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Seiko Prospex ‘Dawn Grey’ Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

Just announced was the first-ever Seiko limited edition series that is truly exclusive for this magical place called Europe, comprising two watches: the Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” Turtle SRPD01K1 and Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” Samurai SRPD03K1.

Both Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” releases are limited to just 2,018 pieces because that’s the year – according to the Gregorian calendar – these nice watches make their debut. They are called “Dawn Grey” because they were, apparently, inspired by the colors of dawn over the sea. Us Europeans I’d go out on a limb and say do not generally associate the color grey with the open seas – unless you are somewhere from the Very North – but then again, a Seiko watch whose name made sense in any offspring of the Anglo-Saxon languages would be considered an instant collectible anyway.

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

The Samurai comes with slightly reduced functionality for a slightly reduced price, so let’s look at that first. The Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” Samurai SRPD03K1 is presented in a 43.8 by 13.4-millimeter stainless steel case with a 60-minute unidirectional timing bezel, a Hardlex crystal, screw-down crown, and 200-meter water resistance rating. Its 4R35 caliber offers a date window at 3, automatic winding, a rather measly 41 hours of power reserve matched to an equally meh-inducing 3Hz operating frequency. Specs-wise the SRPD03K1 is not bad, but it’s definitely not great either.

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

The case is matched to a triple-link stainless steel bracelet that sports a diving extension for those times when you perform saturation dives in a drawer of your office desk. Its dial has a hobnail pattern – not super nicely defined, but it’s there to create some decent contrast between the grey dial and the black outline of the hands and massive indices. A few drops of orange on the seconds hand and 3-6-9-12 markers on the flange ring match nicely with the orange in the bezel – a solid design choice. These little details keep the entire watch neatly together, bonding case and dial nicely for a more coherent look.

Price for the Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” Samurai SRPD03K1 is €470.

Seiko Prospex 'Dawn Grey' Turtle SRPD01K1 & Samurai SRPD03K1 Europe-Only Limited Editions – And A Rant Watch Releases

The Seiko Prospex “Dawn Grey” Turtle SRPD01K1 comes in the aptly named Turtle case, with its wide, flared lugs and case profile. In my experience, these are more comfortable than the Samurai, but then again, your preference may vary. The SRPD01K1 is 45mm wide and 13.42mm thick, crafted from stainless steel – with a high-quality touch of a polished edge and brushed top surfaces. The bezel differs from the one on the Samurai in its larger ridges and 0-20 orange segment as opposed to the cheaper models 0-15 scale and more intricate bezel profile.

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  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    I am a Seiko bore, but even so, what a cool colour set.

    I don’t buy multiple copies of watches, so the Turtle is out. But I have been looking to get the orange dial/ black bezel Samurai for ~£200/$250. But this Samaurai is so attractive, if I can find it for a reasonable amount after a little time, it’s a done deal.

    • Andy McClements

      I don’t think you will find one cheaper in the future considering only 2018 being available. I would expect them to rise in value just like the black series

  • Bon Vivant

    Thank you for that “in-depth” article about how much you hate Seiko’s marketing and product release etiquette. Would liked to have seen a shot of the case back, and some timing specs. What material is the bezel insert made of, and besides the diving extension are there any micro adjustments on the clasp(would have been nice to see a clasp shot as well)?

    • David Bredan

      I’d have loved all those things too, but stopped dreaming of Seiko ever including such details in their official image sets a long time ago. The fact that I had to check the Global, Japanese, German, Danish, Italian, British and American sites, press sites, do targeted Google searches and ultimately get these images from a distributor is pathetic. Imagine if you’d have to do the same every time a new Toyota or Nissan car was launched.

      • Buy and Sold

        That is an hilarious exchange. Thank you for the review.

        • David Bredan

          Thanks for your kind words. My pleasure – kind of.

    • Raymond Wilkie
      • David Bredan

        Thank you, Raymond. Who’d known that we’d be in for something as *exciting* as that… I do agree with Bon Vivant that these things should nevertheless be included in the press release (as opposed to having to hunt down unofficial shots from forums which we can’t feature as it’s a recipe for disaster – at some point one of these will be off, or wrong, and then all hell will break loose).

  • Ulysses31

    They’re very handsome watches. I like the way the bezel ring tapers inwards towards the back of the case on the more angular model, but I prefer the metallic graphite dial of the cushion-shaped one. Over the years i’ve learned to navigate the Japanese Seiko website, but nowadays they do everything they can to redirect you to the site local to your country, which inevitably misses out on showing you the truly interesting watches they create, regardless of whether or not you can purchase them in your country. It is possible to import these rare and interesting models, it’s just a shame they make it so hard to find out about them.

  • Ugo

    i would have bought the turtle right away if only it was 3 mm smaller…

  • Garrett Hu

    May be a cultural difference with the Japanese, the best way not to leak any release early is to not tell anyone about it including press. They ship when they can and they post an announcement when they are ready and want to. This way if anything happens to the supply chain or they run into any other issues or delays they can just pull it and none will be the wiser. I also don’t think Seiko is worried about not capturing enough sales at launch as they sell every limited production in record time including Prospex models at $5000+ a pop. While it would be nice for them to share releases so that you’re not scrambling trying to write an article on the day it launches, it’s Seiko! What can you do?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Thank you Seiko. I feel so blessed.

  • SuperStrapper

    I think suggesting that one of the most prolific and “complete” watch brands in the history of watchmaking lives in incompetence is a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly.
    Neither watch is for me.

    • Travis Cannata

      Eh, it’s pulling teeth getting Seiko to give you any information. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to cover something, don’t have any material on it, and you can’t contact anyone who can provide you anything. When I was looking for info on the SRPB51, I was amazed at the lack press info that was directly accessible – and simple information.

      I think their marketing and press departments have much to be desired.

    • Independent_George

      Way back in the day, in the late 1990’s, I was the Managing Editor of Motorcycle Online, now Like ABTW, we had to deal with Japanese OEMs and their North American affiliates. Like ABTW, we praised the North American distributors while complaining endlessly about the lack of communication from Japan. “Why do we need to read about the new R1 in the UK rags? Don’t you understand that we are online, and that 20% of our daily readership are not Americans? Why is Motorcycle A being released as an EU-only model when I have 50 emails from our readership complaining that it’s not available in the US? Why won’t anyone from Global return our emails?” And crickets from Japan, while the North American reps bought us lunch and tried to soothe our aching butts.

      One day, the head of Honda N.A. Press Relations, out-of the-blue, called me too apologize about another bike being released as an EU and our humble little e-rag not getting any advance knowledge. I was used to it, besides, we had a very well connected source in Israel, of all places, who got early scoops and we generally beat the print rags with coverage by weeks, if not months. We got to talking and he explained to me that in his opinion, the Japanese don’t always communicate across regions because they tend to prioritize “harmony” as a business virtue. “Huh?”, I said. “Wouldn’t it be more harmonious if all regions got the same news at the same time?” Honda-Guy said not exactly. In his opinion, the Japanese don’t want North Americans to get all hot and bothered about a motorcycle that will not he sold on their shores. It would not be harmonious to get consumers excited about something they will not be able to buy.

      Then we discussed the North American market, and how conservative it is. Honda-Guy said that in the States, their research showed that America was an “enthusiasts” market. Enthusiasts drove coverage, but they did did not drive the purchasing. Enthusiasts demand the latest and newest designs, but the general consumer buys the less-expensive, lower-margin tried and true items and what they see everyday. In the late 1990’s, early 2000’s, for motorcycles that meant that the un-faired “standard” 500-750cc sport bikes went to Europe. Yes, Americans got the same, higher-margin high-end sports bikes, but instead the fast and fun Standard but lower margin standards, Americans got stuck with the higher margin, slow and crappy cruisers.

      I think something similar is happening here. If they don’t intend to sell these watches here, why announce this to a primarily American website? And if ABTW commenters and Watch Enthusiasts say they would purchase these watches, research and experience says the general American consumer will not.

      • David Bredan

        Only about a 1/3rd of our audience is in the US – we have told this to every single major brand so many times already I couldn’t even tell you an exact number of occasions. But even if, say, 85% of our readers were from the US (which they aren’t), wouldn’t it still be a worthwhile shot to address those remaining 15%? What PR value there is in *not* addressing any small or large chunk of your brand’s audience I’ll be damned if I ever understand.

        The fact that one of the, as @SuperStrapper:disqus sees it, “most prolific and complete,” globally distributed, historical companies in any given industry cannot manage to upload 8 original format images and a PDF to a single global press site is incredible first and incredibly frustrating in the long run. I shouldn’t have to do what I highlighted in the article and in a comment below to be able to cover the latest prolific and complete exercise from a global company – and this, I reckon, especially shouldn’t be the code of conduct for such a company.

        It’s incredibly disrespectful and neglectful not towards the media, but towards the fans of the brand. We have plenty of stuff to write about, but we do go the extra mile to give Seiko its coverage not because Seiko Global does much at all to earn it, but because our audience does – who comes to us to learn about the latest Seiko products and company news. Well, their long-term, ongoing approach to product launches was company news.

        Also, we are in 2018 now, not the 1990s, intercontinental travel is much cheaper and common, tourist spending is through the roof and so the buying and selling of affordable items online has made someone the richest person on Earth. Such extremely limited thinking when it comes to the distribution of information for such easily affordable products (not just this release but Seikos in general) is a position I see as impossible to defend – especially when the proper distribution of said information would practically be free.

        • Independent_George

          My prediction is that once Grand Seiko North America gets off the ground, you will get terrific response time, from Grand Seiko. It’s an independently traded company with a decent amount of autonomy and they need good press relations because they want to increase market share in the high margin luxury 5000USD market. The luxury consumer demands information.

          What are Casio and Citizen like? If they are more professional and responsive than its a Seiko thing. But Seiko is a unique company, selling everything from Sub 200USD mechanicals the 50,000 dollars noble metal releases. Seiko has competitors, but no real competition. They be who they be .

    • David Bredan

      I think I’ve made it clear enough (many-many times) above that I was referring to their PR, or complete lack thereof. Not the “completion” of the company as a manufacture or its technical achievements.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Very nice, looks a little bit like the Zimbe Thailand that came out recently. As I already own a Turtle I would rather co for the Zimbe due to the sapphire crystal and the, in my opinion, nicer grey.

  • No Ceramic?, No Thank you.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    I am waiting for the Cocktail Time diver……pass.

  • Both are attractive watches, but the Samurai SRPD03K1 would be my preference (based on looks, I’ll take David’s word for it that the Turtle is more comfortable).

    But… (always a but or two), the hands are too short – is this Seiko diver “design language” – perpetually short hands on dive watches? The mediocre movement is in line with the price, so I won’t complain about that. And a Hardlex crystal doesn’t do it for me. I’ve heard too many stories from people (here in the comments sections on ABTW) about the relative ease of scratching Hardlex compared to sapphire. And as RobWatches pointed out, no ceramic bezel is another show stopper. Too bad that between the crystal and bezel these beauties will only remain pristine with great care – not the right plan for a couple of tool watches. Up the price 50 euros for better materials and longer hands and these would clearly be winners.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Zimbe Turtle has sapphire. I own a turtle and the bezel is unscratched because it’s covered with titancarbid. The glass is unscratched as well, the most annoying thing for me is the superreflective glass. Besides that it is the best watch I’ve ever owned, in particular the bracelet is excellent. I’ve got it regulated to almost COSC specs and soon I’ll replace the bezel inlay by a ceramic one and the glass by a double AR coated sapphire. Easily available for little money. Some Diashield coating would be nice as well, but considering the price it is a more than decent offer. Like the Toyota Supra a Turtle or Samurai is simply a superb base for some bricolage. You could even put the 6r35 movement in it, which has a better hair- and mainspring. But you have to replace the crown.

      • commentator bob

        Honestly I would leave the bezel, ceramic is overplayed. But scratched crystals do not add character. The sapphire upgrade is worth it and Seiko really needs to consider making sapphire standard across the board, at least above the Seiko5 level.

        I used to believe the hype around hardlex, but my SKX007J just scratched from something minor.

        • Bert Kanne

          The lack of sapphire crystals in popular priced Seiko’s is inexcusable. There are many other quality dive watches that cost less that use sapphire crystals. Wake up Seiko!

          • Colorblind

            Firstly, nothing really wrong with Hardlex. Secondly, Seiko has spoiled a lot of watch enthusiasts by providing hardlex in their relatively cheaper watches; Now we regard hardlex as cheap crystal.
            Yes, for the specs, this watch is overpriced, but blame that on demand!

  • aWtchslvr

    I obviously like this blog. I read it and even write comments on it as I do in other blogs. Anyway no blog, no picture, no video, should never replace the only way to know if a watch is for you: on your wrist.

  • LapYoda

    Wow David, not pulling any punches in criticizing Seiko’s marketing! You would think a company that can get it so right with many of their higher end watches wouldn’t have such shoddy marketing. I’m just waiting for the inevitable complaints about misaligned chapter rings and bezels once these are on customers’ wrists. I guess even as amazing a company as Seiko is, they still employ humans of varying competence.

  • David Bredan

    As you said, we might just be looking at it from a different perspective. Having spent on and off a total of 3 weeks researching Seiko Spring Drive (just my favorite example, this one), I’ve journeyed deep into Seiko Corporate sites and have even found relevant information from Epson on Seiko’s Spring Drive that was not available anywhere else, not even if I did a reverse search now in possession of the information. I maintain that it’s complete and utter incompetence on their part at an organizational level where no one is responsible/trusted with distributing basic product information (let alone extra requests). I have been accepting of their approach until yesterday when I had the chance to look back at the last 6 years that I’ve been around these parts and discover this dreadful ongoing pattern in Seiko’s communication – again, with great kudos going to their US team who is trying their best.

    • SuperStrapper

      Along the way did you ever come across anything related to s-yard? It’s another seiko (the only sporting equipment aside from watches that I know of for them, although I could be wrong?) company and over here in north America it’s impossible to research. It’s all JDM so I can’t get my hands on it aside from buying it and owning it without seeing, and it’s all really expensive.

      • David Bredan

        Yes, I did. I did a bit of research years ago out of curiosity but all I recall is that S-Yard is indeed a high-end (?) golf club manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Seiko Corp. I think I saw some in a window of a sports store in Hong Kong — but since it’s good stuff, *of course* it’s JDM 🙂 Maybe they’ll launch it some time like they did with Grand Seiko.

        • SuperStrapper

          I’m a mizuno fanboy, so no stranger to high end Japanese golf gear. The s-yard stuff has always been a curiosity because I’ve never seen it and the prices are just so outrageous.
          Anyway, was just curious. Appreciate the response.

  • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

    Make mine fütyül?s barack pálinka !

    • Sheez Gagoo

      Excellent choice!

    • David Bredan

      Barack pálinka is fantastic (for infrequent consumption, but also mild destruction purposes, like getting paint of the wall – we actually call good pálinka “fence-ripping”). That said, I recommend you stay away from Fütyül?s – it’s a copy and is not proper pálinka, so much so that they are no longer allowed to label their product as pálinka! Only those spirits produced with the original method can be called pálinka.

      • Playboy Johnny – Team Mariu$

        Thanks, I will look for that. : )

  • “…so low in quality and resolution that poor Van Gogh high on 19th-century medication could do them more justice than these pathetic files.”

    David, do yourself a favour and take a quick trip to Amsterdam to the Van Gogh museum. It will prevent you from saying things like the above in the future.

    • David Bredan

      Granted, far as “emotional descriptive accuracy”, few come close to the best impressionist — I just didn’t think I’d have to add this amendment to the bit you quoted. I appreciate you speaking up for the poor Van Gogh; though I’d kindly request that not everything said on these pages be spun towards the worst possible interpretation, even if not all statements are followed by apologetic amendments.

      • Van Gogh was a genius, obsessive over each brushstroke, a man who painted his autoportrait over and over and over again in his obsessive search for a perfection he never saw in his work. Maybe you should also read his published letters to his brother.

        I do appreciate apologetic amendments.

        And yes, I do agree 100% with your rant on Seiko. Well 99.9%.

        • David Bredan

          Thank you, Bogdan. I am not oblivious to Van Gogh’s life and work, mostly thanks to having had the chance to see a select few of his works in person and watched a few stellar documentaries. That said, I doubt we’d perform well as an educational and informative site if our images had an impressionist look to them – that was the point of my joke. Speaking of which, I recently watched the documentary titled Tim’s Vermeer – I think you’d love it and I’d would highly recommend watching it, if you haven’t come across it already.

          • Actually some of the watches would look much better with blurry, morning sun-in-the-mist effects applied. Would not affect their legibility in any way 🙂

  • Omegaboy

    The one thing they did right is not putting frames around the date windows. Finally! The frames have bugged me for years. So nice to not see them.

  • David Bredan

    Glad you enjoyed, Steve! That may indeed be the case regarding the strap.

  • Pabloinsf

    Yikes! David, I feel and understand your frustrations about Seiko’s marketing but I think you have taken Seiko’s PR (or lack thereof) a little too personally. Ok, a lot too personally. I get that your mission is to inform your audience and you do so very well. But some of your over the top sarcastic comments about the brand, their marketing and methods of product distribution spew vitriol rather inform. There are hundreds of brands out there. I would prefer to read your reviews about those brands that are accessible and disseminate information via proper press channels. That way you can present yourself as a dignified reporter and not as a little girl who didn’t get the pony for her birthday. I value your insights and analysis of products to which you have reliable, well distributed product data and images but for heavens sake for the price points of approximately USD500 imho you appear to be a little off your mission. That being said, if Seiko (or any other brand) plays “hard to get” I for one will move on and look for something else because there is sooo much more out there. Just my opinion, worth what you paid for it!

    • David Bredan

      LOL at the pony remark. This isn’t a USD500 affair, it’s a product launch with a gross revenue of just over €2mn when all sold out – and it’s aimed precisely at our audience (regular Seiko buyers won’t be going nuts over any limited edition other than the off chance of it being a model that happens to appeal to them). I think there is a stark contrast between a €2,018,000 product launch and systematically not informing the public about it – in other words, I don’t think I was asking too much when I didn’t want to have to check the Global, Japanese, German, Danish, Italian, British and American official Seiko sites, press sites, do targeted Google searches and ultimately get lucky by receiving basic files from a distributor/retailer. The more I think about it the less I understand how this could be the fundamental way of operation at any global company in any industry.
      In my experience, the way things work these days is that you say something once, quietly. Some brands listen and that’s great. If not, then you say it again, quietly. And again and again and again. Some are overwhelmed with work and are understaffed but appreciate the feedback – many of them are super welcoming to the input once it makes it in front of someone in an overloaded inbox. If not, then you start saying it more loudly and yet more frequently. Then you say it openly and quietly. The thing is that you joined in at the last step of the process, when it’s shared in an explicit, but fair way – but it has actually been a process, without a flying rats arse given by Seiko corporate over *years*. I did however give credit where it was due, i.e. to the US team and also to the distributor who helped out, so I firmly believe I kept this fair – but that’s easy to disregard that if the critical part is all you want to take away from this.

      Frankly, I was speaking on behalf of you (or if not you, then other Seiko fans), who would have been missing out on an innumerable amount of product launches (and have nevertheless learned too late or not at all of some products, despite our best efforts). I was on your behalf here, not mine, because you are right, I can indeed write about whatever I want. But it feels good to cover watches people actually want to learn more about – which is why this, and basically every other Seiko article (over 270 at this point) are on this site. Because we see and know that people look for these and appreciate the coverage. It would just be nice to be able to get a bit of support from Seiko HQ sometimes, as they’ve been so far out of touch with PR on a global scale. I love the brand, love the watches and love those people I get to meet at BaselWorld and elsewhere every once in a while – but Seiko is not a micro-brand – although many of those has them licked in marketing.

      Thank you Pablo for sharing, this is a good discussion.

  • I enjoyed reading your “rant” David. But for those of us in the U.S. you should have included a map of “Europe.” Is that like where Paris is?

    • Reprobus Marmaritarum

      You may recognise it if it’s pronounced aloud as “Yurp”.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks for the good laugh. It’s a little known fact but it’s actually Europe that’s in Paris, not the other way around!

  • Nello Alexandri

    Nice rant David. Really. I think Seiko/epson just does not care about the press. They live in their own little bubble.
    The Samurai looks badass. As others have said, sapphire crystal and a 6r15 would make it a contender for me. Even adding another 100€ to the price.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks Nello. It’s not the press they don’t care about (I mean sure, that’s part of it), but about getting the word out to as many friends of the brand as possible. Of course, they need not care about it if their distributors and I do the work for them.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    There’s a Seiko boutique in Budapest?

    • David Bredan


  • Nic

    Very entertaining write up, David! (Please ignore the detractors: these days, it’s fashionable to be offended by just about everything…)

    • David Bredan

      Thank you, Nic, you got it!

  • otaking241

    I have to imagine that the marketing budget for a watch at this price point is much less than whatever Breitling is pushing, though granted it should probably cover sending an email with some press shots.

    • David Bredan

      Both good points, thanks for sharing. These watches, when all sold, will create a gross revenue of just over $2mn. Granted, that includes VAT, cost of production and so on – but it’s still $2mn. I agree that for that sort of sum, and even more so as a courtesy towards (ultimately) the fans of the brand, a few high-quality pictures on the internet shouldn’t be a stretch.

  • David Bredan

    Thank you for that.

  • David Bredan

    So are you suggesting I see if I can bribe them with palinka? It’s like a sake, just more fruity! …Damn that Turtle looks good though! Thanks for sharing, Santiago!

    • Sheez Gagoo

      I used to work in a watchcompany with a lot of Hungarian and Exyougoslavian workers. They bribed me all the time with palinka and schligowitz for batterychanges. So, I guess, it will work.

    • The man standing behind you

      Funny that i bought 3 lires of Palinka today “and” i have a boxed SRPB51K sitting here on my desk waiting to be opened on my birthday on the 4th of January YAYYYYY!!!!!

  • Aditya

    Certina, Oris, CW, Halios are a few that spring to mind. Note that I own a MM300, a SARK003, and a blue enamel Seiko, so I’m hardly the sort of pressing that mindlessly rails on Seiko.

  • Easy Quindo

    Bless you Seiko for your terrible marketing and abysmal watch availability. I can see how it would drive a watch blogger insane, but doesn’t that just keep the prices low (or ridiculously high), and make collecting them that much more fun and insane? (Also, it produces wonderfully entertaining rants from David!)

    Also, I obsessed over these samurai’s, turtles, and other prospex watches for so long. Finally I am over it, and they introduce maybe the nicest color scheme yet as a limited edition which will be next to impossible to get in Canada? Curse you Seiko!

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