Starting Time: Building an Outfit Around a Seiko Dive Watch

Starting Time: Building an Outfit Around a Seiko Dive Watch
Our outfit series where the watch comes first.

We don’t seem to acknowledge it that often but a lot of the staples of mens fashion come directly from the world of nautical workwear. From boat shoes to pea coats these classic icons were adopted from mariners who needed something warm and durable to protect them from rough weather and harsh seas.

There’s no better example of the transition from a tool of the sea to landlubber’s fashion staple than the dive watch. Originally designed to help divers avoid the bends, dive watches can now be found on wrists that will never see water deeper than a bath tub. And that’s okay! Dive watches become popular for a reason; they’re easy to read, durable, and can give a sleek feel to even the stuffiest outfit.

Recently Seiko released a reissue of their timeless 6309-7049 dive watch; the SRP777. Beloved by soldiers and divers throughout the 70s and 80s and dubbed “The Turtle” by vintage Seiko collectors the 6309 series is one of the best examples of a workingman’s dive watch ever produced. While there’s no denying the retro looks of the modern Turtle, Seiko added in enough modern technical updates to the SRP777 to make this a worthy successor to the 6309.

seiko srp777

seiko srp777

You can also put it on a Bond-inspired NATO strap for a whole new look

men's fall fashion outfit ideas peacoat navy chinos watch cap brown leather weekender

Get the Look

Watch: Seiko, $299 [Amazon] / Jomashop, $239 / Wal-Mart, $258

Sweater: Target, $35

Chinos: Target, $23

Peacoat: H&M, $99

Boots: Frye, $295

Watch Cap: Vmevo, $13 [brand shown] / In Navy, $8

Bag: Lethario, $185 [similar]

As part of Seiko’s Prospex line of professional watches the SRP777 has a few updates on not only the original Turtle but also the SRP777’s modern cousin in the Seiko family, the SKX007. While the average person won’t be going to 200m of water resistance any time soon, the added 50m of WR over the original Turtle’s 150m gives a bit of peace of mind if you’re going to be abusing the SRP777.

The biggest improvement over the original turtle and SKX007 is the use of Seiko’s 4r36 movement. This automatic, hacking and handwinding movement is a step up from the original Turtle’s 6309 and SKX007’s 7s26 movements which feature neither.  Add a 41 hour power reserve and you’ve got a watch that will be easy to keep time on even on the days when you choose not to wear it.

seiko srp777

The other big improvement over the original is with the included rubber strap. Made of incredibly comfortable silicone rubber it has a big hefty steel Seiko branded keeper and tang buckle that give off a premium professional look. As with most of Seiko’s rubber straps it is a bit long in order to accommodate being worn over a wetsuit. This long strap sometimes looks ridiculous on someone with smaller wrists like mine but the big stainless steel keeper tucks the strap end close and maintains a sleek look. One additional touch that I appreciate is drilled lugs which make changing the strap an absolutely painless process.

Like the original Turtle the cushion case of the SRP777 makes it seem bigger on paper than it actually wears on the wrist. At 43.3mm it’s slightly bigger than the original Turtle’s 43mm case size but the difference is so small as to be negligible.

If it’s not obvious from the review so far I absolutely love this watch. However, one major oversight made by Seiko is in the choice of material for the crystal. For a professional watch intended to take some abuse the lack of a sapphire crystal is noticeable. Seiko insists that the proprietary Hardlex crystal on the SRP777 is incredibly durable but in my experience nothing compares to the scratch resistance of sapphire.

seiko srp777 side width

The SRP777 is a worthy reissue of a classic vintage watch and would be a choice for anyone who needs something that can take whatever you want to throw at it.

When it came to styling an outfit for this watch I kept coming back to the notion that so much of my wardrobe has been inspired by the sea so I went all out with it.

men fall fashion outfit idea peacoat watch cap

Man in sweater with seiko watch

The classic aran fisherman sweater has been adopted by everyone from Steve McQueen to Martin Freeman’s John Watson. It’s a classic winter look that can be dressed up or down depending on what you pair with it. As part of their Goodfellow line Target has released their take on this classic. While not made of the traditional wool the Goodfellow aran sweater makes for a great nautical inspired layer in the late Fall and early Winter. Pair it with a peacoat, watch cap, and dive watch and you could pass for someone about to hop on the next tramp steamer without looking like you’re wearing a costume.

Pick up the Seiko SRP777: Amazon, $299 / Jomashop, $239 / Wal-Mart, $258

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Also check out our last Starting Time, that Timex watch is now available on NewEgg for only $36!

Chris Scott

Chris Scott is a scuba instructor, photographer, and writer living in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Anthropology and a focus in underwater archaeology. He spends most of his time trying to figure out ways to see the world without having to spend any money.