Before I start talking about this Prospex SRPC91K1 watch, a few words on the ‘Save the Ocean’ reference. Fabien Cousteau is a grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. When Fabien was only 4 years old, he learnt to scuba dive. He spent his early years aboard his grandfather’s ships Calypso and Alcyone. With a special interest in sharks from an early age on, he launched his first expedition in 2002 without family help: a dive where filmed his interactions with bull sharks in the Bahamas. Since then, he created a number of documentaries on sharks. In 2014, Fabien Cousteau spent 31 days underwater filming and collecting scientific data as a tribute to his grandfather. His career as explorer and filmmaker is very impressive. Then, in 2016, he founded the Ocean Learning Center.
The Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center is focused on creating awareness, education and special projects to protect and preserve the planet’s waters and endangered marine habitats and marine life. Much like the spirit of his grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Think of coral reef restoration, sea turtles restoration and educational resources created for all levels of education.
It is this foundation that Seiko decided to support with their Save the Ocean watch, their Prospex SRPC91K1. A portion of the proceeds of this Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1 will be donated to Fabien Cousteau’s Ocean Learning Center.
Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1
But, in all honesty, I am pretty sure you are here to read about the watch. It is nice that a brand supports a good cause, but the watch needs to be good as well. Seiko Netherlands was helpful as always and they provided the Prospex SRPC91K1 for this review.
According to the spec sheet that we received about the watch, this Seiko SRPC91K1 has a blue gradation dial that is based on the blue whale. Admitted, the dial looks incredibly nice and plays beautifully with the light. The bezel also has two tones of blue, light for the first 15 minutes on the diving scale, and a darker tone for the remaining 45 minutes.
As you can see, the dial with the different tones of blue is the eye catcher of this specific reference. It matches very nicely with the bezel. The structure on the dial is something in-between the Patek Philippe Nautilus dial and the wavy pattern on the green box of a Rolex. It is very nicely done and the large hour markers and hands are still clearly readable. In low-light condition, the Lumibrite material does its job and you can easily read the time. In fact, my daughter often takes my Prospex SRPC49K1 diver to put it on her nightstand when she goes to sleep, as it gives her some comforting light in the dark.
Inspired by the Seiko reference 6309
The case of this Seiko Prospex is based on the Seiko ‘turtle’ series that was re-introduced a few years ago. Not too long ago, Seiko also introduced an all black version of this watch, the Seiko SRPC49 Black Series diver. It has the same specifications as this Save the Ocean special edition (not limited), like the 45mm case and calibre 4R36 movement.
The stainless steel Seiko SRP777 is already an amazing watch. Especially considered its price point of just below 400 Euro at the time of introduction. Based, or inspired, on the vintage Seiko diver reference 6309 (we compared the 1970s 6309 and the SRP777) but the Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1 is, of course, a very modern watch. The calibre 4R36 is a solid automatic winding movement, with a power reserve of 41 hours and ticks at 21600vph. These are not the prettiest movements to look at (and you don’t have to either, as the caseback is stainless steel) but they do the job very well.
The Tricky Part About The Prospex SRPC91K1
45mm is by no means small, so this watch has quite some presence on the wrist. As you can see above, the case received a brushed finish. Here comes the trickiest part of the watch and I am going to be dead honest with you here, as always. It is very easy (and treacherous) to value this watch on a higher level than it actually is. We are talking about a watch here that retails for €450, but when you hold it in your hands, operate it or actually put it on your wrist, you can easily get the impression that you are dealing with a more expensive watch. So, one of my first thoughts, when I saw the brushed finish on the case, was that it is a bit superficial. There is a brushed finish, but not comparable to what you will find on a Tudor Heritage Black Bay, Omega Seamaster 300M or Marinemaster 300 (keeping it with Seiko). But, when I think about the price of this watch (RRP €450) I quickly realize that it is, of course, impossible to be on the same level as the watches mentioned. On the one hand, it is good that you immediately start to compare this watch to other models in a higher price category, which means Seiko did a wonderful job. On the other hand, if those watches are your reference, will you enjoy the Seiko SRPC91K1? Would you drive your Volkswagen Golf GTI when there’s also a Porsche 911 Turbo in your garage? Sure, especially when you have more expensive watches, with a higher level of finish and execution, the Seiko Turtle (whatever reference) is a great watch for using during holidays, swimming, diving, etc. You can enjoy this watch in places where you don’t want to take your more expensive pieces perhaps. If the Seiko SRPC91K1 will be your first mechanical watch, or your most expensive watch (to date), you will certainly enjoy it as well. As I wrote earlier, it is very easy to start comparing this model to more expensive watches because it is done so well.
How To Use The Diving Bezel
The silicone strap on this Prospex SRPC91K1 is very comfortable and has a Seiko engraved keeper. These straps are very different than the rubber straps that Seiko used in the (far) past. Some of the vintage Seiko divers I have bought came with rubber straps that almost turned into this hard plastic. This won’t happen with these silicone straps. The silicone strap does collect dust though, as you can see in the pictures. Easy to rinse off with water of course.
The 60-minute scale bezel is very easy to use and you don’t need to use much force. The function of the bezel is clear I assume. According to the ISO 6425 standards for diver’s watches, the bezel needs to be protected against the wrong manipulation. Making it just rotatable in one direction, you can only accidentally shorten the remaining diving time, not extending it. Using the diving bezel on this Seiko, or any other similar watch is actually quite simple. The triangle needs to be aligned with the minute hand. Most divers operate the diving bezel with one hand, all geared up and ready to descent. This means they are often wearing gloves, so it is important that a bezel is can be rotated using just one hand. With the minute hand and the diving bezel, the diver can now keep track of this remaining time under water.
With a water resistance of 200 meters (~20 ATM), the screw-down crown, caseback and uni-directional bezel, the Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1 is a professional diver’s watch. It is also what ‘Prospex’ stands for in fact, ‘Professional Specifications’. Their history with diving watches goes way back, so they know what they are doing (and selling). So, don’t you fear using this watch what it is meant for. Just make sure you have it periodically serviced and checked (gaskets!) if you do use it in the water.
Thoughts On The Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1
You can do no wrong by purchasing this watch. If you like it, you can buy it with confidence. The specifications are no different than the regular (and PADI) turtle editions, just the dial and bezel color is something you need to dig. For €450, you will have a great watch that can easily compete with the majority of micro brands in this price range and to some of the bigger (Swiss) brands out there that have a price tag that is double this amount. I touched that topic in detail in the text above, so I won’t repeat it here again. Is this watch the best out there for the money? Together with all the other variations on this model, it probably is, but it also depends on what you are looking for. I love the dial on this particular model, it makes the watch coming to life a bit. The fact that part of the proceeds goes to Fabien Cousteau’s foundation, is awesome of course. In the end, I don’t believe that this would be the reason to make the purchase, but it might help you to pull the trigger on this watch though. If you already have your share of divers watches, including those in a higher price range, this Prospex SRPC91K1 is still a very nice addition for sure. Easy to wear, good performance and looks and for the price, it is a no-brainer.
More information about this Seiko Prospex SRPC91K1 or one of the other Prospex watches can be found on the official Seiko Watch Corporation website.