Why is the Seiko Sumo called Sumo?
The majority of Seiko's watch names reaffirm the brand's close link to the Japanese culture. It is a bond that is somehow more prominent on Seiko's diving watches, at first sight. Nicknames like Tuna Can, or Turtle are commonly used, yet two are the current collections which best represent, from a naming perspective, the Japanese pedigree: the Seiko Samurai and the Seiko Sumo. These are two of the most loved diving watches ever, with unmatched quality to price ratio, in the industry. The Seiko Sumo, especially, was technically upgraded in 2019, equipped with a sapphire crystal and its caliber now guarantees seventy hours of maximum power reserve, and that's among my all-time favs: I own two rare limited editions Seiko Sumo (namely, a Seiko Sumo 50th Anniversary and a Seiko Silver Sumo). Additionally, the Prospex collection turns 55 this year, I believe many new collector's pieces will hit the stores anytime soon in 2020.
While we wait to discover what's next in the Seiko Prospex 2020 line-up, we sat down and took some time to browse the internet while trying and uncover why the Seiko Sumo is called Sumo. During a Sumo wrestling match, a so-called rikishi (wrestler) attempts to force his opponent out of a circular ring, the combat zone known as "dohyō." Where does the name Sumo originate? There are currently two possible explanations: the former is in the shape of the top knot adopted by Sumo wrestler and known as "chonmage," in the Japanese tradition.
Pictured above is the famous, now retired, sumo wrestler Tochiazuma Daisuke: take a look at his top knot, for example. According to this hypothesis, the luminous Lumibrite-filled triangle at twelve pays homage to the "chonmage." According to the latter, instead, the name Sumo simply draws inspiration from the shape of the dohyō, the circular fighting zone: in this regard, the unidirectional rotating bezel raised slightly on top of the sapphire crystal is a nod to the combat zone itself. Which option do you think is the right one?
(Photo credit: Peter Tung for Horbiter®, commons.wikimedia.org)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®