Seiko Prospex ‘Orange Samurai’ SRPB97 Watch

Seiko Prospex ‘Orange Samurai’ SRPB97 Watch

Seiko Prospex 'Orange Samurai' SRPB97 Watch Watch Releases

Today, Seiko has released the Prospex "Orange Samurai" SRPB97 watch for the USA market, and for now as an Amazon.com pre-order exclusive. Seiko has not held back on rereleases capitalizing on the cult status of certain watches including vintage pieces but also even very recent models - such as the very recent Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 GMT Limited Edition SBGJ227. The original diver's watch that was apparently nicknamed by the public as the "Samurai" was released only in 2005 and included an orange dial version, the SBDA005. This new Seiko Prospex "Orange Samurai" SRPB97 recalls that model with the orange dial, but with updates and changes reflecting the current "Samurai" collection of dive watches marked by their angular case design.

Seiko has had a number of orange dial watches get kind of "famous" among watch enthusiast communities, not least the "Orange Monster" SKX781 - which came back in 2012 as the SRP309 along with other color versions such as the Seiko SRP313K1 reviewed here. It was Doxa, however, who started the trend back in the 1960s with something like this recently also rereleased DOXA SUB 300 Black Lung. These orange dials are eye-catching and make for a bold dive watch with personality, of course, but it has also been claimed that the color is more legible underwater. Water affects colors of the light spectrum, with red disappearing first and yellow remaining visible deeper. So orange being a mixture of red and yellow is not necessarily the "most legible" but the bright, near-florescent colors often found on watch dials are going to be easy to see in most conditions, to say the least. In the end, contrast will be more important than color for legibility, and seiko dive watches, always amply lumed, do well in that regard.

Seiko Prospex 'Orange Samurai' SRPB97 Watch Watch Releases

As noted, the orange dial seems to reference the original release, but the rest of the specs and design are in line with current Seiko "Samurai" collection watches. For all about the samurai in general, see our review of the Seiko Prospex "Blue Lagoon Samurai" SRPB09 here. Most notably, the hands and markers are different from the 2005 model, but the angular case and distinctive bezel are pretty close to the original. Another major difference is that these are larger at 44mm wide and 12.8mm thick in steel - while the original models were 42mm wide in titanium. The current Samurai watches have 200m water-resistance, a hardlex crystal up front and solid caseback with the Seiko 4R35 automatic movement inside that operates at 3Hz with a 41-hour power reserve.

Seiko Prospex 'Orange Samurai' SRPB97 Watch Watch Releases

The Samurai was discontinued in 2008, and Seiko themselves sometimes seem surprised by the popularity and cult status of their own watches that they had mostly designed as pragmatic, affordable products. With droves of passionate collectors chatting on the internet, however, Seiko has slowly woken up and achieved a kind of self-awareness, and the past year or so has seen more nostalgic rereleases than ever as well as more watches meant to compete with Switzerland. There are surely benefits that go along with this, such as listening more to their fans, wider availability, broader recognition of the brand's qualities, and even more variety (as if Seiko ever lacked that) including premium options and features. Watches like the the Seiko Prospex "Orange Samurai" SRPB97 and many in the Prospex collection in general, in my opinion, stay true to Seiko's spirit of well-built watches and value proposition.

Seiko Prospex 'Orange Samurai' SRPB97 Watch Watch Releases

Seiko does a lot of regional limited editions and special releases, often even with more premium features or funky colors, such as this Marinemaster 300M SLA015 Limited Edition that was sold only in Germany. Unfortunately for everyone else who is into the Orange Samurai, this particular special edition is intended for the US. The Prospex (professional + specifications) line seems to be the home for a lot of these special releases and exists as Seiko's lower mid-range offering more refined and durable sport watches for good values - ostensibly intended for "professional" use but probably destined for the wrists of collectors in many instances.

Seiko Prospex 'Orange Samurai' SRPB97 Watch Watch Releases

Again, the Seiko Prospex "Orange Samurai" SRPB97 is available first for pre-order on Amazon.com and later at authorized Seiko dealers in the United States in 2018. The online purchases through Amazon will come on a steel bracelet with an additional rubber strap that will not be included when bought through standard retail. The Seiko Prospex "Orange Samurai" SRPB97 has a price on Amazon of $575 with preorder now and will be officially released November 13, 2017. seikousa.com


What do you think?
  • I love it! (72)
  • Thumbs up (23)
  • I want it! (23)
  • Interesting (18)
  • Classy (2)
  • Tea Hound

    Whoever did these renders didn’t quite get the crown perspective and position right did they? I’ll pass judgement when we see the real thing (if we ever do).

  • Thomas

    Nice one, Seiko!

  • Pete Pete

    ugly. and the bracelet is terrible. wouldn’t want to be seen wearing one. but as a reliable tool watch probably worth considering (who cares what a tool looks like as long as it gets the job done?).

  • Raymond Wilkie

    A decent enough looking watch.

    • Mark1884

      High praise for a FDW!

  • Mikita

    Very nice dial, astonishingly strong lume, but mediocre bracelet and ugly crown. All in all – I find the Baby Tuna to be a better value proposition, but some may found the shroud case a bit specific for their tastes.

    • egznyc

      I assume you’re basing strong lume and crappy bracelet based on prior versions, or Seiko in general, right?

      • Mikita

        No, on the same model with the blue dial. But yes – it’s typical for most budget Seikos.

        • egznyc

          Not sure I’d call this a budget-variety Seiko, though there are certainly pricier ones out there. I THINK this issue is also focused around their dive watches, as I’ve read good reviews of some other offerings’ bracelets in the same price range.

          I don’t have an orange dialed watch – this one is bold and I like that. But damn, 44 mm is big for me.

          • Mikita

            Honestly, I’m a strictly non-bracelet guy 🙂 the first thing I do when purchasing a new watch – take off the bracelet and put the watch on a leather/canvas/etc. So I couldn’t care less about the bracelets, but from my perspective Seiko has a huge gap in the quality of bracelets up to Marinemasters and GS.. But I suggest to try the Orange Samurai – it sits better than the specs suggest, judging from the blue version.

          • egznyc

            I’d certainly be happy to try one on. There are a lot of watches I’d probably warm to – or more – if I could get them on the wrist. The minutes hand seems a little short though.

  • Yan Fin

    I like the way white date window is integrated.

  • Han Cnx

    More Orange Monsters please, Seiko.

  • Coert Welman

    I am not normally fond of orange, but this one works.

  • Dan Baxter

    I’ve got a black Samurai that was actually my first mechanical watch. Still keeps great time. I’ll be interested to see this one in person, but it looks pretty good so far.

  • SuperStrapper

    What is the bezel insert? I assume aluminum, but it appears to have a slightly stipled texture. Which could still be aluminum I suppose, but that certainly wouldn’t be common.

  • Jeffwb65

    I like it in general (if Seiko would make an Orange “New Turtle” I’m all in). But why on Earth is the crown so long? It needs to be about 1/2 the length. Fully 2/3 of the crown is outside the crown guards. It throws off the symmetry of an otherwise good looking design. I know it’s a holdover from the original “Samurai”, but it’s always bugged me.

    • egznyc

      Yeah, and the hands are too short!

  • Larry Holmack

    The jeweler that I go to for replacing my batteries on my quartz watches is a Seiko AD, so when I go over to Georgetown next week, I’ll have to stop by and tell him to notify me when he gets one. It’s a budget friendly watch, and I have a thing for orange dials!

  • Jacob Jared Kenworthy

    I’ve never understood why manufacturers put the small sub-second markings on watches that aren’t chronographs. It just makes the dial look cluttered

  • Ayreonaut

    Two different colors of orange. Black hands but silver markers. 4R35 movement spec’ed at +45 sec to -35 sec per day. $575 for this junk?

    • Bert Kanne

      And no sapphire crystal?

  • Elijs Dima (@x2eliah)

    “but it has also been claimed that the color is more legible underwater.”

    Orange is one of the first colours to disappear / blend into gray-black-ish.

  • Cody Pickren

    test comment

  • Kuroji

    Looks like a bad aftermarket crown replacement.

  • Why not make it $600 and have a sapphire crystal?

    • egznyc

      And it wouldn’t cost a thing to make the markers black like the hands.

      • Oddly there are some different issues with colors on hands and applied hour markers, but in theory you are right.

    • Ranchracer

      A year ago I’d have said the same thing, but I wear my SRP637 several days per week for outdoor activities and the Hardlex takes a serious beating. It’s taken hits that would have thrashed my sapphire crystals pretty good, and doesn’t have a scratch on it. Honestly I have no idea what Hardlex actually is, but I’m very impressed with its durability. I still prefer sapphire in most cases, and have replaced non-sapphire crystal with sapphire on some of my older pieces, but not so on my Seikos.

      • Thanks for the feedback. Seems like your experience with Hardlex differs from some other reports.

        According to Seiko:

        Hardlex Glass
        This is a toughened mineral crystal glass developed by the SEIKO Watch
        Corporation, which is highly resistant to knocks and scratching.

  • Pete L

    Nice. Like most Seiko needs a sapphire crystal though. Cant buy one anyway as I am a Brit 🙁

  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Well, it’s a SEIKO and it’s orange.
    What more could one want and possibly expect to get?

  • Sapphire crystal please.

  • Ulysses31

    It looks like they picked random features from their various ranges and made them into a watch. It’s the inconsistency that I find jarring, and that doesn’t feel very professional at all.

  • Nathan Likes Watches

    I personally like it, nice colour. If its true that accuracy can range from 35-45 seconds a day that would be a big issue though.