In many a Seiko watch collector’s mind, the SKX is the cream of the crop. It is a tried and true classic that has been recommended so many times that it’s practically a religion. However, if you want to buck the trend and get a high-quality Seiko watch that isn’t the SKX, then next up on the list is the Seiko Turtle SRP777. The Turtle is a modernized Seiko 6309, which is a classic that is hard to find these days.
By taking much of what makes the SKX the legendary dive watch that it is, the Turtle then builds upon it to make a watch that is truly exceptional. To briefly summarize some of its benefits, the Turtle is easy to read, has a solid bezel, with markers and hands that are filled with bright and long-lasting lume, and dimensions that should fit most wrist sizes, there’s lots to love about the Turtle on paper.
In this review, we are going to explore in great detail why the Seiko Turtle SRP777 is worth your money. We will be comparing it to the kings of the hill, the SKX007 and SKX009, as well its younger brother the Mini-Turtle to give you a better feel of how it holds up against other watches.
Seiko Prospex Turtle SRP777 Overview
The Seiko Turtle is a blast from the past with a retro shape that is reminiscent of dive watches from the 70s and 80s, many of which are still sought after to this day.
The Seiko Turtle is part of Seiko’s Prospex line, and it is an ISO 6425 certified dive watch with an impressive automatic movement and a classic appeal. Even though it’s a new production, wearing it makes us feel like going snorkeling with a single-window snorkel mask as if it were the 70s all over again.
There are many variations of the Turtle, but this review will primarily focus on the SRP777 with the black and white color scheme. We will briefly explain the differences in the other models where applicable. The other color variations are:
- SRP773 – Silver case, with navy and white dial.
- SRP775 – Silver case, with black, gold, and white dial.
- SRP777 – Silver case, with black and white dial.
- SRP779 – Silver case, with navy and white dial, and Pepsi bezel.
- SRPA21 Padi Edition – Silver case, with blue sunburst, white, red dial, and Pepsi bezel.
- SRPC44 – Gold case, black and white dial, and gold bezel
- SRPC95 – Silver case, with orange and white dial, and blue, orange, and white bezel.
The Seiko Turtle’s theme is retro. Though it follows the dimensions and general style of the accomplished Seiko SKX007 and SKX009, the case’s shape will take you back to the 70s with its retro inspired design. With this in mind, the Seiko Turtle is probably best suited for casual or business-casual events, however you can try to dress it up if you think you can pull it off. Let’s go through each component in more detail.
The SRP777’s case is stainless steel with a brushed effect on its top surfaces, and the side surfaces have a polished effect. The defining element of the retro theme is the cushion style case which mimics the outline of a turtle shell (hence why it’s known as the “Turtle”).
The case diameter is a whopping 45mm and the case thickness is 13.3mm. As you can see, this watch wears large; but then again, dive watches need to be durable and it helps to achieve the retro theme.
Turning to the back, the screw-down caseback is made of stainless steel which lends to its excellent water-resistance performance. You can see the classic Seiko tsunami wave to indicate that this is indeed a true diver that you can wear while snorkeling, diving, or any other water activities.
Finally, the case’s lugs have a width of 22mm and they are formed directly into the main cushion case shape. Seiko have drilled holes to allow easier access to the bracelet pins from the outside. This is very convenient for those planning on swapping out the bracelet frequently, but it does have a slight impact on the aesthetics.
As we have mentioned above, the Seiko Turtle is an ISO 6425 certified dive watch. Unlike other watches that merely look the part, the SRP777 was designed to meet certain strict standards, so you know that its performance in a diving application is very high. As such, the dial is designed to be usable during the day as well as deep underwater.
The Seiko Turtle SRP777’s dial color is a matte-black, almost appearing as dark charcoal depending on the time of the day and viewing angle. The hour markers consist of large white circles, and unique markers can be found at the 6, 9, and 12-o’clock positions. The 12-o’clock marker resembles a sword and shield. The 6 and 9-o’clock markers resemble rectangles with a protruding, thin tip.
At the 3-o’clock position you can find the day and date window which tries to mirror the 9-o’clock marker by having a white background. The day and date text is typically in black, but in usual Seiko fashion, Saturdays are displayed in blue, and Sundays in red text. These little touches show the care Seiko likes to put into their products.
Printed proudly below the 12-o’clock marker is the Seiko logo in gold text. And above the 6-o’clock marker is the Prospex logo, the word “Automatic” below that, and the water resistance rating “Diver’s 200m” below that, all in gold. This is the extent of the printed text on the dial; it tells you the most important information using as few words as possible to keep the dial looking clean.
Moving on, the Seiko Turtle SRP777 has some seriously good-looking hands. When looking at the dial, your eyes will be drawn immediately to them because of polished gold accents on each hand highlighting whenever light shines on them and gives them a glowing effect. It is something you will notice each time you glance at the watch, and if you are like us, you won’t be able to stop admiring how nice this looks. Due to this gold application the hands already look fantastic, but what makes them even more interesting is that each one is shaped differently.
First, the hour hand has the shape of a syringe, with a needle at the end of the main rectangular body. Second, the minute hand features a bold arrow shape, with a needle pointer at the end as well.
Lastly, the second hand has a thin lollipop shape. It also has a split color scheme with the counter-balance side being black and the pointer side being polished gold. If we had to venture a guess as to why Seiko did this, perhaps it is for added functionality so that the eye can lock on to the gold pointer side for easier reading, but stylistically it also looks very cool.
The glass protecting the dial is made of Seiko’s own Hardlex mineral crystal. This is a scratch-resistant synthetic material that is a step up from traditional mineral glass, but not quite on the same level as a sapphire crystal. With that said, you have to consider the price – while the Turtle is more expensive than the SKX line, the extra cost is going towards the movement and bracelet which we will discuss in another section.
Hardlex smudges easily, so you will find yourself wiping it constantly if you want it to have an unobstructed view. Furthermore, you can scratch the scratch-resistant glass if you really put it through the ringer, but do you really want to do that to a several hundred dollar watch?
As for its appearance, the glass lies completely level with the flat face of the outer bezel. The Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 also share this design where the bezel and glass are raised from the case. It is reminiscent of those old school diving helmets with the single round window in the front. Perhaps this is the image these watches are trying to evoke, but it is more obvious with the Turtle because of the rounded surface of the case below it.
If you look to the side of the case at the 4-o’clock position, you will find the Seiko Turtle’s crown. It has a decent size to it, and it recesses slightly into the cushion case to keep it from protruding too far. The crown “guards”, if you can call them that, is just the existing case shape above the recess from where the crown sits; there are no additional shapes that stick out and protect the crown. It’s a simple design that works.
Looking at the crown itself, it has a slight dome to its outer polished smooth surface. Its sides have teeth to provide extra grip. The crown strikes a nice balance of being present when you look at the watch, but not so much that it is obtrusive; the style is executed very well.
Turning our attention to the bezel, you will see that it is made of stainless steel and has a polished ribbed outer surface for additional grip. The top surface is flat and level to the glass.
Whatever the paint is that Seiko have applied to the bezel, it has a metallic shimmer to it that glows in the light, particularly the non-black sections, which is very attention-grabbing. This bold look gives the watch a sporty dynamic.
The SRP777 version has black paint applied to the whole top surface of the bezel, with silver used for the markers, including the main arrow marker and silver Arabic numbers for every 10 minutes/seconds, and small dots for every minute/second. The font used for the Arabic numerals is very striking, legible, and does not detract from the watch.
The Seiko Turtle has two band offerings – a stainless steel bracelet and a silicone rubber dive strap. We will focus on the bracelet, since it’s more interesting and there’s not much to say about a rubber dive strap. The included rubber strap is serviceable, suitable for a more casual appearance and obviously better suited for true dive use.
The SRP777’s bracelet is a high-quality offering by Seiko. It is extremely solid thanks to its heavy-duty links, solid end-links, and a durable push-button deployment clasp with safety latch. Being part of the Prospex line, the bracelet is obviously built for strength, yet retains an air of elegance in its bold design.
Speaking of the design, it is an oyster-style bracelet with a brushed finish on its 3-link design. To add a bit of class, Seiko has inserted a small polished accent just outside the center links. With that said, we do not feel the extra class this may have added was necessary.
The watch already has a bold, strong look just from its size, so we would have preferred they keep the bracelet simple by excluding those extra touches. With that said, it is just our personal preference, and based on other people’s impressions, the bracelet looks great in the grand scheme of things.
We should also mention, if you plan on diving a lot, to swap the straps for some NATO straps. The Turtle looks fantastic in them and it changes the overall style of the watch. Additionally, the color combinations you can pull off are vast. If you are not a fan of the original subdued look, this can be your chance to put your personality on display with the plethora of style options a good NATO strap can provide.
To sum it up, the overall style of the Seiko Turtle can be described as “retro chic”. The rounded cushion case gives off the retro vibe, but it is modernized with the bold and strong stainless steel bracelet. You can easily make a statement by wearing this watch; it’s masculine and dominant and provides a feel that few watches can match. Its accents are attention-grabbing and make the watch glow.
Being a dive watch, and a retro-looking one at that, the Seiko Turtle is a bit large and is best suited for casual or business-casual wear. You can try to dress it up for formal events to make a bold statement. If James Bond can do it, maybe you can too.
Furthermore, there is a thriving mod market for the Seiko Turtle which can allow you to replace just about everything on this watch: the bezel, hands, glass, etc. There are basically no limits to how much you can customize your Turtle if you are interested in modding it.
Dive watches are generally larger than other types of watches because they need to be able to withstand the water pressure at depth. But even by dive watch standards, the Turtle is on the large side of that because of the retro style it has. Heck, it’s even called the Turtle! The SRP777 weighs 6.4oz / 181g (with bracelet) which is pretty stout.
With that said, much of the weight comes from the bracelet itself. So even if you feel like the watch is heavy on your wrist, at least the weight is evenly distributed. A weighty watch is not necessarily a bad thing. Depending on your preferences, you may actually appreciate feeling the weight of your watch on your wrist compared to a lightweight watch that doesn’t even feel like it’s there.
Before you decide to swap the bracelet for a lighter one, you should know that it is actually very comfortable thanks to the rounded links that move in lockstep with each other without pinching your skin or hair.
Furthermore, you can adjust the links to fit your wrist. The stainless steel bracelet has a major link adjustment, and the clasp also contains a minor link adjustment about ⅓ the length of the major link. This allows you to perfectly customize the bracelet to your wrist size so you don’t have to pick between too loose or too tight.
For when you go diving, you can swap out the bracelet for rubber dive straps or a NATO strap. Much of the weight will be removed by doing this, and the Seiko Turtle weighs 3.2oz without the bracelet. In other words, approximately half the weight is removed just by changing the bracelet. However, this may cause the watch to feel slightly unbalanced since most of the weight is now on one side of the wrist. This feeling can be kept to a minimum by properly fitting the strap.
The Turtle’s crown is, thankfully, a non-issue when it comes to comfort. Typically, watches this large will have issues with the crown pressing into your wrist when you bend it. Since the Turtle’s crown is located at the 4-o’clock position instead of 3-o’clock like the majority of the other watches, it is angled so that it won’t touch your wrist. Additionally, since the crown is recessed and the cushion case edge acts as the crown guard instead of an actual protruding crown guard, then this further minimizes your chance of the crown digging into your wrist.
Overall, the Seiko Turtle is large and quite heavy even by dive watch standards but it is still very comfortable to wear. It is designed such that its weight is evenly distributed and the crown guard will never poke you.
The heart and soul of all watches is in their movement, and the Seiko Turtle sports an in-house 4R36 movement.
Starting off, it moves at a speed of 21,600 beats per hour or 6 beats per second. This means the second hand moves 6 times a second for a satisfying smooth sweep.
Next, the 4R36 movement has a 41-hour power reserve when fully charged. This gives you some leeway in case you don’t wear it for a day that it’s not completely dead the next day. Keep in mind that the lower the charge on an automatic watch, the less accurate its timekeeping becomes.
Additionally, the 4R36 can be regulated to keep its accuracy precise. While you could potentially do this yourself if you have the right tools, keep in mind that opening the watch up will affect its ISO rating. We do not recommend doing it yourself. Employ the help of an expert that knows how to regulate the watch while maintaining its water-resistant seal.
Sticklers for accuracy will be happy to know that Seiko Turtle’s movement allows for hacking and handwinding. Hacking means the 4R36 can cease all movement when the crown is pulled full-out so you can precisely set the time. Handwinding means you can charge the mainspring by rotating the crown.
Furthermore, the 4R36 movement has 24 jewels – 24 points of contact where jewels are applied to moving components to reduce friction and improve durability and accuracy.
All this talk about accuracy, but how accurate is the 4R36 movement exactly? Seiko have not officially disclosed this number, but a safe assumption is that it is within +/15 seconds per day. This will change depending on how often you wear the watch and if you let it reach a low charge. Typically, we find the watch accuracy to be about 10 seconds slow, but after consistently wearing it everyday for 2 weeks, we have recorded it as accurate as 1 second slow a day.
Usability is a core tenet of the Seiko Turtle design. As you may know, the Turtle is part of Seiko’s Prospex line. Prospex is short for “Professional Specifications”, and the watches in this line are intended for professional use in Land, Air, and Sea applications.
Furthermore, being an ISO certified dive watch, the Turtle boasts a water resistance rating of 200m / 660ft. Technically, it can be used at depths 25% deeper than that which is part of the requirements for being ISO certified, but we recommend staying within its recommended limits.
To understand how the Seiko Turtle can truly meet the needs of a professional, we need to understand the ISO 6425 standard. Receiving the ISO certification means that a watch is a legitimate professional dive watch. If you plan on diving with your watch, even just for shallow dives, make sure it has this certification. Here are some of the requirements a watch needs to meet in order to get certified:
ISO 6425 Requirements
Minimum water resistant depth of 100m
The Seiko Turtle is water resistant down to 200m.
Markers every 5 minutes (minimum) on the unidirectional bezel, and a main time setting marker
The Seiko Turtle has a 120-click CCW unidirectional (one-way) rotating bezel with markings every minute, and a triangle with lume in the middle at the 12-o’clock position for the main time setting.
Distinguishable, visible minute markings on the watch dial
The minute markings can be found on both the chapter ring and the bezel on the Turtle.
Visible and legible at 25cm in total darkness
In other words, does the dive watch have distinguishable enough hour markers and hands with enough lume applied on them to be visible at a distance of 25cm in the dark? For the Turtle, the answer is yes.
Ability to see the watch function in total darkness
This is basically asking if there is lume applied on the second hand. Since the second hand is constantly moving when it is functioning normally, then seeing the lume move in the dark reassures the wearer that the watch is still functioning. As we mentioned above, the Turtle indeed has lume on each of its hands.
Sufficient magnetic resistance
All dive watches must be able to stay accurate to within +/- 30 seconds a day even after a 4,800 A/m magnetic field is applied. The Turtle is rated to 4,800 A/m.
To pass this test, all dive watches must maintain an accuracy of +/- 60 seconds per day after it is struck with a 3kg hammer at a speed of 4.43m/s at the 9-o’clock position to the case side as well as directly on the glass surface.
Resistant to saltwater
There’s not much use for a dive watch that gets damaged by saltwater, is there? To pass this test, all dive watches must resist the corrosive effects of being submerged in sodium chloride solution for 24 hours (this simulates submersion in saltwater for 24 hours).
The band must be durable enough to resist damage or disconnection when 200N (45 lbf) of force is applied to it in opposite directions.
This list does not cover all of the rigorous testing a dive watch must endure, however we have selected the most pertinent ones to illustrate the usability of the Seiko Turtle SRP777. In fact, there are more details that make this watch even better that we want to go over.
Seiko has hit a home run in regards to the readability of this watch. At a glance, you can quickly tell the time with almost no effort from your part at all. Thanks to the stark contrast between the main dial color and the large white markers, as well as the distinct shape of each hand, it is very easy to tell the time on the Turtle.
Furthermore, the markers have distinct shapes as well. The 12-o’clock marker is literally a large sword and shield to clearly help with orientation. The 3, 6, and 9-o’clock markers have a rectangular shape with a pointed tip, and the rest of the hours are large white circles. With how it’s all laid out, it is impossible to confuse which hour is which.
Additionally, both the bezel and the chapter ring have a marker for every minute, and the bezel also has Arabic numbers for every 10 minutes to make reading it even easier. The ends of the minute and second hands have a fine pointer that reaches all the way to the markers of the chapter ring so there’s no mistaking which minute it is pointing at.
If that doesn’t sound like it’s legible enough, how about the polished gold found on each hand, bezel marker, and outline of the dial’s hour markers? This is particularly visible in the sword and shield marker at the 12-o’clock position. Basically at all times the watch will be glowing – from the gold outlines during the day, and from the lume at night. There’s no way you can’t see this watch. Excellent job by Seiko.
Using the Crown
Turning our attention to the crown, located at the 4-o’clock position, it is easy to pull and twist thanks to its large size and toothed sides. We found that the teeth of this crown are easier to grip than other crowns. It’s functionality is quite straightforward, but let’s go through them for the sake of completeness.
First, the crown can be in the full-in position. When it is screwed in, that means the time is set and that it is completely water-sealed. If it is not screwed in, you can rotate the crown clockwise to wind the mainspring.
Second, the crown can be in the first-click (middle) position. Here, rotating it clockwise adjusts the date, and rotating it counter-clockwise adjusts the day.
Third, the crown can be set in the second-click (full-out) position. Simply rotate it to adjust the time.
Lastly, when you are finished adjusting the time, push the crown all the way to the full-in position. Be sure to make these adjustments when the watch is off your wrist. It’s possible to damage the watch if you are awkwardly fiddling with it with one hand, so take it off to be safe.
We have already talked a bit about the Seiko Turtle’s lume in the ISO certification section above. Since it must be visible in complete darkness at 25cm, the lume markers are necessarily large. Yet, there is enough space between them so they are distinguishable and not overcrowded.
The lume used is Seiko’s proprietary tried-and-true, bright and long-lasting LumiBrite. The lume is visible even in total darkness, and it can be found on the hour markers, hands, and the pip on the bezel. There is no question about the orientation of the watch thanks specifically to the lume at the 12-o’clock position in the shield portion of the marker.
Lastly, we have the bracelet. It features a push-button deployment clasp that is rock-solid and smooth to operate. It’s satisfying just to hear it click in place and release; it feels high-quality in its operation.
We have already mentioned about the bracelet’s various adjustability features in the “Comfort” section above. To summarize, adding or removing links is straightforward. You can push the pins in the direction the arrow on the underside of the link is pointing to to remove the pin, assuming you have the right tools to do the job.
The bracelet minor adjustment at the clasp can also be adjusted easily as well. It has a spring bar holding it in place, so all you need is a tool to compress the spring bar and move it to a set of holes that better suits you.
The end links also use spring bars to connect to the case. However, the case conveniently has drilled lugs so you can compress the lugs more easily by pushing from the outside with a fine tool. Overall, this bracelet has plenty of ways it can be adjusted to fit many wrist sizes.
Seiko Prospex Turtle SRP777 Review: The Verdict
As good of a watch as the Seiko Turtle is, it’s a bit of a hard sell. After all, Seiko already has a couple of incredible products under their belt: the SKX007 and SKX009. On top of that, the Turtle is more expensive. So why should you get the Turtle? What’s that extra $100 getting you over the SKX?
First, you have to understand that the SKX and the Turtle are very similar in terms of functionality, with a few exceptions:
First, the size and shape of the Turtle. Not only does it have a retro look and a larger size, but it’s also sturdier because of it. Second, it uses the upgraded 4R36 movement which is more precise and also has hacking and handwinding functionality. Third, the Turtle has an oyster-style bracelet with a robust clasp. Fourth, the Turtle has more color options than the SKX.
All of these upgrades can be yours for less than $100 over the SKX. Not to mention the Seiko Prospex Turtle SRP777 is an ISO 6425 certified watch. For its price, you are getting a whole lot of watch and we feel that the value is tremendous.
If the Seiko Turtle is going to be the only dive watch in your watch collection, then perhaps the retro style might not be the best option. However, if you are looking to spice up your existing collection with a classic looking dive watch, then perhaps the retro style will click with you.
Photo Credits: Bruce Williams