Seiko collectors are extremely passionate people. When Seiko releases something new, we go to social media platforms, forums, or blogs and vividly discuss the latest pieces. Seiko release of Blue Lagoon limited edition definitely sparked a lot of noise in the watch community. The Blue Lagoon series consist of two timepieces: Seiko Turtle SRPB11 and Seiko Samurai SRPB09. It was the first time we were informed that Seiko is bringing back the old-school Samurai design. Currently we know that this summer the Samurai family will also expand by a non-limited models: SRPB49, SRPB51, SRPB53, and SRPB55. However, the release of Seiko SRPB09 polarized the fan base. I found online a lot of negative comments about this model, that it’s not true to the original, that the case has wrong proportions, that Seiko reused Monster hands etc. On the other hand, there is also plenty of positive comments as well. Many people praise Seiko for a beautiful sunburst dial and re-release of this classic Samurai design. For many people, including myself, it’s a chance to own one of these watches if they didn’t manage to get one from the first edition. The original Seiko Samurai was produced during 2004 and 2008 and has quickly become hard to come by, especially at a reasonable price. I missed that opportunity to get the original Samurai but thanks to Blue Lagoon Limited Edition of 6000 pieces I have a chance to atone for my mistake.
Seiko SRPB09 Blue Lagoon comes in a faux leather box with blue accents. I have to say it’s a more premium packaging than what you see with entry level watches from Seiko. The interior of the box is black and there is a black pillow in which rests the watch. As usual, you will find a user manual and a warranty card. However, it’s slightly disappointing that Seiko did not include any additional accessories. It’s even more disappointing because the other Blue Lagoon Limited Edition model, SRPB11 Turtle, comes with a spare silicone strap.
Case and bezel
Seiko SRPB09 has a 43,8 mm stainless steel case with relatively short lug to lug distance of 48 mm. Together with the height of 13 mm it makes it quite a wearable watch for wide range of wrists. It’s also worth noting that the case has been slightly enlarged compared to the original Seiko Samurai watches. That’s where the most complaints from watch community come from. I don’t find it to be an issue as slightly enlarged case wears great on my 7,5 inch wrist. The case is almost entirely brushed with exception of polished side and area under the lugs. I’m happy to report that the lugs itself are drilled, which will make the strap juggling all that easier.
At 3 o’clock there is a screw-down crown protected by crownguards protruding from the case of the watch. It’s a little unusual place for a crown for Seiko as most their dive watches have crowns located at 4 o’clock. This solution gives the watch a more premium look characteristic for Swiss made dive watches and stays true to the design of original Samurai. The crown itself has a knurled texture to it, similar to the one on Seiko Monster 2nd Gen. It’s easy to use due to a good grip provided by this knurled texture, and it operates smoothly. Despite Seiko SRPB09 being a part of Prospex family, I’m happy to report that there is no infamous laser etched “X” on the crown.
One of the unique characteristics of the original Seiko Samurai, and to some extend of Seiko Shogun too, was its sharp edges and slanted lugs. While this overall design is still present in the Blue Lagoon LE, the case finishing is average. It’s uneven I would say. When you run your finger on the edge of one lug, you will find it really sharp as if it could cut your skin; while if you do the same on an opposite lug, you will find it blunt or even rounded. Maybe that’s only flaw of my unity but I find it disappointing nevertheless. I got used to high quality finishing on Seiko watches and their cases.
One of my favourite things about this new Seiko SRPB09 is its bezel. It’s a stainless steel bezel with an aluminum bezel insert. I love the colors on the insert, the first 15 minutes of the scale have a beautiful turquoise color, while the rest of the bezel has a nice shade of a darker blue. On a side note, I think it’s a high time for Seiko to step up their game and join ceramic insert bandwagon. Many companies, including affordable microbrands, started to offer ceramic bezel inserts in a similar price range. This change would definitely give the watch a more premium look and increase durability. Nevertheless, the bezel on SRPB09 is still quite good. It has 120 clicks and the action is pretty decent. The knurled pattern on the bezel provides good grip, even when your hands are wet. Furthermore, I haven’t encountered any play, clicks are firm and precise.
The caseback of Seiko Samurai SRPB09 is a standard deal for Seiko dive watches. It’s screw back caseback, it ensures 200 m of water resistance, and has a standard embeded Tsunami logo. You will also find basic information about the model, including serial number and a mention that it’s a Limited Edition timepiece.
Dial, hands, lume
I often say that where Seiko really shines is the dial design and its execution. It’s not different with Seiko Blue Lagoon SRPB09. In the Blue Lagoon series, Seiko decided to go with a blue sunburst dial and I have to say that was a bull’s eye. They really know how to properly execute it, which you could already see in my review of Seiko Recraft SNKM97. As a man, it’s hard to me to describe the color, you have to forgive me that, but believe me, it’s perfect. Depending on the lightning conditions it shifts from very light blue to dark navy blue. I recommend checking out my video presentation on YouTube to see what I’m talking about. I think that’s one of the reasons why this timepiece is so popular.
Around the dial, there are hour markers filled in with Seiko lume. I think I don’t have to explain what it means. When the light goes off, this timepiece glows like crazy. But don’t trust my words on that and let the photos speak for themselves. As usual with Seiko, printing on the dial is nice and sharp. I only wish that Seiko logo was applied metal instead of printing. It’s worth noting that designers added a small yellow contrasting details at 12, 3, 6, and 9. They go nicely with yellow seconds hand and add even more life to this cheerful dial.
My only gripe is the date window. It’s a simple crude cutout in the dial at 3 o’clock. Why on earth they didn’t go for a metal frame or even a simple printed white frame is beyond me. Why Seiko, why? It looks really cheap, especially in pictures. In steel it looks slightly better because the window is fairly small and doesn’t stick out as much.
Another controversial point of the watch is the choose of the handset. Seiko SRPB09, as well as the whole upcoming lineup of new Samurais, use Monster-style hands. As I mentioned, I found a decent amount of comments around the web of people complaining about reusing the same hands over and over by Seiko. There is definitely a grain of truth is this. It’s doesn’t put me off personally as I really like Seiko Monster handset and I find it pretty cool looking. What’s more, it might be a heresy what I’m about to say, but I hate the original Seiko Samurai handset. The hands where too small and too narrow for this robust looking tool watch; although Samurai Ti handset was fine. Nevertheless, I think that Seiko Samurai is such a unique timepiece in Seiko collection that they should have come up with something new. I realize why people might be upset that they haven’t.
The dial is protected by a flat hardlex crystal. Honestly, I did not expect anything else as it’s standard choice for Seiko entry to mid level dive watches. The good thing about the crystal is the fact that it sit beneath the bezel level. That means it will be more protected from accidental scratches.
Seiko Blue Lagoon SRPB09 runs on 4R35 automatic movement. It’s a 23 jewels movement with hacking and hand winding options. It offers date complication, unlike its more popular brother 4R36 which has both date and day. 4R35 beats at 21 600 VPH and when fully wound it will run for approx. 41 hours. It’s a reliable movement which should run just fine for many years to come. My particular unit runs at -11s a day. While it’s a not record breaking accuracy, it is well within specification of +45 s and -35 s a day.
Straps and wearability
Seiko Samurai Blue Lagoon SRPB09 comes on a stainless steel bracelet. It’s a pretty standard Seiko bracelet, which is 22 mm wide at the lugs and narrows down to 20 mm down the line. The design of the bracelet is similar to classic oyster style with 3 rows. However, it’s just a optical illusion because the bracelet is in fact a one row construction. The bracelet uses typical for Seiko pin and collar system so be sure not to loose these tiny collars while adjusting the length. As for the clasp, again we have a pretty standard Seiko fare. It’s a steel clasp with double fold and push buttons. There is also a diver extension available. It’s worth noting that the bracelet is quite sturdy and the endlinks are solid. Overall, it’s a quite decent and comfortable bracelet; however, there is nothing unusual or surprising about it, it’s what you would expect of an entry level Seiko dive watch.
As I mentioned before, it’s slightly disappointing that Seiko didn’t decide to add an additional strap to the package. If you want to use something different than a provided bracelet, you have to look at 3rd party options. However, I haven’t found anything that would look better than the stock bracelet. I tried Isofrane style straps and various nato straps but for some reason it didn’t look good at all. Perhaps that’s because of pointy lugs. If you found a good combo for the Blue Lagoon, be sure to let me know in the comments.
Nevertheless, Seiko Samurai Blue Lagoon looks and wears great on a stock bracelet. I was afraid that the crown located at 3 o’clock would dig into my wrist but I’m happy to report that no such thing happened. Due to 48 mm lug to lug length it feels right at home at my 7,5″ wrist. With the summer approaching, the Blue Lagoon will make a great holiday watch with its cheerful colors.
So is Seiko Samurai Blue Lagoon SRPB09 worth the hype? In my eyes, yes, it is. This limited edition not only brings a classic Seiko design back but it also does it with style. The blue sunburst dial is a joy to look at, the bezel looks and works great as well. On top of that we get a standard Seiko fare: a good stainless steel case, a robust movement, a decent bracelet. On the other hand, the watch is not without its flaws. The case execution could have been better but perhaps it’s only a problem of my particular unit. The date window is not that inspiring either. One could argue that at MSRP of 480 euro you could expect more. Perhaps that’s true but remember it’s a Limited Edition model with only 6000 pieces available worldwide. Most of the watches are already sold out and prices on secondary market are going up ever day. In my opinion, despite the flaws this watch has, it has a potential of becoming an iconic watch and highly sought after collector’s timepiece. If that’s the case, only time will tell. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Seiko watches, I would go and grab one of these while you still can.
+ Samurai is back!
+ beautiful blue sunburst dial
+ probably it will hold its value very well
+ good bezel action
– case execution is not perfect
– no border around date window
– no additional strap in the box
|Model||Seiko Samurai Blue Lagoon LE SRPB09|
|Lug to Lug||48 mm|
|Lug width||22 mm|
|Movement||Automatic 4R35, 41 hours of power reserve|
|Water resistance||200 m ISO certified|
|Price||MSRP 480 euro, check the current price|
So is Seiko Samurai Blue Lagoon SRPB09 worth the hype? In my eyes, yes, it is. This limited edition not only brings a classic Seiko design back but it also does it with style. The blue sunburst dial is a joy to look at, the bezel looks and works great as well. On top of that we get a standard Seiko fare: a good stainless steel case, a robust movement, a decent bracelet. On the other hand, the watch is not without its flaws. The case execution could have been better but perhaps it's only a problem of my particular unit. The date window is not that inspiring either. One could argue that at MSRP of 480 euro you could expect more. Perhaps that's true but remember it's a Limited Edition model with only 6000 pieces available worldwide. Most of the watches are already sold out and prices on secondary market are going up ever day. In my opinion, despite the flaws this watch has, it has a potential of becoming an iconic watch and highly sought after collector's timepiece. If that's the case, only time will tell. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Seiko watches, I would go and grab one of these while you still can.