Auch verfügbar auf Deutsch
For the 50th anniversary of Seiko Deutschland, the branch of the Japanese watch brand has come up with something very special: a limited special model, designed exclusively for the German-speaking market! Already at the end of July, I was allowed to take a first look at a pre-series model. I don’t want to promise too much, but loyal fans should not be disappointed….
50 Years of Seiko Germany
The Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko exists since the late 19th century. The family-run company finally achieved worldwide attention in 1969 with the construction of the first quartz watch ever. In 1972, three years later, the first German customers also had the pleasure of wearing the Japanese art of watchmaking on their wrists. Since then, Seiko has long since made a name for itself and established itself on the German market. Their watches stand for excellent quality, an excellent price-performance ratio and a broadly diversified segment from exciting entry-level watches to the upscale premium segment. The Japanese company’s unique selling point is based on its independence. The Group is not dependent on suppliers.
Even though some things may have changed over the past 50 Jahre, some things remain the same. Then as now, German Seiko devotees preferred to wear diving watches. The most exuberant range of divers can be found in the Prospex collection, immediately recognizable by the characteristic ‘X’, found under the center of the dial. I think if I had to explain Seiko to a newcomer, I would choose one of my Prospex models. In my opinion, the functionality, timeless design and good quality represent what I associate with the Japanese watch brand.
My collection actually already reveals what I have long suspected. With numerous news texts and watch reviews, Seiko is one of the most represented names on my blog. In my latest review, it was also a Prospex that I put through its paces.
A Turtle for the anniversary
So it should come as little surprise that a 50th Anniversary Seiko Deutschland watch comes from this family. Basically, the special model is based on a Seiko Turtle, the cult timepiece par excellence among fans. Apparently, the squat, pillowy case reminded some buyers of a turtle’s shell when they first saw the watch in department store windows in the late ’60s and early ’70s. The then-omnipotent temples of consumption were part of the standard repertoire of every pedestrian mall and were Seiko’s number one distribution channel, but perhaps the Turtle got its name from American soldiers. The robust diving watch with decent water resistance was extremely popular with the US military.
For a few years now, the watch has been on the market in its current new edition and serves the entry-level price segment. In early 2022, I took a close look at a Seiko Prospex Turtle Land Tortoise SRPH15K1.
Its troubled history has made the Turtle the watch it is today. It has kept its classic design and survived the department stores. Which model could be more suitable to hold up for the 50th anniversary?
An unboxing in black-red-gold
The black lid with the red border and the golden lettering already announces which country is celebrating an anniversary here. Until now I was skeptical. When I think of anything in the colors of the German flag, I inevitably think of various fan hats, scarves and painted faces that you see at most public viewing of the national team. But black-red-gold and a watch design – that has so far been beyond my imagination. Apparently not the designers, as the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition with the reference number SRPJ73K1 proves when I take it out of the box for the first time. According to Seiko Deutschland, the branch based in Willich near Düsseldorf worked closely with product development in Japan and was allowed to contribute plenty of their own ideas.
One of them was apparently the addition of a multitool. This is a kind of Swiss – sorry – a Japanese pocket knife. Only without several knife blades, but with interesting other gimmicks like pliers, screwdrivers and so on.
Die Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition SRPJ73K1 am Handgelenk
But back to the watch. On the wrist, the special edition limited to 500 pieces doesn’t look bad. As with the Turtle Land Tortoise, I like the compact diameter of just 42 millimeters, which makes the Prospex 50 Jahre of Seiko Deutschland SRPJ73K1 not seem unnecessarily bulky. Chunky is the cult design even so. The “hanging” crown is found without surprise at 4 o’clock, the dark steel band sits comfortably on the skin and the flat height of 12 millimeters gives the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland sportiness.
The watch plays to its strengths in the color scheme. Dark gray and gold tones dominate the majority of the dial. Especially the shimmering sunray dial knows how to please on the wrist. Somehow, it exudes retro charm. To complete the national flag, the subtle second hand was colored red.
However, if you don’t know the theme of the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre of Seiko Deutschland, you’d never think I was wearing a German watch. I like it. Patriotism is, after all, much less pronounced in our country than it is among US Americans, for example. Even without an occasion, this watch would cut a fine figure. Thoughts of a souvenir do not arise.
The Turtle case in detail
I’m happy about it and many other watch lovers will be too. The Hardlex glass – or rather its absence. Over the years, I could make friends with the practical mineral crystal, but I prefer high-quality sapphire anytime. And anyway: a limited edition would be unimaginable without sapphire crystal, in my opinion.
At its core, the Turtle case is made of stainless steel. Visible, on the other hand, is only the titanium carbide overlay that refines the case and gives it a worthy finish. The substance is a mixture of titanium and carbon and gives the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre of Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition SRPJ73K1 more hardness and resistance to external influences. That’s when you realize that we’re dealing with a Prospex watch whose field of application is to be located under water and other adverse conditions. Apart from micro scratches, you don’t have to handle the SRPJ73K1 with kid gloves.
The bracelet and bezel have also been refined with the titanium carbide coating. Instead of classic markings, we are now dealing with a compass bezel. I could not turn the bezel of the prototype yet. But according to Seiko, it should be bilaterally rotatable, just like on the Turtle Land Tortoise. Of course, this limits its usability as a diver’s watch, but improves the flexibility of the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition.
Want some more survival skills? Seiko has engraved so-called “Ground to Air Emergency Codes” on the case back. In an emergency, you’re supposed to form the indicated letters to communicate with rescue helicopters, for example. I wonder if my Denmark vacation will ever put me in such a situation? I hope not…
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the water resistance. This is a solid 20 bar and will make any recreational diver happy.
Let’s assume we have a movement….
The fact that the golden, very handy crown is located at 4 o’clock has no fashion background. In fact, it does not interfere with the back of the hand, which is good for wearing comfort. It can be turned on both sides to wind the movement. Since my specimen is still a dummy, the prototype has no built-in movement. The 500 series models, however, are equipped with a Seiko 4R35. The manufacture caliber is not unknown and is used in numerous mid-range series of the brand. With 21600 vibrations per hour and 23 jewels, it has a power reserve of 41 hours when fully wound. Not more than sufficient is the rate deviation of +/- 25 seconds per day. On the other hand, I would like to emphasize the robustness and longevity of the movement. It fits the sporty profile of the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition.
Dial and bracelet of the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition SRPJ73K1
Under the characteristic double index at 12 o’clock shines the gold-colored dial, whose sunray look is fantastic especially under sunlight. The arrangement of the indices and hands is perfect. This dial is easy to read and remains in the memory. The black, white and gold color combination is broken up by the red second hand. In the dark, bright Lumibrite luminous material illuminates the dial and further improves readability. A date window rounds out the main functions.
The bracelet picks up on the high-quality material selection of the case and doesn’t fall short in terms of workmanship either. The safety pushers of the folding clasp ensure hold.
My conclusion about the Seiko Prospex 50 Jahre Seiko Deutschland Limited Edition SRPJ73K1
The SRPJ73K1 is a worthy anniversary watch that has never been seen before in this form. Seiko’s Turtle, on the other hand, represents a constant that is impossible to imagine the world of the Japanese watch giant without. The combination of the classic shape and the exciting color scheme create a timepiece that will be remembered. Whether it will still be remembered in 50 years, that’s another question….
On the technical side, there are no big surprises, but nobody expected them. People just like the Turtle, perhaps also because it gets by without innovative functions, groundbreaking materials or a changed design. The 50th anniversary presents a watch that could hardly be more timeless.
Even if the 500 units are limited to the catchment area of Seiko Germany, you should be quick. You don’t have to be a soothsayer to predict that the watches will sell out in no time. The recommended retail price is 660 Euro.