Vogue Watches

In-depth diving with Seiko Prospex PADI King Samurai

Take the SRPG21K1 underwater for a new diving adventure.

It would be impossible to talk about dive watches without the inevitable presence of Seiko. The Japanese brand has been inseparable from the underwater world since it launched its first diver, the 62MAS, in 1965. In the years since, it has released hundreds if not thousands of dive watches in every shape, size and price range you can imagine. From the Captain Willard to the SKX007 and everything in between, I’d say there isn’t a watch lover who hasn’t tested the Seiko diver’s waters at least once or twice. That’s exactly what I’m going to do today, on a new underwater adventure with the Seiko Prospex PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1.

Back in 2016, it’s no surprise that Seiko decided to partner with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the world’s largest scuba diving certification body. year. The initial collaboration resulted in two unforgettable watches, a power sports powered GMT and the better known automatic PADI Turtle. The success of these first watches evolved into PADI Seiko’s annual launch and resulted in the watch we see today: the King Samurai, or SRPG21K1 as Seiko affectionately calls it. We’ll take it on a diving trip to Blue Grotto, an underwater cave in Florida, to see how it fares in the dark and cold conditions of the real world. Before we get into the water, let’s take a look at the specs.

One of a pair of Seiko/PADI watches released in 2021, the PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1 is a 43mm stainless steel sports watch. Nicknamed the Samurai by the watch community because the original was released in 2004, had a pair of swordsmen (smart folks on the Seiko forums at the time), and it also had a very angular case design that, if you tried hard enough, could be influenced by a Samurai helmet Inspired, maybe? Anyway, it’s a cool design, in my opinion, perfect for a workhorse diver. The first thing you’ll notice about these new PADI releases is the lack of the blue and red color scheme that’s been present in all releases to date. Historically, they had matte black or PADI blue dials, as well as a combination of blue, red and black on the bezel and hands. This year, they introduced a black dial with the PADI Earth logo embossed and light blue accents on the bezel and hands. It’s a more understated reference and a nice reset to the PADI theme. It’s also a reflection of Seiko’s company-wide love for textured dials.

The dial of the SRPG21K1 has a large applied marker every five minutes, filled with Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite, the date window at 3 o’clock is a samurai swordsman (obviously), the hour hand is a short, thick arrow, and both are also filled with ample lumens . The new Samurai King watch has been upgraded with a sapphire crystal compared to the previous model Hardlex, and this one includes a Cyclops on the date window to improve legibility. The caseback is screwed in with the classic Seiko wave logo in the middle. The screw-down crown helps maintain water resistance and is placed at the traditional 3 o’clock position, as opposed to Seiko’s preference of always placing it at 4:30. Under the hood, you’ll find the Seiko Caliber 4R35, a standard and reliable movement in many low-cost models in the Prospex line. Offering a 40-hour power reserve, this movement beats at Seiko’s standard 21,600vph and offers both hack and hand winding. The only other pop of colour available is the ceramic bezel, which is otherwise very stoic, in black and white, and the hour markers for the first fifteen minutes are given the same light blue as the minute hand. It’s a nice touch that adds just the right amount of fun.

On the wrist, the SRPG21K1 wears nearly 44mm smaller than you might expect, probably thanks to a relatively slim 12.8mm thickness. Using 48.7mm lug-to-lug, the King Samurai continues Seiko’s tradition of making large watches, but is just the right size to make it very wearable, even for people with smaller wrists like me. It’s large on the wrist and doesn’t feel bulky or bulky, which is a win in my book. The watch features a silicone strap, which, while not the most comfortable material in the world, is very practical for divers. That’s not to say it’s uncomfortable. I would put it firmly in the “nice” category. It’s waterproof, sturdy and long enough to fit comfortably over a wetsuit, so what more can we really ask for from an affordable dive best online watch store?

When it comes to Seiko divers, to me they fall into two categories. Your watch draws inspiration from Seiko’s early dive watches with more retro aesthetics and designs, such as the Turtle and Captain Willard and the recently released SPB series 62MAS-inspired beauties. The second category is the modern diver, with larger sizes and More modern and sometimes harsh designs. Samurai falls entirely into the latter category. When diving with Captain Willard, you might fantasize about diving in the 1960s, with just a steel tank, a hose, a pair of shorts and a trusty watch as your gear. Diving with the modern samurai king is the exact opposite, and arguably the purer form of the two. The SRPG21K1 is a tool like any other modern diver. Another item on the list, nothing more. Of course, it’s timed for your dives, as a backup, and maybe noting the times when the captain says you have to get back on board or face being left behind. Typical captain humor.

As I mentioned before, the silicone strap fits snugly and securely over the wetsuit, and the muted color scheme blends in with the diving gear like a good piece of gear. Once in the water, setting the bezel is the last thing I do before getting into the water, and that’s one complaint I have with the Samurai. The bezel of this watch is difficult to turn and not very good. Sometimes the bezels feel sturdy but still usable, which gives a sense of security knowing they won’t be easily turned accidentally. This one is simply hard to turn, and it feels blurry between clicks, as if it’s hard to find the next click, and having to turn a few times to get it in the right place is no small thing. It’s not the end of the world, and once set, it’s firmly in place, but it’s worth mentioning.

Aside from the bezel issue, the PADI King Samurai SRPG21K1 performs exactly what I want from a diver’s watch. It feels solid yet present, and provides information easily at a glance. While I wouldn’t call light blue a very contrasting color, it’s easy to pick out of the black dial for a quick time check. The bezel is also remarkably sharp, although it lacks any brightness other than the tip at 12 o’clock. While we all know in this day and age that a mechanical watch isn’t strictly necessary underwater, it’s still pretty fun to actually use your watch the way it’s intended, and in dangerous activities like scuba diving, you can never really Do have too many redundant kits. And that’s exactly what this modern diver from Seiko has in the water, a competent, practical kit that fits the bill.

The collaboration between Seiko and PADI is a match made in heaven, both are giants in the diving world. These new models are a welcome update to the range and hopefully show that this relationship will continue for many years to come. They’re a value proposition of the highest order, and for Seiko, we really shouldn’t expect anything less.

Case: 43.8mm diameter x 12.8mm height – 48.7mm lug to lug – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – unidirectional rotating bezel, knurled finish, black ceramic insert, 60-minute index and blue accents – Sapphire crystal with magnifying glass, anti-reflective coating inside – Screw-down crown and case back – 200m water resistance
Dial: Black Dial with Embossed Globe – Application Markers and LumiBrite Filled Hands
Movement: Manufacture Caliber 4R35 – Self-winding – 23 jewels – 21,600 vibrations per hour – 40-hour power reserve – Hours, minutes, seconds (with second stop) and date
Strap: Black silicone strap with steel pin buckle
Reference: SRPG21K1