In the last several years, Seiko‘s Prospex line of rugged sport watches has blossomed into the global hit it deserves to be. At one time, enthusiasts in the know but not in Japan had to quest after these affordable but well-built tool watches that were mostly available only in their domestic Japanese market. Seiko has now not only made many lines including Prospex available globally, but they have also made their vast watch universe easier for consumers to understand. The Seiko Prospex SRPC93 “Save The Ocean” Samurai reviewed here is a good illustration of Seiko’s current approach to its products and marketing. Solidly built, a solid value, and just plain fun, it’s also a great example of why people love the Prospex watches and even Seiko in general.
It might be helpful to start with some perspective on the Seiko Prospex SRPC93 “Save The Ocean” Samurai by viewing it in the context of Seiko’s various price tiers and genres. Seiko’s offerings are so wide ranging and numerous, it sometimes seems like a mini watch industry itself more than a single company. At the most affordable end, Seiko offers basic quartz and mechanical watches for under $100 such as many in the Seiko 5 line. Above that are notable watches like the popular SKX007 and Monster dive watches that sell for under $300. The Prospex line is positioned as more premium, with “professional specifications,” hence the name (from “pro specs”). Existing laterally to the Prospex sport watches is the Presage line for more elegant and “dress”-style watches. Seiko often treats each of these lines (and others) kind of like a brand-within-a-brand.
In the Prospex line are Land, Air, and Sea families. The dive watches in the Sea family are by far the most popular – and where this review is focused, of course. But this Seiko product tree continues to branch before we arrive at the Seiko Prospex SRPC93 “Save The Ocean” Samurai. Finally, there are collections within the mechanical Prospex dive watches, most famously represented by the distinctive case shapes that have been nicknamed by the adoring public things like Turtle and Samurai – even though Seiko does not use these handy monikers themselves and mostly uses cryptic reference numbers. It might seem like a complicated taxonomy that I have described, but it’s a lot more organized than it once was.
To me, the modern Seiko Samurai and Seiko Turtle are like brothers in the Prospex dive watch family. Comparing them is useful because many attracted to the affordable, no-nonsense, slightly quirky, but everyday-wearable Seiko dive watch personality will find themselves choosing between a Turtle and a Samurai. They are more or less priced the same, share a number of specifications, and are dive watches with a similarly chunky wrist profile – even if the measurements are not one-to-one and other elements of the designs are quite different, what they offer seems very similar. In the most representative, black-dialed, versions of each, we reviewed the Seiko Turtle SRP777 here and the Seiko Samurai SRPB51 here. New versions of each of these watches are often released together with more or less the same aesthetic treatment.
That is the case for the Seiko Prospex “Save the Ocean” limited edition collection. As other watch brands have done, Seiko has chosen to support a marine conservation charity to highlight its dive watches. There are actually a number of Prospex “Save the Ocean” collection watches besides the Samurai and Turtle, some of which appear to be Japan-only releases, and the brand will donate a portion of the sales proceeds to the non-profit Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center. Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of the famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his organization has a mission “to raise awareness, educate, and inform all citizens of the world of ways to protect and preserve the planet’s waters and endangered marine habitats and marine life.” So it seems like a good arrangement for Seiko and for the environment.
The various “Save the Ocean” edition watches feature a blue dial with a neat horizontal pattern meant to look like a watery surface. Looking closely, one will notice that the horizontal lines are uneven, like ripples or small waves. The Samurai’s aluminum bezel insert design with its 15-minute markers works particularly well with the striped dial pattern, in my opinion, and it is in a matching sporty blue. The dial fades from lighter blue at the top to darker at the bottom, seeming to reference ocean depths – this is something seen elsewhere as well, but most famously on the Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller 126660 D-Blue we saw hands-on here. In order to further distinguish this edition as special, the bezel and screw-down crown are given a black treatment contrasting with the rest of the steel case. Overall, this version is similar in a lot of ways to the Blue Lagoon Samurai SRPB09 which we reviewed here, also with a blue dial.
The above linked-to Seiko Samurai reviews discuss the look, details, and wearing experience of the watch, and I recommend you check them out for more perspectives. That includes more on the steel bracelet that the Seiko Prospex SRPC93 “Save The Ocean” Samurai comes on. The bracelet is solid and high quality but has the underwhelming Seiko clasp that many have complained about before. I quickly swapped it out for a couple straps until I put it on the Barton Bands Elite Silicon strap you see in these pictures, and I have been more or less satisfied ever since. Thinner straps such as this also improve wearability by reducing overall bulk. The Seiko Prospex SRPC93 “Save The Ocean” Samurai with its fresh blue colors just begs for fun, sporty strap pairings.