Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai SRPB09K1 LE Review

By: Kaz Mirza

Every piece in my collection has a story. And the Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai SRPB09K1 is no different. The story of how the Seiko Boutique down in Miami, FL, USA did me a huge favor after a local AD let me down can be found in Episode #22 of the podcast. When I first heard about this Limited Edition Samurai my interest wasn’t initially piqued. But then I was able to take a deep look at the piece and I found myself enthralled with two of the watch’s most noteworthy features: the color and the case. However, things got weird (well, not weird, really – just interesting) after I really spent some time with the watch that made me question it in a way I wasn’t expecting, which I’ll do my best to demonstrate below.

Case:

I mean, come on – the case on the Blue Lagoon Samurai is just incredible. It’s the culmination of aesthetically pleasing sharp angles and slopes that present quite an aggressive case design. What I found to be interesting about such dramatic angles is that the watch plays with light very interestingly in that certain angles of the watch are either very well lit or quite shadowed. This is in contrast to more round case shapes that tend to diffuse and roll light even around and across the shape of the case. When you look at the watch, it’s easy to think that it may wear quite large or even be a touch too tall on the wrist, but this is not the case. As I’ve found with other pieces in the Prospex line, the numbers may look scary on paper, but on the wrist is a different story. These watches are designed for comfort, which means they tend to hug the wrist, which the Blue Lagoon Samurai certainly does.

That being said, the ethos that the Blue Lagoon Samurai seems to put off is that it’s a no-nonsense tool watch. In conjunction with the aggressive case design that we’ve discussed, the watch is basically entirely brushed (as opposed to polished, which tends to evoke a more refined presentation). The lugs of the case are drilled through, making strap changes a breeze. Although, I haven’t been compelled to change the stock bracelet out once (more on that in a bit). The lugs taper from the middle diameter of the case to a very comfortable and appropriate 22mm lug width. The crown guard features a sloping cutaway that allows for very easy access to the crown while also offering a bold presentation and the practical purpose of crown protection. Speaking of the crown, how about the knurling? This tends to enforce the tool watch vibe Seiko is trying to engender here with the Blue Lagoon Samurai.

We also see a similar knurling on the bezel, which is beautiful. It sports the familiar samurai ticks in the 0-15 portion of the bezel with the proceeding sections partitioned off into 10-tick increments, which eventually lead to a triangle pip area. My only complaint with the bezel is that it’s quite difficult to turn (insert weak hand joke here #watchfam – har har). Although I’m not sure this is something endmeic to the Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai. It’s been my understanding that many of the Prospex line pieces vary in terms of bezel stiffness off-the-line. So if anyone has any insight on that, it’d be greatly appreciated.

Bracelet:

So let’s move from the case to focus on the bracelet because we see something unique here. Unlike many pieces that (IMO) tend to have a fairly noticeable delineation between where the bracelet meets the case, the Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai offers us something unique. The slope of the case is both contingent upon and accentuated by the slope of the bracelet’s endlinks. One gets the sense that with the endlinks gone, the case would feel almost incomplete (like something had taken a bite out of it). I suspect this is one of the reasons why I haven’t taken the bracelet off yet, which for those who know me well know that I do often with my other pieces. The reason why I know I haven’t taken the bracelet off is that it’s just too damn comfortable. At 22mm it’s appropriately wide enough to secure the watch while also ensuring a snug comfortable fit.


 
 

Like the case, the majority of the Blue Lagoon Samurai’s bracelet is brushed – except for the sides and small in-between areas of the links. The clasp is pretty typical in what we see from sub $1k USD Prospex pieces: three piece stamped folding clasp. Again, it’s my understanding that the quality within the Prospex pieces tends to vary on the bracelet, but mine seems to be really sturdy and crafted well.

Movement:

Sporting the fairly popular and reliable 23 Jeweled 4R35, the movement focus of this piece will be pretty straightforward. The automatic 4R35 hacks and manually winds (the winding is quite smooth actually). In addition, the power reserve is rated at approximately 40 hours and the watch has been factory charted at +45/-35 seconds a day, parameters that my piece seems to be functioning within.

Dial:

The blue on the Seiko Samurai SRPB09K1 is really quite striking. In the light it tends to pull from two different hues of blue that draw inspiration from the ocean: the lighter blues remind me of shallow water while that deep, rich blue reminds me of dark, deeper water. The indicies are applied and feature that powerful Seiko lume we all’ve come to love. The lume is also just as bright on the hands. It should be noted here that the iconic Samurai hands from the original release are missing here and have been replaced with Seiko Monster hands.

I know many enthusiasts and purists may find that offense sacrilegious, but for me, objectively and aesthetically, I like them. The aggressive nature of these Monster hands complements the aggressive nature of the case shape IMO. The second hand here is also a lot of fun. It’s a spear shape with a dramatically exaggerated yellow point. The yellow is also noted in the 12, 3, 6, and 9 positions of the interior chapter ring. This very subtle pop of color brings a refreshing spritz of relief to the possibly overwhelming sense of blue the watch has. It’s also easy to miss and forget about them only to be surprised when the light hits the watch just right and they stand out – it’s the little things really.

Final Thoughts:

Ok, so here’s where it gets weird. I love my Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai – I really do. But I have to compare it to other Seiko divers that I own and have experienced in the metal and something is just off. I think what we’re possibly dealing with here is a case of over-designing.

Let me explain: for years Seiko has deftly designed their divers in such a way that the very essence and presentation of the watch feels organic – to design something organic is to draw out the natural shape and state of the watch itself. This is what I feel really enforces the romanticism we tend to associated with Seiko beaters. A watch that has been designed to evoke an organic ethos only looks better with age – all the dings, nicks, scratches, and scraps only accentuate the natural state of the watch.

In the case of my Seiko Sumo SBDC033, I’m really looking forward to growing with that watch – to watch the accumulation of marks and scratches that tell a story of all the times we’ve shared together. However, I’m not looking forward to time passing with the Samurai. In my opinion, the aggressive case shape is indicative of an ethos being forced out of the watch (over designed). So I’m afraid that the watch won’t wear damage very well over time.

So if you’re looking for an everyday beater, I wouldn’t necessarily seek out the Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai. There are plenty of other incredible options like the SKX line or the Sumo. However, if you’re looking for something fun to add to your collection to bust out when you want to mix it up every now and then, I’d recommend the hell out of the Seiko Blue Lagoon Samurai.

To close out this review here’s Yang cuddling the Blue Lagoon for #SeikoCaturday.


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