Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Seiko 5 Sports "Bottlecap" SRPC61 (similar to SRPC63, SRPC65 & SRPC67) - A Refreshing Design, A Review (plus Videos)

I can't remember whether I have said this thing before but I am annoyed with Seiko's public relation strategy on the Seiko 5 range, specifically the lack of a define promotional plan for all the new offerings. Followers are forced to actively look at watch forums or third party blog postings to get a whiff of new stuff coming out of Seiko's factories.

This is one instance that I was caught off-guard. I caught a glimpse of the watch in a shop display stand and I was immediately smitten by it. I didn't even know Seiko has such a model ready for shipment and yet it is already delivered to its dealers (in Malaysia definitely, can't say for sure other parts of the world though).

Anyway, Seiko, if you are reading this, please come out with a formal process of announcing to your legion of fans new offerings with all the necessary information package like stock photos, specification sheets and product description at the very least. If you can do it for your Prospex and Presage, you can do it for your Seiko 5.


Let's get back to the review.

This new series, with reference SRPC61, SRPC63, SRPC65 and SRPC67 is a 2018 offering from Seiko and has been given the nickname "Bottlecap" by fans. It can come either with the additional suffix J1 or K1 which signifies either "MADE IN JAPAN" for the former or elsewhere for the latter. What I got is the SRPC61K1 which means that it is made out of Japan.

I tried getting it in Kuala Lumpur but the price, even after discount, was still higher that what I could get overseas. In fact, I ordered mine via Amazon. It only costs me USD149.99 plus USD24.95 for courier charges which came to RM760.61. In Kuala Lumpur, the MSRP is RM1,145 and the best price I got was RM801.50 (30% discount).



The Watch

The watch is part of the Seiko 5 Sports line which is the more sporty version of the generic Seiko 5 models. Made out of stainless steel, it comes with a bracelet, a unidirectional divers' bezel and a day-date complication. It measures 45 mm across (excluding the crown) with a lug-to-lug width of 47 mm. Thickness of the watch is 13 mm. Meanwhile, lug width is 20 mm.

The watch has 3-hands, date and day complications. The dial is black. It also comes with a unidirectional bezel. The whole construction is made out of stainless steel with brushed surfaces.



The SRPC61 is water rated to 100 meters. Although designed like a diver, I would not advise you to actively swim with one on. The lack of a screw-down crown does make it more likely to have water ingress especially if used in a very active way. A leisurely swim is fine.

Fans have given the nickname "Bottlecap" to this watch for good reason. The cone-base shaped casing plus the notching surface on the bezel creates a familiar shape to a bottle cap.



The chapter rings is vertical and polished. The edge of the dial is printed the minute and sub-minute line markers in white. Every fifth minutes which corresponds to the hour markers is larger than the rest; Seiko uses Lumibrite paint on these to provide illumination in the dark.

The next set of scale is the applied hour markers. Despite have a larger aperture to fit in the day and date complications at 3 o'clock, every hour consists of an illuminated hour marker with various designs. The 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock positions have rectangle markers. The 12 o'clock has an upside down triangle. The 3 o'clock has a square marker while the rest have round markers. All hour markers are framed with polished metal.

On the dial there are 7 rows of texts and logo. The upper half of the dial consists of the applied brand and logo as well as the words "SPORTS" printed in red. On the bottom half of the dial, the words "AUTOMATIC", "24 JEWELS" and "100M" can be clearly seen. The seventh row of text is very small and located at the bottom edge of the dial. It consists of production codes for the watch.

The day wheel on the SRPC61 has two languages, English and French. Surprisingly, both the day wheel and date wheel uses opposite colours for the text and background. The day wheel uses a black background with white text while the date wheel uses a white background with black text. I believe the colour combination was used to minimise any disruption of visual symmetry to the dial.

Seiko uses a sword design for the hours and minutes hands. Both are painted with Lumibrite with polished steel frame surrounding the painted portion. Meanwhile, the seconds hand has an epee style design and polished.



The dial is protected by Seiko's in-house proprietary crystal; Hardlex. The flat crystal is flushed with the bezel.

The bezel has angled surfaces that creates an illusion of it being thinner than the bezel of typical dive watches. It has minute markers in dots etched into the metal surface with additional markers in either line or Arabic numbering at 5 minute intervals. Meanwhile, the 12 o'clock marker is an upside down triangle. All markers are filled with black paint.

The unidirectional bezel travels with 120-click increments for a full rotation. Unfortunately, there is some rearward play in the bezel. Nevertheless, the notching at the side does facilitate grip.

The crown on the SRPC61 is located at the 4 o'clock position. It is a push-in crown and sterile without any markings. It has a coin-edge side to enable grip.



The SRPC61 uses a very short and angled lugs to minimise wrist overhangs for wearers with small wrists. The difference between the dial diameter and the lug-to-lug length is just 2 mm! The angled lugs also help keep the watch snug on the wrist.

The watch is paired with a standard bracelet with double-lock folding clasp. The links are connected by a simpler split pin instead of the more traditional pin-and-sleeve system found in most Seiko 5 bracelets. I suspect, this style of locking pin will superseded the more awkward to use pin-and-sleeve system. On the clasp itself, there are 4 micro-adjustment points for finer bracelet resizing.

The bracelet looks solid but on closer inspection you can see the fine line where the metal has been folded over itself to make it look thicker (see below).



I am actually happy to note that Seiko decided to go with a 20 mm wide lugs instead of the typical 22 mm. I believe this is the right size for a bracelet watch as it beautifully complements the size of the watch casing.

The only issue I have with the bracelet is its loose fitting. It jingles and rattles. I guess this is one problem that would be very difficult to address unless Seiko decides to completely redesign the bracelet.



The SRPC61 comes with a display screw-down case-back. Here you can see Seiko 4R36A automatic movement. This 24 jewel, hand-winding and hacking capable movement operates at 21,600 BPH with approximately 40 hours of power reserve. 




The SRPC61 does not disappoint when it comes to illumination. The amount of Lumibrite paint used is indicative by the brightness of the illumination. Above was the photo taken of the watch after being subjected to dark light for just a few seconds.


The Wearing Experience

The short lugs make the watch wear nicely on the wrist. It has a similar feel to wearing a Seiko Tuna. The 20 mm bracelet feels just nice and despite the height of the SRPC61, the shape of the watch casing reduces the chance of snagging. In the photo below, you can see how easily the watch tucks under shirt cuff.



Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.



The rattling bracelet is the major downside to the SRPC61. Nevertheless, once on the wrist, it does its job perfectly.

With the short angled lugs, pairing the watch with a leather strap would make it more fashionable in my opinion. Only one of the other four members of the Bottlecap series were paired without a bracelet. Instead, a NATO style nylon strap was used. I would rather see it with a leather strap than a NATO (or even ZULU) strap. 


Conclusion

The Bottlecap SRPC61 is a refreshing design. The pricing is also affordable and would encourage a lot more people into the watch-collecting hobby.


The Series

There are four members of this particular Bottlecap series. They are the SRPC61, SRPC63, SRPC65 and SRPC67 with either the J1 suffix (made in Japan) or K1 suffix (made outside Japan).


SRPC61J1/SRPC61K1

SRPC63J1/SRPC63K1

SRPC65J1/SRPC65K1

SRPC67J1/SRPC67K1



All have a combination of bracelet, NATO strap, polished surface, PVD surface, coloured bezel and coloured dial. The models with the J1 suffix will have the "MADE IN JAPAN" at the bottom edge of the dial.


Specifications

Material: Stainless Steel
Glass: Hardlex
Strap: Bracelet
Dial: Black
Movement: Automatic
Complications: Analog hands, day & date 
Caliber: 4R36A
Jewels: 24
Water Resist: 100 m
Bezel: Unidirectional
Case Diameter: 45 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lugs: 20 mm
Lug-to-Lug: 47 mm



Photo Gallery





4 comments:

  1. excellent description! I was enthralled by the design, I wish they made as smaller size, but the sales are obviously highest in this 44mm range

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, you have an Amazing collection!
    Apple has also launched his series 4 watches. check out the specifications, availability and the prices here Apple Watch Series 4

    ReplyDelete

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