The Seiko ‘Black Series’ Grows, With New Diver And Solar Chronograph

If the photo above looks similar to you, its not déjà vu. Last year, Seiko hit us with February releases from a new “Black Series” of watches with reimaginations of the fan-favorite 1965 62MAS diver, its successor the 6105-8000, and the Alpinist field watch, all in black with textured dials and turquoise LumiBrite. Those were “limited editions” (with a very large run of some of them), and I thought that would be the end of the series. But now Seiko has brought out two more watches, a “King Turtle” diver and Solar Chronograph, in a similar color combo.
Both watches feature a stainless steel case with hard coating and a ceramic bezel which, at $725 for the diver and $700 for the Seiko Solar Chronograph, gives a good starting point point for the specs. The SRPK43 diver measures a big 45mm by 13.2mm thick with 22mm lug width and 45mm lug-t0-lug and should wear sizeable on a similar blacked-out stainless steel hard coated bracelet. The chronograph is more reasonable at 41.4mm by 13mm with an unfortunate 21mm lug width, and 45.9mm lug-to-lug.
Inside the King Turtle diver is the Seiko 4R36, a workhorse movement but a bit cheaper than the 6R35, so you lose a little bit of power reserve (41 hours here), but you also lose around $225 on the price tag. Otherwise, the diver has a uni-directional bezel, screw-down crown, screw-in caseback, and 200m of water resistance plus day and date. The Solar Chronograph gets six months of power on a full charge and has a running-second display, date at 4:30, 24-hour subdial, and a 1/5-second chronograph with a 60-minute counter and has 100m of water resistance.
The brand Seiko Solar Chronographs has made another tweak in the lineup by removing the textured dial that the three previous releases had. Now they both are a more matte grey/black (though its hard to tell which way they lean more without seeing them in person). The watches look like they’ll be available starting February, though when I’m not quite sure. We’ll update the story if more info becomes available.
Phew, okay. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can get on to something that hasn’t been said a thousand times before. I like these releases on paper, but being that Seiko already released three watches that I frankly think are a bit stronger, this feels a bit like checking a box and not adding much new to the Seiko lineup. I’ve never actually spent any time with the Seiko Solar Chronographs, so pipe up in the comments if I’m missing anything, but the SSC923 seems like a fine release. That’s it. By getting rid of the great texture on the dial that the original Black Series had, it just feels a little flat. More than anything, it seems like a watch for someone who is just browsing the catalog looking for a black Solar Chronograph.
The new black “King Turtle” diver is similarly a bit flat compared to the first releases, but I like it a little more than the Solar Chronograph. I think the combination of both a bigger case and black color across the entirety of the watch gives me a bit of “AP-Offshore-End-Of-Days”-vibes. At 45mm x 13.2mm, it’s actually much bigger than the “End of Days.” Yes, it’s another blacked-out watch, but hey, at least I am consistent, and the heart wants what the heart wants. But that heart keeps wanting last year’s SPB335 a little bit more. I wonder if those are still around…