Seiko Save the Ocean Watches: Saving Our Seas One Watch at a Time
Seiko is, without a doubt, one of the biggest players in the watch industry. While their timepieces don’t necessarily align with Swiss luxury watch brands such as Rolex, Omega, or Patek Philippe, Seiko remains a popular choice among collectors and professionals. The brand’s tool watches rise to the top as the most affordable in these categories. Moreover, Seiko watches are produced with the protection of the environment in mind, in particular through the Seiko Save the Ocean series.
As its name suggests, the Seiko Save the Ocean series includes Seiko Prospex dive watches. In collaboration with ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau, the brand came up with timepieces that help in the conservation of the oceans through part of the watches’ sales proceeds. But before we get into the collection, let’s first get to know the purpose of this collection, as well as Seiko ambassador Fabien Cousteau.
Who is Fabien Cousteau?
Seiko Prospex dive ambassador, cosmonaut, and ocean conservationist Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, who is a legendary filmmaker and scientist. Jacques Cousteau pioneered marine conservation and received the UN International Environment prize in 1977. In the 1960s, Jacques Cousteau amazed the world when he reached the deepest part of the ocean at 10,915 metres. Following his footsteps, Fabien Coutaeu takes the same path.
Fabien continues his grandfather’s legacy by working with brands that share the same values as he and his grandfather. And there’s no brand more perfect to do this than Seiko. Fast forward to 2016, Fabien Cousteau founded the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre. The organisation helps bring a positive for our oceans around the world. This programme is the beneficiary of the Seiko Save the Ocean collection. Seiko does this by giving a portion of the sales of Save the Ocean watches to the foundation.
How the collection came about is not well-documented but as stories go, it came out on a marketing meeting that didn’t necessarily concern watches or the ocean. The Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre only aims to produce a fund-raiser that will help with their goals. Lo and behold, the first Save the Ocean watch came to light in 2018, the Seiko Prospex ‘Save The Ocean’ SRPC91K1 Edition.
Seiko Save the Ocean Series
The Save the Ocean collection comes with three core models that are well-known under the Prospex family. Firstly, the Turtle and then, the Samurai. Lastly, it also involves a solar-powered chronograph.
Upon its launch, there are a total of seven Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean watches. Specifically, there were three Seiko Turtle, two Seiko Samurai, and two solar chronograph watches in the roster. Every model also comes with either a stainless steel or black PVD coated case. On the other hand, the Turtle features an additional iteration that is available with a black PVD-coated bracelet. However, in 2020, the Save the Ocean expanded by introducing two more watches in the collection with some improvements that delight collectors and professionals alike.
In 2020, Seiko launched two Seiko Samurai Save the Ocean watches and two more Seiko Turtle Save the Ocean watches. These watches feature an updated dial design. Let’s take a look at each of these watches!
Seiko ‘Save the Ocean’ Prospex Turtle Special Edition Watches
1. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Turtle SRPC91K1
The first among the Prospex Save the Ocean watches, this Turtle features a design that’s one for the books. The design of this watch most likely takes from the trend set by the Rolex Deepsea D-Blue watch. It features a gradient dial that became popular in recent years. The timepiece was built to commemorate James Cameron’s historic dive to Challenger Deep. Seiko, however, takes this trend to a whole new depth by making it way more affordable than its luxury counterpart. With 200 metres of water-resistance, it surely is one of the more affordable ones in the market.Dial
The dial of the Seiko Save the Ocean SRPC91K1 watch — and basically all the first-generation Save the Ocean watches — features not only a wonderful fade from light to dark, almost black, blue but also a texturised dial. The dial is graduated with horizontal lines that don’t show a perfect parallel. Looking at it from a distance, this dial surely displays a more subtle take on ocean waves that is unlike the Omega Seamaster Professional 300.
The dial of this watch gets mixed reviews, but it truly encapsulates the energy this watch wants to give off. It is made for the ocean, after all. It’s perfect for diving as you watch the dial lose light as you descend on the water with it. In general, this watch features a pretty interesting dial design especially given the purpose behind it. Aside from this part, however, the dial remains loyal to the classic Seiko Turtle design. It’s a well-balanced watch with a large dial and applied hour markers. The trademark Seiko hands are also present, rimmed in steel, and include the brand’s reliable Lumibrite luminescent material. The day/date window at 3 o’clock is still in the standard white on black colour as expected from every Turtle watch.Case
This watch comes in a 45mm case made of stainless steel. Protecting the dial is a Hardlex crystal and it features a unidirectional bezel. The Hardlex crystal, which is Seiko’s own mineral material, gives a crystal clear view of the dial and works best for watches at this price point. Either way, if it gets scratched, it can always be easily replaced. As we all know, mods are nothing new to Seiko watches. A lot of collectors replace this Hardlex crystal with sapphire crystal after-sales. This gives it a more premium feel. The design of the 120-click bezel, on the other hand, is pretty simple and typical in this series. Looking at the bezel, the insert noticeably has two colours. Firstly, it has a light blue shade for the first 20 minutes then a darker blue for the rest.Movement
Powering this timepiece and the other Seiko Turtle Save the Ocean watches is the 4R36 calibre movement. This calibre is made by Seiko itself with 25 jewels and 41 hours of power reserve. The movement also beats at 21,600 beats per minute. The accuracy of this timepiece goes between +45 and -35 seconds per day. If you’re looking for a faster beat, you would want to take a look at Seiko’s Hi-Beat selection that is on the more expensive spectrum. But the 4R36 calibre isn’t bad for a watch like this one. It provides the features’ functions just as well and doesn’t require maintenance that could cost more than the watch itself.
2. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Turtle SRPD11K1
There isn’t much difference between the SRPC91K1 and the Seiko Save the Ocean SRPD11K1 watch. But however small the difference is, the two will always seem like two different watches at first glance. This is mainly because of the black PVD coating on the stainless steel case of the SRPD91K1. It also features the same black PVD coating on the steel three-fold clasp bracelet it comes with versus the rubber strap of the SRPD91K1. The bezel insert of this watch also differs as it features the colour blue for the first 20 minutes and black for the rest. Other than these, there’s not much that sets the two watches apart.
3. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Turtle SNE518P1 Solar
On the other hand, the Seiko Save the Ocean SNE518P1 watch feels like a different watch in itself. However, it’s still a Turtle Save the Ocean watch and needs to be categorised as such. Firstly, this watch comes with a 46.7mm stainless steel case coated with black PVD. Just like the first two Save the Ocean Turtle watches we discussed, this timepiece also features a Hardlex crystal and a unidirectional bezel. Just like the bezel insert of the SRPD91K1, the SNE518P1 features a blue colour for the first 20 minutes and a darker shade for the rest.
One of the main differences, however, as its name suggests — is the fact that this is a solar-powered watch. Seiko’s V157 Solar Quartz powers this watch. It works decently as well with an accuracy of about ±15 seconds per month. It also comes with a black strap, perfect for diving.
4. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Turtle SRPE39K1
Released in 2020, there are a few improvements on this Save the Ocean Turtle watch. Firstly, there is a noticeable change in the design of the dial, with the addition of the manta rays. The horizontal lines also seem to have been replaced by a more texturised dial that displays a more accurate ocean feel than its predecessor. Moreover, this watch gets a ceramic bezel instead of an aluminium insert bezel that proves popular among watch enthusiasts as of late.
Seiko ‘Save the Ocean’ Prospex Samurai Special-Edition Watches
1. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Samurai SRPC93K1
Right of the bat, the Seiko Save the Ocean SRPC93K1 features the similar Save the Ocean dial from the first Turtle Save the Ocean watch. It has a blue gradient with horizontal lines that mimic ocean waves albeit in an abstract manner. Aside from this feature, we’re looking at a typical Seiko Samurai watch.
Firstly, it still has that 44mm angular case that the Samurai is known for. But don’t be fooled. The case isn’t the reason this watch got the name Samurai, but it’s a common misconception. Instead, the name Samurai comes from the sword-shaped hands found on the first Samurai. On this watch, however, we’re looking at the similar rocket hands seen on the Seiko Monster. So, with this watch, and the new Samurai watches that follow, it’s expected that the angular case is the very reason for its name.
The first 15 minutes of this watch’s bezel shows a lighter colour of blue and turns dark for the rest of the bezel. This is different from the Save the Ocean Turtle’s design.
Now the question rests, what difference are we actually expecting from the function of the Turtle and the Samurai? The answer is, not much. In fact, the only difference is that the Samurai functions with the Seiko 4R35 calibre movement. This movement features a similar 21,600 vibrations per hour and a strong 41 hours of power reserve. The only difference is that this is a date-only movement, unlike the 4R36 that also displays the day.
For the bracelet of this variant, we’re not getting a rubber strap but we’re looking at a three-link stainless steel bracelet that comes with a two-step clasp. It’s pretty much a watch you can take to work with without having to worry about it fitting in.
2. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Samurai SRPD09K1
Now, just like the first two Turtles we discussed, the same idea applies to these Samurai watches. There isn’t much difference. They’re essentially the same watch – only looking different. So, what do we expect from the SRPD09K1 Save the Ocean? Right of the bat, we’re treated with the watch’s black PVD coating that makes it look extra sleek. It also comes with a rubber strap so if you’re looking for a Samurai with a rubber strap, this is the one for you. The bezel insert also features the colours blue for the first 15 minutes and black for the next 45 minutes. Aside from those, we get the same movement and function as the SRPC93K1.
3. Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Samurai SRPE33K1
For the 2020 edition of this watch, we’re looking at the same Samurai, only with some improvements that are surely advantageous if anything. Just like the 2020 Save the Ocean Turtle, the Samurai also features a ceramic bezel, as well as a new dial design featuring the manta rays.
Seiko ‘Save the Ocean’ Prospex Solar Chronograph Special-Edition Watches
Seiko Save the Ocean Prospex Solar Chronograph SSC675P1 & SSC701P1
It’s not a Seiko collection without the addition of chronograph watches. There really isn’t much difference between the SSC675P1 and the SSC701P1. Firstly, they are both powered by the V157 Solar Quartz movement from Seiko with a similar design from the first generation Save the Ocean watches. They also have 200 metres of water-resistance and a Hardlex crystal to protect the dial. But this watch comes with a chronograph function, featuring a central chronograph second counter, 60 minute counter, and a 24-hour chronograph hand. They both come in stainless steel with the SSC701P1 coated with black PVD and a rubber strap.
Perhaps, we can agree that this watch is more than just a Seiko dive watch. It’s one with a heart and helps conserve the oceans that surround us. Purchasing this timepiece means helping in furthering the mission that Cousteau started. Lucky for us, there’s not much to choose from among the Save the Ocean watches. If you need a chronograph, there are only two to choose from and they only vary in colours, and so on. This collection remains grounded in its design principles as it is with its purpose.
All photos courtesy of Seiko.