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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Let me begin by saying that I have not yet had the opportunity to meet these watches in person and that what follows is mostly what I've superficially gleaned from meager online sources. None of the photos are my own.

Yesterday I accidentally ran across some old news. Apparently, late in 2015, Seiko decided to issue a limited run of late-1960s inspired Rally Sports Divers. The publicity for these seems to be mostly aimed at Southeast Asia. After a little online price comparison, I bit the hook and ordered two at under $200 a piece.

SRP731K1



SRP733K1



Unlike SBSS015 which Seiko released 1997, these were more of a modern interpretation as opposed to a reissue.



In place of manufacturing a cushion case like the 60s originals and 1997 reissues, Seiko instead opted to simply dress up the existing HUGE 44mm case that is the basis of so many 4R36 Seiko 5s, down to the transparent caseback (which would never be found on any true dive watch).



While I've only read praise for the fit and finish of these cases (it has a ratcheting bezel!), it is still apparent that Seiko has gone into all out cookie-cutter mode with these.


They didn't even go to the trouble of producing hands that match the dial and bezel, but instead simply used the same hand set that they put on the majority of their Seiko 5 pseudo divers. In the original 5126-8130 the hands were half the point!



If you google an image search of “seiko 5 4R36” you will see what I mean. Many of these seiko 5s with the 4R36 movement are almost all identical. The only difference being the dial, the bezel, and in some cases the color of the case. Moreover, they all seem to come with the same ubiquitous and unimaginative oyster-style bracelet. While the bracelet is serviceable, it’s still just a boring oyster style.



With the obvious 70s inspiration, I would have thought something a bit more appropriate: maybe an H-link, railroad tracks, a fishbone, a razor style, or perhaps even something based around one of the one-of-a-kind bracelets that some of the original late sixties divers came with. But instead Seiko kept in cookie-cutter mode, and just stuck with the lowest common denominator bracelet across the entire Seiko 5 price strata.



One of the big pluses is the 4R36 movement, which both hacks and hand winds, and I think compares very favorably to the 6R15 movement found in many of the SARBs such as the Alpinist. I have read however, that the 4R36 uses cheaper mainspring and has a shorter power reserve. Some have even suggested that Seiko might have simply taken the 6r15 and used a cheaper spring, for less power reserve and possibly less accuracy.


I wouldn’t know, since I have never had an issue with either a 4R36 or a 6R15, and so have had no cause to see them outside the case.

In the end comparing these newer rallys is a bit like comparing the old and new VW Beatles. The same company makes them both, but in the end, for better or worse, any and all similarities are a superficial marketing gimmick.


If you are tempted to take the bait like me, you may want to act soon. The two I bought were the only two models that I could find.

Will these 4R36 Rally Divers some day become coveted by collectors? Or will they simply be seen as a lame attempt by Seiko to patronize collectors with a cheap cookie cutter watch under a thin pseudo sports diver facade? Only time will tell, but I’ve got mine. I'm already shopping around for a suitable strap to complete them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The blue SRP731K1 came today.



Everything about it seems to scream quality and heft... but those hands. I have toyed with the idea of replacing the hands with an aftermarket 62Mas set (their tips dipped in orange nail polish), and replace the seconds hand with a red one from an aftermarket 6139 set. But I know that I'd never get the lume or the nail polish color right.

I'm waiting for the second SRP733K1 in black to arrive.
 

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Great post. Never been a fan of marketing nostalgia, like the J. Mays Mustang or the New Beetle. These Seikos are no exception. I'd rather a straight-up reissue than a wishy-washy trip down memory lane.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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I have the blue dial version and I really don't mind the hands.

If you'd like to change them you can find any style hands and re-lume them with Noctilumina which has the same intensity as Seiko's LumeBrite.
 

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Boy, the two-tone black and grey bezel on the black model really pops ! It is more subdued in the blue combo. I really like the amount of lume surface these hands afford and that the center is blacked out but the jury is still out for me with the almost syringe pointed tip. They do lend an aviation feel to the piece. I really like them overall. Thanks for the great info !
 

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They definitely have a great retro look. Nice watch. I’m sorry, did you mention where you sourced them from?
 

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it's a good looking watch at a reasonable price. The hands are tolerable but as posted earlier would have looked better if they matched the dial and bezel. Wonder what the thought process was?
 

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that looks fantastic - why didn't Seiko do that?
 

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I modded the hands and added a razor bracelet.






Now that's better.
my goodness, i certainly do agree, those hands are a huge improvement.

<$200 seems like a bargain for anything with a movement like that...
it's funny, with legal matters, i'm more of a spirit-of-the-law kind of
guy, and though i appreciate these watches, i'm more of a letter-of-the-law
kind of guy with watches, i want them to look like the originls. i love the 1997 re-issues, i have at least a few, and i love them because they really were pretty faithful renditions.

but, nice pick-ups for you, and they may appreciate, especially since they
came from another market completely, i never knew they existed....
 

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To be honest, had I not known of the originals this stands up as a good looking piece just on it's own, especially dressed down here.

The SRP733K1 came from Hong Kong yesterday. I replaced the oyster it came on with an inexpensive, but fitting, silicone strap.




For some reason the arrow-shaped hands don't seem to clash with the dial as much as they do on the orange model.
 
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