Face Off: Seiko Turtles

Seiko’s 6309-7040, affectionately named the “Turtle” thanks to its distinctive case shape, is one of the all time classics. Not just within Seiko’s catalog but it holds its own among all vintage dive watches. Based on sheer numbers, I would bet the Turtle is one of the most prolific dive watches worn on the wrists of enthusiasts around the world. Vintage Seiko divers have been increasing in popularity thanks to their robust design and unmistakable style, as well as being fairly easy and inexpensive to acquire. The design from the case, to the hands, and the dial are quintessentially Seiko. When Seiko released their new Turtle, reference SRP777 being the most direct comparison, it made vintage Seiko enthusiasts immediately take notice. Seiko took everything we loved about the vintage piece and made it a Turtle for the modern age.

6309-7040

6309-7040

The original 6309 has a 45mm case containing non-hacking automatic movement all protected by 150 meters of water resistance. Dimensions of the new version are nearly identical, however, this one has the benefit of modern improvements. Water resistance has been increased to 200 meters and better yet, the PROSPEX Caliber 4R36 movement that can also be hand wound, a common complaint about the vintage automatic only Seiko movements. Both of these wear quite well on the wrist, despite the large case size. The cushion case on both keep the watch seated low on the wrist while the offset crown, and strap — classic rubber on the old, and silicon on the new — make for a comfortable combination. The assurance of a modern and truly water resistant case is a plus, however I’ve seen 6309’s on the wrists of more people than I can count that make their living in and around the water with no apparent issues. That being said, unless you’ve ensured water resistance, we recommend not diving with vintage watches, but it does speak to the quality of the 6309.

On paper, the specs of the modern version may look better, but of course the stats aren’t what watch collecting is all about. There are many factors, both tangible and intangible that attract us to the watches we love. That intangible desire is often the most prevalent in vintage pieces. This is where the 6309 shines. It has that unmistakable ’70s/’80s charm. One concern when looking for a vintage Turtle is wading trough the thousands of examples out there and finding one that is legit and truly original. When the search pays off, it’s truly rewarding. A quality vintage Turtle tells a story and carries a strong history there’s an unmistakable feeling of having a true vintage timepiece on your wrist.

SRP777

SRP777

There are those collectors who stick to strictly vintage. This new Turtle, however, is a watch that may make those collectors reconsider. When it comes down to it, the SRP77x Turtles are just that good. Ultimately, my money would be spent on the new one over the vintage piece. There are several things that won me over with the new one. For one, the PROSPEX movement is top notch, and the fact that I can wind it instantly puts it above the original in that respect. The silicon strap, which is far more comfortable than the original, is also a vast improvement. Seiko could have easily stuck with the rubber strap which they are still producing but they chose wisely with the new one. Visually, the new one looks so close to the old one that you have to look twice. That being said, the fact that you now have options with the different bezels and colors means there’s a Turtle for everyone. There’s also one more thing. Lug. Holes. I rest my case. Seiko really went the extra mile to make them as faithful to the original as possible while improving in almost every respect. It’s well worth your money. Fortunately, they are both so affordable that you might as well get both.

 

*6309-7040 pictures courtesy reflectionsfromqualitytime.blogspot.com

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Neil is one of the founding members of Wound for Life. A military officer who loves traveling, adventure, motorcycles and watches. To keep up with the latest from Neil, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@neilwood13). If you’d like to get in touch with Neil, email him at neil@woundforlife.com.

4 Comments

  • June 8, 2016

    José Martins

    I think these are amazing, the only thing I consider a negative is Seiko QC. I’ve seen quite a few on various forums and a great percentage have the dreaded chapter ring/bezel misalignment, even the one feature on here suffers from this issue.

  • June 8, 2016

    Wally Pacman

    Why is it so important that you’d be able to wind the movement? I am find with the new turtle (I have a vintage one) but I don’t get why the winding is so key.

  • June 15, 2016

    Alara

    The 6309 pictures you chose have aftermarket hands, bezel and dial. The true ones are even more beautiful!

    • June 15, 2016

      Shane Griffin

      Unfortunately we had a hard time finding photos that were both good, and available for use. We tried!