HANDS ON: The Seiko Prospex Samurai Save The Ocean, Asia Special Edition SRPH43Fergus Nash
Seiko’s Save The Ocean series has now been around for about two years, with a very simple motive behind it. If nobody wants to go diving anymore, then who would need dive watches? Of course, the ethical drive behind removing marine debris and other conservation efforts goes much deeper than sales, but it is a harsh reality that climate change and pollution are rapidly destroying the earth’s beautiful reefs. The new Seiko SRPH43 is the latest addition to the Save The Ocean collection, shying away from anything as obviously niche as a stingray dial while still giving that oceanic feeling.
The main goal behind the design of the Asia Special Edition SRPH43 isn’t just to evoke the ocean, however, as it also provides an option to consumers who want the benefits of a watch with high-specifications without the hassle of DIY modifying, or even less convenient, paying someone else to do it. This King Samurai format has all of the parts a typical Seiko modder would instantly install, such as a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel, and a more interesting dial.
The specific inspiration behind the marine themes of the watch is that of a coral reef, with the burnt orange highlights on the dial text, seconds hand, and bezel markings representing coral organisms whose biodiversity is so important to the ocean’s ecosystems. The waffle dial and the supple accordion rubber diving strap are obviously meant to signify the water, however the matte texture introduces an interesting effect that lets the hue of blue shift in vibrancy.
It’s really a watch that is viewed best in sunlight, showing the depth of the dial as well as the glossiness of the zirconium ceramic bezel. Another special addition to this version of the Samurai is the date-magnifying cyclops, which adds just a tiny hint of luxury to an otherwise utilitarian watch.
There’s definitely a reason why the Seiko Samurai has formed the inspiration for a tonne of microbrand dive watches, being an indisputably modern design that still feels like it was crafted with a lot of thought and effort. The harsh angles draw your eyes into specific places in ways that traditional cases cannot, and while its presence is certainly massive on wrist, it won’t actually be too cumbersome for most people to comfortably wear. The 43.8mm diameter is tamed with a lug-to-lug length of only 48.7mm, which isn’t small by any standards, but it is ultimately wearable.
The width of those lugs give the case an almost cushion-like appearance, with the visually-sharp facets turning down quickly and trying its best to melt into the wrist. The shiny ceramic bezel compliments the dulled brushed-steel case, and the jumbo gold-toned crown extends past its guards to be easily gripped as it picks out the orange details.
For the people who modify Seiko divers, the movement is the one thing they will rarely touch. The 4R35 has well and truly been put through its paces over the years, its architecture essentially the same as the 7S26 movement that was released in 1996 but with the inclusion of hacking seconds and hand-winding functionality. It’s got a beat rate of 21,600vph and 41 hours of power reserve, and although the specified timekeeping range is fairly wide at -20/+40 seconds per day, they are generally much closer to -10/+10 and easy to adjust at home or with a trusted watchmaker.
The Seiko SRPH43 King Samurai is definitely a great option if you love the Seiko brand, but crave a few more bells and whistles than the standard Prospex lines offer. The ties to marine conservation efforts are also incredibly welcome, and it’s good to know that the planet can actually benefit somewhat from a new watch purchase.
Seiko SRPH43 King Samurai Price and Availability:
Seiko SRPH43 King Samurai is an Asia Special edition and is priced at $995 AUD.