I haven't worn a watch in over a year, but towards the middle of February, I pulled the trigger on a Seiko SRP777.
I've had this affinity for Seiko for about as long as I've been interested in watches as an adult. I'm not a horology nerd by any means, but in my research, Seiko has always had this rep for being a huge bang-for-buck value.
For me, it started with the SNK809 I purchased in 2010. That was right around when I started paying attention to menswear blogs and how I dressed. I decided I should get a watch — accessories and NATO straps and stuff, you know? After some cursory research, I bought an SNK809. Even then, the SNK80x series was recognized for being an incredible value. I paid $87 for the flieger-style Seiko 5 mechanical watch (it's regularly down to $50 on Amazon nowadays), and I wore it through the remainder of college, to Taiwan, and back to Greenville.
At some point, I ended up with my little brother's Seiko 5 diver-style watch. An SNZF15, if I remember correctly. (He'd worn it for the beginning of medical school, but I suppose he didn't like wearing it while he was wrist deep in cadavers.) It was good timing for me. I'd been looking at the Seiko SKX00x series of dive watches, so I was already interested in the aesthetic. I ended up preferring the SNZF over the SNK. The size, proportions, and the pops of red and blue from the Pepsi bezel really seemed to fit me better.
But then, I stopped wearing either watch. Probably because I dropped them, resulting in them not keeping time. So instead of getting them serviced and re-calibrated like a sane person, I just went without a watch.
During that time, I kept my eye on the Seiko SKX00x series. The SNZF, though it apes the diver style, doesn't have the same performance characteristics or pedigree. Not that I actually dive, or would otherwise use the watch in its designed capacity, but there is something nice about knowing the watch has the capability. As much as I hate the word, the SKXs seemed more authentic because their capability matched their design.
But over the the past year, I noticed the price of SKXs going up. What was a $150 watch became a $175, almost $200 watch. I also noticed that the SRP77x series began popping up. The reviews were universally positive, and the heritage aspect was impeccable. (It's an homage to the venerable Seiko 6309 diver, which is itself a development of the 6105 that graced Martin Sheen's wrist in Apocalypse Now.)
From what I can gather via cursory Internet sleuthing, the SKXs were discontinued (after 30 years of continuous production) in favor of the SRPs. (Partly why SKX prices went up. Scarcity, I guess.) When I discovered you could get SRPs for $250 on eBay, it made sense to me to go with the more modern watch. Plus, its distinctive cushion case has a certain vintage charm to it. (My understanding is that the case shape is also where the 6309 and the SRP picked up their "Turtle" monikers.)
Still, I held off on purchasing it, as it was hard to justify when I had adapted well to just using my phone. That changed when I was at King of the Hammers for work. I had no cell service, and I was running around a dusty lakebed for about 14 hours a day. Not really conducive conditions for using a phone. I found myself with much less temporal awareness, and well, an appropriate justification for a watch. After all, I've got a ton more event travel coming up.
(Also, it was a hard week so...retail therapy?)
If you want to learn more about the SRP77x series, here are a few really great reviews I relied on when making my decision:
- A Blog to Watch // "Seiko Prospex SRP777 Dive Watch Review"
- Hodinkee // "Hands-On: The New Seiko Prospex 200m Divers, SRP775 And SRP777, Two Dive Watches Made Like Quartz Never Happened"
- Hodinkee // "The Value Proposition: Long-Term Wear Report On The Seiko 'Turtle' SRP 775 Black And Gold"
- Worn & Wound // "Seiko Prospex SRP777 / 775 Review"