I’m new to the Turtle case-shape. A hasty Ali Express Sale purchase saw a Steeldive SD1970 (an homage to the Seiko 6105 ‘Captain Willard’ watch) arrive and blow my mind with how a big watch could be so damn comfortable to wear. I was immediately smitten with the shape and went on the hunt for a non-homage turtle.
Where did that hunt lead? Well, to Seiko of course.
Now you’re reading this and you know that all turtle-paths lead to Seiko, right? But I didn’t know. You see I’m such a fan of the underdog and the leftfield that I’ve spent my first two years in this hobby deliberately avoiding Seiko. I’m just one of those oddballs that when everyone said ‘get an SKX’, I needed to be different; I bought an Orient Kamasu. So while the rest of horology land knew a Seiko turtle is a lovely thing, I was oblivious. I did know that every time a Save The Ocean dial appears on my Instagram feed (@nicklikeswatches btw, come say hi!), I hit that heart icon faster than a Floatlite to a new Omega release.
So that’s where I started. Google search ‘Save the ocean turtle’. And one thing even better than a Save The Ocean dial? A 25% January Sale discount code! So after a quick cross-check of specs (I’ll take Sapphire over Hardlex please) that was me, done. Welcome to the collection, SRPE07, my Save the Ocean King Turtle.
Let’s check off some specs before I give any opinions:
Case size: 45mm
Lug width: 22mm
Weight on supplied strap: 125g
Movement: 4R36 automatic, hacking, hand-winding, day & date
WR: 200m (ISO certified with ‘Diver’s’ designation)
Bezel: 120 click uni-directional, ceramic insert, lumed pip at 12
Supplied bracelet: Silicone with s/steel keeper and buckle
This is a really lovely watch, let me make that clear right from the off. I defy anyone, no matter what you have already or how expensive it is, to wear this watch for a week and not agree that it totally stands-up as a really lovely watch. It’s great to wear and has plenty of presence without overwhelming my 7” (177mm) wrist. The case is well made and a good, solid lump – you certainly know it’s there, but the curved sides of the case help it morph into the wrist unlike some slab-sided divers which would feel cumbersome if they were this size and weight. The dial is gorgeous; it catches the light to show multiple shades of blue, with wave patterns and a ‘hidden’ shark fin next to the 8 o’clock. It’s enough to keep you occupied and to keep on looking at it, again and again, just for giggles. Any watch that wants to stay in my collection HAS to make me smile, and this one does, mainly because of that dial. Also the lume – it’s fantastic. But this is a Seiko, you know the lume is fantastic. Enough said then.
Mounted atop the sapphire crystal (which I’ll take despite reassurances from the community that ‘Hardlex is really good, honest’) is a cyclops that some will dislike, and I get why, but to me it adds another smile opportunity. I simply like a bit of distortion on a dial. Call it light-play, call it visual-interest, call it whatever. I like the cyclops.
Then there’s the ceramic bezel. I thought ceramic was too flashy until recently. Now I have a ceramic bezel I really like it; it catches the light differently to an aluminium bezel, without being too shiny in this case. The bezel itself is one of the best I’ve used, with an audible and satisfying click to each of it’s 120 clicks.
The silicone strap is comfortable, supple, stretchy and decent-looking, albeit a bit of a dust magnet – it’ll need a wash and a scrub every now and then to keep it looking nice. The upside is that it should last ages and will survive both pool and ocean dunks as well as a good desk-dive.
Inside this watch beats Seiko’s 4R36 movement (at 21,600 beats per hour, or 6 per second), which is the in-house name for the NH36 we see in so many micro-brands (the NH36 is essentially an NH35 with the day of the week wheel in addition to the date). It runs almost silently (I think such a hefty steel case softens any ticking sound) and rotor noise is quiet too. It’s running about -10 seconds per day out of the box, and should be simple to regulate myself if/when I get the urge – the truth is that this’ll be worn in rotation with the rest of the collection so the chances of this accuracy even registering with me are slim to none. The screw-down crown, although unsigned, is nice to grip and use but it does have a bit of a wobble when fully out. I’m careful to only use a crown when it’s safe to do so (as in, when the watch is off the wrist and not being made wet by rain or… well, water), so this little bit of play should never be an issue to me.
Then there’s the Seiko sized elephant in the room – DOES IT ALL LINE UP?! Well, mostly but not quite! The chapter ring marker at 12 o’clock is maybe half a mm off to the left when compared to the 12 o’clock marker on the dial, and the bezel lines-up with the chapter ring. The result is that yes it’s off, but do I notice in daily use? No, not really. Does it, in any way stop me enjoying this watch? No, not at all. Of course, your mileage may vary on this one, and I’m in no position to tell you whether this kind of QC is acceptable to you.
I’ll end this review back on that dial though, because it’s the single reason I bought this watch over any other turtle, and the single reason I think it’ll stay in the collection. That dial, those waves, those gorgeous blues, that hidden shark fin. I’m simply going to keep looking at this one, and then looking again. Then I’ll look once more to read the actual time! It’s going to keep making me smile, and for that reason alone, it comes highly recommended.