Seiko have released the SRPE03, SRPE05, and SRPE07 dive watches or ‘King Turtle’. This provides the much-beloved Seiko Turtle but now with a ceramic bezel, sapphire crystal, new dial markings and a totally new bezel design. Is this the Seiko Prospex ‘King Turtle’ we all wanted?
It’s difficult to imagine a more active and enthusiastic community around a single brand than that which surrounds Seiko and their dive watches. As the technical and spiritual successor to the Seiko SKX007 & SKX009, the SRPxxx or ‘Turtle’ line of Seiko dive watches has long been the subject of debate. Since its inception, the Seiko-loving community has clamoured for the inclusion of a sapphire crystal as well as other upgrades. To fill this gap, many Seiko owners have looked to aftermarket crystal and bezel replacements (if not more) to complete the Seiko which they really wanted. With this latest release, though, it seems that Seiko has, at last, listened.
In response, they have launched three new references which, in view of their enhanced specifications, have already received the name Seiko Prospex ‘King Turtle’. Technically, these watches are very similar to their more affordable counterparts and offer a 44.3mm wide case with a thickness of 13.3mm. This remains stainless steel in a brushed and polished finish whilst retaining the Seiko cal. 4R36 automatic movement inside (full specifications below). Likewise, the water resistance remains 200 metre or 660 feet.
Yet, the headline specifications of the Seiko Turtle were never the culprit for complaints. Instead, this is a question of details. The first change which one notices on these watches is the bezel. Where the standard watch uses the rounded double-rimmed bezel of the now-discontinued SKX line with its rather dated look, the Seiko Prospex ‘King Turtle’ takes a new approach. Here, the grips are squared off and have a flat top which, from experience, will give crisper inside edges which will enhance one’s grip.
More important still is the inclusion of a ceramic bezel which gives both a much more attractive, glossy finish and a scratch resistance far beyond the old aluminium insert. Whilst this loses some of the ‘easily damaged and easily replaced’ nature of the original, it will be much better suited to modern life. By the same token, the Hardlex crystal, often complimented for its legibility and shatterproof nature, has been replaced with more scratch resistant sapphire. This also gains a cyclops lens to make the date and day display more legible.
The Variants: Blue, Green or Black
Aside from these technical changes, the dial and hands have also been differentiated from the lesser variants of the Turtle. In the case of the SRPE03 & SRPE05 — the more conventional black and dark green versions — we see a waffle-style dial onto which the markers are applied in metal rims as opposed to the former painted markers. Across the features, paired with golden dial elements, and new ‘MADE IN JAPAN’ text, we are seeing a high quality item.
The other model is the SRPE07 which replicates the ‘Save the Ocean’ variants of the standard Seiko Turtle. In this Seiko Prospex ‘King Turtle’ variant, it retains the same blue dial with wave-like markings but takes the same enhancements as the other two variants. Its bezel is now blue ceramic and, to match the cream Lumibrite compound on the hands and dial, is given cream markings. Whilst these are not luminous — only the marker at 12 o’clock is — they add to the overall look. The final touch is the ‘Save the Ocean’ second hand with its fishtail counterweight.
What this means
Inevitably, this model is not revolutionary. However, it is confirmation that, for a price somewhere in the region of £500 (the UK price has yet to be announced), Seiko is beginning to listen and to direct its range carefully. The new Seiko 5 is, it seems, purely the Seiko for the uninitiated. The Seiko Prospex ‘King Turtle’ is the Seiko for the enthusiast.
Availability: US pricing: SRPE03: $625 | SRPE05 & SRPE07: $595
- Dimensions: 44.3mm x 48mm x 13.3mm
- Material: 316L Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Sapphire Crystal with Cyclops Magnifier
- Display: Black, green or blue dial / Engraved ‘waffle’ or wave pattern / Applied markers / Polished hands / Lumibrite material on hands and markers / Ceramic bezel with crystal cap over luminous pip / Day & date display at 3 o’clock
- Water Resistance: 200m / 20 ATM / 660ft
- Movement: Seiko 4R36: Time, day & date / Automatic & manual winding / Hacking seconds / 41-hour power reserve / 3Hz, 28,800 vph, 6 ticks-per-second / Quick-set day and date