Reviewing Seiko Prospex SRP777 / 775
Late last year, we ran an article about Seiko’s expected reissue of the 6309-7040–a beloved dive watch the brand produced throughout the 70s and 80s. That article garnered a lot of interest from our readers and online watchdom in general, and for good reason. The 6309 is undeniably a great watch–one of my personal favorites from Seiko’s historical catalogue–and amongst Seiko diehards it remains a must-have. As far as vintage divers are concerned, they’re also relatively affordable and offer great bang-for-your-buck value.
The 6309 was manufactured by Seiko for approximately 12 years–from 1976 to 1988–so one could argue that they’re not rare watches. And for a long time, that was certainly true. Finding a well-priced original 6309 was no challenge, but in recent years that has become less of a reality. There are a lot of Franken-6309s floating around on Ebay and on forums with aftermarket parts–some of them good, and some not so good–and NOS replacement parts like handsets and bezel inserts are getting harder to source.
Seiko is not a brand to rest on its laurels. While its Swiss counterparts eagerly turn to the past for inspiration for the present, Seiko has been more cautious in the playing the heritage game. But the last couple of years Seiko has been slowly releasing watches inspired by classic pieces from its archives with varied results. I would have never expected they’d do the same with the 6309, but I am so glad they did. This reissue, dubbed the PROSPEX SRP77x collection, is for anyone who loves the look and feel of the 6309, but would rather not delve into the murky waters of vintage watches. It’s also great for someone who may already own a 6309 and would rather use a similar watch as a beater than risk ruining the original. The SRP77x collection is not a limited release, intended to be a mainstay in their current catalogue that rightfully falls between the affordable 007 and the beloved SUMO, the latter also in the PROSPEX line.
Like the case, the dial is largely a reproduction of the dial on the 6309. And just like the case, it has some features that I would argue are upgrades over the original. Similarities include a day/date function at 3 o’clock seen through a beveled window (an indicator of an original dial on vintage 6309s), the hilted sword separating the two markers at 12 o’clock, and the iconic sword and arrow hands. I would have preferred the seconds hand from the 6309 with the lollipop on the front end rather than the hand from the 007 which has the lollipop as the counterweight. I’ve always found that to be a slightly curious design choice, and while it has no effect on the actual functionality of the watch as a diving tool, I think it looks a tad strange.
Unlike the original, the SRP77x series is a bit text heavy. You have the “Seiko” logotype under the 12 o’clock position, and resting above the 6 o’clock spot are three lines of text and branding, starting with the much derided PROSPEX logo (I, for one, like it), “AUTOMATIC”, and “DIVER’S 200m”. Despite this added verbiage, the dial remains well balanced with the Seiko logotype taking up a bit more real estate on the dial of the reissue.
The watch is not without its faults. There is a small misalignment problem with the chapter ring, a Seiko QC problem for quite some time now. The misalignment is slight here, a not nearly as bad as I’ve seen on other models. Had I not been aware of the issue beforehand I might not have even looked or noticed. That being said, I’ve read reports from others saying their chapter rings were okay, so there is probably no way of knowing what you’ll get when you order the watch. Personally, it wouldn’t deter me from buying this watch, but I can understand how it could dissuade others.