A Quick Look at the History of the Seiko Samurai

The Seiko Samurai is an ISO-rated 200m dive watch that can be worn in any setting, but is best suited for serious dives. It has many dial options and has gone through many generations and variants. An example would be the most famous Samurai dial, “Save the Ocean Manta Ray.” There’s no denying that the Seiko Samurai is highly recognized in the industry and has evolved to be one of the brand's most popular and desired dive watches.

 

As if having a personal and portable aquarium. Source: The Seiko Guy

 

If you’re wondering why it was nicknamed after ancient Japanese warriors, you’re not alone. And if you’re detail-oriented, you might’ve noticed the hour and second hands of the dial appear to resemble a sword (though we will interject that it does not resemble a Japanese Katana or sword). Another reason for its name is to honor Seiko’s Japanese origins. So, they decided to name it after something that’s iconic in Japan and its culture.

 

The OG Samurai

Launched in 2004 in Japan, the first generation of the entire Samurai line can be classified in to the titanium, stainless steel, and limited edition versions. The angular design of the case set it apart from other dive watches almost immediately, and this together with the sword-shaped hands quickly earned it its nickname.

 

Titanium

The most popular is no doubt the Titanium version which debuted only in Japan. If you think of a Samurai, this is probably the watch you are picturing in your mind. They came as the SBDA001 – Black Titanium, SBDA003 – Blue Titanium, and SBDA005 – Orange Titanium.

 

Can you spot the subtle streaks of Titanium? Source: WatchUSeek

 

The choice to use Titanium was a surprising yet welcome decision for Seiko enthusiasts who loved its light weight and unique finish that you can’t get with just stainless steel. They measured 42mm in diameter – a normal size for Seiko dive watches. Inside is a decent 7S25 caliber, which is just the 7S26 movement without a day indicator.

 

Stainless Steel

For the international market, Seiko released the Samurai in stainless steel. These versions are not inferior to the Japan-exclusives in any way but are subject to personal preference. They had a different color scheme, thinner handsets, and even the bezel inserts have been changed up. The stainless steel Samurais came in white (SNM009) and black (SNM011).

 

Seiko should make more white dials! Source: Watch Charts

 

While the Titanium versions sported a sunburst-patterned dial, the stainless steel version came with a waffle pattern. The SNM009’s white waffle dial was a rare part that did not appear again in other Seiko dive watches until 2020.

The stainless steel-made watches is also notably missing a crown guard, giving it a more streamlined look.

 

Thailand Limited Edition “Ninja” Samurai

It’s not apparent how the Ninja moniker got attached to the Thailand-exclusive Samurai releases, but they are undoubtedly good looking. They are the SNM015 – Black Ninja Samurai, SNM017 – White Ninja Samurai, and SNM019 – Yellow Ninja Samurai.

 

Ninjas are supposed to unnoticeable warriors - something you can't really say with a watch this flashy. Source: Wristocracy

 

They are closer in style to the international stainless steel versions but features the same bezel insert design as the JDM ones, where the first 15 minutes are in a different color. They either came in a stainless or a rubber strap.

 

The Latest Incarnation

Jumping to late 2020, the most recent version of the Samurai is the “King” version. It is only slightly larger than the OG versions, at 43.8mm. But the upgrades do justify its royal nickname. The stainless steel inserts have been swapped for ceramic, the crystal is made of the clearer and sturdier sapphire glass, and it also comes with a date cyclops a la Rolex.

 

A royal aura does seem to emanate from it. Source: Monochrome Watches

 

The movement has been updated to the more accurate 4R35 as well (although this has been the movement used since the Gen 2 Samurais).

The model numbers of the King Samurai watches are SRPE35 for the white waffle dial version, and SRPE37 for the black dial version. The SRPE33 is features a more unique dial design, and is called the Save the Ocean Manta Ray Edition. It is a sparkling blue dial featuring three manta rays in the background, a mesmerizing scene that you’ll enjoy whenever you tell the time.

 

How Mod-Friendly are Samurai watches?

Unfortunately for watch modding fans, there aren’t many Seiko mod parts that are compatible, but not all hope is lost. We’re happy to announce that Turtle bezels are highly compatible with Seiko Samurai! They are an exact fit and acts as adapters so you can use Seiko Turtle bezel inserts with them too.

Check out our SRP Turtle Sub Bezel: Polished Finish or the SRP Turtle Sub Bezel: PVD Black Finish if you plan to make a Submariner-styled mod.

And for the bezel insert, you might be interested in the SRP Turtle Steel Bezel Insert: Seiko Style Red or the SRP Turtle Ceramic Bezel Insert: Dual Time style Blue/White that will surely create a unique look for your watch!

 

Go all out and create a marvel such as this! Source: @tagger.bomb

 

And if you want to make a more complicated mod using the unique angular design of the Samurai as the base, the NMK906 Samurai SKX Watch Case is the case for you. It looks exactly like a Seiko Samurai, but it's compatible with ALL SKX007 parts! OEM Samurai watches are too pricey to mod anyway, making this hybrid case the perfect choice.

If you’re looking for a watch bracelet, our Samurai Watch Bracelet: Hexad Brushed Finish is Compatible with OEM Seiko Samurai watches and our Samurai NMK906 Watch Case.

 

Wrap up

Although Seiko is not considered a luxury brand, the watches are of the highest quality. Whether you’re starting out as a novice watch collector or a seasoned collector, you should consider them for your collection. The functionalities and the classic designs of the Seiko Samurai is a timepiece that will give you satisfaction once you acquire it.

We hope this article is useful to you current and aspiring Samurai owners out there! If you see something that you like from our SRP Turtle Bezel Inserts collection and are ready to build your dream watch, mod it namokiMODS.

If you have any modding questions, feel free to reach out to us at support@namokimods.com.

Get your mod on!

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