If you’ve been following the recent evolution of the Prospex collection, the sports watch range of watches by Seiko, you’ve certainly noticed the evolution of some of the most emblematic models, the so-called King versions of the Turtle and the Samurai. While true to the original design of these watches, Seiko has here upgraded the materials to bring more resistance and better perceived quality, resulting in watches that, while still quite accessible, offer a lot to enthusiasts. Today, the brand launches a limited edition available exclusively in Europe and based on the King Samurai model, with typical Japanese inspiration. Here’s the new Seiko Prospex King Samurai “Shu-Iro” SRPH61K1.
Behind this watch is once again a reflection of the origins of Seiko. Interestingly, the brand shows more and more its pride in being Japanese and this is reflected in the watches offered by both Seiko and Grand Seiko. With the SRPH61K1, the brand releases a watch that “captures the power of the Japanese naval forces called “Suigun”, the traditional armed forces on water. In the island nation of Japan, the Suigun who lived in coastal areas were active as waterborne soldiers since ancient times, playing an important role in maritime safety, trade and distribution, maritime security, and maritime transportation by pilotage.” This is shown on this watch in two different ways. First, the typical angular and powerful case, which gave this watch its “Samurai” nickname. Second, with the actual colour of the dial (the main novelty here), directly inspired by the Suigun.
If this background isn’t your thing, let’s talk about more realistic matters, and that is the watch in question. This new Limited Edition Shu-Iro SRPH61K1 is based on the current King Samurai models, which we reviewed here. Launched in mid-2020, these watches are upgrades to one of the most emblematic dive watches produced by Seiko, the Prospex Samurai. First revealed to the world in 2004, the Samurai is the complete opposite of its sister, the Turtle. While one is all about round shapes and smooth surfaces, the Samurai is a modernly-designed watch, with no vintage inspiration and angles all around. Sharp, powerful, almost aggressive, this design found its audience, until the brand removed it from its collection in 2008, before its comeback in 2017.
The King Samurai is the “plus” version of this iconic model. While the overall design remained basically the same, Seiko added modern, high-grade and wear-free materials, such as a ceramic bezel or a sapphire crystal, in addition to design updates too. And all of them are to be found back in this new King Samurai Shu-Iro SRPH61K1.
The case of this limited edition model is the same. It means that it measures 43.8mm in diameter for a height of 12.8mm, but the L2L measurement is fairly acceptable at 48.7mm. It wears slightly smaller than the diameter would let you imagine. The shape is also identical to the classic King Samurai, with sharp angles all around, sloping lugs and a pointy crown guard, with a crown classically positioned at 3 o’clock – and not at 4 o’clock, like many Seiko dive watches. The case is mostly executed with satin-finished surfaces, highlighted by some polished accents. Other features are also retained, such as the screw-down crown, a screwed caseback and a water-resistance of 200 metres.
Reminiscent of the diamond patterns of the handle of a Japanese sword, the side of the bezel presents a fine mesh pattern, and the insert is here made of black glossy ceramic. New to this limited edition, the 60-minute scale is executed in two different tones of gold, the first all-important 15-minute section being brighter than the rest of the scale. Also, it is equipped (like all King models) with a sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating and a magnifier over the date window, replacing the relatively low-end mineral Hardlex crystal.
The real deal and what makes this King Samurai Shu-Iro SRPH61K1 truly different is the dial. While keeping the same grid-like pattern found on other King Samurai models, it is here executed in a deep red colour, inspired by the “Shu-iro” a vermilion colour-lacquered armour used by the naval forces. “It was said that wearing this red, the most conspicuous colour on the battlefield, proved that you were brave and courageous and that your courage could inspire not only yourself but also your entire troop,” explains Seiko. This bold red colour is here paired with gold-coated hands and applied markers, all largely filled with Lumibrite material.
Under the screwed caseback is a well-known movement, the Calibre 4R35 that also equips the classic Samurai and King Samurai models and offers the same 40h power reserve, a 3Hz frequency, a hand-wound capacity and stop-seconds function.
Availability & Price
The Seiko Prospex King Samurai Shu-Iro SRPH61K1 is worn on a 3-link stainless steel bracelet with three-fold clasp and diving extension. An additional black silicone strap with steel pin buckle is also included. The watch is released as a limited edition of 3,500 pieces, available exclusively in Europe (plus Israel, Turkey and South Africa), as of January 2022. The price is set at EUR 740.
For more details, please visit seikowatches.com.