Not many brands out there can claim to have watches so iconic that they are actually known by their monikers. Rolex and Omega would be the first two to come to mind with ‘Paul Newman’ ‘Hulk’ ‘Speedy’ ‘Deep Blue’.
But another brand offering watches on a much more accessible price range is pretty much on par with these industry giants too; Seiko. Many of their watches over the years have been dubbed with some rather funky and sometimes endearing nicknames such as the Turtle, Tuna, Monster or the 62MAS. Another one that is more modern would be the Samurai, a sporty dive watch with a unique squarish cushion shaped case and a handset similar to the swords of a Samurai.
The original Samurai was released in 2004, featuring 200m of water resistance, in a stout and sturdy case with no vintage design inspirations whatsoever but still distinctly Seiko. And now, after an absence of 10 years, the Samurai is back in the form of the , a rather exclusive edition made in Japan that is, thankfully for all of us, not a limited edition. Without further ado, let’s find out what’s what with the modern Samurai.
Right off the bat, the modern Samurai features rather different hand sets from the original model, keeping the sword like minute hand but opting for an arrow shaped hour hand instead of a – for the lack of a better term – short sword-like hour hand. Which actually really makes more sense given its nickname, as Samurais of the past were most proficient with horseback archery rather than being full-on swordsmen like we’re used to seeing.
So, the hand set is properly representative of its nickname, more so than the original in my opinion and it still features that unique and distinctive square case. And as any true diver should, its bezel is uni-directional with sharp clicks and a 15-minute scale in a different colour from the rest of the bezel.
The dial too is lovely, with bold applied indexes sitting atop a textured Clou de Paris finished deep blue dial, offering a much more refined touch to an otherwise utilitarian instrument. With the hands all looking distinctly different from one another now, there’s no confusing the minute hand with the hour hand as was possible with the original from 2004.
I do like the arrow shaped hour hand, offering an incredibly unique look and personality aside the sword shaped minute hand and the seconds hand as well. With the furthest half finished in red and an arrow indicator running through the middle. Visually, the Samurai offers all the drama that the original one did and all the performance as well, albeit with more updated and modern touches to make it that much better and usable too.
The movement has been updated as well, powered by the ever-reliable and capable 4r35 offering hacking, hand winding and a nifty date indicator as well, with 41 hours of power-reserve too. At 43.8mm its presence is certainly noticeable on the wrist but thanks to a relatively short lug-to-lug, it wears incredibly comfortably, more so than you’d expect from a watch of this stature.
The SRPB49J1 is certainly a worthy successor of the original, taking everything that made the original so beloved, improving and modernizing on what they could while retaining the base features of what made it great in the first place. Being part of a very rare and desirable line of made-in-Japan series exclusives makes this already very sweet deal, that much sweeter.
- High polished and brushed stainless-steel case and bracelet
- Modern and distinctive sporty design
- Eye-catching blue Clous de Paris patterned dial
- Extremely durable mineral crystal
- Dependable and rugged automatic caliber