Review of the Seiko Padi Turtle SRPA21K1

I purchased this watch in Dec 2016 from Skywatches after the purchase of my Hamilton Pan Europ Automatic H35405741. To be honest, I always wanted this after selling my SRP779 (click here for the review), the Seiko Turtle with the red and blue bezel. This watch has a sunburst blue dial, red markings at the hours track and at the minute hand and is an upgrade over the SRP779. In addition, this is a Special Edition and is a collaboration with the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI).

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The Seiko Turtle SRPA21K1 which I purchased was a non-Japanese model and is part of the Seiko Prospex line of divers and has the ‘X’ on the dial. I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which was reliable. The blue and red bezel really makes the watch pop and give it a striking appearance. The SRPA21K1 (44.3mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the upgraded Seiko 4R36 movement, unlike some of the other lower-end Seiko 5s. It has the iconic cushion-style case which is reminiscent of the Seiko 6309s in the past. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand and a rotating bezel. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever. There are other models of this modern Turtle re-make. These include the SRP773, SRP775, SRP777, SRP779 and also the Seiko Padi Turtles, Green Turtles, Zimbe Turtles etc. Seiko is also releasing a Seiko Samurai Turtle in early 2017. The K series of the same watches are slightly cheaper but are supposedly of poorer built quality.

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Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 4R36 mechanical movements (42 hour power reserve) has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is extensive lume on the SRPPA21K1, comparable to some of Seiko’s other divers. The watch simply glows like a torch at night! This watch is certainly an upgrade from the SKX range, which uses the 7s movement. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason.

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The main reason why I found it so attractive was the tool-like nature of the watch and also because of the strong blue sunburst effect on the dial. My reasons are listed below:

The SRPA21K1 comes in a stainless steel case in a cushion style shape (about 48mm lug-to-lug) and a standard Seiko metal bracelet. I purchased the silicon Z-22 rubber strap (22mm) as it makes the watch feel lighter on the wrist. The rubber strap is extremely durable and supple and is extremely comfortable to wear. The metal keepers on the strap are also brushed and polished, creating a splendid visual effect. I prefer wearing the watch on the rubber strap as compared to the standard Seiko metal bracelet. This watch will also look good on Nato straps etc. The cushion shaped case sits nicely on the wrist and is well-built. I have worn the Turtle for extended periods of time and have not felt any wrist fatigue.

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The Seiko Turtle re-issue has been a great success as it closely inspired by the original Seiko 6309s. It is simply a tool watch which can be abused without the user worrying about it. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is pure black, with white fonts and markers. The Pepsi bezel is fully marked from 0 to 60. The Pepsi bezel is certainly popularized by the vintage Rolex GMT watches. For this version, there are also red accents on the hour markers and on the minute hand, giving it a playful look which the SRP779 did not have. The main draw is the blue sunburst dial and the way the dial catches the light is simply mesmerizing.

The SRPA21K1 is a dive watch with 200 meters water resistance and is secured by the screw-down crown. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is quite stealthy in nature due to the dull black colour on the dial and strap. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is easy to turn and there is little play in it. The bezel also aligns perfectly to the 12 o’clock mark. However, I have read reviews that some bezels might be stiff to turn and might not align perfectly too.

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The watch uses the Seiko 4R36 automatic movement, which is hand winding and has hacking capabilities. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous Prospex range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully wound. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. Hence, this watch suits me more than the SKX range. The automatic movement cannot be seen as there is a closed caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me.

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SRPA21K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough. The stainless steel caseback is engraved with the Air Diver logo and has a brushed finish.

Overall, I am impressed by how the watch looks. I have no issues with the weight of the watch. The Seiko Padi Turtle SRPA21K1 is a Special Edition entry level dive watch which is durable and can last for ages. It is something that is highly recommended and is much more affordable than Swiss watches. The watch is available in Singapore and retails for SGD 700+. You may consider purchasing it online via eBay or Amazon. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

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One thought on “Review of the Seiko Padi Turtle SRPA21K1

  1. Pingback: Review of the Seiko Turtle SRP779 | Book & Quote Monster

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