Seiko benefits from an unshakeable reputation in the field of dive watches. The brand had an immense influence on the category, including on the definition of ISO standards, and even though rather accessible, its watches have a proven track record for reliability. And this, without surprise, came to the attention of PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, which started to work together with Seiko a few years ago, giving birth to yearly editions based on the brand’s coolest’s dive watches. For 2021, both entities renewed their association and coincidentally, Seiko presents a new couple of PADI watches, this time changing a bit the style we’ve seen in the past. Here are the Prospex King Turtle SRPG19K1 & King Samurai SRPG21K1.
For the story, over the past fifty years, PADI has become the world’s most trusted scuba diving training organization. PADI has issued an amazing 24 million certifications and has done more than any other organization to introduce diving to the world. In 2016, the association started to work together with Seiko, resulting in double-signed watches with a specific colour scheme, reflecting that of the PADI logo. It all started with the PADI Turtle SRPA21, and later many more editions followed, such as the PADI Samurai SRPB99J1 or the PADI Monster SRPE27K1.
All these watches had in common to be based on Seiko’s most accessible Prospex models, with an approximate price of 400-500 euros – and all were also based on some of the most emblematic models, such as the Turtle, the Samurai, the Monster… Also, since the beginning of the partnership, most of these PADI-branded models features a combination of blue and red accents, as a tribute to PADI’s logo. There was something very cool about these accessible “Pepsi-like” models but things are changing at Seiko and the two new PADI models are slightly different.
First of all, the base watches have been changed. Certainly, the roots are still present but Seiko chose to use the King models to create this 2021 collection. As a reminder, the King Turtle and the King Samurai, both presented last year, are upgraded versions of Seiko’s emblematic Prospex models, with uprated specifications and materials to meet modern standards and higher expectations from customers. Second, Seiko has decided to change the design and classic colour codes of its previous PADI editions. No more red and blue accents here, the 2021 PADI watches are now accented in light blue.
Still, don’t think the PADI connection is gone. In fact, if the colours are different, the textured dial, with its embossed pattern, is actually even closer to PADI’s logo than before, since it uses the same stripped globe effect. In the metal, both on the King Turtle SRPG19K1 and King Samurai SRPG21K1, the result is rather convincing and pleasant to look at. I’d even say that the visual effect is even more striking on the Turtle model, its case being more curved. As for the coloured accents, the light blue hue is again a reference to PADI, being the logo’s background colour. It is found on the first segments of the 60-minute scale as well as on the minute hand.
The PADI King Turtle SRPG19K1
First is the SRPG19K1, which is based on the “King” version of one of Seiko’s most iconic models, the Turtle watch. Compared to the watches found in the permanent collection, the evolutions are solely on the visual side. All specifications are identical, including the pebble-shaped case with brushed and polished surfaces, its crown positioned at 4 o’clock, its serrated bezel with efficient grip and a 200m water-resistance. The watch is rather large on paper, with a 45mm diameter, but wears more compact than expected. Compared to the non-King Turtle watches, it features a sapphire crystal with AR coating and magnifier over the day-date complication, as well as a ceramic bezel insert with the all-important 20-minute segment highlighted in light blue.
The dial, as said above, features a unique embossed pattern and if the indexes and hands are identical too, the colours are different, with the minute hand blue-toned. All other elements are black, creating great contrast. Inside is the venerable calibre 4R36, meaning the day-date edition. This automatic movement, with hand-wound capacity and stop-seconds, beats at 4Hz and stores up to 41 hours of energy.
The Seiko Prospex PADI King Turtle SRPG19K1 is worn on a stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp and diver’s extension. It is a special, non-limited edition, priced at EUR 600 and now available.
Quick facts: 45mm diameter x 13.2mm height x 47.7mm L2L – stainless steel, sapphire crystal with magnifier, unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert – screw-down crown and caseback – 200m water-resistant – Calibre 4R36, in-house, automatic, 3Hz frequency, 41h power reserve – HMS with day-date – steel bracelet with folding clasp and diver’s extension – special edition – EUR 600
The PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1
The second watch in this 2021 PADI collection, the King Samurai SRPG21K1, relies on the same recipe. It is based on the recently introduced King Samurai models, which introduced multiple updates compared to the classic Samurai watches. Other than its new colours and dial, this PADI version is mechanically and technically identical. This means a sharp and angular case, explaining the watch’s nickname, a crown classically positioned at 3 o’clock and overall a more modern approach to the dive watch. It is water-resistant to 200m, features a sapphire crystal with AR coating and magnifier over the date and its unidirectional bezel has a ceramic insert with an engraved 60-minute scale – the first 15 minutes being in light blue. The case is here slightly smaller, with a 43.8mm diameter, and is surprisingly comfortable.
The dial retains the same globe pattern as the Turtle above, with its minutes hand coated in light blue. Otherwise, all elements are traditional and executed in black, providing great contrast with the sharp, oversized markers. Inside is the in-house automatic calibre 4R35, a movement that is basically the same as mentioned above but only with a date function. Other specifications are identical.
The Seiko Prospex PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1 is worn on a black silicon strap closed by a steel pin buckle. It is a special, non-limited edition, priced at EUR 640 and now available.
Quick facts: 43.8mm diameter x 12.8mm height x 48.7mm L2L – stainless steel, sapphire crystal with magnifier, unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert – screw-down crown and caseback – 200m water-resistant – Calibre 4R35, in-house, automatic, 3Hz frequency, 41h power reserve – HMS with date – steel bracelet with folding clasp and diver’s extension – special edition – EUR 640