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The Collector’s View: Seiko Blue Monster SRP455K1 Review

by Nick Gould on February 19, 2014
The Collector's View

My purchase of the Seiko Blue Monster came about due to a delay on a Bronze watch, which was a year overdue. I had been waiting patiently on news of delivery, when a few of my fellow watch collecting friends started to post a Seiko they had purchased. It was a limited edition of the very reliable and reasonably priced Seiko Divers 200m nicknamed the “Monster” by collectors. Nicknames for watches are a funny thing. Other variants in the Seiko Superior range have names bestowed upon them such as “Baby Tuna and “Big Tuna”. These have a different case design and they got their nicknames due to their resemblance to a can of tuna.

Seiko "Blue Monster", the nickname for SRP455K1

Seiko “Blue Monster”, the nickname for SRP455K1

This edition of the Monster was to celebrate Seiko’s 100 years in watchmaking. Although it is limited the exact number of pieces made worldwide is unclear due to no definitive numbering system except for a batch of 500 on stainless steel bracelets which is clearly marked.

Seiko "Blue Monster" on a NATO strap.

Seiko “Blue Monster” on a NATO strap.

The main reason I was drawn to the watch was the colour. I have a fondness for the colour blue, and admire watches with flamed blued hands and enamel dials. The blue PVD bezel and the colour of the dial had me transfixed and since I didn’t have a watch in my collection with any blue accents, I decided to get one. Getting one in my hands posed a conundrum.

As I am based in Australia, obtaining a normal production piece is an uphill task let alone a limited edition one. Thankfully Singapore is nearby and is a watch lovers paradise containing a cornucopia of brands from Casio to high end pieces from Patek Philippe and A Lange & Söhne and independent brands like MB&F and Urwerk.

Best of Japan...Seiko "Blue Monster" and Momotaro jeans.

Best of Japan…Seiko “Blue Monster” and Momotaro jeans.

The retail price for the watch was $390. Slightly more than the regular production model. The demand for the watch in Singapore was sky high, and some retailers started to sell the piece at double retail value. My friends had been able to secure their pieces at retail price with a small discount. I asked them for help in keeping their eyes out for another piece at normal retail price for me.

After about 2 weeks it seemed I would be out of luck and was about to end my interest. Then I saw a post from a friend who posted a photo, which featured 2 identical pieces! I quickly messaged him and found out he bought an extra piece for a friend but that friend had secured his own piece. He was happy to sell me the extra piece at cost. After 48 hrs of emailing, payment was sent and the watch was on its way to me in Australia.

Fits perfect on my wrists.

Fits perfect on my wrist.

The watch has a 42mm stainless steel case with 20mm lugs, unidirectional timing bezel and comes on a rubber strap. The rubber strap isn’t fantastic but luckily the watch has drilled lugholes, which makes changing the strap a breeze. I wear it on a NATO strap and it sits very nicely one the wrist due to its flat back. It also looks at home on a Milanese mesh bracelet.

Seiko "Blue Monster" dial. Functional, but some overlapping markers.

Seiko “Blue Monster” dial. Functional, but some overlapping markers.

The markers of the watch are crisp and legible. Sometimes it can be slightly difficult to read the exact time due to some of the minute markers that have been shrunk to fit on top of the 5-minute markers. The markers and the tip of the running seconds hand are covered in Seiko’s blend of luminous paint called Lumibrite.

Seiko "Blue Monster" lume shot, showing the bright glow.

Seiko “Blue Monster” lume shot, showing the bright glow.

Which is brilliant and when fully charged can last to the early hours of the morning. The dial and the PVD bezel have different shades of blue and in different light they show off a different hue. The unidirectional timing bezel has the first 15 minutes clearly laid out followed by markers at 5-minute intervals and a luminous dot for accurate timing.

The beautiful hue of the blue dial drew me magnetically to the watch.

The beautiful hue of the blue dial drew me magnetically to the watch.

For $350 you get a reliable workhouse automatic movement (the 4R36) displaying the date and the day of the week in either short form or in roman numerals. It also allows for manual winding and a hack able seconds hand. This is an upgrade on the old 7S26 movement, which featured neither. It has a 41-hour power reserve and runs at 21,600 vph.

I have been impressed immensely by the value for money you get with this watch. Solid and well built case, automatic movement and an attractive blue dial.

The thinking man's watch? Inexpensive, very beautiful timepiece, well constructed and a reliable, accurate movement.

The thinking man’s watch? Inexpensive, very beautiful timepiece, well constructed and a reliable, accurate movement.

I would definitely recommend the Monster to anyone who is looking for a reliable timepiece under $500.

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