A few weeks back, Seiko launched the limited edition “Black Series’” Turtle (ref. SRPC49 ), a release accompanied by two other watches in the series: the Prospex Solar Diver (ref. SNE493) and the Prospex Solar Diver Chronograph (ref. SSC673). These three are currently available for pre-order. Following hot on the heels of that release is the “Goldtone” Turtle (ref. SRPC44), a watch that is just as bold (if not more so) and one that is in stores today.Let’s start by looking at the “Black Series,” which Seiko says is inspired by the world of night diving. The defining characteristic of this iteration of the popular automatic Seiko diver is the “hard black” coating given to the Turtle case, bezel and crown. It may not be the most necessary or expected update, and the shape of the case—which is so crucial to the overall appearance—is slightly less pronounced when PVD or DLC coated, but it really adds an extra dimension to create a great watch in its own way. To contrast against this sea of black is a strong burst of color from the large orange minute hand, which offers great legibility. The large lumed indices are filled with Seiko’s LumiBrite in a paler orange tone—tying in nicely to the minute hand without drawing too much attention away or becoming garish.
As with the other recent Turtle reissues, the movement inside is Seiko’s 4r36 caliber that beats at 21,600 bph and has a power reserve of 41 hours. The day/date is displayed at three o’clock. The Turtle’s case diameter in excess of 44mm does put it slightly on the larger side, though due to the cushion case shape and the reasonable lug-to-lug distance (48mm) the Turtle has gained many fans for whom such a diameter is normally well outside the sweet spot.
The Black Series Turtle also offers a unidirectional bezel, screw down crown and 200m of water resistance. It comes shipped on a black silicone strap that matches the stealthy case finish well and means the watch is perfectly ready for water. The normally black bezel of the Turtle is given a grey finish for the 0-20 minute markings, adding a nice relief from the mass of black.
PVD or DLC finishes aren’t universally loved by everyone and only time will tell how the black coating will hold up over years of use and abuse, but coupled with the orange accents it certainly makes for a visually appealing update to the Turtle.
The watch is currently available for pre-order through select retailers and is due to be delivered in March 2018. The expected price is 495 EUR (this is not a US release). Details of the number of watches being produced in this limited run is also not yet known.
On to the new “Goldtone” Turtle. Here the Turtle gets another bold facelift only this time it’s in a completely different direction. The case, along with crown and bezel, get a gold coating resulting in a high contrast against the black dial (which reads more like sunburst charcoal) and insert. Additionally, the hands and hour indices are also framed with the same gold—effectively taking the gilt accents of the existing SRP775 and pushing them to the next level.
For the last year or two there has been growing talk of gold making a comeback in men’s watches, and Seiko certainly look to be on board with that. There’s no denying that the contrast of gold against black is a classic one, and that look is again enhanced by the black silicone supplied with the watch. Again, exact details of the coating and thickness aren’t yet known so it’s unclear how well the watch will age, but you’re definitely getting a striking look right out the box.
The specs for the SRPC44 are the same as the above, namely a 44.5mm case, 200m of water resistance with a screw down crown, Hardlex crystal and the 4r36 movement inside. The “Goldtone” Turtle is available to purchase now for $525 at retail.
If the coating and striking look of the “Black Series” is a little hard to swallow for Seiko purists, then then the Goldtone is likely to provoke even more of a reaction. It is now two years since the well-received return of the Turtle to Seiko’s line up. These new additions show that Seiko think there is still plenty more to offer. Seiko