After writing our last article on the best Seiko compass watches, several readers asked us to review the Seiko Prospex Land in particular. This watch garnered a lot of attention for its unique build and rugged looks.
With the newly released Seiko SRPD31/33/35 lineup, we can expect at least a few years of production ahead, making it important to know whether or not you should grab this piece before it gets discontinued. Let's get right into it!
The Seiko SRPD3x's case shape is definitely in a league of its own. The 43mm diameter might deter some small-wristed folks from getting this watch, but I beg to differ.
This Prospex Land has the shortest lug base I've seen in a while, making the lug-to-lug length as short as the actual case diameter. This means that there's no way you'll get lug overhang from your SRPD.
This is great news for us slender wristed collectors; the SRPD3x will fit pretty much any wrist size as long as you're comfortable with a chunky timepiece.
However, it's important to take note of the protruding crown guard at the 2 o'clock position, which makes the SRPD3x technically larger than 43mm. Also, this crown guard might be uncomfortable and dig into your hand depending on what types of hand movements you do throughout the day.
200m / 20 bar
The Seiko 4R36 (also known as NH36) is a movement that's extremely popular for microbrands all over the world. The reason is quite simple: this is a super reliable movement that offers hand-winding and hacking for a reasonable price.
This is a low-beat caliber (21,600 bph) that uses 24 jewels and has 40+ hours in its power reserve. The estimated accuracy according to Seiko is -35 to +45 seconds/day, but it tends to be more accurate in practice.
However, the 4R36 movement's strength is definitely its reliability and the accuracy will be nowhere near ETA 2824-2 levels. If you find your example to be a bit slow or fast, you can always regulate it through the ETACHRON system.
The Hardlex (mineral) crystal above the SRPD3x's dial will provide decent scratch-resistance, but it will definitely show signs of wear & tear after a few years of ownership. The curved shape of the crystal adds a bit of thickness to the watch and helps it stand out from other Seiko models, which usually sport a flat crystal.
Around the dial, you will find an inner compass bezel which is operated through the 2 o'clock crown. In my opinion, this compass is one of the best selling points of the watch, no matter if you plan to use it or if you simply dig the look.
The edge of this compass bezel is beveled down to the dial. On this beveling, you can find a 60-minute scale, which means the SRPD3x can technically double as a functional dive watch (even if it's part of the "Prospex Land" collection).
Not only does this 60-minute track adds functionality to the watch, but the beveled chapter ring also adds some depth and complexity to the dial.
I wouldn't be comfortable calling the SRPD3x a dive watch unless it had at least 200m of water resistance and great lume. Although the watch has plenty of water resistance for recreational diving, the use of a push-pull crown makes it a bit useless since no one wants to risk an accidental crown opening underwater.
The same thing goes for the lume. The SRPD3x does have excellent Lumibrite lume on the hands & indices, but the "0 mark" of the 60-minute track isn't lumed, rendering it useless in a dark underwater setting.
Batons & Numerals
316l Stainless Steel
Being part of the Seiko Prospex Land lineup, the SRPD3x has a true field/beater watch look. Simply by looking at it, you know it's a watch that you can take to hell and back and it will come out perfectly fine.
The SRPD3x's dial is a pleasant mix of functionality and unclutteredness. Sure, the dial gives you plenty of information and it's certainly more loaded than your average watch, but it still feels pretty uncluttered compared to other Seiko compass watches like the SSC017.
The small baton indices are pretty understated, and they're just large enough to allow for a good lume application. Of course, the 6/9/12 Arabic numerals are a bit bolder, but they're still subtle considering the beige color.
Furthermore, the day-date display at the 3 o'clock position has a negative colorway, which makes it blend a bit more with the dial. However, the white writing is pretty crisp, and the black background is matte, making for a pretty easy-to-read day-date.
The set of large syringe hands complements perfectly the field/beater styling of the SRPD3x while also allowing for a thick layer of luminous phosphorescent. The orange tip of the hour hand matches the "20 bar" script and the compass' north, adding a bit of life to the dark dial.
The Seiko SRPD3x's case has a very polarizing shape. For instance, the huge screwed-in crown guard over the 2 o'clock crown adds lots of bulk and gives the watch a peculiar styling. Also, the exhibition case back protrudes quite a bit, which makes the SRPD3x a very thick piece.
One cool quirk of this watch is the International Ground to Air signal code that is printed on the case back. Hopefully, this is a code that you'll never have to use, but it's always great to add a knowledge arrow to your quiver.
Finally, the leather calfskin strap is a bit below standards, which is know expected from Seiko watches. However, I don't think it's a big deal since most Seiko owners love trying out new straps anyways.
The Seiko SRPD31 is pretty straightforward: matte black dial, orange accents, brown calfskin leather band. This is probably my favorite of the collection since it's the one where the orange accents pop out the most. However, I'm not a fan of brown strap/black dial combinations, so I would certainly equip it with a black leather band or olive green nylon strap.
The Seiko SRPD33 shares the same orange accents as the SRPD31, but the dial is olive green instead. It's a very dark green color that can be mistaken for gray under certain lightings. For this reason, I think the orange accents pop out a bit less than on the matte black dial.
Also, the negative day-date display uses the same matte black background as the SRPD31, which clashes a bit with this green dial. In my opinion, the brown leather strap would've been a better choice for the SRPD33, but I appreciate the green stitching of this dark gray strap.
The Seiko SRPD35 is the PVD-Coated version of the Prospex Land. This one is even more rugged than other SRPD3x models since the PVD case will be much harder to scratch than stainless steel. The dial itself is pretty much identical to the SRPD31 except for the accents which are now bright red.
In conclusion, I think that the Seiko SRPD3x is a good watch that's a bit expensive ($500 MSRP) for the specs it offers. However, this timepiece is absolutely worth it if you like the styling since you won't find anything else that looks like it.
Below, I list the main pros & cons of the SRPD3x to help you determine if this should be the next addition to your collection or not.