Don’t overlook Seiko’s stylish new Sleeper-Hit dive watches

At first glance, Seiko’s new diver’s watch might spark déjà vu – you’ve seen this case shape before in the famous “Turtle”, similar hands have graced a number of watches and these block indexes can probably be traced to the famous 62mas. But it’s not just a new hodgepodge of existing Seiko design cues: it’s one of the coolest new dive watches of the year. Here’s why.

The Basic Turtle is an absolute classic and one of the best dive watches you can get for your money. Seiko has riffed on it in many ways, resurrecting its vintage ancestors, offering versions with premium upgrades and, of course, in a range of color variants and limited editions. A much-neglected “Mini Turtle” offered that C-shaped case that gives it its nickname, but in a smaller package. The new watches combine many of these concepts in a refined and harmonious way.

Despite its large 45mm diameter, the standard Seiko Turtle is remarkably ergonomic and comfortable. Still, many people would appreciate this classic design in a smaller package. With a 41mm case, that’s what the new series delivers, and watch aficionados will know that 4mm makes a huge difference in how a watch fits. The best of all? They’re not only smaller in diameter, but also thinner, at just 12.3mm from the wrist, which isn’t bad for a diver’s watch.

The SPB313 is one of the three references that introduced the new series.

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While it offers the basic turtle case shape appeal, it’s not just a shrunken version. Those bold hands and block indexes nod to Seiko’s vintage favorites (and other modern watches inspired by them), and they’re integrated in a perfectly natural way. Like other watches in its price range, it has high-end features like sapphire crystal and runs on Seiko’s 6R35 automatic movement – also an upgrade from the 4R36 that powers lower-end watches like the standard Tortoise.

Is this the “ultimate” expression of the Seiko diver’s watch concept? We’re tempted to say this once in a while about the brand’s compelling regular releases, but for now we’ll just say it’s one of the most exciting of the year. (It would probably make even more of a splash if it weren’t watered down by even more compelling Seiko releases, like its super-affordable automatic GMT.) Sure, some might not like the date window at 4:30 but, hey, you may not please everyone.

At launch, the new watches come in three variations with a basic black dial (SPB317) on a rubber strap, while a black “gold” style dial (SPB315) and a white dial (SPB313) version come on steel bracelets. Pricing is $900 on a strap and $1,100 on a strap, and they’ll be available to buy from the brand starting in July 2022.

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About Robert L. Thomas

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