An iconic diver

 

There is no denying that the dive watch is certainly one of watchmaking’s most iconic and recognizable designs. Whether it’s the timelessness and ruggedness of its design or the appeal of having a watch that can easily survive the harshest of environments, they are easily some of the most popular watches in the world. There’re plenty of divers in the market today, and practically anybody who is anybody in the industry has made or are still making dive watches. And with such a mass of watchmakers making them, there’re bound to be a few icons. Watches like the Rolex Submariner, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and the Omega Seamaster PLOPROF are great examples of iconic divers. But let’s not forget that Seiko has no shortage of icons. In fact, some of their most iconic watches are dive watches.

 

 

The watch that has to be one of their most recognizable and versatile is undoubtedly the Seiko Turtle. First debuted as the 6105 in the mid-1960s, the Turtle had a unique case design which flared along the sides as crown guards and short lugs allowed for an improved ease of wear. It’s a design that has garnered a cult following and one that is still as distinct yet timeless today, as it was 50 years ago. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best Seiko Turtles that money can buy.

 

SEIKO PROSPEX AUTOMATIC SRPC41K1 MEN'S BLUE RUBBER STRAP WATCH

 

 

 We’re starting off, rather appropriately, with the smallest of the bunch: the Baby Turtle. As we mentioned previously, it is the shape and iconic case design of this timepiece that makes it so wearable, with entry level Seiko Turtles coming in 2 sizes—the Baby Turtle (42mm) and Big/King Turtle (45mm). The one we’re looking at now is one of my personal favourites, the Baby Turtle.

This comes with the ever-popular and timeless Pepsi colourway and features a lovely subtle wave patterned dial that gives the otherwise spartan, no-nonsense tool watch a bit more flair which I’m sure every one of us can appreciate.

And as it always is with Seiko—and I cannot say it enough—though on paper it may sound like there’s a lot going on with the watch, the execution of those ideas is spot on. The case is neatly brushed and sized, the dial despite the pattern is beautifully finished and highly legible and the overall watch is just a really nice and well thought-out timepiece that any enthusiast can be happy to own.

 

Key Features

  • A timeless utilitarian tool watch design at an affordable price
  • LumiBrite offers a strong glow 
  • Highly precise 3 hander for impeccable timekeeping
  • Protected by immensely durable mineral crystal glass
  • Caliber Number - 4R35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SRPE39K1 MEN'S WATCH

 

 The next watch in our entry is certainly one of the larger ones we’re looking at, coming in at 45mm in diameter. It certainly has a strong wrist presence, though thanks to its proportions and case design, is still a very wearable piece.

With 200m water resistance, a striking blue dial and highly legible hands, indices and bezel, the is no slouch as a diver’s watch. Though being a part of the Prospex line pretty much guarantees the watch’s pedigree and performance as a proper professional tool watch, it’s really the look of this watch that we’re really looking for here. Its ever-recognizable Turtle case makes it that much more wearable despite its relatively large 45mm diameter, thanks to a shorter lug-to-lug length.

The SRPE39K1 also adds a gorgeously subtle wave-patterned sunburst blue dial where you won’t have to look closely to notice the silhouettes of Manta rays decorated on the dial. It’s a beautiful watch that keeps nicely to its namesake. Like other Save the Ocean lines, Seiko have used the dials of their divers to reflect elements of the ocean and their execution is truly sublime. On paper, it might sound like there’s quite a lot going on with this watch, but in person, it’s a different story.

The laser-etched wave patterning on the sunburst blue dial is certainly the star of the show and the little Easter eggs such as the Manta rays blend nicely with the dial and are almost unnoticeable at first glance. It’s the little details like these that really complete the overall look and make it such a handsome stand-out piece.

 

Key Features

  • A timeless utilitarian tool watch design at an affordable price
  • LumiBrite offers a strong glow 
  • Highly precise 3 hander for impeccable timekeeping
  • Protected by immensely durable mineral crystal glass
  • Caliber Number - 4R36
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic

 

SEIKO PROSPEX SPB153J1 MEN'S WATCH

 

One of the finest releases from Seiko this year for the enthusiast is easily this one: the . It’s a lovely reissue of the 6105 Turtle, the first ever Turtle and one that would become an icon after finding itself strapped on the wrist of Captain Willard in the legendary 1979 movie Apocalypse Now.

Though we have the modern Seiko Turtles now, they’ve never truly given us the feel and design of the original, and though Seiko did reissue it in the form of the SLA033, it was incredibly expensive and a limited edition as well (spoiler alert, we’ll be taking a look at that one later). So, we now finally have an affordable and much more attainable version of the Captain Willard which fans have been waiting for and there’s no denying that it is a fantastic watch. Coming in at 42.7mm in diameter, and featuring that unique flared case/crown-guard design with a domed sapphire crystal to top it off, it’s a fantastic looking piece. Pair that gorgeous design with an in-house 6r35 caliber offering a neat 70 hours of power-reserve and you have one of the best modern dive watch money can buy today. There’re no shortages of icons in Seiko’s line-up: The 62MAS, the Marinemaster 300, the Tuna, The SKX and of course the Turtle. And now, being able to have such an iconic timepiece, that’s incredibly executed at such an affordable price really makes this quite possibly, the bargain of the year.

 

Key Features

  • A timeless utilitarian design with impeccable finishing
  • LumiBrite offers a strong glow 
  • Highly precise 3 hander for impeccable timekeeping
  • Protected by immensely durable sapphire crystal glass
  • Caliber Number - 6R35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic

 

Seiko 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation SLA033

 

Now, before we look at this fine re-creation, lets get something out of the way first. We do not carry this watch, unfortunately, and I’m quite certain that its already been sold out everywhere considering that it’s a limited-edition run of 2500 pieces. But we can’t have an article looking at watches from the Seiko Turtle line without talking about this, the SLA033.

As we mentioned previously, this is a re-issue of the original Seiko Turtle 6105, like the SPB153J1. It features a similar case and dial design, albeit a little larger at 45mm in diameter. Unlike the SPB153J1, which offered a great tool watch at an affordable price, the SLA033 is a luxury tool watch that doesn’t just break the budget of the affordable SPB153J1 so much as nuke it out of orbit.

 

 

It’s not as though Seiko merely took a Prospex diver, gave it an old school case and dial, slapped a massive price tag on it and expected it to sell like hell. They’re better than that. This may be a tool watch, but it is executed with a degree of fit and finish that far surpasses any of the entry level Seiko tool watches. And that isn’t downplaying the quality of those watches; it’s a testament to the quality of this one.

The case is beautifully brushed and where there are polished surfaces, they’re executed with the same Zaratsu technique as is shared with Grand Seiko watches. The hand, indexes and movement are from Grand Seiko too. The 8L35 is a true gem as well. It is essentially an undecorated version of a GS 9S55 automatic movement after all. What you’re getting with the SLA033 is a modern re-creation of a truly classic icon with the fit and finish of some of the finest watches to ever come out of Japan. Turning the otherwise utilitarian intent and feel of the original into one of luxury and performance that is easily capable of taking the same abuse and beatings of its predecessor.

 

Key Features

  • A timeless utilitarian design finished to an incredibly luxurious degree
  • LumiBrite offers a strong glow 
  • Highly precise 3 hander for impeccable timekeeping
  • Protected by immensely durable sapphire crystal glass
  • Caliber Number - 8L35
  • Movement Type - Japanese Automatic

 

A staple of any collection

 

It should come as no surprise that such an iconic watch has to be a staple in any collection. Whether you’re looking for an entry level daily beater or a true high-end luxury tool watch, there’s something for everybody in the Seiko Turtle line. And whether it was intended or not, Seiko has certainly made a mark not only in the history of dive watches, but watches as a whole with this truly distinct, and timeless icon.