Seiko Prospex Diver

The “Turtle”

Seiko dive watches have a huge reputation. They’re as tough-as, look the part, have a heritage as long and proud as almost any brand and are very wallet friendly.

As a collector, I have never been a huge fan of divers’ watches, there’s not much distinction about them mainly because the criteria required leaves little room for style variations.  There are only three dive watches I can identify with confidence from a distance; the Rolex Submariner, the Omega Planet Ocean and this one; the Seiko “Turtle”.

Prospex “Turtle”, left; original 1976 “Turtle”, right

In 1976 Seiko released its new diver that featured a 150m case, screw down crown and unidirectional bezel with double row of polished grips. The dial had large, round index markers with very generous luminous material. The 12 marker has a subtle sword that matches well with the lines coming out of the 9 and 6 markers.  But the most distinctive feature was its subtly different case shape that made the “Turtle” stand out. Broad and cushion-shaped it inspired the watch’s nickname, because if you look at it from a distance and used a little imagination it resembles the shell of a turtle. The original was in continuous production for about twelve years.

Having described the original turtle in some detail, a ditto will suffice to describe this re-release with the following updates:
The new 4R36 movement can be hand wound and has a hacking function*. Both features lacking in the original.
Water resistance is rated at 200m, the original was 150m.
The luminous “lollipop” on the original second hand has been moved to the counterweight.
The strap has a beautiful, heavy, strong looking buckle. It also has a beautiful stainless steel keeper. Both buckle and keeper are signed “SEIKO”.

One criticism that I have of this watch is the action of the bezel. Like the big Swiss brands it’s a 120 click to one rotation and is rather firm. But it lacks a certain profound click and accuracy when compared to the Rolex Submariner or the Omega Planet Ocean.  But then, this watch costs a fraction of these elite brands.

The Seiko “Turtle” is faithful to its heritage, looks great and, without doubt, the best value divers’ watch on the market.

*Hacking means the watch is stopped when the crown is in the hand set position. This allows for accurate time setting





About robswatches

I’m a horoligical “petrol head”! I love classical mechanical watches, not because they tell me the time, I can get the time from cheap quartz watches, my computer, phone, microwave or just about anywhere. I’m interested in the movements of watches, the aesthetics of case design and their construction, the history and the simple thrill of watching tiny, beautifully finished wheels, pinions and other parts turning and oscillating and marvelling at the craftsmanship that created it.
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