Released in 2016, Seiko’s modern SRP Turtles made a big splash with their retro good looks, high quality feel and eminently reasonable pricing. Have the “new” Seiko Turtles held up? What does their past reveal about Seiko’s present and future? . . .
As the story goes, the SRP Turtles are modern examples of Seiko’s beloved 6306/9 cushion-cased dive watches from the 70’s and 80’s. External dimensions are extremely close to the vintage piece, measuring in at 44 mm in diameter and 14 mm thick.
The SRP 775 reviewed here has a black face accented with gold hands and indicators, and comes standard on one of Seiko’s excellent stainless steel bracelets. Numerous other colors and strap combinations are available.
For such a large watch, the SRP 775’s on-wrist comfort is outstanding. Credit the cushion case. The design may be retro but it works far beyond just style.
The Turtle sits square and flat on the table of the wrist. Once the bracelet is properly adjusted it just lives there and doesn’t become a flopping, shifting annoyance. Even better – the case’s curves are gentle and organic, never biting, digging in or leaving marks.
As you’d expect from a dive watch, the SRP 775’s legibility is outstanding. The dial is matte black with gilt details, right down to the bezels of the round Lumibrite-filled hour markers.
The syringe-and arrow-shaped handset is also filled with Lumibrite, and a pip is found on the bezel. Lume fans and murky water divers will be very happy with the Turtle. Fully charged it lights up your wrist like a full moon.
The gilt details found on our SRP 775 add a lot of interest over the more prosaic Turtles, both on and off the wrist. The added color makes leather or fabric straps pop if you tire of the bracelet. The gold also visually ties the Turtle back to the beloved Swiss dive watches from the 50’s and 60’s, many of which featured gilt details.
More than that, it just looks great. The sun catches the edges of the hands and markers and plays across the matte dial in very pleasing ways; in the right afternoon light the watch gives off a warm glow. I didn’t expect this in a tool watch, but I love it.
Inside that cushion case beats Seiko’s workhorse 4R36 automatic movement. Manufactured in-house in Japan by Seiko (of course), the movement both hacks and hand-winds when you activate the screw-down crown.
The Seiko Turtle also includes quick-set day and date windows; true Seiko nerds will seek out a JDM version with a Kanji day wheel. Seiko claims 40 hours of power reserve, and I’ve seen at least that when worn as part of a three watch rotation.
The rest of the SRP 775 is standard Seiko diver fare. The Seiko Turtle carries a unidirectional rotating bezel with tactile coin edging to assist turning it with wet hands. The crown, found at the 4 o’clock position, screws down. The case is water resistant to 200 meters and the watch is is fully ISO 6425 compliant. The H-link bracelet is stainless steel and carries an extension to help it slip over a wetsuit.
The Turtle’s bracelet deserves some extra attention. It fits tightly in the case, and the links have a tight and precise feel. The link edges are polished for comfort and smoothness, though not quite to the level of incredible bracelets found on the Grand Seiko watches we’ve reviewed.
The folding clasp feel sturdy without a hint of flex or play and includes a flip lock to ensure it’s secure. It’s a simple design but is executed with a level of both precision and care that is uncommon even at higher price points. Seiko cares about the details and it shows.
So what to make of the updated Seiko’s Turtle?
Seiko continues to push it’s Prospex line up market, further elevating the materials and finishing while mixing in details that used to be the sole domain of Grand Seiko.
Having been around for a while, these Turtles are a bit of a throwback delivering a tremendous amount of quality for an imminently reasonable MSRP. Given Seiko’s new strategy it’s plausible to see these affordable gems disappearing up the ladder someday.
I don’t see a day when anyone who appreciates a good watch won’t come to love the SRP 775 Turtle. Much like their forebears, it’s a true forever watch and is as good as it gets for $525.
Model: Seiko Prospex SRP775 (a.k.a., Seiko Turtle)
Case: Stainless steel, 45mm diameter x 13.3mm thick
Back: Engraved screw-in back
Crystal: Hardlex mineral
Band: Stainless steel bracelet, push-button deployant clasp. 22mm lug
Movement: Seiko 24-Jewel Automatic 4R36 (self-winding)
Water Resistant: 200 meters
Warranty: 2 Years
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
YASDW (Yet Another Stainless Dive Watch), but the throwback shape and gilt details elevate it over the competition.
Legibility * * * * *
Big markers, bigger lume – visible day, night and in the darkest of waters.
Comfort * * * *
A little big for smaller wrists, but shockingly comfortable with another outstanding Seiko bracelet.
Overall * * * * *
Everyone needs an iconic yet inexpensive Japanese dive watch, and you can’t go wrong with this one.