Seiko has a special place in my heart. There is something about their watches that makes them unique and interesting. Particularly, one of their model really caught my attention when I started collecting watches, a Seiko Turtle 6309. That diver watch in a cushion stainless steel case and understated design was really appealing to me. I wasn’t even born yet when Seiko released that model, so couldn’t get one when they were produced in 1970s. I was also a bit skeptical about getting a used, 30 years old watch because I was afraid I could get a broken one or highly modified piece off the eBay. For some time, I was able to feed my urge with another Seiko classic, SKX007. It had similar traits to the 6309, like dial and bezel styling or a handset. It was lacking, however, that beautiful turtle-shaped case. My excitement was through the roof when I found out that Seiko is bringing back the true legend, the Seiko Turtle. The initial announcement of this reissue included a few different versions, a classic black SRP777, a black with gold accents SRP775, pepsi SRP779, and a blue one, SRP773. Later on, three more models joined the party, coke SRP789, batman (blue-black bezel) SRP787, and a special edition for PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) SRPA21. I had a hard time trying to make up my mind which version I should get but I was lucky enough to find someone who wanted to trade the blue SRP773 for another watch in my collection. That’s how I become an owner of a watch, which pays a tribute to the true legend in my eyes. But does the new Turtle live up to the expectations? Let’s dive in, shall we?

Packaging

I received my watch in white cardboard box. Inside we will find a black velour cushion on which rests the watch and a bunch of paperwork: user manual written in several languages and a warranty booklet. As you can see, nothing really fancy here but I wouldn’t expect more from an entry level watch. The most important is that the box feels solid enough to protect the watch during transportation.

Seiko Turtle SRP773 packaging

Seiko Turtle SRP773 packaging

Case, crown, caseback, crystal, bezel

One of the main features of the Seiko SRP773 and its family is its cushion case. I would like to say that it’s unique but that would be a lie. Actually, this shape of a watch case was quite popular in 70’s and 80’s, think of Doxa diver’s watches for example. Nevertheless, it is still unique to some extent, it definitely catches your attention when you look at it. This turtle-shaped case (hence the nickname “Turtle”) measures just above 44mm in diameter and 48mm from lug to lug. In my opinion, it’s a sweet spot for a modern diver’s watch as it got great wrist presence and at the same time does not overwhelm your wrist. The case is beautifully brushed when you look at it from above and has some nicely polished sides, which seamlessly blend together. You won’t find any harsh edges on this watch, everything is marvelously smooth and it’s a pleasure to wear it on your wrist.

Seiko Turtle SRP773

Seiko Turtle SRP773

On the 4 o’clock position there is a screw down crown which ensures water resistance of 200 meters. The crown is unsigned which my might be a good news for people who don’t enjoy the Prospex X logo, Seiko pushes on their diver’s watches. I’m not a fan myself so I’m glad the top of the crown is nicely polished. Sides of the crown has a distinct knurling to it, which makes crown easy to unscrew and to operate. Finally, the crown is partially hidden within the case when it’s screwed down, which provides additional protection to the stem.

Caseback on the SRP773 is a typical to Seiko divers. It’s a screw down caseback with a logo of the Great Wave. On the case back we will also find a movement model, water resistance information and a serial number, which allows to identify the manufacturing date. The first number indicates the year of manufacturing (5 in my case means it was produced in 2015), the second digit or a letter indicated the month (N in my case stands for November). There are online calculators which help to identify your watch production date if you are interested.

Seiko Turtle SRP773 caseback

Seiko Turtle SRP773 caseback

If you are familiar with Seiko diver’s watches, you probably know what kind of crystal Seiko Turtle uses. Of course, it’s Seiko propriety Hardlex, which basically is a mineral crystal. In this case it’s a flat Hardlex and there is no anti-reflecting coating to it whatsoever. Luckily, the crystal does not create reflections so it’s easy enough to read the time even at extreme angles. Hardlex is protected by protruding bezel which should minimize chances of getting it scratched. However, I don’t think it will be enough in a long run if you plan to use the watch heavily. Personally, I can’t wait for a day in which Seiko decides to ditch Hardlex for the industry standard which is sapphire.
As mentioned above, the crystal is protected by a stainless steel diving bezel. It’s 120 click bezel with a blue aluminum insert which matches the color of the dial. Unfortunately, the bezel action is a slight letdown. When I first got the watch it was very stiff and hard to turn. After some time it got better and I have no problems operating it with dry hands at the moment. However, if my hands are wet I find it almost impossible to turn the bezel. Yes, it has a knurling for a better grip but once your hands are wet it becomes really slippery. It’s not an issue for me as I don’t dive, I barely go to a swimming pool once in a while, but if you are planning to use Turtle for diving, be warned.

Dial, hands, lume

Dial of the new Seiko SRP773 does not surprise us with anything unusual. And that’s good. It’s a classic Seiko dial with superluminova hour markers and date-day function at 3 o’clock. The hour markers are slightly raised and have a thin chrome borders. It gives another dimension to the dial, something that was lacking in SKX007 for example and many people have complained about. Of course, the dial on SRP773 is blue and I have to say, it’s a great shade of blue. It’s matte and slightly desaturated shade which gives the watch a more mature look. Depending on the lightning conditions, the dial may appear black. It’s also worth mentioning that Seiko managed to get the same shade of blue on both dial and the bezel, which creates a seamless experience. The printing on the dial is nice and crisp, including the dreaded Prospex logo. At first, I was irritated by that X (or P and S crossed if you will) in the middle of the dial but after some time you can get used to it. At this point it does not bother me anymore.

Seiko Turtle SRP773 dial

Seiko Turtle SRP773 dial

If you follow watch forums, such as Watchuseek, you might have come across voices saying that Seiko has issues with hour markers – chapter ring – bezel alignments. It’s definitely a valid concern and there were numerous photos showing the problem. Luckily for me, my SRP773 is free of this issue and everything aligns perfectly at 12 o’clock. If this concerns you, I would suggest checking the watch in person or asking seller to take a close up picture of the watch prior purchasing. It might save you a headache later on if you have an OCD like many of us watch nerds.

The handset on Turtle reissue is something that looks like it was taken from SKX007. I have no proof that in fact it’s the exact same hands but it certainly looks the same. All three hands have chrome polished finish to them, which was one of the complaints I heard from people: “why polished hands on a watch which is mainly brushed?” Well, it might seem like a valid concern but in reality it works really well. If you look at a certain angle, you will notice that both the handset and the numbering on the bezel work together and beautifully reflect light. However, I have a different complaint about the handset. The hands are too short for the bigger dial of new Turtles. They were fine on the SKX007 where the dial was smaller in diameter but here it’s a bit off in my opinion. 1-2 mm on each hand would have sealed the deal.

Now let’s go to my favorite part, which is lume. Seiko is a powerhouse in that department and their diver’s watches become a benchmark for the industry when it comes to lume. SRP773 and its Turtle family is no different here. All lumed elements of the watch glow like a torch and last forever. This strong glow allows to take some beautiful lume shots. Well, at least this is something I use it for. You may use it for a great underwater visibility if you wish.

Seiko Turtle SRP773 Lume

Seiko Turtle SRP773 Lume

Movement

Seiko SRP773 is powered by the well-known 4R36 automatic movement. It’s a straight upgrade from the previous generation of Seiko entry level automatic movements, 7S26. 4R36 beats at 21 600 per hour and it’s fitted with 24 jewels. It has a day and date function as well as hand winding and hacking. The accuracy should be within +45 / -35 seconds per day but in reality you can expect much better accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per day. Mine unit runs at about +7s/day which is a great result for an entry level movement.

Bracelet and straps

Seiko Turtle SRP773 comes on a stainless steel bracelet. It’s a 22mm bracelet which tapers down to 20mm. It’s a one link construction which is styled to look like it had 3 links instead. The stainless steel bracelet is mostly brushed with polished being only sides and small accents around “fake” middle link. The bracelet is fitted with a regular Seiko diver’s watch clasp with diver’s extension and two buttons release system. It also uses Seiko pin and collar system for adjusting the length which is quick and easy way to fit the watch to your wrist, although some may disagree with me on that. The bracelet compliments the watch head nicely and both create a great pair which is a pleasure to wear. However, if you get bored with that combo, there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Seiko Turtle SRP773 wristshot

Seiko Turtle SRP773 wristshot

New Turtles have their lugs drilled which makes it really easy to change straps. And I guarantee that you will be changing them a lot. That’s because SRP773 goes great with almost everything you throw at it. Be it rubber strap, nato, canvas or a leather strap. My favorite combos are black Crafter Blue Universal Rubber or orange Obris Morgan.

Conclusions

After the initial excitement wore off I think I can give you my honest opinion about new Seiko SRP773. The truth is the watch is far from perfect. Be it quality issues with alignment, the use of Hardlex crystal instead of sapphire, undermining bezel action, or hands which are too short for the dial. It screams of laziness from Seiko and the fact that’s an entry level watch is not excuse in my opinion. On the other hand, the watch has a certain charm to it, which attracts me to it. It’s to the point that I prefer to wear it over my other beloved Seikos such as SBBN015 Tuna or SBDX001 MM300. When you put it on your wrist you tend to forget about its flaws and you enjoy the pedigree of the Seiko history. I definitely recommend this watch if you enjoy diver’s watches or Seiko watches in general. At the price point of ~ $350 it’s hard to get something that is such a pleasure to wear as this Seiko Turtle SRP773 and its siblings.

PROS:
+ design
+ a tribute to Seiko history and history of diver’s watches in general
+ great lume
+ solid stainless steel bracelet

CONS:
– use of Hardlex crystal instead of sapphire
– hands which are slightly too short for the dial
– undermining bezel action
– minor QC issues

7.0 Good

After the initial excitement wore off I think I can give you my honest opinion about new Seiko SRP773. The truth is the watch is far from perfect. Be it quality issues with alignment, the use of Hardlex crystal instead of sapphire, undermining bezel action, or hands which are too short for the dial. It screams of laziness from Seiko and the fact that’s an entry level watch is not excuse in my opinion. On the other hand, the watch has a certain charm to it, which attracts me to it. It’s to the point that I prefer to wear it over my other beloved Seikos such as SBBN015 Tuna or SBDX001 MM300. When you put it on your wrist you tend to forget about its flaws and you enjoy the pedigree of the Seiko history. I definitely recommend this watch if you enjoy diver’s watches or Seiko watches in general. At the price point of ~ $350 it’s hard to get something that is such a pleasure to wear as this Seiko Turtle SRP773 and its siblings.

  • Design 8
  • Quality 6
  • Value 7
  • User Ratings (29 Votes) 5.7
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About Author

Watch enthusiast who loves to take photos of his watches, blogger, and founder of Lug2Lug.