Seiko Turtle

By Andrew Court, Lifestyle Editor

Freud famously said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” 

Well, sometimes a watch is just a watch.

Increasingly, timepieces (a pretentious way of saying watches) have become more of a douche bag status symbol than a tool that’s good for anything. After all, we’ve all got cell phones, and they all keep time. No one spends 50K on a gold Rolex to go SCUBA diving, just like no one buys an Omega because it’s the best way to time NASCAR laps. In a generous light, I believe men enjoy connecting with the history and stories these watches represent. In a more cynical view, they think it helps them get laid.

This is a long winded way of introducing the Seiko Turtle, a no bullshit watch that’s actually good at its job—telling time underwater. It’s also tough, and at around $500 you won’t mind actually getting it wet. 

The Turtle is a watch that’s just a watch. 

Back in the day SCUBA guys needed a rock-solid diver because they had to track bottom time to avoid getting the bends. Today, cheap wrist dive computers will do this much more efficiently than a watch. But as any PADI Open Water diver can attest, redundancy is key, so why not have a backup? 

Also, how are the folks on your flight from Minneapolis to Key West supposed to know you dive otherwise?  

The Turtle has become a legend because it does so much stuff right. Let’s start with the cushion case. While this watch is a bit of a hulk with an almost 45mm diameter, the case subtly curves around your wrist. The sides are also sloped, so it doesn’t press into your skin, like say when you lean over the bar to hit on that blonde with the clear blue eyes or to flag down the barkeep who’s also hitting on the blonde. Its ergonomics are so simple it makes you wonder why the Swiss can’t figure it out.

Speaking of the Swiss, let’s talk about the Turtle’s movement. I’m probably the biggest Euro snob out there, but I have to concede the Turtle’s automatic movement is more reliable than the fondue-eating competition. For the uninitiated, an automatic movement is a mechanical mechanism powered by a rotor that spins as you move your wrist. No battery required. If you’re at all into watches, it’s what you want. 

This is the Japanese Land Cruiser to your Land Rover. It works better and won’t leave you stranded.

Now, let’s talk about the dial because it’s everything it should be and nothing more. The indices are clear and easy to read, and the day/date window will help if you’ve been on a binge and can’t remember what day it is. The real party piece is the extra bright lume. The dial glows in the dark for night diving, or sneaking out of that moped’s apartment before sunrise — the one you settled for when the blonde left with the barkeep. 

Make no mistake, the Turtle is a casual watch. It feels most at home on the boat paired with swim trunks and a spearfishing tournament T-shirt. A Rolex or Omega pairs well with a tux. The Turtle looks about as good on your wedding day as a Realtree bow tie. 

But I can hear some of you out there thinking, fuck, a camo bow tie sounds cool. No, it’s not.

I recommend getting your Turtle on Seiko’s excellent rubber strap, or putting the watch on an aftermarket NATO. Even without special care it should last years, helping you time that decompression stop, or your boy as he makes another trip to the garage fridge for a cold beer.