What happens if you take the general shape of a Seiko Turtle, shrink it down in size a hair, and swap the dive bezel with a compass? You’d get something like the new Seiko Land Tortoise, which I purchased from a Japanese online retailer about a month ago. It arrived at my home earlier this week and I have some thoughts. Do I like it? Do I dislike it? Aren’t all tortoises land tortoises, or does Seiko mean land turtle? And is it worth the roughly $500 I spent on it? Let’s find out!
To be clear, I purchased this JDM model (SBDY103) on April 16 from Sakura Watches with my own money immediately after seeing Anthony Kable, a prominent Seiko Instagrammer, publish a few photos of it alongside two other similar models, the SBDY101 and SBDY099. The international model numbers are the SRPG13K1 (beige dial), SRPG15K1 (blue dial), SRPG17K1 (gilt black dial). There’s also the SRPG18K1 (gold case, brown dial), which you can see here.
As listeners of The HourTime Show are no doubt aware, I’m a big fan of the Turtle-style case but, alas, I have an annoyingly small wrist at 6.5 inches. Reading the specs of this thing (42.4mm wide and 45.2mm lug to lug) I figured it was just about perfect for me: slightly bigger than a Baby Turtle (42.3mm wide and 43mm lug to lug), slightly smaller than the Willard reissues (42.7mm wide and 46.6mm lug to lug), and quite a bit smaller than the Turtle itself. I love my JDM King Turtle (pictured in the above gallery), but at 45mm wide and 47.7mm lug to lug it has always felt a smidge too big.
Anyway, all of that is to say that the Land Tortoise is just about the perfect size for me. So if you’re someone who has always wanted something Turtle-y but were put off by the size before, this should be your model.
The Land Tortoise is powered by the 4R35, which has a roughly 41 hour power reserve and is rated at +45 / -35 seconds per day. The date is at the 4:30, which is in line with other new Seikos we’ve seen this year and is a change I’m fully on board with.
The dial, at least for my model, is taking some getting used to. I feel like the gilt colorway is sort of like a sports jacket: not strictly formal but you can wear it at the office and then at dinner afterward and not feel like a fool. But the Turtle shape is so playful and sooooo the opposite of formal that it sort of clashes with the colorway and the black leather strap. In retrospect, I wish I had gone with the beige dial model, which simply looks like it would be a great, fun summer watch.
The back of the case also screams playful, which again, in my mind, clashes with the more sophisticated gilt colorway. There’s all these little sayings on there that resemble something you’d find with a magic 8 ball or something: “not understood,” “yes,” “no,” “all well,” “indicate direction to proceed,” and so on. Is this a compass thing? I genuinely have no idea, so please feel free to leave a comment below if this is something I’m just missing.
I don’t want to end this on a down note because, overall, I’m happy with my purchase; it’s a better-fitting Turtle, and that’s all I wanted. It’s also only $500, which I feel is fair for a watch with 200m water resistance and could likely survive being knocked around a bit. I’m not sure gilt is a great colorway here (and I’d say the same about the SRP775) so I would advise you to perhaps select one of the other ones, but style is subjective, and as I always say on The HourTime Show: if you’re into something than who cares what anyone else thinks?
The specs from Seiko
42.4mm diameter x 11.7mm height – 45.2mm lug-to-lug – stainless steel, brushed and polished – rotating bezel with aluminium insert, compass scale – screw-down crown and screwed caseback – sapphire crystal – 200m water-resistant
Dial available in beige, blue, black or brown, applied indexes and hands with Lumibrite – Bezel insert in the same hues as the dial
Seiko calibre 4R35, in-house – automatic – 23 jewels – 21,600 vibrations/hour – 41h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds (hacking), date
Textile or leather strap, with steel pin buckle
Availability: May 2021
For more information visit SeikoUSA.com
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