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The anniversary year continues with the Seiko 5 Sports Bruce Lee SRPK39. On the occasion of its 55th birthday, the Japanese manufacturer presents the next limited special edition. You can’t deny the attractive design of the watch. But whether the sporty wristwatch can follow in the great footsteps of the martial arts movie legend, I want to find out…
Celebrating the anniversary
The 5 Sports celebrates an anniversary. Not a milestone birthday, but given the name of this sports watch, which is so important to Seiko, 55 is a much better choice than, let’s say, 50. And for us, this only means that we can look forward to further special models that the Japanese manufacturer will launch in 2023. The 5 Sports in particular has been known to serve Seiko as a playground for unusual cooperation models in the past.
For their latest special edition, the Japanese have looked to the legacy of Bruce Lee. And where the manufacturer is celebrating the 55th anniversary of its bestseller in 2023, fans are commemorating Bruce Lee on the 50th anniversary of his death. The point is round.
How Bruce Lee still fascinates us today
The fact that the icon of martial arts film, who lived to be only 32 years old, still has such tremendous charisma 50 years later is significant. Without question, we are dealing with one of, if not the greatest martial artist of the 20th century. His extraordinary talent, his groundbreaking career, his early death, and the memories of him in the collective memory have made him a figure with legendary status and a cult of his own. You can hardly find anything comparable anywhere in the world.
Certainly, the uproar surrounding the Lee/Seiko combination also has something to do with the fact that the star actor used to wear a 5 Sports on his wrist himself. You know how it is: the connection between a famous person and a watch is so close that we still associate a brand with a legend decades later. The spirit of Bruce Lee – it hovers over Seiko, so to speak.
SRPK39 – that’s the reference number of the new 5 Sports, whose design now pays tribute to Bruce Lee. Seiko wants to achieve this through individual details that allude to the icon. We’ll take a look at them in this watch review. Characteristic for a 5 Sports special model is in any case the limitation. 15,000 pieces were produced worldwide. And if the SRPK39 follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, the SRPK17K1, released in July, it too will sell out in no time. Besides the dedicated Seiko community, it will also be the Bruce Lee disciples who have the model on their radar. Will both target groups be satisfied?
My first impression
More than satisfactory in any case is the flat, black case with gold clasp, which looks quite something. It reminds me a bit of the Seiko 5 Sports Brian May SRPH80K. Yes, even the Queen guitarist has had his own 5 Sports dedicated to him. Once opened, the two different straps immediately catch the eye – a black leather strap with a bright interior including printing and a black and yellow textile strap, which I personally really like. The former is reminiscent of the clothing worn in kung fu, the latter of Bruce Lee’s iconic yellow training suit.
The first impression couldn’t be better and is confirmed when I turn the watch over for the first time and examine the dial. This dark, large-scale black optics with the engraved dragon and the indices edged in gold had already pleased me so much in the first photos. Of course, this is a matter of taste. But I personally find the reference even more beautiful than, for example, the SRPK05 and SRPK07, which were also released as part of the 55th anniversary.
The dial of the Seiko 5 Sports Bruce Lee SRPK39
The level of detail is high, accordingly there is a lot to discover. The symbolism centers around the engraved dragon on the dial. The image itself was drawn by Bruce Lee during his lifetime. His own life was also dominated by the dragon. “The little dragon” is also called the master of Kung Fu (born in the hour of the dragon on the day of the dragon in the year of the dragon). The image was very subtly and qualitatively incorporated into the dial, whose calm, confident appearance fascinates. Black on black with gold-colored outline of hands and indices – this also creates excellent readability. Let’s remember: the 5 Sports is and remains a functional tool watch.
But it’s not just the dragon that alludes to the legendary actor. Chinese characters have been engraved into the black polished bezel. They represent the spirit of Jeet Kune Do, his specially developed fighting style. Translated, they mean something like “no way is a way, no limit is a limit”.
Details of the case
5 Sports owners and enthusiasts can expect a lot of old familiarity at first when it comes to the case. After all, the Seiko 5 Sports Bruce Lee SRPK39 is a special edition, not a completely new model. Thus, we continue to rely on the familiar dimensions on the wrist: 42.50 millimeters in diameter and quite slim 13.40 millimeters in height. A black hard coating now makes the stainless steel case even more durable and long-lasting. Bruce Lee would have needed it!
Likewise the crown protection. With the classic placement of the crown at 4 o’clock, the wearer has more freedom on the wrist and enjoys more comfortable wear. The water resistance up to 10 bar is no longer a special highlight but is also one of the five key features that give the series its name. Here I can only repeat myself: the 5 Sports is a sporty watch, but just not a diver. If you are looking for that, you should take a look at the Prospex collection.
I also really like the dark tinted case back, through which you can see the automatic movement when you take a closer look. The Ying Yang symbol and the core symbol of Jeet Kune Do are printed on it. Hardlex glass protects the dial on the front.
4R36: the movement
The 5 Sports series is equipped with the in-house manufactured 4R36 automatic caliber, the key feature number four. In the mid three-digit price segment, it is often found anyway, then also often under the name NH35. Seiko specifies a power reserve of sufficient 41 hours. Besides hour, minute and second, there is also a double date complication, which shows the days of the week – key feature number five.
My conclusion about the Seiko 5 Sports Bruce Lee SRPK39
The Bruce Lee watch hits with full force and proves to be worthy of bearing his name. The fact that products bearing the martial artist’s name are a guarantee of quality is not a given. The eagerness to profit somewhat from the radiance of the legend is still great. So I’m all the more relieved that Seiko is presenting us with a model here that not only looks stunning, but is also really good. The foundation for this is laid by the solid collection, which offers good quality at a comparatively affordable price. A mix of flashy and more subtle references to Bruce Lee and his legacy will please fans.
However, it’s not only fans who come into question as the target group for the 15,000 pieces. Thanks to its high-quality design, which is also suitable for the masses, the Seiko 5 Sports Bruce Lee SRPK39 also appeals to people who don’t consider themselves hardcore fans.
Wherever you place yourself: if you want to buy one of the copies, you have to be quick. Currently, it looks like most of the quantity is already sold out. On the other hand, on markets like Chrono24, the offers from private sellers are rising in price. Originally, Seiko has called 520.00 euros for the model. If you still want to get your hands on it, you might have to pay 600 euros or more.
Below you will find all further information about the watch!