Review : Seiko Prospex Dawn Grey Samurai SRPD03K1 Limited Edition Watch Review (Europe Only)

I’d Never Bought A Seiko Before

Would you believe me if I said having been immersed in this hobby for nearly two years that I had never bought a Seiko? Well it’s true, more or less.

Sure there was the £25 junker bought from eBay_Indians which is no doubt a Frankenstein’s monster of parts cyborged together to give the illusion of a cohesive Seiko, but that doesn’t count.

Or there’s the Invicta Pro Diver I bought in the summer of 2017 as a giggle, just to see how bad they really were. Well the joke was on me as inside beats a Seiko NH35A movement that is more accurate than many of my far more expensive pieces and with a bezel that lines up properly and very respectable build quality, that £75 Rolex Submariner doppelganger is a damn fine watch in a sea of more expensive Steinhart, Tissel, Ginault and Parnis repli…homages.

As you can see nothing was a true, real, legit, Seiko. I tried my best, I looked at everything around from imported SKXs that the world raves about to the humble Seiko 5, but as I’ve mentioned before, with too much choice you get the feeling you’re going to make the wrong choice and walk away without committing to anything. Then the Dawn Grey Samurai appeared totally out of the blue and unfortunately also out of stock.

Popped In, Sold Out

I saw it in a press release that appeared on Monochrome Watches. The dial and bezel colouring struck a chord instantly. A Tapisserie grey dial with a grey and orange bezel. You don’t see that every day. The watch head too matched the style being very chunky and with 45 degree angles at every turn. Beside it in the article was the Turtle version too, but the case shape didn’t appeal, though the funky orange rubber strap did.

So that was it, everywhere I searched was out of stock. Turns out when Seiko say something is limited edition, it actually is. All hope was lost, then I spotted an Instagram post from James Porter and Son in Glasgow. It was the Samurai, in their Glasgow boutique, in stock. Within seconds a DM had been sent. Within minutes I had acknowledgement it was in still available and reserved for my impending visit.

This is where the story takes a little twist. You see, when my heart was broken and I learned that these were all gone, I went looking for a stunt watch, a stand in to take its place. That turned out to be the Seiko Padi Prospex Diver SBDC055. This was the only other Seiko I’d seen in two years of hunting that I liked the look of. I even played around with one in Gassan’s Amsterdam airport store while slightly intoxicated on a return trip from Holland. But it was floating around that £900 figure which put it right out of bounds for a watch that would be a 3rd or 4th choice from my watch box.

Then on the lead up to Christmas, while on a sleep deprived excursion to eBay I found one, brand new in box with tags, for £500. I couldn’t pass that up, so it was on its way, ironically enough from Switzerland, and I was on my way to Glasgow to pick up it’s little brother – the Dawn Grey.

Buying The Watch

Actually getting my hands on the watch turned out to be an adventure in itself where I met up with Rick and we both went to see Simon at the boutique. This was a month before the Scottish Watches website launched and we were still in the planning and building stage. We kept our cards close to our chest and didn’t let on what was about to be unleashed on the watch world.

Simon brought the watch out and I got to see it in the flesh for the first time. It looked just as good in real life as the Photoshopped press images made it look on screen. The dial is without doubt wonderful, I’ve never seen that minute square patterning with a grey colouring before and the orange just seems to work so well too.

I opted to take home not only the watch, but also a perfectly matched orange Crafterblue silicone rubber strap too. After sizing the watch bracelet to my wrist, Simon kindly switched it over so I could wear my new purchase with it’s orange fastening home. It’s those little touches that make the buying experience so much nicer.

First Impressions

That dial. It’s just stunning. Daytime. Nighttime. It just works.

The rest of the watch, well…

  • Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The bezel does not align. Now we can move on.
  • The bracelet has solid links, hollow end links, push pins and is as rattly and jangly as hell.
  • It is bulky but it works ok on my limp wrists. Strange but true.
  • The mechanics are on point with the watch coming in at around +6 seconds per day (far better than the PADI that was to arrive momentarily) and everything worked as you would expect from a Seiko.

As a bit of a bonus, I got a pretty decent limited edition number too, with this one being 1977 out of 2018, as denoted by the engraving on the rear of case. So if any 41 year old Seiko lovers want to get a birth year limited edition, you know how to find me.

All joking aside, as soon as I posted about buying the watch online with the obligatory wrist shot (the watch equivalent of new born baby pics), I had a flurry of messages from stateside watch aficionados asking where I got it, how much was it and if there were any more to be had. Turns out when something is destined for sale only in Europe, our American brothers and sisters want what they can’t have. I suppose it’s lucky Scottish watch shops aren’t full of oil I guess.

Wrist Presence

It wears big and it wears heavy. It goes all the way to the line of making a bold statement then the grey dial pulls it back a touch, giving just a hint of refinement. A downside though right off the bat is that the bracelet doesn’t have the weight to balance the watch out, and the clasp is a joke.

People love it though, and not just watch nerds like us. Chicks and dudes dig it, my young nephew loved it, my OAP aunt loved it, so it’s got that mass appeal which on paper it should never get. A squarish slab of metal with a grey dial and orange accenting, who would have thought?

Final Verdict

I’ve gone to sell the watch 3 times. With a ton of interest from both here in the UK and in the states, it’s always got a new home waiting, but everytime I go to reply to a message something pulls me back. I don’t know if it’s because I know once I factor in PayPal fees, shipping with insurance and all that jazz that I’ll end up with only a couple of hundred quid and that won’t replace it with another watch that offers the same or more value; or boxes ticked. It’s at that price point where it was just under the threshold of hurting to buy, but also just below the level where it doesn’t make financial sense to sell on, a horological no man’s land if you will.

So it stays.

Unless someone made me an offer I can’t refuse.

Tech Spec

MakeSeiko
ModelSeiko Prospex Dawn Grey Samurai
ReferenceSRPD03K1
Case43.8mm diameter x 13.4mm height
MaterialStainless steel
FinishPolished and brushed
Bezel60 minute, unidirectional
CrystalHardlex
CasebackScrew Down Steel
Water Rating200m
Dial“Clou de Paris” grey
MovementCalibre 4R35, Hacking, Automatic & Hand Winding
Beat Rate3Hz / 21,600vph frequency
Power41 hours
Jewels23
DateWindow at 3 O'Clock
BraceletStainless steel bracelet with folding clasp and diving extension
Run2,018 pieces
WarrantySeiko Official 2 Year Guarantee