October 8, 2021
The Seiko Prospex “King Turtle” series of divers have been fan favorites for the brand since the series’ initial introduction. The “King Turtle” offers enthusiasts a popular balance between price and quality features such as ceramic bezel inserts, while delivering a classic Seiko design with a lineage stretching back to the 6309 dive watches of the ‘70s. Although the “Turtle” moniker (referring to its ovoid, turtle shell-shaped case) has followed this particular series and its predecessors through Seiko enthusiast circles for decades, the brand itself has always kept the name at a distance. For its latest release, however, Seiko fully embraces the “Turtle” legacy of these divers with three special iterations made to celebrate the brand’s partnership with ocean conservation group Oceanic Society and its ongoing mission to protect the world’s seven species of sea turtle. To this end, the new Seiko Prospex U.S. Special Edition dive watch collection, including the Seiko Prospex SRPH55, Seiko Prospex SRPH57, and Seiko Prospex SRPH59, introduce intricately detailed turtle shell-inspired patterns to the dials of these familiar divers, packing in a striking level of finishing and materials work for the price point.
The 45mm stainless steel cases of the Seiko Prospex U.S. Special Edition series are near-identical to the standard “King Turtle” releases, with the same rounded cushion case design. While this diameter may sound imposing on paper, Seiko’s unique knack for visually shrinking cases on the wrist should be in full effect here, thanks to the curving bowl-like undercut of the case sides and the short lugs. The distinctive “King Turtle” visual cues are all here, with radial brushing for the top surface of the case contrasted by full polishing for the case sides and a chunky square-cut knurled edge for the tall unidirectional bezel surrounding the flat sapphire crystal. All three models in the series use high-tech ceramic inserts for these bezels, with the SRPH55 and SRPH57 using classic utilitarian black inserts while the SRPH59 opts for a rich navy blue tone. Where these three models really add their own flavor is with the solid caseback design, as each of the three sports a soft and stylized engraving of a sea turtle flanking the brand’s stamped tsunami emblem. All three models, like their regular production counterparts, are rated for a dive-ready 200 meters of water resistance.
Modern Seiko has a reputation for dial finishing that punches far above its weight class, and the dials of the Prospex U.S. Special Edition series look to carry on that legacy. All three models begin with the standard “King Turtle” layout, with applied syringe-tipped diver indices, an unframed day/date window at 3 o’clock, and the line’s signature sword and arrow handset. The dial surfaces of these three new models, however, are anything but standard. The base dial texture is a miniscule random crosshatch pattern reminiscent of 2017’s Seiko Presage “Starlight” models, overlaid with a fumé effect and a scaly shadow pattern mimicking the shell plates of sea turtles. Beyond packing in an impressive amount of visual detail, this intricate surface helps to recontextualize other dial elements in images. For example, the white day/date window at 3 o’clock becomes arguably less disruptive, as no date wheel could feasibly match the pattern and remain legible. Each of the three models interprets this complex visual texture in a different color. The Seiko Prospex SRPH59 offers the most straightforward look of the trio, with oceanic blue tones that reinforce the marine inspiration in images. The Prospex SRPH55 gives the design a more literal spin, with a tortoiseshell-esque brown gradient sliding from honey brown in the center, through mahogany, to a deep cocoa brown at the edge of the dial. Interestingly, this model interprets the web of shell plating lines as highlights rather than shadows in images, rendering them in translucent white. The Prospex SRPH57 is perhaps the most striking of the trio, however, with a turquoise and teal gradient that calls to mind tropical waters and shallow seas in images.
All three models in the Seiko Prospex U.S. Special Edition series are powered by the in-house 4R36 automatic movement. While perhaps not as refined as its counterparts in the 6R series of movements, the 4R36 is an affordable, rugged, and capable performer with a 41 hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. Seiko pairs the Prospex U.S. Special Edition models with both the brand’s take on the classic stainless steel three-link oyster style bracelet, as well as “accordion” silicone dive straps in dial-matching blue, teal, or brown.
By adding striking and intricately finished dials to the already capable and stylish “King Turtle” line, the three models of the Seiko Prospex U.S. Special Edition series finally make this landmark line’s turtle associations official and help to raise awareness for the ongoing protection efforts surrounding the world’s graceful sea turtles. All three models in the Seiko Prospex U.S. Special Edition series, including the Seiko Prospex SRPH55, Seiko Prospex SRPH57, and Seiko Prospex SRPH59, will be available in October 2021 exclusively through select authorized dealers in the United States and seikousa.com but production numbers are not strictly limited. Each of the three models carries an MSRP of $750. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.