A diving watch needs a certain set of characteristics to be considered fit for purpose. It needs a rugged case for survivability, plenty of lume for low-light reading, water resistance and a unidirectional rotating bezel to help you estimate the oxygen you have left.
Most of those – other than the bezel; fortunately we have plenty of oxygen up here – are also pretty useful on the land. So it makes sense that Seiko would adapt their legendary Prospex collection to slightly less terrifying rigours of Terra Firma in the new Prospex ‘Tortoise’ Land Edition.
The quartet of new timepieces opts for a version of the iconic ‘Turtle’ case shape that the Japanese watchmaker has dubbed the ‘Tortoise’. See what they did there? Because turtles swim and tortoise walk and… well, you get it.
This is not the first time that Seiko has used the ‘tortoise’ name on their landlubber editions but it’s still apt as it evokes imagery of strength and durability – both of which you want out of a solid tool watch. The 42.4mm stainless steel case is suitably rugged in stature and weight without being overwhelming, ideal for a spot of adventuring.
Another feature of the Prospex Land Edition, and the primary way to differentiate between a dive specialist version and the explorer version is the compass bezel. The aluminium insert drops the traditional dive timer in favour of the four cardinal points. It’s one of those fun, watch collector bits of trivia that by aligning the hour hand of your watch (when laid flat) with the sun you can work out the approximate direction of south – it is the halfway position between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. You can then mark the direction with your rotating bezel.
There are four versions of the new watch, dubbed catchily the SRPG13K1, SRPG15K1, SRPG17K1 and SRPG18K1. In simple terms they are a beige/green option, blue, black and a brown/gold option – each with their own combinations of dial and bezel colours and matching straps. The brown/gold version stands out as it’s the only one with a gold-coloured case although the beige/green is the most evocative of exploration. All of them also have large hour markers coated in lumibrite for low-light legibility, as useful in a tool watch as on a diver.
Housed inside the ‘tortoise’ case is Seiko’s new entry level calibre, the 4R35 automatic movement. It has a reasonable 41-hour power reserve as well as hacking seconds and a date function. It’s protected by the sapphire crystal above and a stainless steel caseback below, which gives a 200m water resistance – hence the ’20 Bar’ inscription on the dial. Like any self-respecting tool watch, it has a solid case back.
The lowkey design and rugged reliability of this watch is reinforced by the very accessible price. €540 EUR for the blue, black and beige/green versions and a slightly higher €590 EUR for the brown/gold (approx. £470/£512 respectively). Whichever variation you opt for, it’s a solid, entry level tool watch that proves the Prospex can go from land to sea with style. It’ll be taking to the air next. Prospex pilot anyone?
Price & Specs:
Model: Seiko Prospex ‘Tortoise’ Land Edition
Reference: SRPG13K1 (beige dial, green strap)
SRPG15K1 (blue dial, blue strap)
SRPG17K1 (black dial, black strap)
SRPG18K1 (brown dial, brown strap)
Case/Dial: 42.4mm diameter x 11.7mm height, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: Calibre 4R35, automatic, 23 jewels
Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)
Power Reserve: 40h
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Textile or leather strap
Price/Availability: £490 (beige/blue dial), £400 (black dial) and £530 (brown dial)
More details at Seiko.