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4.7 out of 5 stars
Seiko Men's SRP309 Classic Automatic Dive Watch
Price:$172.01 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2014
DESCRIPTION: The revised Seiko SRP309 "Orange Monster" with the new 24 jewel 4R36 mechanical automatic movement replaces the legendary SKX781 "Orange Monster" with the venerable 21 jewel 7S26 movement. Externally, the two watches are very similar, with the most notable changes being removal of minutes/seconds numbers from the watch face and use of a knurled rather than ridged stem on the new version. Internally, the changes are much more dramatic. The new 4R36 movement adds the ability to stop or "hack" the watch at any seconds position, allowing precise time setting, and it also adds the ability to hand wind the watch, both of which were missing in the 7S26 movement. Just as important, the 4R36 movement appears to have much better accuracy (ability to keep good time) and isochronism (changes in timekeeping due to state of wind and watch position), right out of the box. For those not familiar with this iconic and inexpensive timepiece, the Orange Monster is an armored stainless steel dive watch advertised as waterproof to 200 meters (658 feet). It is both rugged and reliable, but was not particularly accurate - until now. Its markers and hands rest under a domed mineral crystal on an orange watch face and are coated with a generous amount of LumiBrite, allowing them to glow perceptibly for hours after exposure to light. Hours, minutes, seconds, day and date are indicated - day and date through a window in the watch face at the 3 o'clock position. The crystal is further shielded by a sloped and very rugged unidirectional, stainless-steel timing ring whose inner ridge is lower than the outer ridge - the exact opposite of most dive watches - to protect the crystal. The timing ring moves only counter-clockwise, 120 clicks per revolution, and is very smooth and well damped in operation. Massive ridges on its outer edge provide ample grip, even with gloves on. Timing marks are deeply engraved into the steel and filled with black paint for better contrast. The 12 o'clock timing position features an inlaid LumiBrite dot, for readability in complete darkness. Surrounding the timing ring is a ridge of stainless steel armor protecting the upper and lower thirds of the ring from accidental movement or impact - another unique feature of the "Monster". The watch stem, used to set the time, day and date is at the 4 o'clock position and is protected by its own ridge of armor at the top and by the timing ring armor ridge at the bottom. The watch stem is large and knurled in a fine diamond checkerboard pattern that provides excellent grip and screws down to provide a positive water seal. The watch back is domed to resist pressure and screws onto the watch case as one piece. The model and serial numbers are stamped onto the back along with Seiko's "breaking wave" logo for its dive watches. Overall the watch body and timing ring feature a mixture of polished and machined matte finished steel. The metal bracelet is equally robust, with solid machined stainless steel links, including solid end links. It is attached to the watch body with conventional spring pins. Links are fastened to each other using the Seiko pin-and-collar system that is quite difficult to adjust, but very strong and reliable once correctly assembled. The clasp is made of stamped stainless steel and is of the double fold-over type with twin squeeze-to-release locking buttons on the inner catch. It features four micro-adjustment positions set by spring pin and a rather flimsy looking snap-out diver's extension that is reinforced by a steel hook when not deployed.

PERFORMANCE AND IMPRESSIONS: This watch is called the "Monster" for a very good reason - it looks like one. With no concessions to popular style, it defines a unique and iconic look all its own, written in the robustness, boldness and practicality of its design. And it takes some getting used to. Perhaps that's why its appreciated even by collectors of much more expensive timepieces. If ever there was a tool watch designed by an engineer, this is it, particularly with the new 4R36 movement, whose performance now matches the very high standard set by the watch case and bracelet. My previous experience with the old 7S26 movement (in two Seiko SKX173 style dive watches) was that accuracy out of the box was 20-30 seconds per day with a variance of about +/- 12 seconds - not stellar. I purchased two of the new "Monsters", the SRP309 orange faced version and the SRP307 black faced version ("Black Monster") at a 2-for sale in December 2013. Both have the Japanese built version of the 4R36 movement. The Orange Monster has so far shown an accuracy of -5.5 seconds per day when on a winder and +5.5 seconds per day in normal use. The Black Monster is even better at -1.0 seconds per day on a winder and -4.0 seconds per day in normal use - meeting several Swiss COSC standards - a remarkable performance for a low-cost, mass-produced mechanical timepiece. After three and a half months of alternating wear, both watches look almost new - a tribute to the quality of their materials, finish and protective armor. And if you don't like the orange watch face, the Monster is also available with a black face (SRP307 - "Black Monster") and in other variations that can include a rubber strap, PVD coated body and timing ring, etc.

GOTCHAs: Three potential issues exist with this watch, all controllable by the owner. The first involves band resizing. The Seiko metal bracelet uses a system where links are connected to each other using stainless steel pins inserted from one end only and secured by a very tiny metal collar inserted from the opposite end. Removing and inserting these pins and collars is a very exacting process that is difficult to do at home and requires a magnifier and precision tools. Many watch shops will improperly assemble the pin-and-collar arrangement (most often losing the collar), causing the bracelet to come apart later, at the worst possible time. So make sure the person resizing the bracelet knows how to work with the Seiko pin and collar system. The second issue is the knurled stem, which in some ways resembles a metal file. Clearance between the stem knob and surrounding armor is so tight that sufficient play exists to allow the knob to grind and bind frustratingly against the armor ridges when loosening or tightening it. Fortunately, the grinding action that causes the problem in the first place also solves it - after a few months of use the interference points have apparently worn down and binding is minimal. The third (potential) issue is owner expectation. This is a mechanical "automatic" watch. It has about 41 hours of reserve power when fully wound. It will simply stop if not worn or wound within that period. Compared to an electronic quartz watch, it is inaccurate. A quartz watch will usually drift no more than a half second per day. So expect to reset the time on the Monster weekly. This is very good for a mechanical watch.

SUMMARY: At this price point I've seen no other mechanical watch that can match the Monster's robustness, quality, precision (build and timekeeping) and practicality of design. It is an excellent first mechanical watch for any collector. Several people have walked up to me, pointed at the watch and said "Monster!", with a smile - so there is a community of aficionados out there. As backup to a dive computer, it is eminently practical, and it works as a daily beater, too. As for style - well... that's in the eye of the beholder. It is a heavy, bold watch that stands out. Generally speaking, it is NOT a dress watch :)

RATING: Overall, for excellence in design and execution, its unique and bold look and incredible value, I give this watch five (5) stars. It is simply outstanding in its price class.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2014
Verified Purchase
Bought this watch 2 months ago for a trip to Hawaii from Amazon reseller E Watch Stock, and now I can give it a proper review. To start, the new 4R36 movement can now be wound. The hacking feature allows you to stop the second hand and set it to an atomic clock if you would like. However, my copy gains about 7 seconds per day, so what's the point. What I do enjoy about the watch is the beautiful orange dial and the stainless bracelet. The watch feels as solid as a Navy destroyer. Here is my durability test: I wore it into the salty Pacific Ocean for 7 days strait, sprayed it with sticky sunscreen, and then dug moats around sandcastles in silty fine volcanic sand. Then into a chlorine pool every evening, and afterwards into a soapy hot shower. I would then take it off, rinse it and dry it with a hotel towel, and it always looked like new. The bezel still rotates with no indication that it was ever near a beach. I didn't get a single scratch on the crystal although I was banging around a concrete pool, this due to the sunken design of the glass. Now that I'm back from vacation, I actually wear this to the office, where it gets heavily complimented from co-workers wearing the standard Rolex and Breitling watches (which I also appreciate). My mother-in-law complimented the watch, so guess what... my father-in-law now wants one, but black, not orange. What else is there to say? Just get the watch, it's one of the best deals out there for a solid automatic watch that truly has some style, and allows you to go to Hawaii with the spare change. Cheers.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2014
Verified Purchase
I could honestly not be happier with my SRP309; the looks, quality and accuracy are amazing for the price spent. There is something intangibly special about wearing an automatic watch vs a quartz. It is a work of art and human achievement on your wrist that makes me happy to look at it every time.

This watch looks great online in pictures but I was very surprised how much more attractive it is in person. The contrast of the polished and matte pieces of stainless on the watch and band need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. The addition of hacking and hand winding are welcome to this classic watch in comparison to its previous model. The watch does have some heft to it so if you want your watch to completely disappear on your wrist this may be a model you want to try on before you buy. That being said the bracelet is quality and it is comfortable as a daily wearer for me so far.

After owning this watch one week it is keeping amazing time; it is only one second slow. I am learning that it loses about 2 seconds a day from wearing it but I can gain those back by placing it face up at night. That to me is one of the fun quirky things that make automatic watches unique.

I ordered directly from Amazon and paid a few more dollars because I wanted the genuine Seiko warranty. I was also excited to receive a Japanese made watch. You never know which country of origin you will receive when ordering online but I lucked out. There is obviously nothing wrong with the other countries of origin but generally the Japanese made ones are more sought after by collectors.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2014
Verified Purchase
I've had this watch about 24 hours now, so these are initial feelings.
My other watch is an Omega Seamaster that is about 10 years old, it has needed to much attention recently so I have looking for a good watch to allow the Omega to enter retirement.

The packaging was nice, appropriate for the price point. More than a plastic container to put on a shelf, less than the grand leather case of the Omega.

Picking up the watch the first time, decent weight and size. Manly without being too much. The orange face is certainly not your dad's Rolex but if you are going far enough with this watch to read reviews you kind of like it. I kind of like it as well. The watch hands diameter are smaller for a face this size in my opinion. Real easy to read in day light or night (wow the watch glows in the dark!). Real solid and well built case. A real nice step up from the cheap watch options out there.

It was easy to set the time, day and date once I found the right movement and language in the instruction booklet. Sizing the band might be best done by a jeweler unless you have a tool to remove the pins. (the little sleeves are super tiny, smaller than a grain of rice). I like the adjustability of being able to do more than add/remove links to seize the band.

EDIT: I've now had the watch about a week. Lots of comments around about how bad the watch keeps time. I feel it keeps great time. Using my cell phone for the "official" time, the Orange Monster is less than 30 seconds fast in that week. I'l totally take that, my Omega was off 5 minutes I swear just screwing in the crown! Have gotten lots of comments about how great the watch looks.

I'm loving my Orange Monster. Hope you love yours as much!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2014
This was a birthday gift from my wife and daughter. Sentimental reasons for liking it aside, this is a fantastic watch. Pictures really do not do this watch justice. The appearance is striking, as it is large and the orange face is not subtle. So far it has kept time well. Lume is great and is readable in the morning before sun up (diaper changes and feedings for my little girl). It is well made and just outstanding in every way. I asked for this as an everyday watch to reduce wear and tear on several much higher end watches. Those now reside in the safe next to a Kimber and a Sebenza-good to have and fun to own but not as useful for everyday as some other options. For an everyday tool-type watch, it is just a step ahead of G-Shock or Ironman watches. The stuff you throw at a watch everyday can be surprisingly rough, particularly when you throw an almost toddler into the mix. I don't dive much anymore, but the design and robustness of the watch really make it a joy to own. I did not have an attachment to the earlier model and have read where the shark tooth registers are a love/hate thing with those who are passionate about this watch. Personally, I like the design. The new movement is supposedly a step up as well. Being able to hand wind is a nice touch and the improvements in accuracy would more than offset the new face or crown design. One caveat; be prepared to fork over $25 to go to a jeweler to get the band adjusted, as this is not something to take on unless you have the tools, steady hands, great eye sight (even with a magnifier), and patience. Get the watch. You won't regret it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
I am very excited about my new Orange Monster divers watch. I just got it at the local Seiko store here in Las Vegas 3 days ago and my first impressions are the watch face is much smaller than typical divers watches with the over sized cases. The hands and hour markers glow bright for a long time. Although I am handicapped and will never go diving I am a big fan of divers watches; I have 3 of them including this one! I also like the feel of the rotating bezel. I read that this is more accurate than the older version of the orange monster and that is another appealing aspect of my new diver watch. I also am fascinated by the heavy, solid stainless steel bracelet with solid end links which resemble the bracelets on my Orient black Mako which, I might add, is another divers watch. Due to my sedentary lifestyle as a handicapped man this will most likely not be worn as much as it would be by most people and will last me my whole life. Having a fine watch like this last a lifetime is very exciting indeed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2014
Verified Purchase
Visually, the orange dial provides good contrast for easy reading in low light without looking gaudy. The watch is a comfortable size to wear - big enough not to 'disappear' on your wrist and not so large as to bump into/catch on items in your environment. The band design is excellent for those who switch from the original to, say, a NATO nylon band due to the absence of having to fit endpieces. Once adjusted for your wrist size, the original band is comfortable and, of course, very durable. The dial provides a good lume in dark environments, the timekeeping is spot-on, and water doesn't cause a problem. Although I tend to wear a watch 24/7, the hand wind option makes it easy to keep running if I need to remove it for an extended interval. The 'hack' feature is greatly convenient for staying in sync with other timepieces, running a railroad, destroying bridges, or coordinating with others in your recon team. Seriously,though, it's a fun feature to have available. You can't go wrong with this one!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
Received as promised. I got the SRP309. I received the K1 (was hoping for the J)
It has been sent for sizing. The weight, color, and movement work together beautifully. Well made and the lumibrite is best I have seen.
One happy camper here
BUY IT BE HAPPY
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2015
Verified Purchase
FEEL AND APPEARANCE
It's a great looking watch. It feels solid but not too heavy at 6.1 oz with 3 links removed. The "Day" and "Date" is black on white, making them very legible. The face is only one shade of orange, but the convex crystal will create mild variations, depending on the light. Check out the pictures attached to this review. In the first picture, the the bezel is turned one (half minute) click. The bezel alignment to the minutes is precise, as are the minute and hour hands.

ACCURACY
My watch runs about 20 seconds fast per day. With the "hacking" feature, I can keep it accurate by pulling the stem out for 20 seconds in the morning. Greater accuracy is available if you you are comfortable voiding your warranty by removing the case-back and adjusting the regulator lever. Personally, I'm fine with the accuracy as delivered by the factory, and I don't recommend you risk damaging your watch.

BUILD
My product is "Japanese Movement". Presumably, Japanese components assembled in Malaysia. The band is comfortable, attractive and does not pinch. The bezel has 120 clicks, making it suitable for timing to the nearest 30 seconds. The bezel feel is reassuringly snug, but not difficult to turn. Virtually no "play" between clicks. The minute and hour hands align precisely to the hour and minute markings. I've read good things about the new 24 jewel 4R36 movement. The main spring winds automatically from motion, or manually from the stem. For precise setting, the second hand stops when the stem is pulled out,

WATCHBAND
Save yourself a headache and have the watch band re-sized by a jeweler. The pins in the watch band are uni-directional and have a tiny collar at each end. The collars on one end will fall out when you remove the pin. They are easy to lose, and difficult to insert. It was an exercise in humility and patience.

COMMENTS
Definitely tough enough for daily wear. I'm not concerned about the lack of a sapphire crystal. The hardened glass crystal is recessed a bit from the bezel, which protects it well. Also, this watch is unusual. Many watch collectors add this watch to their Rolex, Breitling, and other expensive watches.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Verified Purchase
I bought the Seiko SRP309 two weeks ago on Amazon. The watch was quickly delivered, and it was packaged pretty good as well. 5/5 points for "Bluedial Watches", the seller.
I doubted between this watch, and the older one model (SKX781). But the new movement, and the new price (now even cheaper), help me make this decision.
On my hands the New Seiko Orange Monster looks good, but on my wrist it looks great. Since I received it, I wear it every day. It runs almost 8 seconds fast a day, which is good enough for me.
The bracelet is very solid and comfortable and I removed the extra links myself with a watch repair kit that I purchased in Amazon for $10.00.
Very happy with my purchase.
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