Seiko King Turtle
Seiko has listened and finally upgraded the Seiko Turtle. It already has a nickname as well, the Seiko King Turtle, and there are 3 variations currently available. The green dial reviewed here (SPRE05), a black dial with bracelet (SPRE03) and the Save the Ocean model (SPRE07). These new King Turtles sport new waffle dials (except the Save the Ocean, a slightly newer bezel grip, ceramic bezel insert and finally a sapphire crystal. The rest of the watch stays true to the Seiko Turtle family, with the same case dimensions, drilled lugs, and 4R36 automatic movement. While this is definitely an upgrade, lots of people are already talking about it online and it seems to be they either love it or hate it. I am somewhere in the middle, but it is nice to see the Turtle getting what I consider long-overdue upgrades.
Seiko King Turtle Specifications
- 45mm Case Width
- 13.3mm Thick
- 22mm Lug Width
- 47mm Lug To Lug
- Sapphire Crystal
- Ceramic Bezel Insert
- Seiko 4R36 Automatic Movement
- Engraved Screw-In Back
- Silicone Strap
- Drilled Lugs
- 200 Meters WR
Price $595 for model reviewed, $625 for Black dial bracelet version
Seiko Usa sent this along for review, but these models are currently not on their website, so I have linked Long Island Watch. The green dial is currently not in stock there, but the two other variations are.
In a lot of ways, this is the same old Turtle, as the case, dimensions and movement have not changed. The big upgrades though are something modders have been doing for years, especially the sapphire crystal. Seiko modding is a big deal and a big business for some, and Seiko apparently decided to upgrade one of their most popular models, the Turtle. Yes, the ceramic bezel insert and sapphire crystal are things people have wanted for years, but Seiko chose to add a few other things with this latest release, one of them being a new waffle dial. Yes, this is the dial you will get when buying either the black or the green dial, and I don’t believe this dial has been done by Seiko ever before, at least not exactly like this one. There are some Grand Seiko Divers that have a blocky textured dial, but the squares are much smaller and not as pronounced or in your face as these are. I have also seen this referred to as a brick dial, but I think of a waffle immediately when I look at it. I like the dial, but I am not in love with it. Part of me wishes they went with the standard sunray dial they do in most of the Turtle lineup, but I guess they wanted the Seiko King Turtle to stand out a little more, at least with the initial releases.
The other thing that has many people talking and probably the most polarizing aspect of the new Seiko King Turtle is the massive cyclops over the day/date wheel. I have never been a fan of a cyclops, but it is easier to overlook when it is just the date. When you do it over a day/date, and it’s just obtrusive and I really wish Seiko had left it off. I have seen many people take a cyclops off of watches though, and I imagine many will be doing so with this latest Turtle. I have seen a few who do like it, as it does, of course, make it much easier to read, and those with failing eyesight will probably appreciate it even more, but for me, it is a huge pass.
Moving onto the bezel, both the grip and the insert have been updated here, and both are welcome upgrades. The bezel grip has been given a more angular design, which makes it easier to grip. It is a little more rugged in aesthetic, but it is functional as well. The ceramic insert is not fully lumed as many were hoping for, but a nice change from aluminum. I personally wish they went with more of a matte or textured ceramic insert, but who knows what the future holds with this lineup. I imagine by this time next year there will be at least 10 variations of the Seiko King Turtle.
The rubber strap is the same silicone rubber Seiko has been using for years and it still doesn’t attract as much lint and dirt as other silicone straps do, and it is still a very long strap, so it can accommodate a lot of wrist sizes. Both the solid metal buckle and metal keeper are here as well. The strap color does not match the green dial though, and I know it is hard to perfectly match a rubber strap and a metal dial, but the strap is more grey than green. At first, this bothered me, but the more I wore it and glanced down at it, the more I liked it. It gives a nice contrast and if you have a lot of Seiko Turtles in your collection, this strap would work well on the black dial, grey dial, and a few others as well.
Being Seiko, the King Turtle has amazing lume, and I was never worried about it being anything less. The Save the Ocean version has old radium or patina lume as they call it; I haven’t seen that in person, but I imagine it glows just as bright and long as the green one I have in hand. I know many were hoping for that fully lumed bezel, and at times I do like how that looks on a watch, it really has no function and most Seiko watches can be used as a mini flashlight in the dark, and this is no different.
Being that the case and dimensions did not change with the Seiko King Turtle, it will wear just as all the others have. Measured at 45mm, the Turtle has always been deceiving in its dimensions, as they wear much smaller than its specs would lead you to believe. If you have never owned a Turtle, they are an extremely comfortable watch on the wrist, whether on the bracelet or silicone, but for some reason, I always gravitate towards the rubber strap over the bracelet, mostly because I am not a fan of most Seiko bracelets. If you don’t like this rubber, you can always grab a fitted end Crafter Blue strap for the Turtle, which looks fantastic in my opinion.
So, there you have it, Seiko has given us what we wanted all along with the new Seiko King Turtle. Or did they? Yes, many of us wanted the sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel insert for years, but the use of the waffle dial and the cyclops have left some feeling cold to this new release. Obviously no watch company can please everybody 100% of the time, and everyone has different tastes as well. I feel like Seiko was sooo close with this one, but missed the mark just a little bit. Even if this new Turtle lost the cyclops it would be better in my opinion, but I know lots of people that are “waffling” on the new dial as well. I love the new direction Seiko is heading in with the new Turtles, and hoping there will be many more variations coming, hopefully without the cyclops. 🙂