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The Seiko Prospex "Save The Ocean Manta Ray Edition" King Samurai 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY065 is the second latest collection to the “ King” series collection in 2020, and with several upgrades that has been longing by collectors and enthusiasts. Prospex for Seiko basically means "Professional Specification" that their timepieces in this category are built with very high standards to be used by professionals. One of the most popular releases in recent years is probably the remake of the OG Seiko Samurai launched in 2004 till 2008 (short production period). The original Samurai divers are pretty rare given its short four years production lifespan, further with few examples floating around in the market. It is no wonder the new Prospex SBDY019 are so popular among Seiko and dive watch collectors, as the brand revived this fantastic line since 2017. And today we will dive into the details of the “crowned” Samurai that speaks of much refinement done to it.
|Seiko Prospex "Save The Ocean Manta Ray Edition" King Samurai 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY065 / SRPE33J1|
Before we get started, with much request since we introduced Seiko JDMs, we decided to bring in the MADE IN JAPAN Turtles meant for the Japanese Domestic Market, denoted by the "J" in the reference number and the "MADE IN JAPAN" at 6 on the dial. The Prospex SBDY065 is a never seen before design within its samurai armour. The SBDY065 is a JDM model made available only in Japan. The difference might be subtle but this means a lot for Seiko collectors.
As suggested by the name of this special edition, Seiko with their Save the Ocean initiative, partnering with undisputed underwater explorer/ conservationist Fabien Cousteau ( just like his grandfather, the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau), together with their own Seiko Prospex. This initiative aims at raising awareness for marine conservation; therefore, the nautical/oceanic theme is at center stage. For the past, the collaborative works exemplified marine lifes like the great white shark editions, and the new SBDY065 focused on yet another species known as the manta rays.
The Manta Ray King Samurai 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY065 was released in mid of 2020, yet with another oceanic dial theme. The overall look of the Turtle is one of a kind, quirky and unique given its unusual case silhouette. Powered by Seiko's automatic caliber, 4R36, operating at 21,600 BPH (3 Hertz) with hacking and hand winding capabilities. It has 24 jewels with a power reserve of 40 hours.
|The nautical inspired dial done with a trendy fumé aesthetic|
The 200m water resistant stainless steel case measure 43.8mm case without the crown, but has a lug to lug length of only 48.7mm, and a height of about 12.8mm; along a lug width of 22mm. The short angled lugs to lugs length means this watch wraps around the wrist on all(small or big) wrist sizes like a glove making it extremely comfortable.
Notably, as of the “crown” of the Prospex Samurai, the bezel is one of the newly introduced black ceramic insert with the evergreen Seiko’s large printed markings on it in contrasting white colour. The bezel’s grooves are distinctive with intricate knurling, allowing better grip and rotates buttery smooth into 120 positions has little to no free play in a clockwise direction. Sitting atop of the case is another Seiko’s latest upgrade; a flat sapphire crystal with the elongated magnifying Cyclop for its day/date display.
Mixture of refined satin-brush finish on the surface and Seiko high polishing on sides, giving it a somewhat premium tool watch feel. The screw-down crown with unique cross-hatched knurling at three o'clock is easy for time-setting. Moving to the back of the watch, the screw-down-case back allows 200m water resistant, and is also brushed, featuring the recognizable tsunami emblem that is staple on the other Seiko divers. The case does comes with drilled lug-holes to allow swapping of straps with ease.
|Samurai's iconic facetted case design|
The highlight of this Seiko Prospex King Samurai has got to be the gradient textured dial. The most prominent being the nautical inspired dial done with a trendy fumé aesthetic, whereby a kind of gradient tone that graduates from an almost black around the dial periphery to an oceanic blue color towards the central. Seiko has created a new dial pattern on this model recalling the intricate brushings that can be found on the SARX055 Baby GS Snowflake (though in blue here), recalling certain intricate ripple motion just like the “great wave off Kanagawa” pictured by Hokusai. The hour markers and handset are kept with the classic Samurai’s design, and each individually applied with Seiko’s Lumibrite that glows ever-so brightly in the dark.
As with the Manta Ray nomenclature for this model, Seiko imprinted, not one, but four Manta Rays on the bottom of the dial, as if lurking in the deep ocean and under the waves. This in fact, recalls a similar theme that’s found on high-end horology brand, Carl F Bucherer’s Patravi Scubatec Manta Trust L.E model. Once again, Seiko has display its dial work effortlessly, while still able to pay tribute to the vulnerable Myliobatiforme sea creature.
Seiko Prospex "Save The Ocean Manta Ray Edition" King Samurai 200M Automatic Ref. SBDY065 comes with a matching satin-brushed stainless steel bracelet with polished connecting links.
In all, Seiko once again replicated another successful version of its all new King Samurai, and the Manta Ray Edition is probably one of the more exciting dive watch from Seiko in 2020. And one of the few watches that is worthy to be in any dive watch collection. With its excellent price point and good value for money, it is a watch that will probably find itself onto the wrist of most Seiko buyers. The unique fumé dial design based on the initiative serves as an essential factor that your purchase of one is actively supporting the awareness, research, and conservation of these sea creatures.