Seiko New Turtle: The watch with many faces

As a watch collector, especially as a Seiko fan it is obvious that I have a New Turtle in my collection. No surprise so far. But looking into my suitcase I see four of them?! How could that happen? Let’s have a closer look at the New Turtle. Expect some more pictures as usual…

In 2015 Seiko released the New Turtle. It was a remake of the 6309-7040, nicknamed Turtle because of the shape of its case. The 6309 sold in high numbers in the 80s. Today it’s a collector’s piece. It’s not difficult to find one, it’s difficult to get one with no aftermarket parts and in good condition. Prices for such pieces have crossed the 500 Euro line and are still rising – not as fast as the famous predecessor, the Willard – but rising. If you are interested please be sure to get an all-original one otherwise the value is rather low. My piece is an all-original from 1983.

6309-7040 from 1983 in original box

It is said, that the New Turtle was not the idea of Seiko Japan, but of Seiko Thailand. The new case is very similar to the original 6309 case, but slightly bigger. With 44mm in diameter it seems to be a big watch, but with a lug2lug size of 46mm it will fit almost any wrist, including female ones. The movement is the recent standard Seiko movement 4R36, handwinding, hacking, 21.600 bph, day-date wheel with the standard blue Saturday and red Sunday (I love this coloured weekend). Also the Turtles glow like flashlights in the dark thanks to the latest formula of Lumibrite (see picture of the bicolour Turtle)

The first batch included the classic black SRP777 (the only colour the 6309 was issued), the blue SRP773, the black-gold SRP775 and the Pepsi SRP779. A Coke (black-red)  SRP789 and a Batman (black-blue) SRP787 followed in no time. Soon there was a discussion about the Prospex X on the dial. My personal opinion: The X (or better a P/S for professional specifications) looks good on modern divers but not equal good on vintage inspired pieces. So I would have preferred a dial without the “X”, but I think we all got used to the sign right now…aren’t we?

It was in 2017 when I was looking for a new summer diver and the New Turtle was an obvious choice. I loved the case and I was especially looking for a Pepsi, so the SRP779 became my first Seiko ever.

New Turtle Pepsi SRP779

The New Turtle became an instant success and in 2017 Seiko released the first limited editions. The most famous one is the grey Zimbe Turtle, high valued by collectors. It’s a special watch because it was also the first Zimbe Edition ever. Today we have twelve Zimbe editions (you can read about Zimbe and the edition No. 11 here in my blog: https://michaelswatchblog.de/2019/10/12/the-red-side-of-life-seiko-shogun-zimbe-red-spb099/).

Other colours followed, some with gold cases, some totally black ones (Ninja Turtle) and other special coloured editions, for example the Blue Lagoon. You have to distinct two kind of editions: The real limited editions, which means there are a limited pieces of watches available (like the Zimbe) and the special editions, which means the watch is produced for a limited time (like the Save-the-Oceans). Many of the limited or the special editions are only available in some special countries (like the Zimbe in Thailand).

In 2018 Seiko announced a cooperation with Fabien Costeau, grandson of the the most famous explorer of the seven seas, Jaques Costeau. They made some special “Save-the-Oceans” editions including a New Turtle. The dial is a blue-black one with a special texture that resembles a whale’s skin. It was also in 2018 when some pieces with sunray dials appeared (SRPC-Series). And it was in this year, thanks to Seiko Germany, Europe gets his limited edition, the Grey Dawn (SRPD01), limited to 2018 pieces. It is still one of the most beautiful watches I have seen, so I had no choice to buy one. And it is still my favorite Turtle (second only to my 6309).

Dawn Gey, limited to 2018 pieces, Europe only

A few months later in 2019 I was looking for a bicolour black-gold watch. A favorite colour in the 80s bicolour watches became extremely out-fashioned in the last 30 years but the last two years they made a little revival. So if you want to buy a bicolour watch for some special moods and don’t want to spent much money, why not buy a third New Turtle? I replaced the bracelet with a bicolour one from Strapcode and the look was perfect.

Turtle Bicolour with Strapcode bracelet

In Spring 2019 Seiko released the third Save-the-Oceans edition (the second one was the same as the first but with a black case, a black bracelet and a slightly blacker colour of the dial) and I had the chance to put my fingers on a pre-release example on our Seiko get-together in May. Most other fellow collectors soon fell in love with this piece, I didn’t. Although it’s a really gorgeous piece with some thrilling details: the dial shows a little shark fin, the counterweight of the second hand resembles a shark fin and it has a bezel insert with engraved numbers and engraved round grooves. It’s a complete different insert, like no other insert from the New Turtles, because all others are flat. The model is called “Great White Shark” (SRPD21). And, well, it’s the same old story, sooner or later such special details catch me and so I added the fourth New Turtle to my collection only a few days ago.

Save the Oceans III

A last look at the straps: The New Turtle comes either with a steel bracelet or a black rubber (silicone) strap, depending on the model. Some limited editions have two straps in their box. The Grey Dawn for example comes with the steel bracelet and a grey rubber strap. The rubbers are soft and comfy but very dust attracting, so I don’t use them (replace it with the excellent strap of the New Arnie, if you like rubber). The steel bracelet is a really good one in its price range, having polished and brushed parts. It looks good on every New Turtle. Shortening is a bit difficult, so let your dealer do this. With a lugwidth of 22mm of course there is a universe of other straps for this watch and the drilled lugs support easy strap change. My Pepsi is on a Chevron Strap from Crown&Buckle and I don’t think I will ever change this perfect combo. The bicolour Turtle is on a Strapcode bracelet as mentioned, a too expensive choice to say the truth, but wanting a bicolour bracelet with fitting endlinks there is no much choice. The Grey Dawn and the Shark are on their original bracelets. I have seen the Grey Dawn on grey-orange Erikas and that’s a pefect choice too.

All for models are special in my eyes: The “fits every occasion” Pepsi, the special mood Bicolour, the noble and distinctive Grey Dawn and the colourful White Shark. So every piece has its place in my collection and my heart.

Do I think about a fifth New Turtle? Well, why not… The Ninja is in my mind and I am sure Seiko will continue with new versions. So have a look at the collection, if you don’t already have one. I am sure you will find a perfect piece of your choice of this watch of many faces.

My New Turtle family
Wristhshot Dawn Grey
Wristshot Bicolour
Wristshot Pepsi
Wristshot STO III
A stack of Turtles

4 thoughts on “Seiko New Turtle: The watch with many faces”

  1. Dear Micheal,

    Nice Entry – and very nice to read….

    As a fan of the “Save the Ocean” – Collection, kindly let me add my thougths to the Series 2: It’s not just a case with Black Hard Coating as the only difference. Also the beszel insert is now black/dark blue instead of dark-blue/blue. Maybe the bezel itself is also a little bit darker. Same as the Crown. But the most important thing is the dial. SEIKO managed it, that the dial seems to be the same, but it is also just minimal darker as the Series 1. The spaces in between the “waves” are now darker as before. It can be seen be best between the lines of the description “Automatic” and “Diver’s 200m”. Also this Turtle came along with a black metal bracelet instead of only a black rubber band as the Series 1.

    For me, this Turtle is the most underrated one.

    Like

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