biological debris it really does feel like a different world.

How do you prepare mentally?

I always try to remain calm and focused. Without that presence of mind, it would be impossible to make rational decisions in response to sudden events.

What other preparations do you make?

The research team and I discuss the tests and sample collections we will be conducting at the bottom of the sea. I run simulations in my head to calculate the most efficient procedures and sequences and calmly consider everything that will take place on the day of the dive.

What are you most focused on during a dive?

The most important part of the mission is getting the researchers and their results safely back to the ship (YOKOSUKA). It is very important to bring the results back so the benefits of this research can be passed on to future generations.

You have safely completed more than 360 dives, including missions on SHINKAI 2000. Does it still hold a thrill for you?

As I approach the seabed all of my energy is focused on the mission I have been given. When the mission has been completed, however, and we are about to return to the surface, even after all this time I still feel a thrill as I think to myself, “This is the bottom of the sea!”

The deep sea
World-famous Japanese technology

World-famous Japanese technology

What is the current level of Japanese deep-sea research?

The United States and France have traditionally been the leaders in deep-sea research, but with the development of SHINKAI 6500 Japan has caught up. In fact, in some areas we are now leading the world.

As you mentioned, our teams have been conducting dives for decades—since SHINKAI 2000. But even just in terms of the waters off Japan’s coast, there are vast areas that remain unexplored. There are parts of the world’s oceans where the sea floor lies approximately 11,000 meters below the surface and humankind has only just begun to survey these depths.

You have piloted SHINKAI 6500 many times. How does it feel?

SHINKAI 6500 has had no major incidents in the more than 1,440 dives it has completed over the past 25 years. That record, I think, makes it a superb submersible even by world standards.

It seems to be a very dependable vessel. Where does that reliability come from?

I think one of the reasons for its performance record lies in the thoroughness with which it was initially designed and built. It is easily maintained and has the durability necessary to perform dive after dive. These qualities set it apart from other submersibles throughout the world. I think the fact that SHINKAI 6500 has been so problem free is evidence of its sturdy construction and the characteristic Japanese quality it embodies.

Japanese are known for making precise and highly-dependable equipment. This may be something that SHINKAI 6500 and Seiko have in common.

Yes, I agree. If you have a thorough manufacturing process supported by knowledge of maintenance and good execution, you can sustain a high level of dependability. One of the first things our SHINKAI 6500 teams learn is to conduct thorough maintenance.

Seiko also has many certified repair professionals. Proper maintenance is essential, isn’t it?

Yes. We carry out safety checks with our own eyes before each dive, and this is a process we have repeated many times. Assurance and dependability must be earned steadily, over time.

Seiko and JAMSTEC collaboration on diver’s watch test

Seiko and JAMSTEC collaboration on diver’s watch test

In November 2015, Seiko worked with JAMSTEC to conduct deep-sea testing on Seiko’s diver’s watch using SHINKAI 6500*.

We affixed Seiko’s Prospex diver’s watch to the submersible’s manipulator arm and performed deep-sea dives over a period of three consecutive days. Prospex is water resistant to 1,000 meters for saturation diving. In these tests we dove to depths of between 1,100 and 1,398 meters and used the manipulator arm to collect rocks on the sea floor and perform other functions just as we would in a usual dive. The water pressure at 1,000 meters is extremely high, but seeing the watch function at that depth with no adverse effects whatsoever really proved its reliability.

The watch used in the test was selected at random from among Seiko’s inventory and was put through all procedures on the dive schedule. We were relieved to see that it held up and functioned at depths beyond its pressure resistance rating. A precision test performed on the watch days later showed that it met Seiko’s performance standards for timekeeping at a level indistinguishable from that of any other factory-condition watch, proving its practical functionality.

That is why Seiko watches are so trusted by professional divers and explorers throughout the world. JAMSTEC has been working with Seiko to test its diver’s watches since SHINKAI 2000, and as both a user and as a Japanese I am proud of that ever-evolving technology.

Thank you very much. Seiko remains committed to our founding spirit of being “one step ahead of the rest,” while creating products loved by people all over the world.

Courtesy: JAMSTEC
*Seiko Watch Corporation supports JAMSTEC’s research and development, and JAMSTEC has provided Seiko with access to the JAMSTEC platform, and supported the tests of Seiko watches.

Seiko and JAMSTEC collaboration on diver’s watch test
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