Seiko's New Dive Watches Are a Sleeper Hit You Shouldn't Snooze On

2022-06-25 07:48:24 By : Ms. Nancy Fu

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Though quietly released, these divers just might hit the sweet spot, with smaller, thinner cases and retro cues.

At first sight, Seiko's new dive watch might elicit deja vu — you've seen that case shape before in the famous "Turtle," similar hands have graced a number of watches and those blocky indices can probably be traced to the famous 62mas. But this isn't just a new mishmash of existing Seiko design elements: it's one of the coolest new dive watches of the year. Here's why.

The basic Turtle is an absolute classic and one of the best dive watches you can get for the money. Seiko has riffed on it in a number of ways, resurrecting its vintage progenitors, offering versions with premium upgrades and, of course, coming in a range of color variants and limited editions. A much overlooked "Mini Turtle" offered that C-shaped case that gives it its nickname, but in a smaller package. The new watches combine a lot of these concepts in a refined, harmonious way.

Despite its large-sounding 45mm diameter, the standard Seiko Turtle is remarkably ergonomic and comfortable. Still, though, a lot of people would appreciate that classic design in a smaller package. With a 41mm case, that's what the new series delivers, and watch savvy folks will know that 4mm makes a huge difference in how a watch wears. Best of all? They're not only smaller diameter-wise but also thinner, standing only 12.3mm off the wrist — not bad for a dive watch.

While it offers the basic appeal of the Turtle's case shape, this isn't just a shrunken version it. Those bold hands and blocky indices nod to vintage Seiko favorites (and other modern watches that draw on it), and they're integrated in a way that feels perfectly natural. Like other watches in its price range, it's got premium features like sapphire crystal and runs on Seiko's 6R35 automatic movement — also an upgrade from the 4R36 that powers lower-end watches like the standard Turtle.

Is this the "ultimate" expression of the Seiko dive watch concept? We're tempted to say that every so often about the brand's regular compelling releases, but for now we'll just say it's one of the most exciting of the year. (It would probably make an even bigger splash if it weren't diluted by even more compelling Seiko releases like it's super affordable automatic GMT.) Sure, some might not love the date window tucked in at 4:30 but, hey, you can't please everyone.

At launch, the new watches come in three variations with a basic black dial (SPB317) on a rubber strap, while a black "gilt"-style dial (SPB315) and a white dial (SPB313) version each come on steel bracelets. Prices are $900 on a strap and $1,100 on a bracelet, and they'll be available to purchase from the brand beginning in July 2022.