In the world of watches when someone say Turtle, automatically (with or without hand winding and hacking :)) a WIS thinks of Seiko and to me, when I say turtle, despite the fact there are a myriad of versions that appeared on the market in the last 4 years, there can only be one: the Ref. 6309-7040/9.
The SRPs were released, back in 2016 and I was all over those models. Back then, the idea of owning a vintage tool diver watch was difficult to digest, given the potential reliability vs. a modern watch. In time I was proven otherwise, especially if a proper service is involved.
I wanted all three SRPs versions 🙂 and spent hours online and in retail stores checking them out. As time passed by and I read more about the vintage models, the look of the 6309-7040/9 started to grow on me more and more. Although not too much different compared to the SRP … for the untrained eye that is :).
Many discussions on forums indicated that there is a certain charm to the vintage one vs. the modern version. And since I have one, I can confirm this… I gradually became hesitant in pulling the trigger on the SRP turtle and started to hunt a nice example of the 6309. This was a hassle, given the so many Franken – with aftermarket parts – ones….. At some point I was very close to get a 6306 (more desirable and more expensive JDM version with more jewels, hacking movement and kanji day wheel) but the hefty premium price over the 6309 held me back. Finding a good 6306 example is still on my buying list though…
The watch in this review is a Seiko Turtle 6309-7040 from March 1979 (exactly one year older than me :)). The watch belonged to a WIS buddy who is more trained than me in spotting an original, good condition, vintage Seiko. So buying this particular example was a fairly easy job for me as my pall did the hunting :). I suggest anyone on a hunt for a 6309 to document themselves properly on the forums and YT videos to learn what are the differences between an original and an aftermarket one.
The watch has a lovely shape, being quite round at 45mm diameter, with a lug to lug of 45mm. SRPs wear bigger as they have several mm longer lug2lug. The nickname “turtle” could not have been chosen any better. The cushioned shape of the watch and the way it sits flat (with its 13mm thickness) on the wrist makes me think exactly of a turtle. A Japanese one to be more precise :).
In the Seiko divers’ line up the watch before the 6309-7040/9 was the Willard (6105-8110/9) which I have reviewed here. Not only that the Seiko Turtle is a worthy successor, but manages to stand out as an icon outside the older brother’s shadow. There are a number of similarities in my opinion between these two models but also differences, enough to stand them apart as distinct iconic divers. And of course, to justify having both in the collection).
Their cushioned cases are extremely comfortable on the wrist despite the big (at least on paper) diameter. They both have bidirectional 60 clicks bezels which have amazing action. They both have the crown at 4 o’clock with the most sensual crown guards :). The 6309-7040 was also worn by famous people :), just like its bigger brother. Ed Harris wore one in the film “Abyss”. Mick Jagger was photographed and caught on film many times wearing one.
Apart from the obvious dial and hands, there are other differences that need to be mentioned. The screw down crown of the 6309 is by far safer than the unscrew/lock crown of the 6105. Even though it shows the same WR. The lug width is larger, of 22mm on the Seiko Turtle versus 19mm on the Willard. Nowadays a 22mm lug width for a 44+mm diameter watch is more or less the standard. However, the 19mm on the Willard while it seems extreme :), it is extremely comfortable and keeps a very strong vintage vibe.
Now, before I turn this review into a comparison 🙂 let’s go back to the 6309…
I have purchased this watch on a period correct flat rubber strap GL-831 which based on the look and stickiness 🙂 may have the same age as the watch :). And although the watch looks great on it, I prefer to wear it on other straps bracelets as the age of this rubber makes it less reliable. As any Seiko black diver this watch is a strap monster. It works equally great on rubber (chocolate bar, tropic, waffle, flat vent), on Natos and also bracelets. I wear it mostly on an H-link tapper and an oyster style bracelet.
The crown is a screw down one. It is reported to have a tendency of stripping the threads if one is not careful while operating it. A damaged crown tube basically will make the case unusable…so be careful!
Bezel has 60 clicks and is bidirectional. The action is firm and sturdy with an extremely pleasant action, feel and sound. In my opinion any diver watch should have this kind of action. An important aspect for me in enhancing the owning experience of a vintage watch is to have it properly serviced. Similarly with my 6105-8110, I had my 6309 properly serviced with the water resistance rebuilt and tested. The movement of this watch can be found in a number of Seiko watches, including some dress watches. It beats at 21600 bph, has 17 jewels and a power reserve of two days. Following the service it has an amplitude of 270 degrees, a beat error of 0.1ms and it runs 5s fast per day. Combined with the fully cleaned and resealed case, it means that the next service interval might be my kid’s task many years from now.
I wrote this review on a windy sunny Sunday afternoon while wearing my 6309 and listening to Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction. There is no better song to describe the feeling I have when I look at my wrist and see the Seiko Turtle.
Stay safe everyone!
Text by: Razvan R.
Photos by: Razvan R.