Seiko is one of the most popular brands in the horology market. It is known for creating many high-quality timepieces across very diverse ranges. In particular, the Japanese brand is home to a great many legendary divers, such as the Seiko Tuna and the Seiko Sea Urchin.
Today, we will be focusing on a specific, underrated sub-collection from the brand that is not talked about enough: the Seiko King Samurai. So, without further ado, let us find out more about the Seiko King Samurai and see whether it really deserves its throne.
A Brief History of the Seiko King Samurai
The Seiko King Samurai is the newest addition to the legendary Seiko Samurai series, which dates back to the early 2000s. Housed under the Prospex collection, the Seiko Samurai was dubbed as such because the early models showed off angular builds that looked similar to samurai swords.
The first generation of Seiko Samurai watches was only in production from 2004 to 2008. Following that, Seiko stopped making Samurai timepieces for almost a decade, before reintroducing the Seiko Samurai series to the world in 2017. Since then, the brand has been consistently making newer variants of the said sword-inspired lineup.
The Seiko King Samurai bust onto the scene in 2020, dropping three different models right off the bat. These watches serve as new and improved versions of the previous Samurai timepieces, so you can expect quite a lot of changes and improvements with the Seiko King Samurai. Having said all that, let us take a look at just what the Seiko King Samurai has to offer.
A Closer Look at the Seiko Prospex King Samurai SRPE37K1
In this section, we will be reviewing the first Seiko King Samurai model to be released: the Ref. SRPE37K1.
Case and Caseback
The Seiko King Samurai SRPE37K1 is housed in a high-quality stainless steel case with a diameter of 44mm. It also has a thickness of 13mm and a fairly large lug-to-lug width of 49mm. As you can tell from these measurements, this model has a sizeable, robust exterior that definitely adds to its sporty look. It is best suited for average-to-large-sized wrists.
This Seiko King Samurai watch has a rather eye-catching crown at 3 o’clock, which is protected on both sides by short crown guards. The surface of this crown is textured with a pattern of crisscrossing lines, almost like the skin of a pineapple. This provides wearers with a better grip, so they can hold and turn the crown more easily. You can also find an anti-reflective sapphire crystal sitting atop the watch face, protecting it from any damage from scratches or impacts. Keeping the crystal in place is a unidirectional bezel that boasts a glossy black finish. This bezel is fitted with a ceramic insert that has indicators in white for its elapsed time scale.
On the underside of the Seiko King Samurai is a solid stainless steel caseback that is tightly screwed down. It guards the watch’s inner mechanisms against any dust or moisture, giving the timepiece an impressive 200-meter depth rating, which is twice that of the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches. The brand’s Prospex emblem is also carefully engraved on the caseback, bolstering the refined aesthetic of this Seiko King Samurai watch.
To complement the sportiness and durability of the case, Seiko opted to pair the SRPE37K1 with a black silicone strap. It has a tough and rugged accordion-inspired design that adds a very casual yet stylish feel to the whole watch. The best thing about this bracelet is how nicely it sits on the wrist. The underside of the strap has a smooth and soft finish, allowing for maximum comfort despite its robust exterior.
The dial of the Seiko King Samurai SRPE37K1 is one of the most important components of this watch. It features a soft, white waffle design that stands out wonderfully against the black bezel and strap.
This dial also consists of arrow-headed hands and trapezoidal and rectangular hour markers, all of which are outlined in black. These hands and indices are also generously coated with luminescent pigment so that wearers will have no trouble reading the watch face even in low-light environments. This King Samurai model is also equipped with a magnified date window at 3 o’clock, which is a new component in the Seiko Samurai series.
The Seiko King Samurai is as durable and impressive on the inside as it looks on the outside. It is driven by the Seiko automatic Caliber 4R35. This self-winding movement comprises 23 jewels and boasts a standard 41-hour power reserve. In addition, it also comes with manual-winding abilities, should you want to set the watch yourself. It also offers an average accuracy rate of +45/-35 seconds per day.
One of the best things about the Seiko King Samurai is that it comes with a very reasonable price tag. High-quality divers with impressive functions can be hard to find when you are on a tight budget, but thankfully, the Seiko King Samurai delivers at only $595 USD. Given this budget-friendly price tag, it is no wonder why the Seiko King Samurai is so well-loved by watch enthusiasts and casual patrons alike.
Other Variations of the Seiko Samurai
Now, let us move on to some of the best Seiko Samurai and Seiko King Samurai models you can get on the market.
1. Seiko Prospex King Samurai Ref. SRPE35K1
First, we have the Seiko Prospex King Samurai Ref. SRPE35K1, which was released alongside the SRPE37K1. It has a more classic and versatile design that makes it a great option for both everyday wear and formal ensembles. That said, its sportiness and robustness remain unchanged.
This Seiko King Samurai piece comes in a 44mm stainless steel case and three-link bracelet that give off a very professional, sophisticated feel. Affixed to the top of the case is a stainless steel unidirectional bezel, with a glossy black ceramic insert that bears the elapsed time scale. Another obvious difference between this model and the Ref. SRPE37K1 is that this watch has a matte black dial that contrasts sharply against its all-silver exterior. It also shows off an exquisite waffle pattern and is adorned with thick geometric hour markers, luminous arrow hands, and a magnified date display.
Matching its rugged exterior, you can find an impressive 4R35 Caliber inside this Seiko King Samurai watch. This is an automatic movement with manual-winding capacities and a power supply of approximately 41-hours. You can also easily take this watch on any of your water adventures as it has a decent 200-meter water resistance rating.
The only downside about this particular model is that it is slightly more expensive than the SRPE37K1, coming in at $625 USD instead. However, considering the versatile charm of the Seiko King Samurai SRPE35K1, most would agree that the $30 USD difference barely matters.
2. Seiko Prospex King Samurai Save The Ocean Ref. SRPF79K1
Next, we have the latest addition to the Seiko King Samurai line: the Seiko Prospex King Samurai Save The Ocean Ref. SRPF79K1. Like the aforementioned models, this is a handsome timepiece that simply exudes sophisticated sportiness. One cool thing about this watch is that it is part of the Japanese brand’s Save the Ocean advocacy, which aims to promote better treatment of marine life.
This Seiko watch is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case, coupled with a comfortable silicone strap in blue. On top of the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel, with a glossy black elapsed time scale insert made of ceramic. While the older King Samurai models showed off simple waffle dials, this watch boasts an ocean-inspired dial that depicts an artistic image of stingrays under the sea. It also consists of a standard luminous display with large geometric hour markers, arrow-headed hands, and a magnified date aperture at 3 o’clock.
Powering this robust diver is an automatic 4R35 caliber that you can also wind manually. Held together by 23 jewels, it beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and possesses a 41-hour power reserve. If you want to take the extra mile in saving the ocean, you can also easily bring this watch with you on your underwater missions, thanks to its 200-meter depth rating.
According to Seiko, part of the sales profit from this particular Seiko King Samurai model will go to marine preservation advocacies. As such, you can make a difference with just $470 USD.
3. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1
In this entry, we have a Seiko Samurai model which was released before the Seiko King Samurai. This Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1 has a very cool and masculine exterior. To the untrained eye, it might look quite similar to the previous Seiko King Samurai models, but there are some notable differences.
This Seiko Samurai watch utilizes a 44mm black-tone stainless steel case and a matching black silicone strap. Pressed on top of the watch case is a striking two-tone bezel that has a rougher matte finish compared to the glossy bezels of the Seiko King Samurai. The grey and black hues of this elapsed time scale bezel also go incredibly well with the watch’s black motif.
The dial of this watch also comes in black, with a unique embossed pattern that mimics the waffle design of the first Seiko King Samurai models. It is furnished with luminescent hour markers, arrow-head hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. Hints of gold accents are also scattered across the watch face, which stands out clearly against the black backdrop and gives the watch a more elegant, refined look.
This watch runs on an automatic 4R35 Caliber as well. It has a depth rating of 200 meters and can last for up to 41 hours when fully wound.
The Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB55K1 costs approximately $550 USD.
4. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB99K1
The Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPB99K1, on the other hand, serves as a more casual and quintessential option for everyday use. Made in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), this watch shows off classic design codes that make it extremely flexible and easy to pair with just about any outfit. The vibrant red and blue colors of this watch also recall the iconic Rolex Pepsi, which is another reason why this Seiko Samurai watch is so appealing to watch enthusiasts.
This Seiko Samurai watch sports a 44mm stainless steel case, coupled with a bracelet made of the same material. Its unidirectional rotating bezel is fitted with a lively red and blue ceramic insert for the elapsed time scale. The dial, on the other hand, is more muted, showcasing a patterned grey-black finish. This dial is decorated with large arrow hands, thick geometric hour markers, and a compact date display at 3 o’clock.
Underneath the watch’s simple face, you can find a Seiko 4R35 Caliber, which contains 23 jewels and offers a 41-hour power supply. Since this watch was made in collaboration with PADI, its solid 200-meter water resistance capacity is also within expectations.
Priced at $490 USD, the SRPB99K1 serves as one of the most versatile predecessors to the Seiko King Samurai.
5. Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPC93K1
Last but certainly not least, we have the Seiko Prospex Samurai Ref. SRPC93K1. Like the Seiko King Samurai SRPF79K1, this Seiko Samurai model belongs to the brand’s Save The Ocean campaign. As such, a part of the proceeds from its sales will go towards marine life conservation projects. This is the perfect watch option for those who love the ocean and want to make a genuine difference.
This Seiko Samurai model uses a 44mm stainless steel case and matching three-link bracelet. It boasts a rotating aluminum bezel, with a handsome two-toned insert that displays different shades of blue. Complementing this bezel is the watch’s gorgeous blue dial, which flaunts a color gradient that goes from vibrant sunray blue to a dark, almost black shade, reflecting the cavernous depths of the ocean. This dial also consists of geometric hour markers, large arrow hands, and a date aperture at 3 o’clock.
This watch is driven by an automatic 4R35 Caliber. It possesses a 41-hour power supply and can withstand water pressures up to depths of 200 meters.
If you enjoy advocating for marine life and you love diving, this Seiko Samurai timepiece is a must-have at just $520 USD.
Alternatives to the Seiko King Samurai
The Seiko King Samurai is arguably one of the hardest watches to replicate. This means that finding a good alternative to them can be difficult. That said, we have curated a list of timepieces that show off a similar vibe or aesthetic as the iconic King Samurai watches.
1. Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LV
First up, we have the Rolex Submariner Ref. 116610LV, which you might know as the Rolex Hulk. It is one of the most sought-after models from Rolex and is considered the grail piece of many watch enthusiasts out there. Like the Seiko King Samurai, the Rolex Hulk possesses quintessential diving elements that take inspiration from vintage dive watches.
This Rolex Submariner piece is presented in a robust 40mm Oystersteel case, paired with a matching Oystersteel bracelet. Both the case and bracelet are sleekly polished, giving the watch an appealing, shiny luster. On top of the watch case, you can find a rotating bezel that is fitted with a gleaming blue Cerachrom bezel. Specially developed by Rolex, this Cerachrom bezel is highly scratch-resistant and bears indicators in silver for the elapsed time scale.
The dial of this watch also comes in a matching, rich sunray green finish. It follows a very simple layout, comprising big hour indices in various geometric shapes, the signature Rolex Mercedes hands, and a date complication magnified by a cyclops lens. Inside this watch, you can find a powerful in-house Rolex Caliber 3135. This is a COSC-certified movement, which is held together by 31 jewels and boasts a 50-hour power reserve. Aside from having an exceptional accuracy rate of +/-2 seconds per day, this watch also possesses an impressive 300-meter depth rating, making it both stylish and reliable.
While it is not the most budget-friendly alternative to the Seiko King Samurai, the Rolex Hulk is a good option for serious watch collectors who want to delve into luxury names. Be prepared to shell out at least $36,330 USD to get this handsome Rolex Hulk.
2. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY201T.BA0927
Next, we have the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY201T.BA0927. Not only is this a lovely alternative to the Seiko King Samurai, but it is also a great entry-level option for any watch collection. It has a very modern and geometric exterior that is quite similar to other Seiko watches. It also belongs to the TAG Heuer Aquaracer collection, one of the most popular dive watch series in existence, so you can certainly expect great things from this model.
This TAG Heuer watch is encased in a 43mm stainless steel case and a three-link bracelet crafted from the same material. This watch also has a GMT bezel in two-toned black and blue hues, giving it a stylish look that is very reminiscent of the popular Rolex Batman.
The blue dial, on the other hand, showcases an elegant horizontal teak pattern that resembles the wooden flooring of yachts. It is adorned with trapezoidal hour markers, thick sword hands, and a magnified date display at 3 o’clock. All of these functions are driven by an automatic TAG Heuer Caliber 7, which has a decent power reserve of 42 hours. This watch also has a 300-meter depth rating, making it a great companion both on land and underwater.
This handsome TAG Heuer timepiece is priced at just $3,400 USD.
3. OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 188.8.131.52.03.001
Last on our list is the OMEGA Seamaster Planet Ocean Ref. 184.108.40.206.03.001, which is a great alternative to the Seiko King Samurai SRPF79K1. It comes with similar marine-inspired elements that aim to reflect the beauty and wonder of the ocean.
This OMEGA Seamaster watch is housed in a 43.5mm stainless steel case, coupled with a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. On the left side of the case, you can find a stout helium escape valve, which prevents the internal pressure inside the case from building up as the watch goes deeper underwater. The case is also fitted with a lovely elapsed time scale bezel in dark blue, which helps keep the anti-reflective sapphire crystal in place.
The dial of this watch has a dark blue matte finish. The components in this dial are all neatly organized and spaced out, so they do not look too cluttered together. It is decorated with blunt hour markers, broad arrow-headed hands, and a compact date window at 3 o’clock. At the core of this watch is an OMEGA Master Chronometer Caliber 8800. This is a self-winding movement with an extended 55-hour power supply. This OMEGA timepiece also has an outstanding water resistance capacity of 600 meters, which is more than enough for both casual and professional divers.
Given all its impressive functions and features, a price tag of $6,500 USD for this stunning watch should not be surprising.
The Seiko King Samurai is a new and improved addition to a series that has been in existence for quite a while now. The King Samurai models come with unique, updated changes that were meant to prove the brand’s unyielding commitment to innovation. People are drawn to the Seiko King Samurai, in particular, because it is deemed superior in specifications compared to the standard Seiko Samurai timepieces. Ultimately, it is definitely a watch worthy of its title as King!
Photo Credits: Seiko Website and WatchShopping Site
Interested in more reliable Japanese divers? Check out this piece on the Casio Duro!