Today I am diving into the newest version of the Seiko Turtle, the SRPE93. It really should just be called a slightly updated Turtle because other than a new lume marker at 3 O’clock, the watch is identical to the Seiko SRP777.
In the landscape of automatic watches, I think the Seiko SRPE93 might just offer the best all-around value for a watch. There are some cheaper automatic divers out there, but only some bring authentic heritage and history to the table at this price point. I picked up my SRPE93 for $323 during this year’s Black Friday (2022). A few days later, the price bounced around again, but frame my opinions in this review with the fact I only spent $323 on the watch, and you will quickly see why it’s just all that much more awesome! The modern Seiko Turtle still keeps that “affordable ruggedness” spirit while so many of the watches in the Seiko catalog are skyrocketing in price.
I am a huge Seiko Turtle fan, so you can expect that this will be a positive review. Not that the Turtle doesn’t have a few faults, but they are minor and can be fixed with a few mods on your own.
I wasn’t always a Turtle fanatic, however. This is the perfect example of how a watch’s size may seem big on paper but not on the wrist. Early on, the 45 MM case size of the Seiko SRP777 seemed like it would be giant on my 7.5″ wrist. Also, as I started getting more and more into watches, the Turtle had a slightly outdated look. Little did I know that was the point and one of the traits that would forever endear me to all Turtles from now on.
A Big Watch On Paper, But Not On The Wrist
The reason the Turtle wears so well is it has a very short lug-to-lug span; the distance across the watch to each of the lugs is only 48mm. This makes the watch melt into your wrist and wears much smaller than the specs would lead you to believe. Because of the short lug to lug, no part of the watch hangs over your wrist in all but the smallest circumference situations.
The Seiko SKX009 vs.The Seiko SRP777
I bought my first Turtle on a whim; I was getting more and more into watches and was on a dive watch kick. The SKX was still all the rage, but the non-hacking movement irked me, and the prices of the SKX were steadily climbing. So the Turtle seemed like a way better value back then and even more so today. I looked up my Amazon history, and I bought the Seiko Turtle SRP777 in November of 2018, so I have had a lot of first-hand experience with it.
Another reason why the Turtle is gaining in popularity is it’s still a very attainable watch for the average person. It’s not the cheapest automatic diver out there, but the Turtle is an outstanding value. Originally, I did not really like the SKX, but I was drawn into the allure of the watch the more YouTube videos I watched. You can’t really be a watch nerd if you don’t love the SKX. I still think the Orient Mako is a way better watch, but the SKX really is in a whole earlier generation of dive watches, and Seiko rode that horse as long as they possibly could. Similarly, I never really looked at the Turtle all that much, and then one day, poof, I wanted one desperately.
A lot has been written about the history of the Turtle, its predecessors, the 6306 and the 6309, and the impact it has had on the watch world. I will skip over all of that, and you can Google “Seiko Turtle History” and read to your heart’s content.
Seiko Has History On Its Side
You may hear phrases like “history,” “heritage,” or “pedigree” when people talk about watches. What they are referring to is the backstory and legacy of a watch brand or model. There are absolutely amazing microbrand watches out there right now that absolutely crush the competition in value and specifications; on paper, and they are unbeatable.
However, where these watches fall short is in the backstory of the manufacturer or specific model history. You can buy a $300 Spinnaker that is a far superior watch in materials and specs, but it will still just be a no-name micro brand trying to carve out market share. Martin Sheen wasn’t wearing a Spinnaker in Apocalypse Now! I know Spinnaker wasn’t around back then, but you get my point.
So, it’s this saga and past narrative of Seiko Divers that shape the brand and the modern Turtle we have today. You get all that for less than $400, and that is pretty cool.
If I have an SRP777, why would you buy another, you ask? Because I am nuts, and also, I wanted a Turtle to leave on a Nato strap all the time. Yes, I am so crazy that I will own multiple of the same watch just so I don’t have to change straps and bracelets and, of course, to have additional colors!
The Seiko Turtle Is The Ultimate Beater Watch
I also use my SRP777 as my go-to beater watch. It’s been camping, fishing, vacations, to the pick-n’ pull junkyard, date nights, casual Fridays, and countless DIY weekend adventures. It wears all the scuffs and scratches with pride and never lets me down. One reason it’s so durable is its cushion case design. The case is proud of the bezel and offers some side-to-side protection from knocks and bumps.
I often recommend the Seiko Turtle as one of the most durable automatic watches around, and after countless excursions with mine, I can stand behind that recommendation with confidence.
Why Did Seiko Release The SRPE93 Model?
I mentioned the lume marker above; in 2018, the ISO certifications were updated to include lume at all hour markers. The Seiko SRP777 Turtle did not have any lume at 3 O’clock where the day/date wheel was. Many Seiko Prospex divers have been updated to keep the ISO certifications.
Despite the watch’s popularity, I have only ever seen one other Turtle in the wild in my entire life. So, even though a lot of people wear Seiko watches, I don’t think you will bump into many Turtles if you’re wearing yours around. I often wonder who buys all these watches! All I see are Apple Watches and basic Timex from Walmart on the wrists of most people.
What Makes The Turtle So Special?
The appeal for me is the simple, rugged vibe the watch gives off. It’s a pure dive watch with some old-school flair; it’s something no-nonsense yet still has a cool factor when it’s on the wrist and all of this makes it fly under the radar. You have to know the history to know how cool it is. It doesn’t draw any unnecessary attention, yet it is always there, ready for action. Personally, I wouldn’t say I like to look too flashy, and the Seiko SRPE93 and older Turtles have a very unpretentious look to them. They are dive watches but have no resemblance to a Rolex or other heavy hitters like a Blancpain, etc.
The Seiko Turtle is the Ultimate In Versatility
Other than the most formal situations, the Turtle can really be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. The SRP777 is not my only Turtle, and I have a Pepsi version on a bracelet that looks so cool and easily compliments any “dress casual” attire. I also think a dive watch looks cool on a leather strap, and that expands the usability of the watch.
How Is The SEIKO SRPE93 On The Wrist?
I’ve been talking about Turtles, but not much about the SRPE93, so let’s drill down on this latest version of my beloved Seiko series. I mentioned a few areas for improvement, and Seiko once again opted to use their Hardlex crystal rather than real sapphire. Yeah, I get the Hardlex is more durable and all, but I love the clarity and clear depth to the dial a sapphire crystal gives. For all my abuse with thee, I have never really scratched the Hardlex, so you don’t need to worry about longevity; it’s just a sapphire crystal looks so much more refined.
The watch is very unassuming, but I still wish Seiko would have gone with a signed crown. Now the crown action is superb and probably the best of any Seiko I own. The heavy knurling is easy to grip, and it screws down and unwinds securely and with ease. It is very hard to cross-thread these crowns, and the lock-up is very secure.
More Seiko SRPE93 Watch Specifications
The bezel on the SRPE93 is an aluminum insert and helps keep that old-school look to it. The bezel action is excellent and has a very tactile feel. My particular unit has an utterly perfect bezel alignment at 12 O’clock. Seiko has become infamous for having misaligned bezels. I haven’t really seen these on my Seiko watches, but search online for them, and you will see the complaints.
If you can’t live without sapphire and ceramic, the King Turtles are the way to go. They not only have the sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel but a very cool etched dial. The King Turtles also add a candy bar, cyclops, which looks atrocious to me, but others really like it. The really big visual upgrade on the King Turtle is the bezel. It has a different knurling pattern that looks more like a brick wall and is so good-looking!
The stock Seiko SRPE93 comes on a rubber Seiko strap. It’s one of the best rubber straps on a watch with a stainless steel branded keeper, a beautifully finished buckle, and a smooth buttery feel to the rubber.
The Seiko 4R36 Movement Inside The SRPE93
Inside, the Seiko SRPE93 uses the newer workhorse 4R36 movement. This movement is insanely accurate, with hardly any lag in timekeeping. My Seiko SPB149 with the 70-hour power reserve 6R35 is horrible. It gains almost 20 seconds per day…every day! I have a few others with the 6R35, and they aren’t much better. I personally think the 4R36 is a ton better. It only has a 40-hour power reserve, but I can easily live with that, and it’s better accuracy.
The Seiko SRPE93 Is A Well Rounded Diver You Need In Your Collection
The newest version of the Seiko Turtle is a fantastic watch! It has all the history and heritage you could want to be wrapped up into a surprisingly affordable dive watch. It ticks all the boxes for a durable, fun automatic watch and is just about as perfect of a watch as you’re going to get at this price point.
The Turtle is one of those watches that many “watch nerds” or lunatics purchase at least once. Many keep them, and some will pass them along or sell them off because it wasn’t their cup of tea, but as a self-professed to-watch nut, you need to add a Turtle to your collection, even if it’s only for a little while.
FAQs About The Seiko Turtle
I put together some common questions about the Seiko Turtle and its history. As I write this, I currently own seven Seiko Turtles and two Seiko Turtle clones. I love them, and while I am not a horological savant, I know a lot about watches and the Seiko brand.
Is The SEIKO Turtle A Good Watch?
The Seiko Turtle is the most versatile and rugged dive watch on the market for under $400. It packs a huge amount of value and heritage in a very affordable package. The Turtle is not just good, and it’s actually great. If you’re into watches, a Turtle must be in your collection. These are also good options for giving a watch as a gift.
Why Is The Seiko Turtle So Popular?
The new Seiko Turle carries over the original shape and style of the Seiko Turtle from the 1980s, which was much loved. It’s a fantastic dive watch with a rich history of accomplishments. From diving adventures to movie cameos, the Seiko Turtle is part of pop culture as well as watch culture. The simple answer is the Seiko Turtle is just a cool watch that appeals to many fans!
How Long Will A Seiko Turtle Last?
A Seiko Turtle will run trouble-free for well over ten years and even more. Despite what message boards and Facebook experts want to say, most mechanical watches do not need much maintenance over the years. In the case of the Turtle, the movement is robust and not that technician, so it needs less upkeep than other, more complicated movements.
Is The Seiko King Turtle Worth It?
Yes, the Seiko King Turtle is worth the extra cost. The King Turtle adds a sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel, and upgraded dial, plus a candy bar cyclops. While you could add these items to your watch on your own, the additional cost of upgrading parts and labor would exceed the cost of a King Turtle. If you really want sapphire crystal, buy the King Turtle.
Seiko SRPE93 Turtle vs. Seiko SRPE05 King Turtle
What is the difference between the Seiko Turtle and the King Turtle? For about $120 more than a regular Turtle, the Seiko King Turtle has several very nice upgrades that include a sapphire crystal, cyclops, ceramic bezel insert, an etched pattern dial, and a beautiful bezel. It would cost you as much as the watch itself to mod a base Turtle to have these features. The King Turtles are definitely worth the money!
Which Is Better: A Seiko Turtle or a Seiko Samurai?
Other than the watch case shape, the Turtle and Samurai are identical watches, so it comes down to pure ascetics. Which one appeals to you more? The Samurai is a bit bigger on the wrists, but even with its size, it still wears remarkably small.
Some Other Seiko Divers Worth Looking At:
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.