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Fully Redesigned & Smaller, Meet the New Seiko Samurai Collection (SRPL11, SRPL13 & SRPL15)

One of Seiko's most beloved dive watches is up for an extensive update.

| By Brice Goulard | 4 min read |
Seiko Samurai 2024 - SRPL13 SRPL11 SRPL15

One of the Japanese watchmaker’s most emblematic modern dive watches (probably only rivalled by the Turtle), the Seiko Samurai was first introduced in 2004. A large, robust and angular model, this modern-looking watch soon became a classic, only to be discontinued. After almost 10 years of absence, it resurfaced in 2017 in a slightly updated yet highly recognizable collection. For its 20th anniversary, the Seiko Samurai changes everything. Smaller, fully redesigned, and slightly less aggressive, there’s a new Samurai dive watch for 2024, and it launches in three versions: the burgundy red SRPL11, the classic black-on-steel SRPL13 and the black-coated SRPL15. 

Short reminder… if the Turtle can be seen as the vintage-oriented and softly-designed vision of the accessible dive watch by Seiko, the Samurai is its opposite. The Seiko Samurai was launched in 2004 and was produced for a few years only before being removed from the catalogue. Already at that time, it was a rather large, sturdy, 200m water-resistant and modernly-designed watch, with no vintage inspiration. Yet it features some of the unmistakable signs a Seiko should have. This watch existed in multiple editions, including versions with a titanium case (discontinued in 2008 and reserved for the Japanese market) or a steel case with a Clou de Paris textured dial.

Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver Padi Samurai SRPB99J1
Above: a PADI version of the Samurai (SRPB99) – below: the Kink Samurai with material upgrades

Seiko Prospex PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1

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It took Seiko almost 10 years to revive the Samurai, which made its comeback in 2017. Starting with four references (SRPB49K1, SRPB51K1, SRPB53K1 and SRPB55K1), it brought back its sharply designed case, textured dial, imposing dimensions and some updates on the bezel, the fonts, the colours, the indexes/hands and a more modern movement. In 2020, Seiko gave the Samurai the so-called King treatment, with better materials (sapphire crystal with cyclops, ceramic bezel) and multiple design updates.

Now, in 2024, 20 years after its initial introduction, the Seiko Samurai has changed… Drastically! Don’t expect any external part in common with previous versions, it is an entirely new watch, from head to toe (except the movement). What are we looking at? A smaller, entirely reshaped Samurai with a less aggressive overall look. While 43.8mm in diameter (for both the classic and King models) in the past, serious downsizing has been applied with a diameter of now 41.7mm. The thickness, at 12.3mm, is also pleasant and the length of the case, measured at 49.5mm, makes it a tad long but the shape of the lugs and back compensates for this. The water-resistance remains at 200m, thanks to a screw-down crown and a solid steel screwed back.

Besides the size reduction, the whole shape of the watch has been updated. The new Seiko Samurai SRPL11, SRPL13 & SRPL15 are still modern and angular but far less bulky than in the past, with much more tapered and slimmer lugs. In the same vein, the unidirectional bezel retains the classic knurled pattern on the side (so does the crown) but with a brand-new design for the metallic insert – once again, sleeker than in the past.

On the wrist, the downsizing strategy (which has been seen in multiple other Seiko watches, such as the recent Prospex 1965 Diver or the revamped Marinemaster) is certainly something we applaud. Even though the previous Seiko Samurai wore smaller than expected, they certainly were large and heavy. The new ones are far more wearable on a daily basis… Regarding the design, a bit of the original aura of the Samurai has certainly been lost in this redesign, which will probably work better for a wider audience.

The dial has also been updated, once again, with some recognizable Samurai codes but also a sleeker vibe. This is easily seen on the new markers and the revamped handset. The date now also sits at 4:30, like many of the recent Seiko Prospex watches. Three references are available at the time of launch; the SRPL11K1 with its bold burgundy red bezel and dial over a steel bracelet, the SRPL13K1, a classic black version with a steel case and bracelet, and the SRPL15K1 with a black coated case, a matte black dial/bezel and cream-tone LumiBrite. The latter is worn on a black silicone strap.

Inside the case, no surprise. The 2024 Seiko Samurai still relies on the entry-level calibre 4R35, an automatic movement with 3Hz frequency, 41h power reserve and hacking capacity. The two models in steel come on a 3-link brushed steel bracelet closed by a safety folding clasp with a diving extension.

The new 2024 Seiko Samurai collection will soon be available from the brand and its retailers as part of the permanent collection. It will be priced at EUR 650 (SRPL11, SRPL13) or EUR 600 (SRPL15) – compared to EUR 459 for a classic Samurai when launched in 2017 or EUR 490 for the more recent SRPH11 Black Series.

5 responses

  1. Nice. A great improvement in size and wearability. I would have preferred the date at three, but don’t like the lume pip they then put in the rehaut, so this is fine in terms of date placement.

    Almost as good as what they did to the MArinemaster.

  2. One characteristic of the former Samurai that I did not like was the side of the case, which was a bit too sculptural for a tool watch. The new one seems more normal.

  3. Some nice improvements, especially with design and size. The main sticking point has always been hardlex instead of sapphire. The price increase does not help. I will wait for the inevitable king samurais based on these new designs and then buy one on sale. The prices that these are creeping towards demand sapphire. The 4R is ok, since the ones I have are more accurate than my one 6r35 presage. Always mixed feelings with Seiko nowadays, which is a shame because my first watch was a gifted Seiko Kinetic and I wore that thing everywhere.

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