There are dozens of watches within Seiko’s professional collection, also known as the Prospex line. Many of them have a true emblematic status, such as the Monster, the Samurai, the Alpinist, the Sumo and many more. Few, however, can rival with the Turtle when it comes to fame. Accessible, solid, classically-designed, typical Seiko and with historical background, this has long been one Seiko’s and diver’s enthusiasts. Following multiple iterations built around the King concept, with upgraded materials, it’s now time for the Japanese brand to come back to the basics, with a new edition of the classic, entry-level Turtle. Here’s the new Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver 200m Special Edition SRPJ35.
Seiko relaunched the Turtle watch back in 2016, with the SRP collection. Modelled after the 63XX series, a.k.a the Seiko Turtle, the successor to the 6105, it was launched in 1977. True to the original concept, it was cheap, widely accessible and also very, very reliable. A good, no-nonsense mechanical dive watch that could be used and abused, and also brought a lot of fun on the wrist. Exactly what the new Series of 2016 was. And so were most following editions, such as the acclaimed PADI red/blue version, a favourite of Seiko’s enthusiasts.
The idea of this collection was to revive the original model in most possible ways, with a modern twist; solid yet simple case, pebble-shaped case giving the Turtle moniker, a legible, functional dial, a rotating bezel for diving, enough water-resistance for most underwater environment, a tried-and-tested movement with enough accuracy and overall, an impressive quality/price ratio. All you need in a watch and more, without even having to consider taking care of it… Wear it, enjoy it, beat it if need be. It’ll do the job.
Recently, Seiko upgraded this watch with the King Turtle (ref. SRPE03 & SRPE05), bringing a sapphire crystal, a ceramic bezel, a new dial pattern and a cyclops over the day-date. An appreciable move up in terms of perceived quality… and of price. We haven’t seen many new classic Turtle models recently, however, so it’s kind of refreshing to see a new one popping in. The new SRPJ35 is basically a variation around the concept, with new colours. Nothing more, except on tiny detail on the dial.
The case, with the signature crown at 4 o’clock, is identical to previous models and thus great looking. On paper, the 45mm x 13.4mm case seems very large, yet it is known to be far more compact than expected once on the wrist – the 47.7mm lug-to-lug does explain this feeling. Brushed with polished accents, the case is here in its entry-level form, with a unidirectional bezel fitted with a aluminium insert, and topped by a Hardlex crystal. Talking about the bezel, it’s here presented in a new blue and green combination. Lively and rather funky, it also has that typical metallic effect of aluminium that I’ve always preferred to ceramic… tastes and colours…
The dial of this Special Edition SRPJ35 feels classic at first sight, with a matte black background and the typical Turtle markers, generously filled with LumiBrite. It still features the day-date window and the hands are identical, save for the green colour of the minute hand. And yes, there’s a little something new, and that is the small luminous marker next to the date – a necessity to meet the updated ISO 6425:2018 standard, which required luminous markers at every hour.
Under the screwed caseback, which guarantees 200m of water-resistance, is a famous movement, the simple yet robust calibre 4R36. It beats at 3Hz, stores 41 hours of energy, is automatic and has a stop-seconds function. Seiko claims an accuracy within -35 to +45 seconds/day, which many have seen to be very pessimistic in real life.
The Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver 200m Turtle Special Edition SRPJ35 is worn on a 3-link steel bracelet with folding clasp and diving extension. It is released as a special, non-limited edition and is priced at EUR 530 – which has increased quite a bit over the years… like everything these days. Nevertheless, it remains a great value proposition for a daily beater or a weekend watch. More details at seikowatches.com.