Footprints on a Frozen Plain

Seiko has been known to make some of the finest dive watches around since 1965, and with a vast array of iconic designs available, there’s no denying that the brand has made a massive impact in the market. From affordable daily beaters, to high-end high-performance luxury divers, Seiko has them all. The brand is also committed to protecting the environment where these watches are meant to be used in: The oceans. With its line of ‘Save The Ocean’ special editions since the first partnership with Jacques Yves Cousteau’s grandson back in 2018, Seiko has been offering rather pretty and cool variations for their Prospex divers. Proceeds earned from the sales of these Save the Ocean watches are donated to sea conservation and environmental organizations.

Following several series of watches already made under the Save the Ocean line, each with differing variations, Seiko has now launched a pair of new watches under this special edition focused on the icy cold waters of Antarctica. Their choices of watches to represent this line, the iconic and left field Monster and Baby Tuna. All previous models were, as their name implies focused on the oceans in design with their patterned and coloured dials, whether its in wave patterns or featuring the creatures that inhabits the deep (great white sharks and manta rays). The Save the Ocean Antarctica plays on a very different theme from the previous line ups, focusing on ‘Icy-waters’ with a stunning icy-blue gradient dial.

Seiko SRPG59K1 Tuna

The first of the lot will be the SRPG59K1 Baby Tuna, this design is the direct descendent of one of Seiko’s most iconic and recognizable models; The 1975 6159-7010. With its heavily protected case made for use in both the roughest depths, and the professional environment too. With the titanium shroud protecting the case, the watch quickly earned the moniker ‘Tuna can’. The one we have today is much more simplified and wearable, while still retaining the design hallmarks of its bigger brothers.

The Baby Tuna is the watch that will certainly bring the smile back for the purists who love the iconic design of the watch, and its heritage too. The watch is powered by Seiko’s workhorse 4r36 in-house caliber featuring a useful day-date display, 41 hours of power reserve and a modest 21,600vph (3Hz) frequency.

It comes in a very reasonable 43.2mm case with a sleek brushed silver finishing all around. Clean is what we would use to describe the case of this (and the SRPG57K1 too) and paired with the gorgeous icy-blue gradient dial, the Tuna is as icy cool in its appearance as the environment it represents. A neat detail on the dial (as is often the case with Seiko watches) are the penguin footprints along the left half of the dial. A subtle yet strong reminder of the dwindling population in the Antarctic. While the overall colour theme of the watch is bright, legibility is still not an issue thanks to the nicely contrasting white coloured markers, that are also generously applied with lume. Despite the pretty face, the watch is, of course, still a viable companion to take along to a dive. If you’re a fan of the iconic Tuna can design and are looking for something a wee bit smaller (relatively speaking) and special, then you’d be hard pressed to find a better alternative than the SRPG59K1.

 

Seiko SRPG57K1 Monster

The second of the lot is the Seiko SRPG57K1 Save the Ocean Monster, part of Seiko’s 4th generation line of Monsters and my personal favourite design of the Prospex diver line-up.

Coming from personal experience from owning the classic SRPD27K1 4th generation Monster, I think it’s safe for me to say that this design is one of the best and unique affordable dive watches that you can get today. For those of you unfamiliar with the community’s rather unconventional nicknames for Seiko’s watches, the ‘Monster’ was aptly named due to well, it’s relatively monstrous-looking appearance.

 

Though with this modern iteration it’s a much tamer and more restrained brute compared to its predecessors. The SRPG57K1 features that same stunning icy-blue dial as the Tuna housed in a cool brushed and polished silvered case and bracelet. The bezel is a cool affair too, it’s a concaved bezel, that slopes inwards giving the watch a bit more depth when you look at it. The case design is much more complex too, as compared to the tuna, with ridges along the flanks to match the notches on the bezels, along with the case shrouds too, from 10.30-1.30 and 3.30-7.30. The case comes in at a reasonable 42.4mm with a lug to lug of 49.4mm, wearing just a bit larger than the Tuna, but still fits comfortably thanks to the nuanced case and lugs. Power comes from the trialed and tested 4r36, similar to the Tuna with 41 hours of power reserve, hand winding and of course the day-date display.

On paper, it does sound like there’s quite a lot going on with this watch, but in person, it’s a totally different story. The patterned icy blue dial along with the penguin footprints is certainly the star of the show. Paired with the classic 4th generation Monster handset and markers, both generously coated in lume of course, makes the SRPG57K1 a brute with a pretty face.

 

Stunning additions to a meaningful cause

If you’re a fan of the Save the Ocean line, or of the Tuna and Monster, the SRPG57K1 and SRPG59K1 offers you a rather cool alternative from the usual bunch. They’re both proper performance divers (with threaded crowns and 200m of water resistance of course), they’re built like tanks, and will be as reliable as one, and with that stunning dial, and case designs, this pair of divers, are easily some of the prettiest affordable dive watches you can find today.