Seiko's air land and sea watches have always been present in diverse line-ups. The Fieldmaster’s position however was gradually replaced by the newly launched Landmaster models in 1993, equipped with the early generation of Kinetic movements, known as Auto Generating System (“AGS”). Throughout the release of the landmaster range, they were powered by a variety of movements showcasing the evolution of Seiko’s Kinetic movements and also the variety of movements offered by Seiko, namely quartz, kinetic, spring drive and automatic mechanical movements.
The first titanium Landmaster, the GMT model SBCW was introduced in 1994 powered by the kinetic Cal. 5M45 with 7 days power reserve. The inner flange ring included 24 hour markings rather than emergency codes (which are on the back) and the baton-shaped markers are replaced with dots.
The Landmaster watches, as mentioned in the Seiko book “A Journey in Time”, belonged to the “Master” series of watches including the Scubamaster, Flightmaster and Landmaster. These days, the Scubamaster line no longer exists, but we have the Marinemaster series. Seiko Designer Mr. Tokunaga calls the Landmaster he conceived “a watch worth entrusting your life to”.
The Landmaster's GMT hand is slaved to the minute hand. The hour hand is independently adjustable, this in one hour jumps of course without the minute or seconds hand stopping, and the date following it. So the local time ( and date - it follows the hour hand both forwards and backwards ) is always shown with the main hands. The GMT hand always tracks whatever home timezone you synched it to when setting the minutes.
Thus, when the GMT hand is set to "home time" and you are at home, you would have the normal hour hand at that time too - well, to be specific, the normal hand and the GMT hand come close together again when you approach the 24:00 hour time frame more and more.
Obviously, the GMT hand rotates once every 24 hrs, but the hour hand, twice. This means that the GMT and the hour hand will move away from each other and back again in the 24h period (i.e. the hour hand is twice as fast).
Now don't worry, the GMT is supremely simple, when you hop on a plane, you pull out the crown and adjust the main hour hand (not the GMT hand) in one hour increments to the new local time, leaving the mins and secs carrying on, unhacked. Push back in and you are good to go.
Transpolar, but not by plane..
A special "Transpolar" 1877 pieces limited edition from 1997, SBCW009, features a blue dial, baton markers, and yellow GMT hand and commemorates the crossing of the North Pole by Mitsurou Ohba - from Siberia to Canada in 1997. On the dial one can not only find a map of the North Pole, but in fact the starting and endpoint of the expedition, which is marked with little yellow lettering: Kap Arktitscheski - Ellesmere Island. The number of watches produced, 1877, probably can be explained by the birth year of Seiko itself. In 1877 Hatori (Seiko) opened his first watchshop in Tokyo.
Another special edition, SBCW021, was released in 1998 and features a ceramic bezel, no minute markers on the dial, and the name "Sagaramatha" to commemorate the attempt to summit Mt. Everest by Ken Noguchi. A numbered limited edition of 300, SBCW027, was released in 1999 along with a similar unlimited release, SBCW021, featuring the heights of 7 summits on the back.
A special "reverse" (counter-clockwise) GMT hand model SBCW023 with Cal. 5M47 was produced in 1998 only. This was used for Antarctic explorers and was developed on request of Mitsurou Ohba who was traversing the South Pole. The bezel and inner flange ring are numbered counter-clockwise as well. This special-edition "Landmaster South Pole" is prized today and features a case and bracelet made from cermet and a zirconium ceramic bezel. Seiko used the 5M47 movement because being on the opposite ends of the earth, navigation with a 24 hour hand is different on the South Pole than it is on the North Pole. As such, Seiko reversed the movement of the GMT hand and the markings on the bezel to allow Mitsuro Ohba to navigate the South Pole using the same methodology used on his North Pole expedition. The South Pole is the only watch that I’m aware of with a 24 hour hand that actually rotates counterclockwise!
Although the Landmaster series survives today, its looks has radically changed from how it was first presented by Mr. Tokunaga, the astute reader can see that in the list below.
Since the Landmaster started in 1984 some 20 points if note this watch should live up to: