Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Seiko Prospex Limited Edition Landmonster SRP577K - A refreshing design, A Review

Seiko recently launched a limited edition Prospex Landmonster for the global market. Like most Landmonsters, it comes with a compass bezel with bi-directional movement. The only complication is a unique date window that shows five continuous dates instead of one. In fact, I must say that it got its design cues similar from an aircraft's instrument panel. Pity as Bell & Ross beat them to it already. Now Seiko will have to live with the speculation that they copied Bell & Ross.

I sourced this watch in one of the ADs in Mid Valley Megamall in Kuala Lumpur. The list price is RM1,260 but you are able to get some discount from them. After doing the necessary paperwork, I walked out of the store with this box.

As you can see from the white sleeve box, the logo as well as the "LIMITED EDITION" banner is printed prominently on it.




The watch is under the professional sports series 'Prospex' range and the box does reflect the premium of this range. The main watch box is slightly smaller than the sleeve box. Also in white, it does not have the "LIMITED EDITION" banner printed on it. The extra space available in the sleeve box is used to store the manual as well as the guarantee booklets which are relatively thick.


The manual given is not used specifically for this watch. It is more of a general manual booklet that is designed to instruct owners of a few models. In this particular case, watches with the automatic caliber movements of 4R35, 4R36 4R37, 4R48 or 4R39.

Seiko provide only a one year international warranty for its watches.


The main watch box does not use a hinge. Instead, the top opens away revealing the SRP577K. The watch rests on a large cushion in an all black velvety interior. There is nothing else apart from this two items.


On the lip of the main box is printed the "LIMITED EDITION" banner plus the 'Seiko' brand.

At this point, I will like to discuss about the 'Limited Edition' concept that Seiko useon this watch. Unlike typical limited edition watch which has a numbering convention similar to "Number X of XXXX" or "1 of XXX", Seiko chose to have it unnumbered. As I am writing this review, I still do not know the exact number that Seiko have earmarked for production for this particular model.

In recent times, Seiko have been doing this kinds of product offering very regularly. Most recently, in the first quarter of this year, Seiko released the Limited Edition Seiko 5 SRP507 and SRP509. I believe Seiko wants to create a strong collectors market in a similar way Casio has been able to achieve with its G-Shock range. Although Casio does not classify theirs as 'limited edition' pieces, by virtue of the short production run and quick turnaround in replacement models, a strong fan base and the relatively cheap price points of the watch itself creates sufficient supply and demand in the secondary market. This has the tendency of elevating the brand franchise to a higher level.


The sister to this watch is the SRP579K. That watch is in gunmetal black with black leather strap. Personally, I prefer a non-coloured watch so I made my choice on the SRP577K. With its silver unpolished look and brown leather strap, it complements my character and personality much better.


This watch has a diameter of 44 mm wide excluding crown. Its thickness is 12 mm while its lug width is 22 mm. The case design is similar to the 'Monster' series with the screw down crown located at the four o'clock position. The bezel is recessed in a protective slipway on the top half as well as the bottom half of the watch face.

This three-handed watch comes with a compass function as well as a unique date window. The bezel is bi-directional and does not 'click' in place. Materials used  are stainless steel for the casing and 'Hardlex' crystal glass (a synthetic proprietary sapphire crystal equivalent made by Seiko) for the front as well as the display case-back.

For instructions to use the compass function on the bezel, please visit: http://www.scribd.com/doc/59257716/Seiko-Compass.


The hour markers are represented by minute numerals 05,10,… instead of the usual 1,2,3 or straight markers. A secondary scale is provided in increments of 0.2 minutes/seconds and printed on the sloping chapter ring. It is the hour markers on the chapter ring as well as the broad hour and minutes hands that are fully painted with LumiBrite, a proprietary luminous paint by Seiko. The unique seconds hand has an small aircraft motive close to the tip and together are the only part that is painted with LumiBrite. The rest of the seconds hand is painted black.

The dial is black and has the Seiko brand name cut from a thin piece of metal stuck to it at the 12 o'clock position. Below there centre point of the dial is the Prospex logo and the words 'AUTOMATIC' and '100M'. The last factor gives the indication of the water rating for this watch which is 100 meters or 330 feet.  

The date window on this watch is unique for Seiko. It shows dates for 5 days continuously with the warning yellow strips on its left. This design gives an illusion that you are looking at an analogue aircraft instrument. Although some would argue Bell & Ross started the aircraft instrument panel craze, I like Seiko's bold move to provide something different in its product offering.

Although the huge date window took out two set of Arabic numerals, it does not impact the illuminated markers. In the dark, the dial still looks complete with all markers and the hands lighted up.

The points of the compass on the bezel has been painted black in recesses cut into metal. This gives a good 3D effect on the bezel.

Half way down the crown stalk, Seiko has cut a singular groove and painted it black. Although not written anywhere, I believe Seiko adopted the same visual warning cues used by Orient for its M-Force diving models. If the line is beyond the protective slipway or the small crown guard, it implies that the crown has not been properly screwed down.


As highlighted earlier, replacement straps should be in the 22 mm category. Its good that the lugs have straight through pinholes to ease strap replacement. In the photo below, you can see the protection provided by the protective slipway as well as the small crown guard. Note the crown head is devoid of any markings.

The deep gauges in the watch casing is a signature of Seiko's Monster line. It helps gripping even if your are wearing thick gloves.


This is the view from the other side where you can see the deep gauges in the watch casing in more detail.


This one is powered by the 4R35 series movement i.e. comes with a date function only. It is an automatic movement with handwind features. It also has a second hand stop (hacking) function. The movement operates in the 21,600 bph or 6 beats per second range and has 23 jewels. Power reserve in the main springs is approximately 40 hours.

An interesting observation that I can see from the wordings on the rotor is "4R35B TWENTY-THREE JEWELS". In many websites, the 4R35 movement has been reported to have 23 jewels whereas the more recent 4R35B has increased to 24 jewels. So, which movement does this watch actually use? The older 4R35 or the newer 4R35B? A typo perhaps?

In actual fact, that are some information about the 4R35 and 4R35B on the internet that is flawed and has been propagated widely. The reference "B" was added to the 4R35 to signify a change in the specific materials used in the movement. It is not a reference to a signify a change in the number of jewels used. 

First introduced in early 2011, the 4R35 was quickly superseded by the 4R35B by the end of 2011 to incorporate improvement in design. The number of jewel remains at 23.


The standard leather strap provided is brown, double layered with white stitching at the peripheral. Not as nice as some of the after market straps that you can find nowadays. Nevertheless, adequate for the job.

The special buckle provided with the Seiko brand name stamped on it is nice. I like the large flaring design that gives it some presence on the wrist.


The 44 mm wide watch does look big especially on my 7.5 inch wrist. However, the fact that it is not thick helps a lot in making it comfortable to wear and use in formal settings. The brown strap and the dull brushed tone of the watch casing makes it look sedated and that dampens the size factor considerably.


With a strap system, you are able to keep the watch close to the skin as the leather strap can expand ever so slightly with the wrist unlike a bracelet.

I have yet to try the quality of the illumination. However, I suspect it just sufficient and not as great as one would expect from Seiko's sport models.


In the photo below, you will note the lack of sharp edges. All the corners have been rounded and this allow the watch to ease easily under shirt cuffs.

Although there is no mentioned of any anti-reflective protection on the crystal. you can see see clearly the dial even at such a sharp angle.


This is a comfortable watch. Although the leather appears stiff at first, with continuous usage, the leather will become malleable and soft.

I have used this watch with formal wear and it is not an issue. The combination of colours on the watch gives it a 'brooding'-like look that grows on you.


Seiko watches are getting expensive. Since I first started collecting watches back in 2010, the typical price of a standard Seiko monster or equivalent was about the RM800 range. Now, similar models are set at a price point RM400 more than where it used to be. The inevitable effect of inflation.


Overall, I am pleased with this watch. I do own a couple of monsters, namely the Seiko SNM035 Land Monster and the Seiko SKX779K1 Black Monster. Compared to these two monsters the Prospex version appears to be more refine. The dial finishing is more intricate but lacking the bright illumination that has been one of the Monster's calling cards. Some may see no value to the compass function but who cares, it looks nice with the alpha numeric lettering and numbers all around the bezel.








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