Shohei Ohtani Seiko Diver: Limited Edition SBDC191

Shohei Ohtani pitching, hitting and SBDC191

In 2020, Seiko released a collection of four dive watches under their Prospex line: SPB143, SPB145, SPB147, and SPB149. These vintage-inspired watches are modeled after Seiko’s first dive watch: the legendary 62MAS. This collection, particularly the neutrally-colored SPB143, has become a fan favorite in the ~$1,000 dive watch range. It’s a compelling package: handsome mid-century design, capable specs, wearable dimensions, and adequate timekeeping (accuracy is reportedly a bit sporadic). I’ve even seen these watches compared to the Tudor Black Bay collection, the cheapest of which costs double this Seiko’s price. The SPB14X silhouette was a clear choice for Seiko’s latest release with Japanese baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani: the SBDC191. Let’s take a closer look at this partnership, this watch, and finally, pricing and availability. 

Shohei Ohtani and Seiko

Shohei Ohtani – widely accepted as the best active baseball player – has transcended sports media. He currently occupies major news headlines touting him as a generational talent, the best player in team sports, and perhaps the best baseball player of all time (I can’t speak to that one; I’m more of a basketball guy). What makes him special is his elite pitching and hitting. He’s a two-way talent similar to the presumed baseball G.O.A.T Babe Ruth. 

Seiko SBDC191 Shohei Ohtani

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When I think of athletes as watch brand ambassadors, I think tennis: Rolex and Federer, Richard Mille and Nadal, TAG Heuer and Osaka, etc. While plenty of other sports are represented in the world of watches, baseball is relatively rare. Ohtani’s partnership with Seiko is a unique one, and it’s resulted in 6 limited edition releases (by my count). The latest, and a sure favorite amongst enthusiasts, is the red-accented SBDC191. 

Seiko SBDC191: Limited Edition with Shohei Ohtani

Seiko SBDC191 front and clasp

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Ohtani currently plays for the Los Angeles Angels whose colors are red, white, navy blue, and silver. Red is a key component of the SBDC191’s design, featured on the seconds hand and “Diver’s 200M” dial text. The silver dial ostensibly pays homage to the Angels colors; it looks lighter than the SPB143’s dial (obviously a concerted change to some extent). On the bracelet’s clasp, you’ll see Ohtani’s signature engraved alongside his number 17. This signature placement is definitely unconventional. A watch’s caseback is usually prime real estate for signatures as they aren’t exposed to scratches. I’m curious to see how this signature holds up on the most scratch-prone part of a wristwatch, especially given that the cursive engraving looks somewhat like a scratch to begin with.

Pricing, Availability, and a Quick Note

Seiko SBDC191 in box

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In a subtle nod to Ohtani’s jersey number 17, this limited edition Seiko is limited to 1,700 pieces. It will be available for purchase – only in Japan – on August 11th, 2023. It is listed for $1,200 (187,000 Yen): the same price as the aforementioned SPB14X watches. While it’s only available for purchase in Japan, examples will surely make it to the States. I expect high resale values following the official release.

As a quick note – Ohtani’s name is currently being floated around in trade rumors, which if realized would render this Angels-themed (red and silver) Seiko collaboration an interesting piece of history: perhaps raising its value in the long run.

Header Image Sources (Left to Right): Jim Rassol | USA Today, Seiko, Frank Franklin II | AP Photo

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