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Seiko Mini Turtle: Is It the New Generation SKX007?
Seiko Turtle, in itself, is already an iconic collection from the brand. The history of this collection dates back to 1976 with the 6306 and 6309 models. It met with success and became a massive hit, especially among collectors. However, there are plenty of watch enthusiasts who thought that the Seiko Turtle was a little too big. It measures around 44.3mm sans the crown. So, Seiko took it upon themselves to provide the market with a solution: The Seiko Mini Turtle.
However, as time went on and as the Japanese watch manufacturer ceased production of its iconic Seiko SKX007 watch, the Mini Turtle started grabbing people’s attention. Now, people believe that the watch is the brand’s effort not to recreate the Turtle into a smaller case but a replacement of the SKX007.
Let’s discuss the Seiko Mini Turtle and find out why and how people believe this theory. Was the watch really prematurely nicknamed by enthusiasts? Can it really live up to the SKX’s dive watch reputation? Read on to learn more.
Is Seiko Mini Turtle the New SKX007?
Honestly, it’s not an easy decision to make. What we know, however, is that the SKX007 is an iconic timepiece in itself. So, it will be really hard to follow up on that one. And as the proprietor of the watch, Seiko is and will always be putting out watches that will attempt to replace the SKX007.
There aren’t a lot of similarities between the two watches except maybe on some designs. Aside from that, everything else about the two watches is different. That said, it also feels quite unfair to align the Mini Turtle with the 2016 reissue of the Turtle. There are too many differences and they’re practically different watches. All things considered, the only reason that the Mini Turtle is called as such is because of the cushion shape of the case. At the end of the day, this case is the very reason why fans called the watches Turtle anyway.
What’s right about this watch, however, is that it has everything that SKX owners wish the SKX has. We’re talking about hand-winding and hacking features as well as applied markers. If you do see the similarities between the two watches then you’re not far off reality here. These are good reasons to believe that Seiko created the Mini Turtle as a successor to the SKX. However, it’s worth considering that the Seiko Mini Turtle is just another dive watch succeeding the SKX. Seiko has a catalogue full of them.
History of the Seiko Mini Turtle
To learn how the Seiko Mini Turtle came to be, we have to back to see the grandfather of Seiko dive watches. We’re talking about Seiko 6105. Many collectors call this the first-ever Turtle. The watch garnered attention on the wrist of Martin Sheen in the movie Apocalypse Now. The war film was a hit and in turn, the watch did become a hit as well.
The 6105 had a very noticeable style because of its large face. At the time, the market was filled with smaller watches. It measures around 41mm with a 19mm band. It also comes with a cushion shape that makes it stand out versus other dive watches of that time. During this time, the watch had no nickname. In fact, people only knew it as the Seiko watch that Martin Sheen wore.
Seiko 6306 and 6309
In 1976, Seiko launched the first Turtle, the 6306 model. However, the nickname Turtle only caught on with the launch of the 6309 model. This watch is a lot identical to its predecessor. However, there are differences that are vital to the watch. Firstly, the 6309 had a hacking movement. It also had a Kanji day wheel. Both of these are not present with the 6306.
The 6309 became easily associated with the 6105. However, the watches had different appeals. The similarities of the two lie in the cushion shape that makes the Turtle what it is. Aside from that, however, there’s nothing else that links the two. The 6309 had circular markers, while the 6105 had trapezoid markers. The 6309 also has a thicker band that became a more standard size of 21mm. It also helped that 6309 was way bigger than the 6105 at 44mm.
Generally, you will get a utilitarian feel to the watch, and for 12 years it was in production. Many people adored the watch and it became a collector’s must-have as well as a constant for professionals. The 6309, to this day, is a coveted piece that performs well on the vintage watch market.
Seiko Turtle Reissue
It took some time for Seiko to reissue the Turtle. In fact, it wasn’t long ago when Seiko launched the first-ever modern-day Turtle under the Seiko Prospex collection. The year was 2016 and various watch brands are making a profit off of reissued vintage models. So, Seiko did the same with the Turtle.
As expected, the new Turtle models had better materials and improved functionality. This reissued collection became one of the entry-level dive watches for the brand and that made it even more popular to the masses.
A lot of different models were launched as part of the collection. Its most popular model has to be the SRP777 as it bore great similarity with the first Turtle design. The watch had a black dial, as well as a black bezel. A black-gold combination also exists in the SRP775 model and a blue bezel model that’s SRP773.
Launch of the Seiko Mini Turtle
A year later, the brand seemingly heard the cries of fans who thought that the Seiko Turtle reissue models are too big. It makes sense especially since it is following the footsteps of a 44mm watch. It was a quiet launch and it didn’t carry the name “Mini Turtle” upon launch. The models were SRPC35K1, SRPC37K1, SRPC39K1, and SRPC41K1. Each and every watch from this little new collection is a dive watch.
Coming from the SRP series and with a cushion case, it bore great similarities to the Turtle. It also had hands that resemble the hands of larger Turtles like the 6309 and the SRP77x. However, that was it. Everything else about this watch is different. Either way, many eager fans still referred to this watch as the Mini Turtle and it had been called the same since.
However, as time went by, more and more people are starting to doubt the premature decision to call it a Mini Turtle. To understand this, let’s take a look at the watch’s specifications and features.
Seiko Mini Turtle Review
Size and Dimensions
There’s something about the way Seiko designs its watches that make large cases appear smaller and smaller ones aptly sized. It’s even more obvious with the Seiko Mini Turtle (or the Turtle series) due to the cushion shape of its case.
The mini turtle measures around 42mm. That’s 2mm smaller than the Turtle yet it looks just right on the wrist. It will have just the right presence when worn. Moreover, the cushion case doesn’t overwhelm the dial of the watch. Lug to lug, it measures around 43mm and that’s just the right size especially for a dive watch. The lug width of this watch, on the other hand, measures 20mm. This has become the standard size for lugs. So, if you do want to change your strap or bracelet in any way, it will be easy with this size. Not to mention, the lug holes are drilled!
The watch isn’t very slim but it’s not too thick either. It sits at around 13mm from the wrist. Due to its size, it’s a very well-proportioned watch. You can wear it just about anywhere and it slides under the shirt cuff with ease. If you’re thinking of gifting this watch, then you’re in the right place. Because of its dimensions, it will easily fit most wrist sizes.
The 3 O’Clock Crown
This is a solidly built watch with high-quality stainless steel. The sizes of the case have a brushed finish. Then, it drops off and slopes into the wrist. It has very high-polished surfaces that give it a great luxurious feel.
One of the many differences between the 2016 Turtles and the Mini Turtle is the position of the crown. Naturally, dive watches should have a 4 o’clock crown because it’s a lot easier to operate especially with a wetsuit on, underwater. However, the Seiko Mini Turtle’s crown sits right at 3 o’clock just like with any other watch. It also doesn’t come with crown guards.
Many collectors say that this is a downside to the watch, especially to dive watch enthusiasts. However, if you’re buying this watch as an everyday companion, then this shouldn’t be a problem. The crown works great as it screws and unscrews very easily. Plus, it’s enjoyable to wind the watch’s 4R35 movement. More on this movement later.
This watch has 200 metres of water-resistance, which is basic for any dive watch.
As for the bezel of this watch, this should be familiar to you if you own an SKX watch. See it yet? Yes, it has the same layout as the SKX series, which adds to the point on why it must be an SKX follow-up.
When it comes to functionality, Seiko didn’t hold back on this watch. Despite it being an entry-level watch, its function is just as great as other watches. You’ll get good feedback once you turn the bezel and the back play on is almost unnoticeable.
The face of the watch is great, especially if you want something that is extremely legible. It has applied markers shaped like tombstones. The Lumibrite on the watch is also very generous so you can definitely see anything in the dark. Surrounding the markers is a silver outline that gives the dial really great dimensions.
Moving on to the hands, they’re almost comparable to the hands you can find on the SKX007 or SKX009 series. If you own these watches, this detail should strike you as well. This makes the watch ultimately a familiar item to those fond of the SKX watches.
Perhaps, another controversial part of the watch is the cyclops over the date. We know how the 3 o’clock dial already sparked conversations on forums, but this one is another point of contention. Not everyone is a fan of a cyclops date and you would think that with a 42mm case, you should be able to read the date just fine without it. However, personally, the cyclops is a great aid, especially to those with poor vision. Even if you have a 20/20 vision, you’ll most likely enjoy the ease the cyclops provides.
If it’s still a no for you with the cyclops, then you can always have it removed or remove it yourself. There are different ways to do that and steps are easily searchable online.
To add to the difference between the Turtle and the Mini Turtle, we have the movement that powers the watch. The Seiko Mini Turtle functions with the 4R35 movement from the brand. Even if you’re not a watch enthusiast, you would know why it’s different due to the visible change on the dial.
The 4R35 is a date-only movement so it effectively eliminated the day wheel as seen on the 2016 Turtles. Aside from this function, everything else about the 4R35 doesn’t differ from the 4R36. This calibre also vibrates at 21,600 beats per hour. That’s equivalent to 3 Hz. It’s also an automatic movement that allows hand winding and hacking. Similarly, you’ll get around 41 hours of power reserve with this movement. However, since the movement doesn’t have a day wheel complication, it only has 23 jewels.
Based on Seiko’s given specifications, the accuracy rating for this watch sits around-35/+45 seconds a day. However, if you can test this yourself, you would know that the Mini Turtle is actually a lot more accurate than that.
The price of this watch sits around 400 USD brand new. Of course, it differs depending on the colourway you choose or the bracelet you opt for. That’s about the same price point as an SKX. However, the second-hand market flocks with its price reduced to up to a half.
All photos courtesy of Seiko.