Thursday, December 8, 2011

Impressions of the Seiko SRP043

After my satisfaction with the BFK I decided to pick up the SRP043 because of the similarity in the case.  I hate to say it, but I was incredibly disappointed.  Probably the first time I was disappointed in a Seiko.  Don't get me wrong, I really wanted to like it.  The model has its loyal following, but I just couldn't warm up to it.

I think the thing that bothered me the most was the poor fitting bezel insert.  Hard to believe but the insert did not fit flush with the outer edge of the bezel which resulted in a lip in the metal.  Very disappointing because every time I touched the bezel, that lip is all I felt.  Such a surprise from Seiko.  With all the divers they have made its hard to believe they would make a poor fitting bezel insert.  This was probably the deal breaker for me.  I also think the narrow width of the insert looked odd and disproportionate with the dial.  The bezel itself had a good feel to it although I preferred the grip on that of the BFK.

Although the case is very similar to the BFK, it didn't seem to be finished as well.  The brushed areas seemed to be uneven especially on the non-crown side and I think I preferred the look of the grommet things over the drilled holes.  The bracelets are identical between the two models.

Dial and hands on the SRP043 were awesome.  Very well done.  The blacked out centers of the hands gave the illusion that they were floating over the dial.  Hands were very legible and the lume was impressive.  The dial and hands were definitely the best feature of this model.  One thing that crossed my mind was that as much as I liked the dial and hands, I felt they were very un-Seiko.  The similarity to Sinn and B&R is obvious, but never bothered me.  As much as I like to see unique touches in each model, I guess I also like to see some continuity with past models.  A little bit of different is good while a lot of different is bad.

The movement inside was Seiko's new 4R15.  Longer power reserve for sure, but still felt like a basic 7S to me.  Accuracy wise mine performed around 10 seconds per day the short time I owned it.  I would take my comments with a grain of salt because I haven't been feeling the mechanical movements lately.

This model was recently discontinued by Seiko, so if this one is for you, you better grab one fast.

I know there are a lot of owners of the SRP043 out there.  Why not drop a comment and share your impressions of this model.

Some pictures for reference.


Speedmaster said...

Not bad at all!

pezie said...

In my eyes, the SRP043 is by far the best looking Seiko diver in this price range. The strictly black-and-white hands, dial and bezel insert are highly aesthetically pleasing and superbly legible; look and feel of the massive case and bracelet are great.

That the bezel insert isn't perfectly flush with the bezel didn't strike me as a flaw, I even assumed that this might be intentional (to protect the insert against scratches). Now that I read you mentioning it, I can see why one might wish for a perfectly flush bezel insert, but, personally, I don't find this to be a dealbreaker, especially because it's almost impossible to see, only to feel.

I have a different nag regarding that very part of the bezel (= the outer edge of the recess for the insert). It doesn't seem perfectly finished, but slightly uneven (as if it had been lightly scratched) and therefore seems not quite as massive as the rest of the watch. This is only visible when direct light hits this edge and there's a highlight on it.

Besides that, I have no complains about the finish of the case.

Another very minor nag is that the second hand could be a tad longer. The hour and minute hands have the perfect length (almost touching the markers), but the second hand is shorter than the minute hand. I am mentioning this only because I'm trying hard to find any weak points at all in this watch.

When worn all day, my SRP043 is usually about 1 sec slow or fast. When the error accumulates, I rest the watch over night on the back (so that it gains a few seconds) or on the crown (so that it loses a few seconds).

Compared to other automatic watches that I own, the 4R15 in my SRP043 needs a few rotations of the rotor to start when I had run out of power. My Citizen Promaster NY0040, for example, starts running when I merely pick her up.

pezie said...

... when *it* had run out of power, obviously. :)

Spin Doctor said...

Thanks for your comments pezie. I've come to the conclusion that when it comes to watches (and other things I suppose) there are visual people and then there are tactile people. I could never understand how some things like misaligned hands and specks on the dial or second hands not hitting the markers would bother some people so much when they don't bother me at all.

I was recently having a discussion with some friends about the stamped clasps like that Seiko uses on their divers. To some people those clasps don't bother them at all while I can't stand them as they make the entire watch feel cheap to me. Same can be said for bezel action. Anything with a ratchety, clicky feel to it bothers me as opposed to the smooth, controlled action of most Seiko bezels. I guess where I am heading is that with the SRP043, every time I touched that bezel all I could feel was the metal edge to the point that was all I could think about in association with the watch. So I guess I'm more of a tactile person than a visual person.