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Introducing the new Turtle, or, as I like to call it, the Micro-Smasher:



The most disconcerting image I could grab from Google Images

But more on that later.

Late last year, the Japanese-watch collecting community--if it can be called a community--was roiled by some spy shots and later the official news that Seiko was going to reissue the venerable 6309, which they sold by the billions and billions back in the 1970s. Beloved by vintage collectors, there are still many 6309s out there, still running. So, being the retro-freak that I am, I was able to grab one from Watches88 out of KL, and got it in about a week:



This one is, in official Seiko-speak, the SRP779K1, their newest member of the Prospex line. And I'll get right to the point--forget about reissue, or retro, or whatever. This is one of the finest dive watches you can get for less than the Sumo, and the Sumo's pretty goddamned good.

Size-wise, the new 779 is pretty close to the old 6309 (from what I've read, I don't own a 6309 for comparison.) The 779 measures 44.75mm 3-9, 48.6mm including crown, 47.5mm lug to lug, and 13.2mm thick. Lug width is 22mm (the supplied rubber strap flares a bit at the lugs to 24mm and tapers to 20mm at the end of the tongue.) A noted Australian collector, who's also a serious amateur diver and a Communist, claimed in one of the fora that the Turtle wears a lot like a 007; I figured that this was lunacy, and that the nitrogen bubbles had finally found their way to his brain. But, he was right! The Turtle, for all its size, sits on the wrist (at least on the strap) very similar to the Seiko 007.

The dial on the 779 is black as my soul:



With nice big hour markers and a handset that looks just like the 6309. Both the markers and hands are well filled with Lumabrite. The new Prospex "X" is pretty pronounced, and there's been some grumbling about that, but if the dial appealed to everybody, it wouldn't be a Seiko. The seconds hand is very thin and silver, making it a little hard to make out against the dial, but the lume pip (just like the 007) is on the tail-end of it, so you can easily tell if the watch is running. The day/date window is slightly bevelled, and the date change is pretty leisurely, starting around 10:45PM and fully changed just before midnight. The day wheel changes sometime later, but I haven't been awake to see it.

The case itself, with the cool retro cushion shape, is well made and finished, although it doesn't have the nicely honed edges and finishes like the Sumo. The polishing on the side is good, and you can see your face reflected in it pretty well. The crown, at the traditional Japanese-style 4 o'clock, is easy to use, protected by the case, and--sure to cause heartburn to many Seiko collectors--unsigned:





The crown seats down with about four turns; winding and timesetting is smooth, although the different positions you have to pop it out to set the time and date seem a bit less than crisp. The bezel, in the cool Pepsi-style, is very good; it clicks 120 times, is pretty smooth with just a touch of backplay, and lines up perfectly with the hour markers. The gnurling on the grip isn't extremely deep, and doesn't look as well machined as it should; the grip is OK, but using it while wearing gloves might prove difficult. Interestingly, the area around the bezel pip on mine seems perfectly OK:



The movement inside is the 4R36, the newest Seiko budget movement. To say that its a stepup from the 7S36 is an understatement. I've owned a lot of watches powered by the old 7S, and they tended to be surprisingly inaccurate and, without hacking or handwinding, a pain to use. The 4R both hacks and handwinds, and is, at least in this Turtle, very accurate indeed; mine runs on average about -1.5 seconds a day. This isn't something every Turtle owner might expect, but somebody's got to win the Powerball.

The strap on the 779 is superb, although, as you can tell from my pics, something of a lint-magnet. It's far more supple and soft than the old 007's rubber, and to me, it feels like a combination of rubber and silicone. It's slick on top but has a nice grain un the underside:



The keeper is nicely made, too, just the right size to do the job and well bevelled and finished:



On the wrist, the 779 fits great--here it is on my 6.75 inch wrist:



And it sits nice and low to the wrist, too:



The lume is brilliant, as you'd come to expect from Seiko:



While isn't not quiet as bright as it is on the Monster or the MM300, it's plenty bright enough to pass my patented quick-glance-inside-a-dark-car test, lasts all night, and makes the 779 legible in any lighting.

Back to the gag I started this review with: why do I call the 779 the Micro-Smasher? Well, there are plenty of microbrands that use the same movement as you get in the Turtle, without the very fine case surrounding it, without the superb strap, without the great dial-work or handset; and then they charge twice as much as you can buy the Turtle, and they become the brand of the month. Here's an idea--you want a dive watch with a Seiko 4R36 inside, why not just buy a Seiko? In particular, this Seiko. This would be a great watch to give a guy who's not a WIS--the size is wearable, it'll probably last for twenty years without a service, and it's accurate. For the small price I paid for this watch (around $350 USD) the amount of value here is remarkable. Forget the micros, the 779 kills the hell out of 'em then goes out for pizza.

In short, Seiko knocked this one so far out of the park it's not even a joke. Make turtle jokes all you want, but don't laugh at this watch.
 

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I always enjoy reading your review! Thanks for sharing! |>
 
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Spot on-- the only reissue I'm lacking is the Pepsi but those seem a little hard to come by at the momment! Well Done and congrats!
 

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Nice article! This watch is on my list.........but I'm going to be patient, and wait for the prices to fall.
 

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Thanks for review! Especially for wrist picture from side. Hope that it will sit on my 6.5inch as well as on yours.
 

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Great write up. Enjoyed reading it. I like and agree with your perspective on Micro-buster.

This watch is on my list but I'll wait for the Pepsi to me more available.


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Nice review:-! Love my SPR 777

Sorry Mr Burrows, that Deaumar, IMO, doesn't even come close. If anything the case is more like the Sinn T2 being slab sided with a case width of 40mm.


Cheers
Shannon
 

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Nice review:-! Love my SPR 777

Sorry Mr Burrows, that Deaumar, IMO, doesn't even come close. If anything the case is more like the Sinn T2 being slab sided with a case width of 40mm.


Cheers
Shannon
+1.

They're both different watches but even if Deaumar tries to replicate the Turtle, I'll take the original by a long shot for its historical name and in-house movement down to the lubricant.


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I 5 kk7mm
 

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Yes great review - thank you!
 
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