A good day to you, readers! Today I correspond with you about the subject of Seiko again the past times alike; still, on a different note.
That, however; doesn’t imply the total avoidance of the “Why Seiko?” question. There’s always a chance that someone new might drop in. It is in honor of the newcomer, therefore!
As all among us here agree – A watch is not just about its appearance; or in that case, neither about the materials, fit or finish – nor even the movement alone! It’s the entire package; a wheel doesn’t roll if it’s 3/4th or 1/12th or 7/10th or in whatever proportion circular. It should be completely circular; else no good.
That might make some ask if a watch company not making its own movements or movement parts (or any of its other components) is making a luxury watch at all. Or, if that is nothing more than just playing a dress-up! All of you interested in acquiring a new timepiece but not with enough horological enlightenment might find yourself stuck between the Devil and the Deep Sea when confronted with the question; seasoned ones will engage gleefully into a discussion and the snob/she-snob – with all his/her bruxing capabilities – shall charge the question itself with a whole lot of disdain.
All that argument will push the collective discourses to one single point – Which one watch – if there’s any – should it be if you just want to buy one and get out of the watch-collecting rat race? Even simpler – what should be your final kill before you surrender the arms?
It will inevitably bring to the mind the watch brands under the big three umbrellas – Richemont Group, Swatch Group and LVMH but they would not be the correct choice unless you are willing to spend a large amount of money for the purpose. Their pricing policies – though not always inaccessible for those who are not super-rich – are big reasons behind the disenchantment one slowly develops with those brands. Also, they don’t always make their watches in their entirety (case, crown, movement et al).
Rude awakening from a hallucinatory fever dream
From Jaquet Droz to Hamilton with Omega, Longines and Glashutte in between or the Vacheron Constantin to Baume & Mercier, these watches are artisanal flourishes of high specifications, finish and component quality beyond doubt, but oh, do you really digest well that all these brands essentially use ETA/Valjoux or Frederic Piguet or Lemania movements, all from the Swatch Group? Or, even Patek uses Lemania chronograph movements or that Jaeger LeCoultre using Venus or Valjoux despite being the most autonomous company that supplies (or has supplied) the very renowned makers mentioned above? Even Rolex used Aegler movements until they took over that company! There are more I’ve read about and actually have seen a few but not being an encyclopedic knowledge reservoir, I end the list here.
It happens due to companies utilizing their cost advantages that in fact, a very few number of brands actually make their own movements and depend upon a third party for the same. Any guess about which are the two biggest third party movements around? They are the Seiko automatic calibers NH35 and NH36; the third party versions of the Seiko in-house calibers 4R35 and 4R36. They can be found in many of the Seiko models and in tons of well-respected micro-brands, to the extent that it will be far easier to list all the companies that don’t use these movements.
End of story: In my not so humble opinion, I’ll any day settle for a Seiko rather than a big ticket name using a stock movement that can be found in other watches ten times or more its price.
Making a sane choice
1. Seiko 5 Automatic 21 Jewels Japan Made (SNKL23J1): By definition, it’s a dress watch; an elegant, classic, compact, tidy, entry-level dress watch! Pretty and attractive to look at; got solid stats to show and of a respectable, modest size. The crown position at 4 o’clock is its distinctively unique aspect. Both made for Japan-market (J1; manufactured in Japan) and to the rest of the World (K1; manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan) versions are stylish, smart and clean options as office, casual and outdoor usage. Specs: Stainless Steel Case and Jubilee Bracelet, Caliber: 7S26 21 Jewels Automatic Movement, Black Dial, Day And Date Display, Hardlex Crystal, See-Through Case Back, Fold Over Clasp, 30M Water Resistance. Approximate Case Diameter/Thickness: 38mm / 11mm.
2. Seiko 5 Military Automatic Sports Japan Made (SNZG07J1 & SNZG07K1 ): Both are from the Seiko 5 Military Watch lineup. One proves to be a great choice and the other shows a great taste. The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and is intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Nylon Strap, Caliber 7S36B 23 Jewels Automatic Movement, Hardlex Crystal, Cream Dial, Lumibrite Lume, See-Through Case Back, Day and Date Display, 100 Meter Water Resistant. Case Diameter 40.5mm (Excluding Crown), 43mm (Including Crown); Case Thickness 11.50mm.
3. Seiko 5 Sports Automatic (SNZG15K1 & SNZG15J1): Affordable, mechanical, military field watches despite the Sports The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Nylon Strap, Lumibrite Lume, Black Dial, See-through Case Back, Day and Date Display, 100m Water Resistant, Hardlex Crystal, 23 Jewels Caliber: 7S36 automatic movement. Case Diameter: 41mm (without crown), 44mm (with crown), Case Thickness: 12mm.
4. Seiko 5 Sports Automatic (SNZG11J1, SNZG11K1, SNZG13K1): Spot on military styling, a trusty automatic movement and a versatile styling make them ideal as daily or weekend outdoor wear. There are lot more things to like about these Seiko 5 nevertheless that have delighted watch nerds in the past as much as they delight as a starter mechanical today. Specs:Stainless Steel Bracelet, Black dial (SNZG13K1), Nylon strap, Blue dial (SNZG11J1 & SNZG11K1), Stainless Steel Case, Caliber 7S36 23 Jewels Day/Date Automatic Movement, Lumibrite Lume, Hardlex Crystal, 100M Water Resistance. Approx. Case Diameter: 45mm, Approx. Case Thickness: 12mm.
5. Seiko 5 Military Automatic Sports (SNZG09K): The 7S36 remains one of Seiko’s most robust and well-regulated movements keeping brilliant time. Highly recommended; there’s probably no better mechanical watch for the money. You can keep the watch on while swimming, snorkeling or shooting. Specs: 23 jewel self-winding mechanical caliber 7S36B movement, Stainless Steel Case, Nylon Strap, Hardlex Crystal, Green Dial, Day And Date Display, Lumibrite lume, See-Through Case Back, Pull/Push Crown,100M Water Resistant. Case Diameter: 40.5mm (excluding Crown), 43mm (including Crown); Case Thickness: 12mm
6. Seiko 5 Automatic 21 Jewels Japan Made (SNKL23K1): Perhaps Seiko’s best entry-level automatic, this famous budget beater exists no more except for some previously built pieces. The SNKL23 had been nearly impossible to find for years but old stocks resurfaced to reveal a few remaining ones. Admittedly, the 7S26 movement is far from being the most visually appealing, but its presence has always been praised and appreciated. The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Specs:Stainless Steel Case & Bracelet, 21 Jewels Caliber: 7S26 Day And Date Automatic Movement, Hardlex Mineral Crystal, See Through Case Back Fold Over Clasp, 30M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 38mm, Case Thickness: 11mm
7. Seiko 5 Military Automatic Sports Japan Made (SNZG09J1): Great every day tool watches with legible displays fit for duty. These are JDM models; manufactured and intended to be sold within Japan only. The difference is only in their dial colors. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Nylon straps, Lumibrite lume, See-through case back, 100m Water resistance, Hardlex Crystal, 23 Jewels Caliber: 7S36 automatic movement. With Day and date display. Case Diameter: 40.5mm (excluding crown), 43mm (including crown).
8. Seiko 5 Sports Automatic (SNZG15K1): A slightly larger version of the usual Seiko 5, it is obvious why so many people jumped on the bandwagon. The SNZG15, with its long list of features and a very comfortable price means – You won’t agonize over every bump and scratch it faces. The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Stainless Specs: Steel Case, Nylon Strap, Caliber: 7S36 23 Jewels Automatic Movement with Day And Date Display, Hardlex Crystal, 12/24 Hours Display, Lumibrite lume, At 3 O’clock Position, Pull/Push Crown, See Through Case Back, Buckle Clasp and 100M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 41mm (excluding crown), 44mm (including crown); Case Thickness: 12mm
9. Seiko Pilot’s Flight Alarm ‘Flight Master’ Chronograph (SNA411P1): With the ability to calculate various equations including basic multiplication and division skills as well as flight climb and estimated times of arrival, the pilot watch makes an integral part of an aviation professional’s gears, only more socially-acceptable this time. The P1 merely indicates that it’s the version with the metal bracelet. Specs: Stainless Steel Case & Bracelet, Calibre: 7T62 Quartz Movement with Alarm, Chronograph and EB6 slide-rule, two-way rotating bezel and 200m Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 46mm (including crown), Case Thickness: 13mm.
10. Seiko 5 Military Automatic (SNK803K2, SNK805K2, SNK807K2, SNK809K2, SNK809K1): A set of very nice automatics in true military watch style. The design of the Seiko 5 is very purposeful. Their faces are clean and legible; the only differences being in dial colour and steel bracelet for SNK809K1 instead of nylon straps. Specs: Stainless Steel Cases, Automatic Movement 21 Jewels Caliber 7S26, Mineral Crystal, 30M Water Resistance, Case Diameter: 37mm, Case Thickness: 13mm.
11. Seiko Automatic Diver’s 200m Made in Japan (SKX009J1 & SKX009K1): Stylish and immensely affordable, these diving watches are safe to be used up to 600 feet underwater and have already reached a legendary status. The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Solid Case Back, Rubber Strap, Buckle Clasp, Automatic Movement 21 Jewels Caliber 7S26 w/Day and Date Display, Hardlex Crystal, unidirectional ‘Pepsi’ bezel, Lumibrite lume, 200M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 42mm, Case Thickness: 13mm.
12. Seiko SKX007J 200M Automatic (SKX007J1 & SKX007K1): Probably the best automatic entry-level diver watches someone can buy as their first timepieces, the Seiko SKX007is worth consideration more than any other. The J1 model is manufactured in Japan and intended to be sold within the Japan domestic market while the K1 is for worldwide, manufactured under Seiko’s supervision outside Japan. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Solid Case Back, Rubber Strap, Buckle Clasp, Automatic Movement 21 Jewels Caliber 7S26 w/Day and Date Display, Hardlex Crystal, Luumibrite lume, Uni-Directional Rotating Bezel, Screw Down Crown, 200M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 42mm, Case Thickness: 13mm.
13. Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Automatic: Pure and pristine, the white Hakuji porcelain is used for the dial, which is the finest from the city of Arita, Kyushu. A beautifully designed watch with a robust movement that represents a lot of value. One of the limited 2000 pieces. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Leather Strap, Caliber: 6R27 Automatic Movement w/29 Jewels, Sapphire Crystal, White porcelain dial, Day/Date/Power Reserve display, See-Through Case Back, Buckle Clasp, 100M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 41mm, Case Thickness: 14mm
14. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Hojicha Limited Edition Automatic: A limited edition watch inspired by Misuta Hisashi Kishi, one of the world’s leading bartenders and his special cocktails capturing the scenes from Kyoto. The dial of this watch is patterned after the tea as you get it in Kyoto and reflects the deep flavors and rich colour. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Leather Strap, Buckle Clasp, 23 Jewels Caliber: 4R35 Automatic Movement, Hardlex Crystal, See Through Case Back, 50M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 39mm, Case Thickness: 12mm.
15. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Frozen Margarita Limited Edition Automatic: A timepiece that combines true mechanical finesse with brilliant aesthetics, the ‘Frozen Margarita’ Limited Edition is inspired by the Japanese cocktail culture, based on the Margarita cocktail theme, reflected from its dial pattern. Specs: Stainless Steel Case and Mesh Bracelet with Deployment Clasp, 23 jewels Caliber: 4R35 Automatic Movement w/ date display, Hardlex Crystal, See-Through Case Back, 50m Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 38mm, Case Thickness: 12mm.
16. Seiko Prospex Diver’s Sumo Solar Chronograph Limited Edition: An all-black diver’s watch inspired by the dramatic and mysterious world of the ocean at night. The watch has sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on the inner surface. The bezel is black zirconia ceramics that ensures both high legibility and rigidity. The red seconds hand disappears under the deep ocean. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Solid Case Back, Silicone Strap, Caliber: V192, Solar Chronograph Movement w/Date & 12/24 Hours Display, Sapphire Crystal, Lumibrite lume, Uni-directional Rotating Bezel, Screw Down Crown, Buckle Clasp, 200M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 44mm, Case Thickness: 14mm
17. Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive : Self-winding quartz! Sounds interesting? Well, that’s because it is! Its built-in rotor charges a power reserve, eliminating the need for batteries. The Seiko Premier Kinetic Direct Drive Moon Phase watch is for everyone with a discerning eye. It fits in as a dressy, daily wear; a much-needed change from the usual three-dial chronograph watch faces yet a good choice for the gadget freak. Specs: Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet, Solid Case Back, Deployment Clasp, Caliber: 5D88 Kinetic Movement, Sapphire Crystal, ±15 Seconds Per Month, Day/Date/24-Hours Display, 100M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 42mm, Case Thickness: 13mm.
18. Seiko Presage Automatic Limited Editions: One of the 8000 pieces released worldwide, the lustrous chocolate brown dial of this Seiko Presage Automatic watch is sumptuous; complemented by gold-tone dauphine hands and hour-indices. Downright handsome! Specs: Japan-made, Stainless Steel Case, Leather Strap, 23 jewels Caliber: 4R35 Automatic Movement, Hardlex Crystal, Day And Date Display, Pull/Push Crown, See Through Case Back, Buckle Clasp 50M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 40mm, Case Thickness: 12mm.
19. Seiko 5 Sports Street Fighter Series: Seiko 5 Sports collection inspired by Street Fighter V (Player VS Player combat game), a total of six models are named after the game’s central characters. Specs: Stainless Steel Case, Nylon Strap, Caliber: 4R36 24 Jewels Automatic Movement, Hardlex Crystal, Lumibrite lume, Day And Date Display, Uni Directional Rotating Bezel, See Through Case Back, Buckle Clasp, 100M Water Resistance. Case Diameter: 42mm, Case Thickness: 13mm
20. Seiko Prospex Solar Military Alarm Chronograph: A nice, Solar-powered field watch that can also be worn socially. Specs: Stainless steel case, Nylon strap, Solar Powered Caliber V172 movement with low-charge/overcharge indicator, Hardlex Mineral Crystal, Compass, +/-15 seconds per month accuracy, Alarm, Chronograph function, Lumibrite lume, Buckle Clasp, Date Display, Screw-in Case Back, 100M Water Resistance. Case Diameter 42mm, Case Thickness 13mm
So there you are! Pick any or many from the list of 20 most sought after Seiko watches of 2021 and make your festivities gain some extra color, which is bound to carry over to the halcyon days of the Summer!
Know about your Seiko
- What does Seiko mean in English?
A. Seiko In Japanese means ‘exquisite’ or ‘success’. Seikosha translates to ‘House of Exquisite Workmanship’. Seiko is also a Japanese given name, almost exclusively feminine. The kanji used to write it determines its meaning. The ko in Seiko is represented with a kanji (子) meaning ‘child
- Are Seiko watches made in China?
A. Seiko watches are made both in Japan (J) and Malaysia (K), while some of their very low-priced ($50 to $99) watches are cased in China.
- Is Seiko a good watch brand?
A. Seiko’s excellent reputation and widespread fame as manufacturers of precise, durable and stylish watches – some of them even better than the Swiss – doesn’t leave rooms for a second opinion.
- Is Seiko a luxury brand?
A. Seiko is equivalent to luxury but it doesn’t get hurt unlike luxury that we know about. Grand Seiko is considered true luxury; equivalent to – if not better – those from the Swiss, French, English and German. Regular Seiko watches are seen as affordable luxury and budget watches.
- Is Seiko better than Citizen?
A. In terms of sales, Seiko is slightly behind Citizen but most watch aficionados hold both the two brands at an equal level. Both make quality watches that are not as expensive as they should be.
- How can you tell if a Seiko watch is real?
A. All genuine Seiko watches have the date of manufacture contained in the 6 digit Serial number. ’60’s models had numbers 7-digits long and limited editions get a ‘piece number’ in neat, evenly spaced engraving; aligned properly and sharp. The Seiko movement and model numbers on the case back (2 sets of 4 digits; separated by a dash). The first 4 are the movement caliber number; the second 4 are the case/model number. The movement caliber remains printed at the bottom of the dial (near 6 o’clock). Plus, there will always be an instruction booklet and warranty coming with the watch.
- What is the difference between Seiko kinetic and automatic? And which one is better?
A. Both Automatic and Kinetic are powered by a swinging rotor. The key difference is that for an automatic, the mechanical power is stored in the mainspring; while in a Kinetic watch, the electric power generated is stored within a capacitor (which acts as a rechargeable battery).
In terms of long-term power storage and accuracy, a Kinetic is always a better pick but it might need the capacitor to be changed at some point of time; whereas Seiko automatic movements – especially the higher-end – are built to run accurately for prolonged periods (decades at a stretch) without any service schedule or replacement for any of their components.
- How are Seiko Solar watches?
A. The first solar watches were developed by Seiko in 1978. Today, you get standard analogs to atomic solar watches, with GPS and Bluetooth technology; often with additional, useful functions and special features like deep water, mud and shock resistance; specifically for outdoors and adventures.
- How SEIKO TOOL and Seiko SPORT watches differ?
A. Seiko Sport models tend to be newer designs with a more casual or sporty look that’s more socially fitting though larger in size than dress watches. For Seiko tool watches, the form and features are built around the functions i.e. the purpose behind the watch determines how it should look, often resulting in bigger-than-sports sizes.
- Which Seiko watches are fit for divers?
A. All Seiko watches with 200 meters or more depth-rating are suitable for divers. They range from the legendary Seiko SKX007 to the Prospex Marinemaster.
- What’s the difference between Grand Seiko watches and other Seiko watches?
A. Ordinary Seiko watches don’t receive the individual care by human hands; neither do they deploy the fifteen stage cold-forge process for three different kinds of steel (316L, Spron 610 and Spron 530). Even, precious metals like gold and platinum or exotics like titanium receive special treatment. The assembling, polish and the QC inspections for the GS are run by humans and not by machines. In terms of accuracy, both quartz and mechanical GS watches are always ahead every time than the ordinary Seiko-s, in their own categories. Plus, you can get an ordinary Seiko for as little as $50 while a Grand Seiko goes as high as $75,000 and above.
- Are the Grand Seiko and Seiko Premier higher-end than the rest of the Seiko watches?
A. Beyond doubt, but Premiers are not as high-end as the GS. Both are, however; dress watches, extremely suitable for wearing socially. GS comprises high-end automatic, quartz and Spring Drive (electro-mechanical) movements while the Premier – other than automatics and quartzes – run on Kinetic and Kinetic Direct Drive movements.
- What could be the Cost to Service?
A. Depends upon the movement caliber and watch model. Usually, it ranges between ‘almost nothing’ and $800+ (for 9R8 movements only). Any Seiko costing less than $100 might need a complete movement replacement after 10 years or so.
- Are Solar Seikos better than Quartz Seikos?
A. A solar watch is nothing more than regular quartz with a rechargeable battery instead of a disposable one. It’s the Solar panel and energy conversion and storage kit that increases the price. Solar, however; is more advantageous.
- What is the rarest Seiko watch?
A. 4520 Astronomical Observatory Chronometer. Only 73 were made in 1968 using 18ct gold cases.
Keep dropping in to leave your replies below. State which of the watches mentioned above you’d like to go for the most and why.