How Accurate Is Seiko Automatic Watch? I Own 4 Of Them And This Is My Answer

Seiko is a giant watch company that makes all sorts of watches from automatic to quartz to solar. Its automatic watches is famous for being affordable but this begs the question of how accurate is seiko automatic watches?

So what is Seiko automatic watch accuracy? Based on my experience, Seiko automatic watches have great accuracy, less than +/- 6 seconds per day of deviation which is higher than the +/- 10 seconds per day that I’d consider as good accuracy (for accuracy, lower value is better).

I came to this conclusion based on my experience owning 4 Seiko automatic watches over these past few years. But it should be noted that, just like other brands, the accuracy did reduce after few years depending on how you used them. In addition, I’m going to share what I think about Seiko automatic watches and if it’s a good watch to buy.

Seiko Automatic Watches Have Great Accuracy

Seiko automatic watches all have great accuracy out of the box based on my experience with 4 Seikos (low-mid ranges). It’s quite hard to believe as the published accuracy specifications all show that their accuracy is quite high.

Below is the list of the watches that I own and the kind of real life accuracy that I got from them vs published accuracy specification from Seiko:

  1. Seiko SARB033 (6R15 movement): Less than 5 seconds per day vs +25/-15 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  2. Seiko SKX013 (7S26 movement): Less than 4 seconds per day vs +49/-20 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  3. Seiko Sumo SBDC003 (6R15 movement): Less than 5 seconds per day vs +25/-15 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)
  4. Seiko 5 Worldtimer (4R36 movement): Less than 6 seconds per day vs +45/-35 seconds per day (published accuracy spec)

All of the real life accuracy measurements were performed by using apps for watch accuracy check (I used the app watchcheck, though toolwatch app also seems to be a good option).

Seiko SARB033 worn hand
My Seiko SARB033

Now if you’ve read my previous article, I’ve mentioned that to me, a +/- 10 seconds deviation per day is considered a good accuracy for automatic watches (though you might want to have a higher accuracy for more expensive or chronometer watches).

This value is based on real life usage pattern in a week. Suppose that my watch will gain (or lose) 10 seconds daily, then at the end of the week, it will still be within a minute off the actual time.

This is important because I don’t want to have to adjust the time during mid-week, where I tend to get busy and just want to grab the watch and go to work without having to check if the time is off or not. Hence, the +/- 10 seconds per day accuracy works well for me.

And that’s the reason why I’m very happy with my Seikos. As you can see, the watch ranges from very affordable (the Seiko 5 @ ~$100) to low-mid range (Seiko Sumo @ ~$500) with the SARB033 and SKX013 in between. And all of them have great accuracy with less than 6 seconds deviations per day! Now that’s definitely something that I’m happy with =)

How About Its Accuracy After A Few Years?

The accuracy of my Seikos deteriorated after years of use, but most of them still within the manufacturer’s specification.

Just like all mechanical devices, automatic watch will also deteriorate and that’s the case with my Seikos. From my experience, the accuracy reduced but it depends on many factors.

As the watch was used, there are wear and tear on the various moving parts inside it. Not to mention the lubricants used in the watch will be less viscous over time – all of these are the factors that reduced the accuracy of the watch over time.

Another important factor is how heavily used and how harsh was the watch subjected to. This is very important that because automatic watch is a delicate device, using it for outdoor activities might be too much for it to handle and can wreak havoc on its movement.

For my SARB033, I found that the accuracy is still intact around less than 7 seconds deviation per day after about 2 years of use. I’m very happy with this watch as it’s my go to watch for work as it has the great quality all around with beautiful simplistic styling.

I should also mention that I never use this watch for anything outdoor – just normal regular desk job and going out socializing with friends. Since I also take great care not to bang the watch on any hard surface etc, I guess that also contributed to the great time the watch has even after 2 years.

(If you want to know more about Seiko SARB033, read my detailed review about the watch here)

My Seiko SKX013 is another gem with accuracy only diminished to less than 8 seconds deviation per day after using it for 2.5 years. Now, I’m most astonished with this watch because even though it has the previous generation’s 7S26 movement inside it, it kept great time, and even beat the newer 6R15s out of box!

The best thing that I love about this watch is how light it is on hand. It’s my go to watch for when I went swimming thanks to this (replacing my heavier Sumo). I would also bring this watch with me whenever I’m traveling as it’s lightweight and frankly, quite cheap (I bought it around $200) so if something were to happen during my travel, I won’t be burned much and can still manage to fork out some money to get another SKX013 LOL!

But putting that aside, this little dive watch had really impressed me with its great accuracy over the years.

The Seiko Sumo SBDC003 is another story. I had the Seiko Sumo for 4 years now and sadly, the accuracy had diminished to around 25-30 seconds gain/lost per day.

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo Dial
My Seiko Sumo SBDC003 after 4 years

Now, I should note that I was quite brave when I got the watch. It’s one of Seiko’s Prospex watches – a line up of sports watch that give the impression that you can use it anywhere, anytime for whatever purposes. A real rugged dive/sports watch if I can say.

And coupled that with the handsome features of the Sumo, before long I found using it for anywhere. I wore it to work, to swimming, to gym, to jogging, even to doing yard & construction works!

The Seiko Sumo performed brilliantly and doesn’t bat an eye on these things. But it turns out I was actually abusing the watch as its accuracy suffers greatly. I still love it to bits but its lack of accuracy is a deterrent from me using it more frequent. Not to mention that I have other watches with better accuracy in my collection.

The takeaway from all of this is that no automatic watch, no matter how heavily advertised it is for diving or sportiness, can still work well if you wear it for frequent physical activities. In the case of my Sumo, it still works great but the lack of accuracy makes the watch less useful to me currently. I guess it’s time to take it for a service..

Last but not least, my Seiko 5 Worldtimer. This is my first automatic watch that I bought 5 years ago and now it its accuracy had diminished to 30 seconds deviation per day. I did use it as much as possible like my Seiko Sumo but I guess since it’s not a real diver watch, it does not have that robustness built into it.

Coupled with it being a bit left out from my wrist for a few years, its accuracy suffers greatly throughout the time.

All in all, Seiko automatic watches have great accuracy out of box, but how good the accuracy is after few years will depend on how heavy you use them. Not using it for heavy physical activities will definitely lengthen its life and keeps its accuracy in an acceptable range.

Do Seiko Automatic Watches Have Good Quality?

Seiko SKX013 worn on hand
My Seiko SKX013

So do Seiko automatic watches have good quality? Without a doubt, my answer is yes, it has good quality. I’ve been a huge fan of them since my first automatic watch (the Seiko 5) and a lot other watch fans think the same.

At first, the mark of quality comes from the exterior of the watch. While the finishing touches depends on the watch’s price, Seiko really did a great job in ensuring their watches have good quality finishing.

But again, there are some kinks here and there such as the famous issue on rotating bezel not aligning perfectly. Notwithstanding those smaller issues, the watch is well-made and really robust for everyday use.

That brings me to my next point, robustness of the watch. As I’ve shared earlier, my Seiko Sumo and Seiko 5 was able to go through a harsh level of use, ranging from normal watch for work, to exercising, swimming, and even jogging. And both of the watches can get through all of these while still intact and working (albeit with some effect on accuracy).

Although the Sumo was perfectly within my expectations, the Seiko 5 was actually quite surprising as it’s able to keep up with the Sumo even though it’s 4 to 5 times cheaper. So yeah, Seiko automatic watches really were built to last!

And if you think they can only make tough watches, then you’re wrong. The Seiko SARB033 that I have showed me just how great their design language is. It’s very simplistic, unassuming, and yet looks really beautiful on wrist. The deep black dial works really well with the polished stainless steel case, for a very handsome watch.

And if you think the SARB033 is too bland and not for you, then check out the Cocktail Time. I’ve recently reviewed the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time and its totally opposite of the SARB033 with gorgeous eye-catching sunburst dial. If you want a watch that grabs attention, then you will really like this Cocktail Time (read here for my full review of the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time).

Seiko Watches Are Great Value For Money? Definitely!

Seiko SARB033 Automatic Wrist Watch Review
Seiko SARB033

Without a doubt, I definitely agree that Seiko automatic watches are great value for money. Consider this, when all the other Swiss/West brands (the likes of Tissot, Hamilton, Certina, etc.) priced their automatic watches over $500, Seiko manage to sell a lot of automatic watches below that price.

Based on direct comparison of watch to watch, a Seiko watch will cost $100 to $200 less than a comparable Swiss/West automatic watch.

This is mostly due to they are manufacturing in the East with lower labor and material costs. But in the end, it is the customer’s win and I certainly don’t mind where my watches are made lol!

But I also need to highlight that the Swiss watches typically have better material. For instance, a sapphire crystal is a default on most Tissots/Hamiltons that I’ve seen. This is not the case with Seiko as most of their low to low-mid range of automatic watches uses their own Hardlex crystal (an improved mineral crystal) that is not as scratch resistant as sapphire.

But in recent times, I’ve seen that the prices of Seiko watches seems to creep up, presumably as they have known about how popular their watches are among watch fans. I’m all for a higher priced watch if they can justify such price increase but if they only want to profit more, then it’s definitely not something that I will tolerate. Only time will tell on what Seiko will do in future.

Related Questions

What is considered good accuracy for automatic watches? An automatic watch can be said to have good accuracy if it is around +/- 10 seconds per day (read more about automatic watch accuracy in my previous post for more info).

Do automatic watches keep good time? Automatic watch will keep good time if it’s being kept in good condition and its time adjusted for accuracy. But if its being used too hard, then there is a high chance that its accuracy will suffer in the long run.

I hope this article about Seiko automatic watch accuracy is useful to you. If you have any questions or simply want to share your thoughts and experience with your own watches, you’re most welcomed to comment below.

Till next time. Cheers!

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Review – The Full Guide To The Successor Of Seiko SARB065

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Review

Looking For An Affordable Stylish Automatic Dress Watch? The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Could Be The One You’re Looking For!

Seiko SSA343J1 Skydiving Cocktail Time
Above: Seiko SSA343J1 Skydiving

In this article, I would like to share about the latest Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review.

I’ve actually written before about the previous Cocktail Time watch (the great Seiko SARB065) and how I described it as one of the best affordable automatic dress watch currently.

The original Cocktail Time was nicely built with good quality all around and very beautiful to look at thanks to the gorgeous bluish sunburst dial and highly polished stainless steel case.

But unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2017. I remember thinking what the hell was Seiko doing? Why would they stop producing a very popular model?

It turns out Seiko had another plan in mind, a great plan I would say.

They then released the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time, a collection of watches with all the design elements from the SARB065, sunburst dials and all.

With the same name, this Presage line up is without a doubt the successor to the SARB065.

And not only that, they released these new Cocktail Time watches in various colors AND at cheaper prices!

I had the opportunity to handle these watches a few weeks ago and it’s a real pleasure to look and wear.

If you’re in the market looking for an affordable dress watch that has automatic movement and looks gorgeous, then the Presage Cocktail Time should definitely be in your shortlist.

So if you want to know more about these watches, continue reading this Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review!

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time vs Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time : What Are The Differences?

Seiko SRPB41J1 Bluemoon on hand
Above: Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon

For a start, the new Presage Cocktail Time is cheaper than the SARB065. It retails around $350 to $500 online (the MSRP is more expensive) depending on the model.

This is cheaper than the SARB065 which usually retails around $500 online.

The reason for this is because of the use of cheaper 4R35 movement rather than the more expensive 6R15 movement.

It should be noted that production of the SARB065 has been discontinued so although you can still get one on the market depending on your luck, it can be more expensive.

From the exterior, there are not many differences between the two watches, though in my opinion Seiko did made the Presage Cocktail Time sleeker. For instance, the thickness of the watch had been slightly reduced from 13 mm to 11.8 mm.

The sunburst dial remains the same albeit with 7 new color options (Yeah!) in addition to the gorgeous original light blue sunburst dial (so 8 sunburst dials to choose from).

There are also 2 new non-sunburst dials to choose: the Gimlet with radial gold/yellow textured dial (SRPC99J1/SSA387J1) and the limited edition Fuyugeshiki with white textured dial (SSA385J1/SRPC97J1/SRP843J1).

It should be noted that this new collection also has power reserve models which brings the total number of watches in the Presage Cocktail Time lineup to 14 models – one of the biggest collection in Seiko.

Well, they really doubled down on the cocktail time and all I can say is I’m very happy with their decision =)

The biggest difference between the two watches is in the movement, which also contributed to the lower price of the newer watch. The new Presage Cocktail Time uses the 4R35 automatic movement instead of the 6R15 movement in the original Cocktail Time (Seiko SARB065).

Although it has the same frequency (6 beats per second), the 4R35 has lower power reserve at 41 hours compared to the 50 hours in the 6R15.

In summary, with the Presage Cocktail Time, you gained some (cheaper watch, more variations) and lose some (lower power reserve) over its predecessor.

But as someone who had owned an ETA 2824-2 with a low power reserve of 38 hours, I’d say it’s still very usable and would gladly take the cheaper watch LOL!

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Specifications And Variations

In general, there are 2 main variations of the current Seiko Presage Cocktail Time; i.e the normal watch (SRP series) and the date subdial + power reserve watch (SSA series).

(Do note that these model/series numbers are for the global version. In Japan, the Presage Cocktail Time has model/series numbers starting with SAR and SRR)

These 2 main variations are then made into various different colors (there are 10 colors to choose from!) and strap options which results into a huge 14 numbers of models (as of the time of writing this article. More on that later on).

So what’s the differences between these 2 variations? Below table summarizes the differences and specifications of Seiko Presage Cocktail Time SRP vs SSA series:

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Specification
Element SRP Series (Normal 3-hands watch) SSA Series (Power reserve and date subdial watch)
Picture Example
Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
Diameter 40.5 mm
Thickness 11.8 mm 14.4 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 48 mm
Case Stainless steel case with various colors
Strap Silver stainless steel bracelet (with butterfly clasp) or leather strap (in various colors, with deployant clasp)
Watch Crystal Domed box Hardlex crystal
Bezel NA
Dial Most of the models in the collection have sunburst dial in various colors except for SRPC99J1/SSA387J1 Gimlet (radial gold/yellow textured dial) and the limited edition Fuyugeshiki SSA385J1/SRPC97J1/SRP843J1 (white textured dial)
Hands Dauphine hands
Markers Triangle index markers
Style Dress watch
Movement Seiko Caliber 4R35 automatic self-winding movement Seiko Caliber 4R57 automatic self-winding movement
Movement Features 23 jewels, 21,600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second, hacking and manual winding features 29 jewels, 21,600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second, hacking and manual winding features
Accuracy -35/+45 seconds per day
Power Reserve 41 hours
Water Resistance 5 bar / 50 m / 160 ft
Other Features Exhibition caseback, Curved Hardlex crystal, Date display Exhibition caseback, Curved Hardlex crystal, Power reserve indicator, Date subdial
Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5) 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Quick Summary Definitely a worthy successor to the popular Cocktail Time watch (SARB065). The effort that Seiko put to improve the overall design of the watch shows and the watch looks sleeker now – not to mention it’s cheaper, albeit with sacrifices in the movement department. With various choices and addition of power reserve models, this Presage Cocktail Time collection is one of the best, if not the best, automatic dress watches in the entry level market right now.
Where To Buy? Amazon for around $300 to $500 (Click the link below for more info). The MSRP for the Seiko Samurai is around $400-$600 depending on the model and strap option (stainless steel bracelet & power reserve models are more expensive)

Beautiful Sunburst Dial Design Is Just Beautiful

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time DialJust like the Seiko SARB065 before it, the Presage Cocktail Time also has a sunburst dial design which just looks very beautiful.

I’m a fan of simple white dress dials but there’s something about the sunburst dial that makes it look astonishingly stylish without being gaudy.

The countless numbers of vertical lines coming from the center to give the sunburst effect are immaculately placed.

When I was handling the watch, I can’t stop from tilting the watch back and forth just so I can catch glimpses of the sunburst effect changing on it.

Seiko knows this and that’s why they purposely make the dial design as simple as possible with small & minimal wordings so that there’s a lot of real estate for the sunburst dial.

And putting it on my wrist totally gave a different feeling. Taking a peek at the watch to tell time has never been so satisfying and pleasant.

In short, it’s one of the most beautiful dial out there in the affordable automatic watch category.

In fact, I can’t remember any other watches sub-$500 that gives such detail and elaborate dial as this. If you do, please share the watch in the comments section below!

Highly Polished Case For A Very Dressy Watch

Seiko SRPB41J1 Bluemoon Sides
Above: Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon

Accompanying the gorgeous sunburst dial is a highly polished case that really makes the watch looks very dressy, which I’d say is just a perfect case-dial combination.

Seriously, if you’re not comfortable wearing a watch that will attract attentions, then don’t get the Cocktail Time because it will DEFINITELY attract attentions!

However, the case is not as elaborate as the dial (unlike the curved SARB033 and Seiko Sumo SBDC033), which is not a bad thing considering the immaculate dial.

The sides of the case are straight with chamfered at the top making the bezel. The new Presage Cocktail Time also has a thinner profile at 11.8 mm, about 1.2 mm thinner than the previous generation.

Do note that the SSA series is thicker at 14.5 mm due to the additional power reserve and date subdial functions.

Another design element that sets this watch apart is the bigger sloping crown. As you can see, the crown is not a straight knob anymore but it’s a bit sloped making the ends bigger than the root (which is kinda like a cupcake shape don’t you think?).

This crown design makes the watch looks distinct and quite stylish in my opinion. The crown was also signed with “S” to symbolize Seiko.

Medium Sized Watch, Exhibition Caseback And Domed Hardlex Crystal

Seiko SSA346J1 Sidecar sides
Above: Seiko SSA346J1 Sidecar

The watch comes in an appropriate 40.5 mm diameter. In all honesty, I’d prefer if it’s a tad bit smaller (38-39 mm would be nice) but I’m just happy enough that Seiko didn’t go bigger than this.

It’s still perfectly usable even on my slim wrist without any unsightly gaps around the lugs.

With this kind of size, the watch will easily fit underneath your cuff just fine, although I think the thicker SSA series might have a bit of problem with that.

For women, unless you have a big enough wrist, the Cocktail Time might too big and too heavy for you. Seiko didn’t produce any women’s version for the Cocktail Time except for the beautiful Fuyugeshiki SRP843J1 model with white wintery dial (33.8 mm diameter).

Unfortunately, the Fuyugeshiki is a limited edition with only 5000 models available worldwide so you might want to hurry if you like it.

On the back there is an exhibition caseback from which you can see the movement and the weighted rotor. Surprisingly, Seiko made the rotor in gold plated finish, which is really cool.

This is something that they never did in their popular SARB lines before (which is even more expensive than this watch) and to me, this showed how they have grown as a company and continue to improve their products.

In addition to that, Seiko also equipped a stylish domed crystal on the watch. It’s raised up a bit and looks very cool.

Granted, it’s still a hardlex crystal and not the more scratch resistant sapphire, but looking at the price and the other things that they have put on the watch (like the gorgeous sunburst dial for example?), the Hardlex crystal is one trade-off that I’ll be happy to accept.

The Presage Cocktail Time Comes In Either Stainless Steel Bracelet Or Leather Strap

There are 2 strap options; silver stainless steel bracelet or leather strap. The leather strap comes in a few colors, depending on the model.

For the bracelet, the clasp is butterfly type clasp which is not something that I personally prefer. Yes, it’s modern looking but I still prefer the clasp on classic bracelet ala the SARB033 for the micro-adjustment capability, not to mention the cool Seiko signature on the clasp itself.

It’s quite thick and not flimsy on hand, although it did have hollow end links. I also like the intermittent polishing of the links on the bracelet.

Seriously, I can say that the Presage Cocktail Time’s case and bracelet is one of the best in this price range.

For the leather strap, it’s another story altogether. It’s not the nicest leather strap out there: the black strap is too glossy to my liking, and both black & brown variations feels too stiff. In typical Seiko fashion, cost-cutting was evidently performed on the straps.

I should highlight that the leather strap models typically have lower prices than the stainless steel bracelet models.

But with that being said, I will always advice to get the bracelet because it will last as long as the watch itself. With leather straps, you’ll have to change it every couple of years.

If you don’t like the bracelet, you can just buy a good aftermarket leather strap off amazon/ebay – with a higher quality than the Seiko’s leather straps too!

Very Functional Power Reserve Indicator On The SSA Series Watches

Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki
Above: Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki

I’ve frequently stated my love for power reserve indicator  in the past; Orient, in particular, have my respect for putting this feature even on their entry-level watches.

I found it to be one of the best features on an automatic watch. In fact, if I had to choose between day/date and power reserve indicator, I’d choose the latter.

The reason for this is our automatic watches have a small power reserve, typically 38 hours to 50 hours – and that’s from a full charge, mind you.

Having it will help us, as owners, to know when the watch will drop dead. What we should do then is to simply give it some manual winding to juice it up to full so that it will not stop.

That’s why I’m very happy to learn that my beloved Cocktail Time got this feature on its SSA series. It really makes the watch more useful and functional than ever.

Not to mention Seiko managed to designed it in such a way to still show the full glory of the sunburst dial as possible.

And with the small power reserve of 41 hours, the need for a power reserve indicator on this watch is more needed than ever.

Truthfully, if I’m pulling the trigger with the Cocktail Time, it will definitely be one of the power reserve indicator models =)


Watch the video above to see the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time on hand

Here Are The Current 14 Models In The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Collection

Yes, you read that right. There are a whopping 14 models in the collection! One thing to know is that for some reasons, the SRP and SSA series are not always present in the same color scheme.

Only 3 color schemes have both SRP and SSA models with the other colors having either SRP or SSA models.

One thing that Seiko tried to do is to introduce nicknames for their watches (you can read it from their global website here).

They managed to nailed a few of them (such as Blue Moon, Skydiving) but most of the names are just not that good in my opinion (Side car?? Gimlet?? Duh!).

So here are the list of watch models for the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Collection:

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Models
1. Seiko SRPB41J1 Blue Moon
2. Seiko SRPB43J1 Sky Diving (Normal)
3. Seiko SSA343J1 Sky Diving (Power Reserve)
4. Seiko SSA346J1 Side Car
5. Seiko SRPB44J1 Margarita
6. Seiko SSA341J1 Martini
7. Seiko SRPB46J1 Manhattan
8. Seiko SSA345J1 Espresso Martini
9. Seiko SRPC99J1 Gimlet (Normal)
10. Seiko SSA387J1 Gimlet (Power Reserve)
11. Seiko SRPB47J1 Spritzer
12. Seiko SRPC97J1 Fuyugeshiki (Normal)
13. Seiko SSA385J1 Fuyugeshiki (Power Reserve)
14. Seiko SRP843J1 Fuyugeshiki (Women’s)

Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Pros And Cons

Pros:

  • Beautiful sunburst dial
  • Exquisite craftsmanship on the case and bracelet
  • Lots of color options to choose from
  • New power reserve models are great for those that don’t wear their watch everyday
  • Distinctive overall design
  • Great value for money

Cons:

  • Low power reserve at just 41 hours
  • Leather strap on some of the models are of low quality

My Verdict : The Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Is One Heck Of A Watch!

I was very sad when the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time was announced to be discontinued 2 years ago.

While I never own it, the watch was actually in my wish-list and something that I had planned to own.

And when the new line up of Cocktail Time was out, I received the news skeptically. Part of me didn’t like that the new watch is not part of the SARB family anymore but instead was “relegated” to the Presage SRP family.

Not to mention the lower power reserve in the 4R35 movement made the watch less appealing to me.

But that was back then, before I made this in-depth review of the watch.

Suffice to say, my thoughts of the watch was absolutely changed once I take a closer look at the watch’s overall package.

In this Presage Cocktail Time, lies my new favorite dress watch with everything that I could ask for.

There’s a lot of variations to choose from and you are not stuck with one color. Not only that, Seiko also improved the watch from the previous SARB065.

Cool crown and domed crystal make the watch more distinct, as if the sunburst dial is not distinctive enough. Gold plated rotor. Beautiful and thick bracelet. New power reserve indicator models.

And last but not least, a lower price tag making it one of the most affordable automatic dress watch that looks stunning. It’s just one of the best value for money watches out there!

Now seriously, with this kind of offering, who does not love the Presage Cocktail Time?

 

I hope this Seiko Presage Cocktail Time review is beneficial to you. Do let me know what you think about the watch.

Till next time.

Cheers!

Seiko Samurai Review – A Guide To The Iconic Samurai Dive Watch

Seiko Samurai Review

The Modern And Sharp Watch: Seiko Samurai Automatic Dive Watch

Seiko SRPB49 Samurai Blue
Seiko SRPB49 Samurai Blue

In this article, I would like to introduce you to a watch that I’ll be reviewing here, the Seiko Samurai.

It’s an iconic watch – not only because of the catchy and cool nickname, but also because of the modern and sharpness of the design which I, and many others absolutely adore.

Like other famous Seikos, the Samurai is also an automatic dive watch with 200 m water resistance, screw down crown and robust construction.

Just like the Seiko Turtle and Tuna, the current version of Samurai watch released last year (2017) is actually a reincarnation of its popular version in 2000s.

And to the delight of everyone, they released quite a number of variations of the watch which I’ll cover below.

 

In A Hurry? >>Get Your Own Seiko Samurai On Amazon.com HERE

 

Seiko Samurai Watch Specification (SRPB Series)
Diameter 44 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 22 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 48 mm
Case Stainless steel case (silver or gray gunmetal colors, depending on model)
Strap Stainless steel bracelet (foldover clasp with safety lock) or rubber diver strap (depending on model)
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Bi-color unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Depending on model: Dial colors are black, gray or blue. Dial are either textured (Clous de Paris/Paris hobnail/waffle), wavy pattern or metallic blue.
Hands Sword and arrow hands with lume
Markers Index markers with lume
Style Dive watch
Movement Seiko Caliber 4R35 automatic self-winding movement
Movement Features 23 jewels, 21,600 vibration per hour or 6 beats per second, hacking and manual winding features
Accuracy -35/+45 seconds per day
Power Reserve 41 hours
Water Resistance 200 m
Other Features ISO 6425 dive watch compliance, Seiko’s LumiBrite lumes, screw down crown
Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Quick Summary A great looking watch with sharp and modern design befitting its cool nickname. The dials (there are many variations of the Samurai) are to die for as it’s not just a boring mono-color dial. With great specs (200 m water resistance, in-house automatic movement), this is definitely one of the best automatic dive watch in its price range.
Where To Buy? Amazon has the Samurais for around $300 to $500 (Click the link below for more info). The MSRP for the Seiko Samurai is around $400-$600 depending on the model and strap option (SS bracelet is more expensive than the rubber strap)

Seiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black GoldSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black GoldSeiko SRPB99 Samurai PadiSeiko SRPB99 Samurai Padi

Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon
Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon

 

The First Seiko Samurai Was Introduced In The 2004

Seiko Samurai SBDA Titanium 2004 Original
Original Seiko Samurai (2004) – SBDA Titanium Version

Seiko actually had released the Original Samurai back in the 2004.

It proved to be popular with the fans due to its modern look with clean and sharp lines from the hands, markers to the bezel.

The Samurai was also offered in titanium version back then. Somehow, Seiko stopped the production of the Samurai for no apparent reason.

Seiko always do this from time to time, even to popular models!

Though it’s a relief that they have the common sense to no stop producing the SKX watches (SKX007, SKX013 etc.). I can’t imagine what fans will say if they stop producing those hugely popular watches LOL!

 

Newly Released Samurai in 2017!

Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon
Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon

Fast forward to almost a decade after, Seiko reissued the Samurai just last year (2017). And from the first look, I can say it’s an improvement over the original Samurai.

The latest Samurai was tweaked aesthetically, and technically. The look was improved to be in line with modern design taste.

The automatic movement inside uses Seiko’s own in-house movement caliber 4R35. Perhaps the only issue with the Samurai is there is no Titanium version of the watch (yet!).

The latest Samurai is positioned in low-medium price bracket of less than $500, though we can always get one lesser than $400 on most online retailers such as Amazon.

 

6 Different Seiko Samurais To Choose From

The current Samurai has about 6 different variations to choose from. There are 2 special/limited editions and 4 normal editions to choose from:

2 special edition Samurais:

  • SRPB09 – Samurai “Blue Lagoon”: Blue metallic dial and bezel
  • SRPB99 – Samurai PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors): Black wavy pattern dial with Pepsi bezel

4 normal edition Samurais with Clous de Paris / Paris hobnail / waffle dial texture:

  • SRPB49 – Blue dial and blue/gray bezel
  • SRPB51 – Black dial and black/gray bezel
  • SRPB53 – Blue dial and Pepsi bezel
  • SRPB55 – Black coated (gunmetal) case, black dial and bezel with gold accents

Based on my knowledge, these 6 variants all have the same specification. The only difference is the style and color scheme used on the watches – which are actually a really big deal for watch fans.

Now, let’s get on with the common specs for the Samurai watches. I’ll then go in detail for the various models design after that.

 

Different Monster-Like Hands On The Latest Samurai

Seiko Samurai Waffle DialThe biggest aesthetic differences between the original Samurai and the latest versions are the hands and markers.

The original used thick sword hands for the hour and minute which is not bad, but not really stunning in my opinion.

Seiko did the right thing in using the Seiko Monster handset for the latest version which surprisingly work very well with the watch.

The minute hand is almost the same but you’ll surely notice the oversized arrow hour hand with lavish lume applied on it.

It’s sort of contrasting with the other elements on the dial with the high sloping arrow head making it stands out – something that I really like as I feel the original Samurai handset is too boring.

Some people might disagree, but I think the new handset works very well with the new Samurai =)

 

Redesigned Index Markers For Better Legibility

The index markers also undergone a renovation. The previous Samurai used the same index marker for all of the hours.

It looks great and symmetric but in my opinion, it was lacking in easiness of reading the time as all of the markers are the same.

It was a common thing in dive watches to have different shape of markers for the quarter hours (12, 3, 6 & 9) so that its owner can easily tell the time, especially in the dark by the light of the lume.

Seiko made the correct move in changing the markers of the Samurai to the current, more modern design. The 6, 9 and 12 hour markers all have different shapes which will make it easy to tell time.

Not only that, they changed it a bit by applying lume over the whole marker, instead of about 80% of the marker on the previous version. This means more gorgeous LumiBrite lume for us!

 

Seiko Samurai Lume

 

Date Display For Convenience

There’s also a date display at the right hand side of the dial (3 o’clock). Some people don’t like the date window because it’s quite easy to check it nowadays, with everyone owning a handphone and all.

But in my opinion, it still serves as a good way to let us know the date. Just how wearing a watch can make it easier to know the time, we don’t have to continuously check on our phone for it.

A simple flick of our wrist will let us know this, instead of having to take out our phone.

In addition, having the date window make the dial not symmetry which can be a good thing too. I frequently use it to know which side of the watch is up so I can quickly wear it.

As the date window is usually contrasting with the dial, finding it at a glance is much easier compared to finding the watch’s signature.

 

Bi-Color Bezel – Unidirectional Rotating Type For Dive Watch

Seiko SRPB49 Samurai Blue
Seiko SRPB49 Samurai Blue

On top of the Samurai is a unidirectional rotating bezel which is the common standard for dive watches. It can only be rotated counter-clockwise and features a satisfying “click” with each rotation.

The bezel is actually use as a simple device to keep track of diving time. Even for non-diver, we can still use it for simple tasks such as keeping track of baking time, laundry, and many others.

(Read my article on how to use this bezel HERE)

The design of the bezel uses 2 colors; the first quarter (12 – 3 o’clock) and the remaining ring. It’s a quite nice design in my opinion.

For the font of the minute markings, I noticed Seiko changed it from the previous Samurai. It currently has a more modern, balanced and pleasant looking minute marking font compared to the old one.

Truthfully, I can say that Seiko did their homework and improved over the older generation of Samurai, instead of just giving us a same design.

It’s more balanced and has modern design aesthetics on it. What more can we ask? A real handsome watch for sure!

 

Clean Cut And Sharp Case

Seiko SRPB51 Samurai Gray 4Apart from the dial, the case of the Seiko Samurai is another design element that I really love.

In short, it’s not your ordinary watch case with the rounded case around the lugs and sides.

The Samurai uses multi-faceted straight surfaces on the case lugs and sides with sharp edges where the surfaces meet. The surfaces also have brush and polish finishes.

What entails then is a cool watch with modern looking case thanks to the robotic-like edges and straight surfaces. In fact, I believe this is also one of the reason for the Samurai nickname.

The case is not as ground breaking as the Tuna or Turtle (those watches have very distinct cases) but that’s the charm of the Samurai.

It’s different but NOT so different to make it repulsive to normal watch fans.

The lug to lug distance is also kept at 48 mm due to the short lugs. This makes the watch to still be wearable by those with smaller wrists.

A the back we can see the cool Seiko tsunami on its caseback. As this is a dive watch, the back does not have open caseback to see the movement.

 

Shatter Proof Hardlex Crystal

Seiko SRPB53 Samurai Pepsi 4Protecting the watch at the top is Seiko’s own hardlex crystal.

For those new with watches, there are 3 common types of watch crystal (or glass) : acrylic, mineral and sapphire > sorted in order of price and scratch resistance.

The hardlex is actually a mineral crystal with extra toughness imparted on it.

Due to its low cost, the hardlex is about the most common watch crystal used in Seiko’s low to medium priced watches.

It’s not as scratch resistant as sapphire (the most expensive) but in my opinion, will do quite OK in normal use.

(Read my introduction to watch crystal HERE)

 

200 m Water Resistance With ISO 6425 Dive Watch Compliance

Seiko SRPB53 Samurai Pepsi
Seiko SRPB53 Samurai Pepsi

Like the other dive watches in Seiko’s Prospex series, the Samurai also has 200 m water resistance rating which means it can be used for all water sports and scuba diving.

It also complies with the ISO 6425, an international standard for dive watches covering a whole range of performance and reliability requirement for a dive watch.

 

(Read the summary of the IS0 6425 standard on Wiki)

 

So what does that means? It means that apart from just a good water resistance, the Samurai is a full fledged dive watch!

Another cool bit is the signature “Diver’s 200m” on the Samurai is only reserved for those watches that satisfy the ISO’s requirement.

Though whether you’ll actually wear this to diving is another thing altogether, but all I can say is it’s a cool thing to be wearing a watch that is built to withstand the harsh diving environment and activity like this =)

 

2 Strap Options: Steel Bracelet And Rubber

The Seiko Samurai comes in two strap options: stainless steel bracelet and rubber strap. Unfortunately, each Samurai model comes with only ONE strap option.

  • Stainless steel bracelet : SRPB09, SRPB99, SRPB49 & SRPB51
  • Rubber strap : SRPB53 & SRPB55

The stainless steel bracelet is an oyster type, like what we normally see on other Seiko Prospex dive watches in this price range.

It features the usual push button deployment clasp, safety lock, dive extension and micro adjustment – basically everything that’s needed for a dive watch.

It’s a fully functioning bracelet as I’d rate the micro adjustment and push button deployment clasp as the 2 important features on ANY watch bracelet for its practicality.

The micro adjustment makes it possible to adjust the bracelet length to near perfect condition to any wrist.

The push button on the other hand, makes it very easy to open the bracelet. Having these 2 features makes the bracelet a breeze to use.

Seiko SRPB55 Samurai Black Gold 2
Seiko SRPB55 Samurai Black Gold

The Samurai’s rubber strap is also not too shabby. It’s unlike the clunky old Seiko rubber strap versions – this one is a high quality and soft strap befitting the price of the watch.

We need to remember the MSRP of the rubber strap version is around $400 – $500 a piece (though we can get one much cheaper online!) and Seiko did make sure the strap is worth it!

Even so, I still prefer stainless steel bracelet because of its longevity – there’s a very good chance it will last as long as the watch itself.

Not only that, it’s more robust and not easily damaged (it’s steel after all) compared to the rubber strap.

It’s ease of use when putting in and taking out the watch makes it a great choice for those that seeks simplicity and functionality.

And lastly, don’t you think the stainless steel bracelet looks much cooler than a rubber strap?

Seiko SRPB51 Samurai Gray
Seiko SRPB51 Samurai Gray

 

Seiko Cal. 4R35 Automatic Self-Winding Movement

Inside the Seiko Samurai is an in-house automatic movement by Seiko which is the 4R35 movement. The movement is actually a sibling of the more widely used 4R36 movement in Seiko’s other watches (within the same price range).

The difference between the two movement is the 4R35 only has date display while 4R36 has both date and day display.

Going into the technicality, the 4R35 automatic movement (meaning it will recharge itself by wrist movement) has 23 jewels in it. It’s vibrating at 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second.

It also has hacking and manual winding features, standard for any modern automatic movement.

The hacking will ensure the second hand will also come to a complete stop when we want to adjust the time (older movements can’t do this such as the 7S26 in SKX007).

The manual winding feature really helps to give the watch some juice whenever the watch comes to a complete stop. By rotating the crown, we can tighten the mainspring directly to supplement is 41-hours power reserve.

Again, older movements (7S26) cannot do this so we are left with having to wear (or use a watch winder) to fill up the power reserve and keep the watch running.

Accuracy wise, Seiko published the rate at -35/+45 seconds per day, which any Seiko owners will tell you is at the extreme conservative side.

An accuracy of less than 10 seconds out of the box is usually what people will get with Seiko’s and other reputable automatic movements such as Orient’s and ETA’s.

 

Seiko Samurai Variations

We’ve looked into the various aspects of the watch. As mentioned earlier, the Samurai comes in 6 different variations.

The difference between each variation is in the dial, strap and the casing (in the case of SRPB55).

What I love most about the Samurai is the dial is not boring at all! There’s always something on it and we’re not left with a boring mono-color dial.

What’s sweeter is these kind of dial is almost unheard of in this price bracket for an automatic watch. Talk about great value for money!

Below are the details and pictures of the 6 Seiko Samurai variants.

 

1- Seiko Samurai “Blue Lagoon” SRPB09

Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon
Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon

Want The Blue Lagoon? >> Get Your Own On Amazon HERE

I believed the Blue Lagoon (SPB09) is the first new Samurai to be released by Seiko last year (2017). It’s actually a limited edition watch with 6000 watches up to be grabbed (I found Amazon still have it in stock so if you guys want it, better get it fast!)

The watch has a gorgeous metallic dark blue dial that has very beautiful reflection effect. It also has a two shades blue bezel – all in all capture its nickname perfectly.

There’s a slight yellow accent on the dial (second hand, painted markers) that give an extra color to the dial.

So if you’re a sucker for blue watch like me, the Samurai blue lagoon might be a good choice.

 

2- Seiko Samurai PADI SRPB99

Seiko SRPB99 Samurai PadiSeiko SRPB99 Samurai Padi

Want The PADI Samurai? >> Get Your Own On Amazon HERE

 

The SRPB99 is another special Samurai version as it’s a watch made in collaboration with PADI.

For those that didn’t know, PADI is an acronym for Professional Association of Diving Instructors.

A dive watch that have the symbol of the biggest diving association on it? That’s really a good marketing there LOL!

By the way, this is not the first watch that Seiko had collaborated with PADI as I’ve seen they do it for other watches (such as the Turtle) in the past.

For the SRPB99, the dial is a black dial with wavy pattern. Seiko kinda break a tradition here as their other PADI watches have blue dial.

But I have to say the black wavy pattern is absolutely gorgeous and unique. It’s definitely a good looking dial for sure.

The bezel has pepsi colored theme (red and blue colors) which is same as the SRPB53 (below).

Due to this, the watch is a bit colorful with 4 main colors (white markers/lume, black dial, red & blue bezel) but the use of dark colors has toned down the watch a bit. Or else it will be a sort of a clown watch =P

 

3- Normal Seiko Samurais (SRPB49, 51, 53 & 55)

The other 4 variations are the normal offering of the Seiko Samurai with Clous de Paris or Paris hobnail dial.

In layman’s term it’s actually a waffle dial texture. As you can see, the dial consists of lots of small boxes that looks like waffles there.

Seiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black GoldSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black Gold

Each of the 4 variations have its own dial/bezel color and strap type.

(Click the name of each watch to check it out on Amazon)

  • Seiko Samurai SRPB49 – Blue dial and blue & gray bezel. Stainless steel bracelet.
  • Seiko Samurai SRPB51 – Black dial and black & gray bezel. Stainless steel bracelet.
  • Seiko Samurai SRPB53 – Blue dial and Pepsi bezel. Rubber strap.
  • Seiko Samurai SRPB55 – Black coated (gunmetal) case, black dial and bezel with gold accents. Rubber strap.

As you might be aware of, the SRPB55 (or the so called Samurai Black Gold) is the most unique of the lot.

It has a gunmetal case, and a black & gold dial/bezel that looks stunning. Even the hands and markers have gold outline on them!

I’m not saying the other Samurais are not beautiful, they are, but the black gold version is just more unique in my opinion.

 

Which One Of The Samurais Is Your Choice?

For me, the PADI is the best looking simply because of the stunning wavy pattern dial and the PADI signature that looks so cool on a dive watch.

So which one of the various samurai is your choice? Do let me know in the comments section below =)

 


Above is a video showing the Seiko Samurai up close

 

Who Is The Seiko Samurai For?

Anyone wanting a cool and stylish automatic dive watch should get the Samurai. It’s design is well balanced and looks cool and modern. Those sharp edges really looks great.

By the way, did I mention the Samurai nickname is super cool? Yeah, it is.

The watch is not just a good looker – it’s specs are also at the top of the heap. 200 m water resistance and ISO rated dive watch are 2 key features that shows the Samurai is not just a beauty.

In addition, Seiko also produced a wide range of the Samurai in many variations to appeal to a wider range of people. So you’ll surely be able to find one (or more than one) that suits your taste.

 

Who Should Not Get It?

While most dive watches are versatile, I think the Samurai is more towards casual/sporty use than formal wear.

It’s a gorgeous watch for sure, but the edginess of it makes it not a good choice for a formal or even business attire.

I’d certainly wear it to work but if I’m trying to make a good impression with clients, the Samurai is not what I’d wear.

Which is why if you’re looking for a dress dive watch, I don’t think the Samurai is a good choice as it doesn’t fit that requirement.

 

Seiko Samurai Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • A gorgeous and stylish dive watch with modern design – perfect for casual or office wear
  • The dials are unique (either metallic blue, wavy or waffle pattern) and hard to find in a watch in the same price range
  • 200 m water resistance and ISO rated dive watch so that you can actually wear it while doing water activities
  • An in-house automatic self-winding movement ensures no battery change is needed in its entire life
  • LumiBrite lume has one of the brightest lume in this price range

 

Cons:

  • Hardlex crystal is not as scratch resistant as sapphire
  • Each of the 6 variations comes with only one strap option giving limited choice for fans

 

Where To Buy The Seiko Samurai?

The MSRP of the Seiko Samurai is around $400 to $600 from official stores. The price, as you’ve guessed it, depends on the model (the special edition Blue Lagoon is more expensive) and the strap type (bracele is more expensive).

Fortunately, we can get our hands on a Samurai for a much lower amount at around $300 to $500 on online stores such as Amazon. Click the link below to check out the Samurais on Amazon!

=>Click Link Below To Check Out Seiko Samurai On Amazon<=

Seiko Samurai “Blue Lagoon” SRPB09 
Seiko Samurai PADI SRPB99
Seiko Samurai SRPB49
Seiko Samurai SRPB51
Seiko Samurai SRPB53
Seiko Samurai SRPB55

 

Seiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB49 Samurai BlueSeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB51 Samurai GraySeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB53 Samurai PepsiSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black GoldSeiko SRPB55 Samurai Black GoldSeiko SRPB99 Samurai PadiSeiko SRPB99 Samurai Padi

Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon
Seiko SRPB09 Samurai Blue Lagoon

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko Samurai is truly a handsome dive watch from the brand. Cool nickname, sharp looking dial and case, great specifications – all of these contributed to the popularity that the watch enjoys.

The modern and sharp design is one of the key features on the watch that I absolutely adore.

While the Rolex Submariner still is the gold standard for dive watch design, having a more modern take on it like what the Samurai did certainly won’t hurt (mercedes hour hand anyone?).

With great all around design, quality and Seiko’s tried and tested automatic movement, the Seiko Samurai is definitely one of the best dive watches in the low to middle price range.

 

I hope you enjoy this Seiko Samurai review. What is your verdict the watch? Do let me know what you think about it.

I’d love to hear what you think about it =)

Cheers!
Isaac.

Seiko SKA371 Review – The BFK (Big Freakin’ Kinetic) Dive Watch

Seiko SKA371 Review picture

The BFK Watch – A Review Of The Seiko SKA371

In this post, I’m going to write about the Seiko SKA371 review, or also known as the BFK – Big Freakin’ Kinetic – dive watch. Quite a nickname eh?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure from where the BFK name came from. But just looking at this awesome watch we can easily understand why Seiko fans called it as such.

Seiko SKA371 On handIt’s a dive watch with an awesomely rugged look, and yet I can easily imagine myself wearing one with my work shirt! That’s how great looking it is.

Not only that, the SKA371 does not look like other Submariner/Seamaster look-a-like dive watch as Seiko had imparted a few unique characteristics on it that I really love. More about that later on.

Despite the BFK nickname, it’s actually not too big in terms of diameter (at just 42 mm when many other watches have 44 mm diameter). But the thickness of 14 mm will make it look AND wear heavy.

And I can say that’s a good thing because wearing a watch with such heft gives a different manly and masculine feeling than wearing a light watch.

In addition, the SKA371 is a kinetic watch. It gets energy from wrist movement and changed it into electric energy to be stored in its battery cell.

But the main timekeeping mechanism is the good ol’ quartz movement with great accuracy and robustness.

That enough for a quick summary. Now let’s get on with the full review of the SKA371 shall we.

 

In A Hurry? >>Get Your Own Seiko SKA371 BFK From Amazon.com HERE

 

Seiko SKA371 BFK Specification
Diameter 42 mm
Thickness 14 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 47 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel bracelet with fold-over clasp and safety lock
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Black dial (also has dark blue version – SKA369)
Hands Skeleton hour and minute hands with lume at the tip
Markers Circular index markers with lume
Style Dive
Movement Seiko 5M62 Kinetic movement
Movement Features Kinetic movement will recharge the battery with each movement of the watch (like automatic watch)
Accuracy +/-15 seconds per month
Power Reserve 6 months (can be checked by pushing the top right pusher)
User Manual Click HERE to download from Seiko.co.uk
Water Resistance 200 m
Other Features ISO 6425 Dive watch compliance, LumiBrite lume, Dedicated pusher for power reserve indicator
Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
Quick Summary A masculine looking dive watch with unique styling not normally seen in other dive watches. Aesthetic apart, the watch is built robustly with a tough and heavy case, making it able to withstand severe punishments. Having a kinetic movement inside ensures the watch is accurate (due to quartz timekeeping) whilst not having to change the battery frequently courtesy of its self-charging mechanism. It’s a one-of-a-kind watch that looks great while also having the street cred for being tough!
Where To Buy? Amazon (Click the link below to know more)

Seiko SKA371 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA371 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA369 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA369 Kinetic BFK

 

Not Your Ordinary Submariner/Seamaster Dive Watch Look

The first thing that I noticed about the SKA371 BFK is the matte black face which is absolutely gorgeous and tool-like.

And then it dawned upon me that this watch actually looks similar to another kinetic watch by Seiko, that is the SUN019.

Well, actually, it looks very different but it’s evident there are similar styling applied on both the BFK and the SUN019 (maybe same designer?).

While the black dial and bezel certainly looks to be borrowing the famous dive watch styling of Submariner and Seamaster, a closer inspection will reveal that Seiko did a lot more on it!

The dial face, hands, case design and the top right pusher all contributes to making this watch a unique watch on its own.

 

3-Dimensional Watch Dial Face

For a start, the BFK uses a double layer dial design to make the dial unique but in a tasteful way. You can see the markers are actually on a raised surface compared to the inner surface.

Seiko SKA371P1 side

And look at how the raised surface follows closely the trapezoid markers at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock and around the date window with absolute precision.

This double layer surface design makes the watch dial a depth look with 3D effect – and is something that I really love about this watch.

 

Index Markers and Skeleton Hands

Like other dive watches, the Seiko SKA371 uses index markers instead of numerals. The reason for this is to put in maximum lumes on the markers so that it will be very legible to see in dark areas.

Seiko SKA371 ReviewAnd since the lume has a white/green color, it contrasts with the black dial giving a watch that’s very easy to tell time with.

The hands uses skeleton design, and frankly speaking, might be the weakest link of this watch.

It can be said that Seiko drawed inspiration from Seamaster watches for the hands on the BFK, but sadly their intrepretation is a bit off.

For a start, the hour hand has a tip that looks really odd with the circular shape that some people say looks like condom LOL!

In my opinion, it looks out of place amongst the other elements on the watch. Not only that, the amount of lume on the hands are less than 30-40% at most.

Considering the hands are the most important thing that will tell time in dark, I really think the lume real estate on it should be at least 50% for maximum legibility.

 

In A Hurry? >>Get Your Own Seiko SKA371 BFK From Amazon.com HERE

 

How About The Lume?

As you can expect, the lume on the BFK is great. As usual, Seiko uses LumiBrite lume on it which gives the watch a really nice glow.

Of course, we can expect that it’s not the best lume in watchmaking (it is only a sub-$400 watch) but LumiBrite is often regarded among one of the best in the industry.

Which means that while it can’t beat Swiss’ lume paint (on those Rolex, Omegas, etc.) in terms of brightness and longevity, the LumiBrite does give a good fight.

 

Seiko SKA371 BFK Lume

The lume on the SKA371. As always, Seiko’s lume does not disappoint

 

Seiko SKA371 and SKA369 – Two Main Variations To Choose From

An important thing that I should state here is the BFK does not only consists of the SKA371. Seiko released a couple of them over the years with different colors.

I’ve seen a few of the BFKs with the customary Pepsi color (blue + red), orange, yellow and blue. But unfortunately, I can only find resource on two versions:

  1. SKA371 – Black BFK (Seiko.co.uk) – Black dial with stainless steel case
  2. SKA369 – Pepsi BFK (Seiko.co.uk) – Blue dial with red and blue bezel

Seiko SKA369 Pepsi review

The SKA369 with blue dial and pepsi bezel. Click HERE to check out the watch on Amazon.com

 

So which one you prefer of the two BFKs? Let me know in the comments section below =)

 

Not Your Ordinary Dive Watch Case

What I like about Seiko is their willingness to come up with unique case designs that no other watch brands will think off.

To put it simply, they’ve experimented with their designs more than what the likes of Rolex, Omega, Oris and others can even imagine.

Designs such as the iconic Tuna, Turtle, Monster and the Seiko SUN019 show that Seiko is not afraid to push the boundaries, especially with their dive/sports oriented watches.

No one in the Swiss watch industry will ever think of using such designs in their brands.

True enough, this might not work for all but this strategy did separates Seiko from the others and gained the company a huge fans.

The Seiko SKA371 BFK is also not made with ordinary dive watch design in mind, though I can say that Seiko did restrained itself with this watch as compared to the watches I’ve listed above.

 

Bulky And Thick Case For Extreme Durability

Seiko SKA371 BFK Side caseSeiko usually make a great watch case with unique design and this Seiko BFK is no different. It does not has extremely different case designs like the Tuna or SUN019 but you’ll notice the BFK is quite different than other watches out there.

From the first glance, we’re sure that this is a dive watch meant for real diving, and not just another dressy dive watch.

It looks rugged and the use of lots of brushing on the surface contributes to that.

It’s also quite tall at 14 mm thick so you can be sure to expect a good heavy feeling when wearing it.

I’m more a light watch guy, but I surely love to wear my heavy diver’s from time to time because of how hefty and manly it feels!

The BFK case employs lots of curves in the case rather than sharp angles. We can also see the edge transition between the top and side surfaces are profusely chamfered which is something that is not common.

The main crown at 3 o’clock has a nice middle ring which further accentuates its tool like design. We can also see the crown guard uses triangle shape with also the same chamfered edges.

 

Hardlex Crystal And Rotating Bezel

At the top of the watch is Seiko’s own hardlex crystal which was engineered to be a shatter proof crystal.

I should highlight that it’s less scratch resistant than sapphire so do take good care of your hardlex crystal (if you’re thinking of getting the BFK) as it can and will scratch if not used correctly (read more about my experience with Seiko Sumo HERE).

But the rational for using the hardlex is there: it’s more shatter proof and is a good choice for a real dive watch with an affordable like this.

Like other dive watches, the BFK also has a unidirectional rotating bezel on it. The bezel has a matching black color (or blue-red Pepsi for the SKA369) and can only be rotated counter-clockwise to help divers measure time.

(Read more about how to use the bezel in my previous post HERE)

 

Top Right Pusher – Unique Design While Being A Switch To Show Power Reserve

A characteristic feature of the BFK is the top right pusher which break the top-bottom symmetry of the watch.

I’ve seen this design in the Orient Mako and Ray (the first version)and all I can say is it’s quite cool to have that.

Having the pusher makes the watch more unique than other dive watches, and who like to be common and boring right?

Besides, the pusher on this BFK have an actual usage for showing the power reserve. Simply pushing it down for 1 to 2 seconds and the second hand will move to indicate the power reserve.

It has a huge 6 months power reserve which will be more than enough for anyone to use.

Below is the general guideline of the power reserve of the watch depending on the second hand movement:

  • 5 sec = 1 to 7 days
  • 10 sec = 1 week to 1 month
  • 20 sec = Approx. 1 month
  • 30 sec = 4 to 6 months

Seiko SKA371 Power Reserve Indicator

A table comparing the power reserve left and it’s second hand action. The SKA371 has the 5M62 movement by the way so we should take a look at the lower row of the table

 

Equally Thick Bracelet To The Case

What should a thick watch have? An equally thick bracelet of course! Just imagine how out of place a thick watch with a thin bracelet would be?

Fortunately, that’s not the case here as the stainless steel bracelet on the Seiko SKA371 is very thick and nicely complementing the thick case and lug handles.

A thick bracelet will give that extra weight and manly feeling when worn. Certainly, not many can wear it everyday because of the weight but when you do wear it, you’ll feel the difference!

The bracelet on the BFK is also not a standard Seiko dive watch bracelet. Yes, it has the usual fold-over clasp, diver extension and safety lock.

 

Seiko SKA371 bracelet

 

In addition to that, you can notice that the second link of the bracelet has some kind of wing at its sides that provide a nice transition from the case lug to the 20 mm bracelet.

The bracelet’s end links are also unique as it’s circular and can be rotated around the pin.

I’ve tried searching for a while but I don’t think I can find any other Seiko watch with a bracelet that has these two features. Do let me know if you know other watches like this!

 

What’s The Difference Between SKA371P1 and SKA371P2

Since we came to the bracelet, I might also add a bit about the difference between SKA371P1 and SKA371P2.

The SKA371 is sold with either the metal bracelet (SKA371P1) or a rubber strap (SKA371P2).

The rubber strap is of course the cheaper version but as I’ve mentioned above about the unique Seiko bracelet, I highly recommend to get the P1 version for those interested in the watch.

Not only because it’s unique, the bracelet is also more durable and can lasts as long as the watch. It’s a metal after all! The rubber strap? Not so much..

Seiko SKA371P2 rubber strap

Above is the Seiko SKA371P2 with rubber strap on it

 

200 m Water Resistance And ISO 6425 Dive Watch Standard Compliance

Just like their various dive watches, the Seiko SKA371 BFK also complies with ISO 6425 standard.

This is a standard developed by the ISO body to govern the design and features of dive watches.

This ISO compliance means that the 200 m water resistance rating of the watch is a real deal – you can actually use this watch for scuba diving without fear that it will break down!

(I’ve actually written another article in-depth about the ISO 6425 and water resistance HERE. Do give it a read if you’re interested in it).

The watch also has the customary Seiko’s tsunami engraving pattern on the caseback which is usually reserved only for Seiko diver watches with ISO 6425 compliance.

 

Extreme Tests Had Been Done To This Watch!

When talking about the BFK watch, it’s not complete without mentioning the various tests that Seiko fans did to it.

In short, the wathc have been tested with many extreme tests such as run over a car, frozen, drop test, and even washing machine spin test!

Head over to this thread on WatchUSeek.com to know the details of the tests done. Spoiler: the Seiko BFK survived those tests!

 

In A Hurry? >>Get Your Own Seiko SKA371 BFK From Amazon.com HERE

 

Seiko Kinetic Movement – A Marriage Between Automatic And Quartz Watch

Seiko SKA371 SIdePowering the Seiko SKA371 is the 5M62 Kinetic movement engine.

So what’s a kinetic movement?

Kinetic movement is essentially a quartz watch with a self-charging mechanism via a rotating rotor.

Remember the rotor in the back of an automatic watch? Well, Seiko use that and hook it up to a dynamo so when the rotor moves (when the watch moves), the dynamo will generate electricity.

The electricity is then stored inside a battery (or what Seiko calls Kinetic Electicity Storage Unit, E.S.U). It will then power up the quartz timekeeping device.

(Read more about kinetic movement and its history from my previous post HERE)

 

 

Kinetic Movement Accuracy And Power Reserve

The accuracy of the movement is similar to a typical quartz, which is +/-15 seconds per month. It might look a lot but honestly it’s not really a big deal.

I don’t think a couple of seconds inaccuracy will do any harm to ordinary citizens, unless you’re in a profession where accurate timekeeping is needed.

On to the power reserve, the BFK has the top right pusher that can show the remaining power reserve by the second hand movement. You can scroll to that section above to know more about that.

The 5M62 kinetic movement has 6 months power reserve when it’s at full capacity. That’s a lot and definitely will be sufficient for normal use.

 

How To Charge Seiko SKA371 BFK Kinetic Watch?

From the user manual of the movement (Click HERE to download from Seiko.co.uk), we require 450 to 500 swings of the watch to charge it to 2 days.

In terms of walking distance, the manual also says that a 720 m walk can also charge it to 2 days power capacity.

Seiko SKA371 Charging Walking rate

The SKA371 has the 5M62 movement in it and requires 720 m walk to charge it up to 2 days equivalent charge

 

Even though it seems a lot, but I don’t think it will take much effort to fill up the power reserve – provided we actually USE the watch.

Just like an automatic, not wearing the watch will cause its power reserve to drop dead, and the kinetic is no different than that.

I think wearing this watch to a jogging or using the treadmill in the gym are very good ways to fill up its power reserve.

In fact, I believe it’s fine to use it to any sports or outdoor activities as the watch is built like a tank!

In addition to wearing the watch, we can also use other unconventional means to charge it such as using electric toothbrush charger or even Seiko’s own kinetic charger.

(Read more about these methods in my in-depth post HERE)

 


  Above is the video showing the Seiko SKA371 on hand

 

Who Is The Seiko SKA371 BFK Watch For?

In my opinion, guys that like a tough and reliable watch should get the Seiko SKA371.

It’s made to withstand the toughest punishment (see the extreme tests done to it above), has 200 m water resistance, comply with ISO dive watch standard and has shatter proof hardlex crystal.

The kinetic movement does not break easily – I can bet it’s certainly more robust than an automatic with the same price tag – and that means this is a watch that can be used for lots of outdoor and strenuous activities.

Seiko SKA371 Review on hand

In addition, its self-charging mechanism is perfect for those that are tired of changing the batteries in their watch.

Last but not least, it’s designed with a unique dive watch style that will look rugged and manly on your wrist!

 

Who Should Not Get It?

Perhaps those that want a more dressy dive watch should not get this. In my opinion, even though it can be worn to work, jackets and all, it’s still a bit too rough and tough looking.

Its heavy weight can also be a cause for concern with those not used to wearing a big watch. So if these are your concern, then it’s better to get a smaller watch to wear.

 

Seiko SKA371 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Unique dive watch design with rugged look
  • Reliable and robust case construction
  • Accurate quartz timekeeping
  • Shatter proof hardlex crystal
  • Great lume with LumiBrite
  • Power reserve checking feature
  • Kinetic movement ensures you don’t have to change battery for many years
  • Heavy feeling when wearing the watch (depending on people’s taste)

 

Cons:

  • Kinetic movement cannot be charged by rotating the crown like automatic watch
  • Heavy and might not be suitable for those not used to wearing a heavy watch

 

Where To Buy The Seiko SKA371 and SKA369?

So where to buy the Seiko BFK? It can be quite hard to get the watch but I found that Amazon usually have them stocked at a very good price. Check out the links below to get the watches on Amazon.

=>Click Here To Check Seiko SKA371 (Black) On Amazon<=

=>Click Here To Check Seiko SKA369 (Pepsi) On Amazon<=

 

Seiko SKA371 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA371 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA369 Kinetic BFKSeiko SKA369 Kinetic BFK

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko SKA371 (and its sibling SKA369) is one great looking dive watch. Seiko’s ingenuity in not making it look like other Submariner/Seamaster dive watch works very well in setting it apart from the others.

It’s nickname BFK (or Big Freakin’ Kinetic) is well founded as the stainless steel case is quite thick lending to a huge look of the watch. And with an equally thick bracelet, this is one heavy watch for sure.

What made the BFK more famous is the legendary extreme tests done on it by fans (you can read more above). Despite all those freezing, dropping on floor, boiling etc., the BFK still runs like normal!

If you ask me, the robustness of the watch is its best feature (apart from the handsome and manly design of course) =)

 

I hope you enjoy my article on the Seiko SKA371 review. Do let me know if there’s any questions about the watch.

Also, I love to hear what you think about the watch.

Cheers!
Isaac.

Seiko Shogun Review – The Titanium Dive Watch (SBDC029 & SBDC007)

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Review

The Seiko Shogun is one of the most popular dive watches among Seiko fans for very obvious reasons: the great looking design and the lightweight titanium case.

In this post, I’m going to write about the Seiko Shogun review so that you’ll know what the watch is all about, its detail specification and whether it’s the right one for you (or you’re better off with a cheaper watch… I’ll save that later).

 

Why The Shogun Nickname?

First and foremost, I’m sure you are wondering why is the watch called “Shogun”? The Shogun is actually a nickname given by Seiko fans on the WUS site to the watch and not the official name by Seiko (unlike the Alpinist models).

Based on the originator, it was named as such because of the full armor, crisp lines and it’s always under attack on the forum (due to many reasons, of which I’ll deliberate further below).

What do you think about it? If you have other thoughts on the nickname, share it by commenting on the post below =)

 

Seiko Shogun Watch Specification (SBDC029)
Diameter 44 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 22 mm
Case Lightweight Titanium Case (114 g with bracelet)
Strap Oyster titanium bracelet with double lock clasp and dive extension
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Dial Black analog dial
Hands Arrow hands
Markers Index markers
Style Dive
Movement Seiko Caliber 6R15 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features Seiko In-house movement, 23 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy +25/-15 seconds per day
Power Reserve 50 hours
Water Resistance 200 m
Other Features Unidirectional rotating bezel, Screw down caseback and crown, Lightweight titanium case, Anti-magnetic case, Seiko’s LumiBrite lume, Date display, ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch Compliant
Best Place To Buy Amazon (Where most of the time the Shogun is listed for less than $1,000), The actual MSRP for the watch is $1,200 on Seiko USA website

 

Seiko SBDC029 VS SBDC007

Just like the Sumo, the Shogun also has 2 different model numbers with the first one was the SBDC007 release 5 or 6 years ago.

It was then replaced by the SBDC029 with the “X” logo on the dial as part of a widespread exercise by the brand to clearly identify the watch as part of the Prospex line up. Prospex or “Professional Specification” is Seiko’s line of watches designed for extreme use, be it in water, air or land.

With the newer version, the SBDC007 was discontinued though one might popped up occasionally on internet marketplace.

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Front

Above is the current Shogun – the Seiko SBDC029

 

SBDC007 Old Shogun

And above is the older generation of the Shogun – SBDC007. Notice the difference?

 

The difference between the SBDC029 and SBDC007 is largely on the dial. I kinda like the italicized “Automatic” signature on the SBDC007 and don’t really prefer the “X” on the newer SBDC029.

But then the SBDC029 has the “Diver’s 200m” signature – something that can only be printed on the dial for watches that conform to ISO 6425 diver’s watch specification. Whether Seiko did any changes on the internal movement is unknown.

 

So which one should you get?

 

It largely depends on your taste, that’s for sure. Some love the “X” while some loathe it. One thing for sure though – if you want to get the best bang for your buck, the SBDC029 is the better choice.

Because logically, I’d want to buy something that’s made in this year rather than getting a watch that was made a few years ago – assuming you can still find an unused SBDC007. But if you really love the older look of the Shogun, then go for it =)

 

Very Legible And Sublime Black Dial

Looking on the Shogun, we are welcomed with the black matte dial, with the typical styling of a dive watch.

Some say the black dial is kinda boring, but we need to remember that this is a watch made for those wanting to actually use it under water.

As such, the use of matte dial is very much logical as the watch need to be very legible for it to work efficiently under water.

Helping to achieve that are the oversized hands and markers. If you need a more easy to look at watch, look no further a the Shogun is definitely very easy to tell time with.

The white markers and hands contrasted with the black dial making telling time very easy to do. There’s also the minute markers on the bezel (more on that later) which helped to compensate for the lack of numeral markers.

As always, the hands and markers are filled to the brim with Seiko’s own LumiBrite, their answer to the Swiss’ Superluminova lumes.

 

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Lume

Bright glow-in-the-dark lume is one of the best features in a dive watch, and the Shogun does not disappoint

 

This stuff will glow brightly under the dark, provided it is exposed to sufficient light beforehand. But speaking from experience with my other Seikos, the lume have a hard time to stay glowing for a full movie showing – about 100 minutes or so – but it’s certainly on the upper tier of lume paints.

In addition, there’s the date window at the right hand side of the dial as an added functionality.

 

The Shogun Should Use More Unique And Beautiful Hands

One thing that’s a bit off with the Shogun is its hands are taken from the Seiko Monster (you can read my review of the Monster here).

Seiko Black Monster

Watch above is the Seiko Monster. Notice the similarity of the hands of both watches

 

As you can see, the minute and hour hands of both watches are basically the same, save for the outline of the hands.

The hour hand is a stout and huge arrow-shaped while the minute hand is wide and sword-shaped. The seconds hand of the Shogun, on the other hand, bears similarity with the seconds hand on the Sumo.

In any likelihood, the usage of the same parts across models from the same brand is usually permitted.

But in the case of the Shogun, this feels kinda off considering the fact that the Shogun has an MSRP price of $1,200 which is at least double than the Sumo and triple than the Monster.

This is one of the source of contention within the watch fans as many believed that Seiko should at least try to make a unique (and more pleasing) hands for the Shogun which is befitting of its commanded price. To use hands similar to a much lesser priced watches in their stable is not a praised-worthy act.

 

Clean, Striking Gear-Like Bezel

Another element that I like about the Shogun is the aggressive bezel. The gear-like edges of the bezel does not only make the watch looks outstandingly rough, but also helps with the grip.

This is the diver’s watch bezel which can only be rotated in counter-clockwise direction (or unidirectional) to keep help keep track of time.

A gear-like edge will make it very easy to rotate it even if your hand is wet with all the water.

While looking tough, the small fonts and subdued font on the bezel does not make it stand out too much, in contrast to the bezel on the Monster.

The bezel still keeps the sublime look of the Shogun intact. If the Seiko Monster is like a rough, brash and rebelling teenager, the Shogun can be likened to a dangerous mafia – looks all nice and smart on the outside but is someone you’ll never want to mess with =)

 

Lightweight Titanium Case Giving Comfortable Use

The main feature of the Shogun that makes it well loved by fans (not to mention also bumped its price) is the use of titanium as its case and bracelet material.

As most of you might have known, titanium is a stronger than steel but is much lighter. But one downside is the cost of titanium is more expensive than steel, which is obvious by looking at the price of the Shogun.

In return, we are getting a very light watch at just 114 grams (including bracelet) compared to the usual 200 grams or so for a similarly sized stainless steel watch.

This makes the watch very comfortable to be used despite it’s bigger-than-average size of 44 mm diameter. If you have a problem to use a stainless steel diver’s watch due to its heavy weight, the Shogun might be the answer for that.

Just be warned that your other watches might get lesser wrist time because of the Shogun LOL!

 

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Back

 

Seiko’s Diashield For Scratch Protection

Pure tTitanium is inherently not as hard as steel i.e it titanium watch will get scratches easier than a stainless steel watch. It’s also duller and lack luster (gray colored) compared to the shiny stainless steel.

Due to this, most manufacturers will coat their titanium watches with a coating to improve its surface hardness (making it more resistant to scratches) and add a bit of life to the watch to make it less dull.

For the Shogun, Seiko had used their proprietary Diashield coating technology on the watch which makes it 2 to 3 times harder than normal stainless steel.

With this coating, the watch body will be protected from scratches even better than a normal stainless steel watch.

 

But is Diashield enough to avoid scratches on the watch?

 

Sadly, no. Based on Vickers Hardness (Hv) scale, stainless steel is at ~200 Hv while pure titanium is at ~100 Hv. A greater Hv number means a greater resistance to scratches i.e it’s harder.

 

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Side

 

As a comparison, sapphire, the best watch crystal that can be scratch free for years of usage is at ~2,300 Hv. The Diashield has a Hv of 400 to 600 – a great improvement over pure titanium and stainless steel but still not up to par with sapphire.

The point here is you still need to take good care of the Shogun even with the Diashield coating on it as it’s still not enough to protect it from harder materials with higher Hv that can still scratch it.

 

(Read also this great info on the comparison of Seiko’s Diashield, Citizen’s Duratect coating and other materials on SeiyaSeiko website. Apparently Duratect is miles better than Diashield =P )

 

Cal. 6R15 Automatic Self-Wind Movement

At the heart of the Shogun is Seiko’s own Cal. 6R15 automatic self-wind movement. The automatic movement has 23 jewels and vibrates at 21,600 times per hour – or 6 beats per second.

We can actually tell this by looking at the seconds hand jumping (6 times) swiftly in-between every second.

This is a bit lower than the similarly priced ETAs (2824-2, 2834-2, etc) that have a typical 8 beatings per second which produce a more fluid sweeping seconds hand movement.

In terms of accuracy, the 6R15 has a maximum +25/-15 seconds accuracy per day. So if your watch is gaining or losing time more than this, it’s best to go and bring it to be checked by a service center.

And of course, the automatic movement has hacking and manual winding capabilities. These are sort of standard with any automatic movements right now.

In fact, any new movement that does not has these features can be said inferior. What hacking does is making sure the seconds hand (and the time of the watch) to stop completely when we pull out the crown to adjust the time.

This enables the owner to accurately adjust the time with little deviation.

Manual winding means the ability to recharge the power reserve of the watch by simply rotating (or winding) the crown.

This will directly tighten the mainspring (the spring that holds the power reserve) inside the watch.

What’s good about that is a few rotations (Seiko said about 20 good rotations) is enough to fill the power reserve to full capacity, compared to the many hundred swings of the weighted rotor on its back to do the same.

In practical terms, manual winding is great to jump start the watch from idle and also to keep it running accurately.

 

(Read more on how automatic watch works from my previous post here)

 

Meets ISO 6425 Dive Watch Standard – Your Ultimate All-Rounder

One great thing about Seiko’s dive watches are how almost all of them meet ISO 6425 standard for dive watch.

When you see the “Diver’s 200m” on its dial, we can be sure that the watch is sturdily built and meets the numerous specification required as a dive watch.

Even I, who is not a diver, think that such a wathc is a great tool in my collection. My thinking is that if this watch with its great specs that can withstand diving up to 200 m, I’m pretty sure it can withstand whatever I’m throwing at it on.

A round of swimming? Going to the beach? Gym sessions? These are not a real problem for a watch built like a tank such as this.

With its handsome looks and magnificent robustness, the Shogun is a great all-rounder that you can use anywhere, for any occasion.

Of course, a formal event might be a bit too much for this timepiece but I think using it as a work watch at the office is very much acceptable.

On the other hand, a real dress watch is constrained for just formal use and some casual use. In this regard, a dive watch such as the Shogun has a lot of flexibility of use thanks to its versatility.


I found this video on youtube that shows how the Seiko Shogun is still ticking even after being freeze in a fridge! That’s how tough this watch is!

 

Seiko Shogun vs Sumo : Which One Should You Get?

A very frequent question that is being thrown out is which one is better: Seiko Shogun or Seiko Sumo? (Check out my review of the Sumo here).

This comparison is usually done because these 2 are Seiko’s mid-range priced dive watches. Both are loved enormously by fans, though the Sumo can be said to be more popular due to its cheaper price.

To make a comparison on these 2, I’ll breakdown both watches into a few criteria as below.

(Disclaimer: I’ve owned a Sumo – a Blumo to be exact- for 4 years now but I can assure you my assessment of both watches is impartial)

 

1- Look And Design

While the Shogun looks like a typical dive watch (a-la Submariner), the Sumo is something of its own.

It’s diagonally placed crown (at 4 o’clock), rounded curved shaped case and huge numerals on the bezel make the Sumo a unique watch with styling not found on any other.

That’s not to say the Shogun does not look nice – Seiko did a great job making the Shogun looks terrific with a normal dive watch look. In my opinion, both are great looking watches and there is no clear winner in this.

At the end of the day, it really depends on the individual himself on which style he wants.

If you’re looking for a good and cheaper alternative to the Submariner, the Shogun is up for the job. But if you want a unique looking dive watch, the Sumo is the one you should consider.

2- Movement

Not much to be said here as both uses the same 6R15 automatic self-wind movement. Read my explanation of the movement at the previous section to learn what it’s capabilites are.

3- Material

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest difference between the two watches. The Sumo uses the normal stainless steel case while the Shogun has the titanium case.

Without any doubt, the Shogun is the clear winner in this. The titanium case with Diashield coating is not only lighter but also more scratch resistant than the stainless steel on the Sumo.

4- Pricing And Value Proposition

Finally, we come to the last criteria. Price of the watch is usually an important, if not, the most important aspect whenever someone is looking for a watch to buy. The MSRP of the Shogun SBDC029 is $1,200  while the Sumo SBDC031 is $600 .

Which means the Shogun is double the price of the Sumo. But things are a bit different in the gray market (Amazon, Ebay, etc.) with both watches can be had for discounts of up to 30% to 40%.

But the trend is still similar: the Shogun is always more expensive than the Sumo.

Now, if you’ve been following my comparison you’ll notice that the difference between these two watches that can make the Shogun more expensive is only on the material used.

Granted, titanium is more expensive than stainless steel. It’s easy on the wrist, very comfortable and thanks to the Diashield, it won’t scratch easily. But does it warrants the Shogun to be double the price of the Sumo?

If you want a lightweight and comfortable watch to wear, you might be OK with forking out the money for the Shogun.

But if you don’t think it’s wise to pay double for an comparable watch (both watches do have the exact same movement btw) and don’t mind the extra weight, you might want to go for the Sumo instead.

In the end, this is the question that only you yourselves can answer =)


Check out this video on the comparison of the Seiko Shogun with the Sumo and Monster.

 

Who Is The Shogun For?

In my opinion, the strongest selling point of the Shogun is the lightweight titanium case which will make wearing it a very unbelievable experience.

If you can’t use normal stainless steel watch because of its weight, then the Shogun is the right watch for you.

Because of the titanium, it’s much lighter than what it looks like, and I can tell you a 44 mm diameter normal stainless steel dive watch is not light at all.

In addition, it’s classic dive watch look with modern styling is handsome and something that I’d love to see on my wrist everyday.

So if comfort, a handsome and versatile dive watch are what you’re looking for, then the Shogun are definitely the right choice.

If you’d like to get it, the MSRP for the Shogun is $1,200 based on Seiko USA website. On the other hand, Amazon has the best prices for the watch at less than $1,000 or even lower depending on the season and availability. Click the link here to find out the current price.

 

Who Should Not Get It?

If you’re one of those that put love automatic watches for its automatic movement, you might be put off with what’s inside the Shogun.

Not to say the 6R15 movement is bad, but for the kind of price that Seiko is asking, this watch should get a better movement (something with 8 beats per second perhaps?).

To rub salt on the wound, the same movement is also being used on the Sumo (which I’ve elaborate above) and the SARB033, both of which are about 1/2 and 1/3 of the price of the Shogun respectively.

Truthfully, the engine of the Shogun is not its best element and fairly basic. For someone that’s want to have the a unique movement that’s also well worth its price, this watch is definitely the right choice for him/her.

 

Seiko Shogun SBDC029 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Good looking dive watch look
  • Lightweight titanium case for comfortable use
  • Diashield coating will protect the watch from scratches
  • Lumibrite paint on the watch gives great lume brightness

Cons:

  • Could use a unique hands befitting its price
  • Not the best bang for buck in terms of movement

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko Shogun is undeniably a great looking dive watch from one of the most respected brand. It’s biggest selling point, the titanium case ensures the watch sits comfortably on the wrist without so much of a scratch thanks to the Diashield coating. There’s no mistaken on why the Shogun is one of the most popular Seiko watches around.

 

 

Thanks for reading my review on the Seiko Shogun. Let me know if you have any comments or thoughts about it.

I’d love to hear what you think about it =)

Cheers!
Isaac.

What Is The History Of Seiko? – All About Japan’s Prominent Watchmaker

What Is The History Of Seiko

 

Seiko has always been a special watch brand for me. I bought my first automatic watch (you can see it in my about page), a Seiko 5.

At that time, I didn’t really know much about watches and the only reason why I bought the 5 is because it was much cheaper than other automatic watches.

It was about $100 I think and while that was not a cheap price for a watch, it was definitely cheaper than other automatic watch from Swiss/Europe manufacturers.

 

Seiko Presage 2

 

Also, the low price was perfect for me to test the waters (so to speak) with automatic watches. I thought that if this auto watch thing is not for me, at least my losses will only be $100. Oh boy how wrong was I!

As I learn more about watches I began to gain knowledge about other brands and yet, the more I learn, the greater my respect to Seiko.

A watch company with so much range, from quartz to automatic, with different styles: dress, dive, aviator, military – you name it and I’m sure Seiko will at least have one model for it.

They also invented quartz, kinetic and spring drive movements – these are real feats that no ordinary watch company can do. Anyway, let get on with the rest of the article about the history of Seiko.

 

Early History

Seiko was founded in 1881 in Ginza, Tokyo by Kintaro Hattori. A few years later, he produced his first clock with the name Seikosha, which means “House of Exquisite Workmanship”.

 

Kintaro Hattori

Seiko’s founder, Mr. Kintaro Hattori

 

Only in 1924 the first watch under the brand name “Seiko” was produced. In a way, “Seiko” means “Exquisite” or “Success” in Japanese, signifying Mr. Hattori’s ideal to make the highest quality watch for the Japanese people, on par with their Western counterparts.

 

The World’s First Quartz Watch – Seiko Quartz Astron

Released in 1969, the Seiko Astron was the “game-changer” that disturbed the whole horological world and shifts the world towards a more accurate timekeeping.

Quartz watches uses crystal oscillator as its time keeping element which vibrates at over 20,000 times per second.

Seiko Astron First Quartz Watch

The Seiko Astron, the world’s first quartz watch

 

This high frequency contributes to its accuracy (at 10-15 seconds per month) compared to traditional automatic watches’s accuracy (at 5-10 seconds per DAY).

 

You can read my in-depth article on how quartz watch works HERE

 

I’m an automatic watch lover but I surely do love how accurate a quartz watch is. Without this invention, the world will not be as organized as we know it.

Not only that, the low manufacturing costs of quartz watches make it possible for everyone to own a watch. This also helped to improve the society towards a better and organized world.

But they didn’t stop there. Seiko then proceeded to produce the first LCD quartz watch with digital display.

Yeah, it’s frowned upon today for the cheaply kind of look but back in the 70s, it was a revolutionary and futuristic invention.

Just imagine a few years back you’re using the first Iphone when everyone else was using a boring phone. That’s what it felt like to be wearing one of those digital watches when everyone else was stuck with analog watches.

Since then, Seiko had produced many other horological feats. The Seiko Kinetic combines the accuracy of quartz timekeeping with self-winding capability of automatic watches to create a self-charging watch.

Though I like the Solar watches better, the Kinetic do has its own following especially with those that love the feeling of the rotating rotor in the watch.

 

Seiko Spring Drive

Seiko tried to further advances the automatic watches with its Spring Drive, another revolutionary movement that combines the intricacies of automatic and quartz movement.

It’s a normal automatic watch with the self-winding mechanism but have the major change in the timekeeping part.

 

Spring Drive Grand Seiko Rotor

 

Instead of the traditional balance wheel and escapement mechanisms, the Spring Drive uses tri-synchro regulator to give a surreal acccuracy, up to 1 second per day.

What the tri-synchro does is to regulate the speed of the watch based on a feedback loop from a quartz crystal.

It’s actually so much more complicated than this, so I suggest you go to my introduction to Spring Drive HERE if you want to know more about it.

The result is a very accurate watch and since it does not have an escapement, the second hand has the smoothest sweeping action that is almost majestic.

 

Check out the sweeping second hand of the Seiko Spring Drive in the video above. Let me know in the comments below what you think about it.

 

Seiko Group, Seiko Holdings, Seiko Instruments And Epson Companies

By no means is Seiko a simple company. Their watches are known to be practical and easy to use but its corporate structure is quite complex.

Before 2009, the whole company is under the Seiko Group and consists of 3 major entities:

 

  1. Seiko Holdings – markets Seiko watches
  2. Seiko Instruments (formerly Diani Seikosha Co.) – manufactures Seiko watches and other electronics
  3. Seiko Epson (formerly Suwa Seikosha Co.) – manufactures Seiko watches and other electronics / devices. Also popular with the Epson printers

 

The reason why there were two separate companies to manufacture their watches stems back to 1959. Seiko then separated two factories (Diani and Suwa Seikosha) to be independent of each other in order to promote competition and innovation.

 

Seiko Movement

 

Yep, it’s totally unthinkable in current times but looking at the result today with Seiko as one of the biggest watch companies, the decision then could be right decision for the company.

In 2009, Seiko Holdings and Seiko Instruments merged with the latter become a full subsidiary of the former.

Seiko Epson (or usually called as “Epson” only) still manufactures Seiko watches but their entire operations have been streamlined, unlike int he past.

In addition, it also owned Orient watches, another large timepiece manufacturer in Japan.

As you can see, the breadth of Seiko is not just in making watches. Apart from being one of the few companies that produce their watches almost entirely in-house, they also manufacture electronics and devices such as LCDs, sensors, printers, etc.

 

Seiko Watch Prices

Unbeknownst to many, Seiko is not just your cheap or affordable watch maker. It’s in fact a very wide brand, covering the largest range watch prices from the cheapest quartz watch (< $50) to the most luxurious watches (> $100,000).

In my opinion, this side of Seiko is almost the same as the Swatch Group. The behemoth Swiss watch group covers huge watch price ranges under various brands.

It has its cheapest Swatch & Flik Flak brands, to the middle range watches (Tissot, Hamilton), and lastly higher and luxury range (Longines, Omega, Breguet).

This is due to the history of formation of the company that involves various mergers and acquisitions along the way, started from the 80s.

While the Swatch Group is made up of different brands which helped to separate its watches into different price ranges, Seiko lack that clear cut distinction.

It does have different brands for different segments (e.g Alba, Pulsar, Lorus, Orient), but the bulk of its most popular watches are under the “Seiko” brand. However, it does has “Collections” that seek to separate its watches under different categories and price ranges.

 

Some popular Seiko watch collections are:

 

1- Seiko 5 And Seiko 5 Sports

Price: $50 to $200

 

Seiko 5 sports logo

 

One of the more famous line up is the Seiko 5 collection, well loved for its very affordable price for an automatic watch. And yet the 5s do not look cheap at all. Introduced in 1963 with the Sportsmatic 5 name, this line was made to market exclusively automatic watches to the masses, with an affordable price points.

 

Why the 5?

 

The 5 commemorates what Seiko believes to be the key attributes in an automatic watch. Those are:

  1. Automatic movement
  2. Day and date display in a single window/place
  3. Water resistance
  4. Recessed crown at 4 o’clock (not strictly followed in most newer Seiko 5 models)
  5. Durable case and strap

By the way, there’s also the Seiko 5 Sports, a similar brand to the Seiko 5 but with a more sporty feel.

Launched in 1968, it typically has a higher water resistance rating and sport/tool features such as rotating bezel and chronograph.

 

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005

 

Without a doubt, the Seiko 5 and Seiko 5 Sports are the best entry-level automatic watch you can get. It’s low price point (typically lower than $200 though most can be had for half of that amount) make it a good candidate for the first automatic watch to be owned by those new to this region of horology.

Not to mention it’s also a perfect choice as a beater watch =P

 

2- Prospex

Price: $200 to $1,000-$2,000

 

Seiko Prospex

 

Prospex (or Professional Specifications) is the tool watch collection of Seiko sitting in the lower to middle range of prices.

Seiko fans will surely know the Prospex from its diver’s watches such as the SBDC033 (Seiko Sumo) and the Seiko Shogun.

 

Seiko Prospex SBDC033 Sumo

Seiko Prospex SBDC033 Sumo

 

One easy way to identify a Prospex watch is by the “X” symbol on the watch dial. Always associated with diver’s watches, but that are not the only thing in this collection.

The prospex line up is also made up of pilot watches and military watches though these are lesser known compared to the diver’s watches.

Unlike the Seiko 5 line, the Prospex line uses other types of movements such Solar and Kinetic.

 

3- Astron

Price: $800 to $3,000-$4,000

 

Seiko Astron

Seiko Astron

 

Astron was the name of the first quartz watch in the world. As mentioned above, it was the revolutionary watch that shifts how mankind would use a watch forever.

Currently, the Astron label is being used by Seiko for their cutting-edge line of watches, Still retaining the analog look, the latest Astron collection features the world’s first GPS solar watch.

To break it down to you, it has 2 main functions:

 

1- Solar watch: the watch has photo-voltaic cells on its dial to absorb lights, convert it into electricity and then store it inside its battery. By doing this, there is no need to change the battery, ever.

 

2- GPS function: The Astron has GPS receiver on it that can set the time of the watch according to the current timezone the watch is in. This is a great feature for those always moving around across continents as the watch will automatically set itself for you.

 

Seiko Astron GPS Antenna

The Astron is the first watch to combine solar and GPS functionalities in a watch

 

Besides these two main functions, the Astron watches also have other features depending on the model such as power reserve indicator, day indicator, date indicator and chronograph.

I really love the stylish and futuristic design of the collection with hard sharp lines all around it. It looks cool and manly, very different than the design of normal watches.

 

4- Presage

Price: $ 200 to $2,000 – $3,000

 

Seiko Presage

 

If the Prospex line is more towards tool/sporty watch and the Astron is a bit futuristic, the Presage line up is the kind that I love the most: dressy automatic watches.

There are lots of gorgeous dress watches in this line in various style and colors. Some of the best watches I’ve reviewed in this site are also coming from this line such as the SARB017 and SARB065 “Cocktail Time”.

Not only that, the more expensive Presage watches also have some complications such as power reserve indicator, chronograph and retrograde indicator.

With brilliant styling and build quality (some of them also have enamel dials), these watches are definitely designed (and priced) to compete directly against the entry luxury models of the Swiss/Europe watchmakers.

Many of the Presage watches uses half-moon second hand tip and slim hands for that classical styling which I absolutely adore.

But some of the watches also closely resembles the Grand Seiko in styling, so much so these are nicknamed the “Baby Grand Seiko”.

The simple yet gorgeous Grand Seiko is well revered among Seiko fans for its great aesthetics as well as top-notch craftsmanship.

So if you’re enchanted by the Grand Seiko but still can’t afford one, you can always shop for a Presage watch (such as the SARX035 or SARX033) in the meantime =P

 

5- Grand Seiko (and King Seiko)

Price: $2,000 to $20,000

 

An important piece of model by Seiko is the Grand Seiko, the brand’s luxury line. First produced in 1960, the Grand Seiko was Seiko’s response to the Western watches in order to show that Japanese can also make a good watch in terms of material, finishing and movement.

 

First Grand Seiko 1960 Ref. 3180

The first Grand Seiko 1960 Ref. 3180, Seiko’s own luxury watch model to compete with the Western watchmakers

 

Until today, the Grand Seiko remains to be the crux of any Seiko fans’ watch collection. Another important aspect to know about the collection is it comes in different movements (quartz, automatic, spring drive) and shape/functionality (dress, sports, dive).

In simplest term, we can say the Grand Seiko is Japanese equivalent to Rolex, so to speak.

 

What about King Seiko?

 

Remember when I mentioned about the two independent factories under Seiko (Suwa and Diani Seikosha)?

 

King Seiko

The King Seiko was made to follow up with the Grand Seiko

 

In the early days, the Grand Seiko was made by Suwa Seikosha. Diani Seikosha then followed suit by producing their own luxury watch, named as King Seiko.

It was discontinued in 2000s as Seiko seeked to streamlined their operation and focus of creating a diverse high-end watches, instead of competing with each other.

 

Grand Seiko GMT

 

Grand Seiko Diver Watch

In recent times, the Grand Seiko has also includes other types of watches such as GMT and Diver’s watches

 

I’m actually glad they decided to retain the Grand Seiko. I mean, let’s face it, “King Seiko” is not a strictly catchy name right? I love the classic look of the watch but I surely don’t want to wear a watch with the KS signature on it LOL!

 

6- Credor

Price: $3,000 to $500,000

 

If the Grand Seiko is the Japanese equivalent to the Rolex, the Credor line can be likened to Europe’s best dress watch makers such as Patek Philippe.

It also has the highest craftsmanship and movement as the Grand Seiko, but the main difference is in their designs.

 

Credor Fugaku Tourbillon

The Credor Fugaku with tourbillon complication

 

While the Grand Seiko is more towards classic and well loved Seiko designs, the Credor is geared towards exclusive dress watches, with heavy use of exotic materials, skeletonized dials and classic European watch designs – the avant garde kind of things.

 

Credor Sonnerie

The Credor Sonnerie that has the majestic skeleton dial with beautiful jewels on full display. Not to mention the very exotic sonnerie complication in it.

 

Not only that, Credor also has watches with crazy complications such as minute repeater, sonnerie and tourbillon. And some of the most expensive watches can fetch up to half a million dollars!!

 

 

As we can see from above, Seiko is a vertical watch company, not different than the likes of Swatch. But it’s origin and affordable watch popularity had people to associate it with cheap (and lower quality) watches.

Yes, it does produce cheap mass produced watches (which sold very well) but that’s not the whole thing about Seiko.

It manufactures watches for the whole range of pricing, from the most affordable to the most luxurious watch.

It’s history as an inventor in horology (first quartz watch, kinetic, spring drive etc.) also cemented its reputation as an innovator that brought revolution to the whole world.

Until today, Seiko as a watch brand had always been placed beneath its Western counterparts in the eyes of the public.

But true watch fans would know more than to underestimate this Japanese watchmaker.

 

 

I hope you enjoy this article about the history of Seiko and learn a little bit about the brand. Let me know if there’s any questions or comments that you have regarding Seiko.

Till next time.
Cheers!

Seiko SNZF17 Review – The Seiko Sea Urchin

Seiko SNZF17 Review

Seiko 5 SNZF17 or The Sea Urchin

Hi guys. Today I’m writing about the Seiko SNZF17 review, or the so-called Seiko Sea Urchin watch.

It’s also widely known as poor man’s Rolex Submariner for its Submariner-inspired design – and no, I’m not talking about the Invicta 8926 here.

While the Invicta blatantly copied the Submariner design, this Seiko SNZF17 injects Seiko’s own design characteristics (specifically Seiko 5 Sports design) to make their own dive watch style.

This is one of the reasons why Seiko (and other Japanese watch brands) are respectable in this field. Their willingness to ensure their products have identity and not just a cheap copycat of a popular watch is commendable.

Look at the comparison between the Seiko SNZF17 sea urchin with the Submariner below:

 

Seiko SNZF17 Sea Urchin

Above is the Seiko SNZF17 – Sea urchin

 

In A Hurry? >> CLICK HERE To Get The Seiko SNZF17

 

Rolex Submariner diver

And here is the Rolex Submariner

 

The end result is a watch that looks like the real thing but at a very affordable price (for an automatic watch that is).

And I can’t praise enough how it still has its own identity. For me, that’s the paramount aspect that a watch need to have.

And being affordable (usually can be had for less than $150 online), it’s perfect as a beater watch and for those just entering into the automatic watch world =P

 

Why Does The SNZF17 Has The Sea Urchin Nickname?

First things first, why the Seiko SNZF17 is dubbed the Seiko Sea Urchin?

Frankly speaking, I’m also not sure why this is so. But from what I can gather, the watch is called as such because of its resemblance (somewhat) to the sea urchin.

 

Sea Urchin

Above is a your normal sea urchin. Hmm.. See any resemblance to the Seiko SNZF17?

 

I mean both are black in color, and the Seiko SNZF17 has that white marker lines that looks just like the spike coming from the sea urchin LOL.

Let me know if you feel this explanation is the best for the nickname. Otherwise, do let me know the real reason in the comments section below =)

 

Without further ado, let’s go to the Seiko SNZF17 review shall we.

 

Seiko SNZF17 Sea Urchin Specification
Diameter 41 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 22 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 46 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel bracelet
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Black dial
Hands Sword styled hands with lume
Markers Index markers with lume
Style Dive
Movement Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 23 jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking movement, Cannot be manually wind
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per month
Power Reserve 41 hours
User Manual Click HERE to download from Seikowatches.com
Water Resistance 100 m
Other Features Unidirectional rotating bezel, Exhibition caseback
Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Quick Summary A good value for money automatic watch with resemblance to the iconic Submariner – with Seiko’s own identity of course. With such price tag, it’s own of the more affordable auto watch that can be bought making it perfect for those wanting to try the magnificence of automatic watch.
Where To Buy? Amazon (Click the link to find out more)

 

 

Iconic Rolex Submariner Watch Design

There are many watches out there that has the iconic diver’s watch look of the Submariner. Well, we can’t blame them.

Index markers, unidirectional rotating bezel with minutes on it, black and white color scheme, stainless steel case, lume applied lavishly on the hands and markers – these are the elements that’s perfect for a diver’s watch.

In fact, some of these (such as the rotating bezel and lume) are the requirements for a watch to comply with the ISO diver’s watch specification.

Which is why if you ask me, it’s quite impossible to make a good diver’s watch without making it look similar to the Submariner.

Practically almost every major watch brands have one of these and Seiko is no exception.

Their line up of diver’s watch such as the SKX007, SBDC033, SKX173 and SRP777 have their own distinct design.

But this Seiko SNZF17 is the one watch that closely resembles the Rolex Submariner, albeit with slight changes to incorporate Seiko 5 Sports’ identity in it.

 

Sea Urchin, But With Submariner-Like Dial Design

 Seiko 5 SNZF17 or Sea Urchin

The most glaring similarities between these two watches are the index markers, bezel and dial signature.

The index markers of the Seiko SNZF17 are a combination of circular and rectangle markers.

Rectangle markers are used at the 6 and 9 o’clock positions while the 12 o’clock is using a trapezoid shape marker.

The bezel of the SNZF17 is a unidirectional rotating bezel type that’s common with diver’s watches.

For those that are not familiar with it, it means the bezel ring (the one with the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 markings) can only be rotated counter-clockwise.

 

This is so that it can be used to time dive duration easily (read my guide on how to use these HERE).

As you might have noticed, the bezel markings are almost similar to the Rolex in terms of its placement though the font is bigger.

Lastly, the dial signature design on the Seiko SNZF17 somewhat resembles the Subs due to the placement of texts at the bottom of the dial.

I never see any Seiko 5 with this placement design, so I guess Seiko did do it in purpose to mimic the Rolex LOL!

 

But The Seiko SNZF17 Also Has Its Own Identity

Similarities apart, the Seiko SNZF17 do have its own identity, characteristics taken from Seiko 5 Sports line up.

For instance, we can see that the hands of the watch are bulkier than the Rolex. Its big stature and design of the hour hand reminded me of the Seiko SBDC033 (I started think those are the actually exact same design. Hmm..)

It’s the same with the rectangle markers which are slightly wider than the Subs. In effect, these make the watch look sportier and has more lume applied on it.

 

Seiko SNZF17 on hand

 

Another thing that greatly differentiates the Seiko SNZF17 from the Subs is the presence of day date display at the right side of the watch.

The Rolex doesn’t has the day, instead having a bigger date window with a magnifying glass.

The day date display on the Seiko SNZF17 is better in terms of practicality and usefulness as we don’t have to check our smartphones if we can’t remember what day or date today is (happens to me a lot as I grow older LOL).

 

Elegant Rolex Submariner, Casual Seiko SNZF17 For Beater Watch

Even though both watches look similar, I found that the Rolex Submariner is a bit more elegant than the Seiko SNZF17.

I think the Swiss watch’s smaller elements (e.g hands, markers, bezel font, etc.) make it more pleasing to the eye, looks simpler and yet very attractive.

Well, what can you expect from the watch with such a reputation. It’s the hallmark of great design after decades of innovation from the company.

The Seiko SNZF17 on the other hand is sportier (it’s a Seiko 5 Sports watch after all) with the bigger hands, markers and font.

The day date display, though is very useful, seems to disturb the dial. This makes the watch look busy and make it less pleasing.

 

Seiko SNZF17 lume

 

Which is why I have the opinion that the Seiko SNZF17 is more suited for an everyday beater watch, watch that you can use practically anywhere and anything.

Be it yard work, going fishing, carpentering, all those tough works – these are the situation where you’ll never even think of using that precious Rolex and the Seiko SNZF17 is just the right candidate for that =)

 

Want to know about its price? >> CLICK HERE To Check The Price of Seiko SNZF17 on Amazon.com

 

41 mm Stainless Steel Case

The Seiko SNZF17 has a more traditional size of 41 mm made from stainless steel case which I found to be the best size for an average guy’s wrist.

It’s not too big and can easily fit onto any wrist, unless of course, you have very gigantic hands.

The thickness of 13 mm is not definitely not a thin one, but since this is a sports watch, I think this is acceptable.

On top of that, the moderate size makes the Sea Urchin not too heavy to be worn, as compared to other 44 – 45 mm sized watches.

The lug width or strap width is 22 mm, a bit wider than the 20 mm straps that I prefer for such a watch.

On top of the watch is a hardlex crystal, Seiko’s own version of hardened mineral crystal.

 

Seiko SNZF17 on hand

 

But my experience with this type of crystal is it’s a bit better in terms of scratch resistance, compared to the usual mineral crystal.

Some online websites will list that it’s scratch resistance or scratch proof but this is simply not true. Only sapphire crystal can be said to be scratch resistant.

Even so, it’s not that hard to keep the watches from deep scratches as long as you follow the basic rule of avoiding contact between your watch and any metal or hard surface.

 

A few rules that I always follow to avoid scratches on my watches are:

  1. Don’t keep your watch in a pocket that also contains coins or keys or any other metal
  2. Don’t put your watch face down on the table
  3. Be wary while walking next to a wall to avoid direct contact between the watch face and the wall surface

 

I’m sure that if you follow these simple rules, your watch’s pristine crystal will not be suffer from any deep ugly scratches =)

 

Don’t Like the Black-White Dial? There’s A Pepsi Version Too

Apart from the traditional black and white dial design, Seiko also produces the Seiko SNZF15 which is basically the sea urchin but with a blue dial and and pepsi bezel colors.

It’s a more funky timepiece that’s perfect for casual and outdoor use. Check out the side by side comparison of both sea urchin siblings below. Which one do you prefer? Do let me know in the comments section below =)

 

 Seiko SNZF17 (Black) Seiko SNZF15 (Blue Red Pepsi)

 

100 m Water Resistance, No Screw Down Crown

Even though the Rolex Submariner is a diver’s watch, this SNZF17 sea urchin is not exactly a full fledged diver’s watch.

It has only 100 m water resistance, and without any screw down crown. The latter caused me to think that this is more to a general purpose sports watch instead of diver’s watch.

It’s a bit of a let down but then we need to remember that at this price, it’s quite hard for Seiko to make a real diver’s watch (such as the Seiko SKX007).

The strap of this watch uses a stainless steel bracelet that’s built good and sturdy. I like how it comes with a double lock clasp with Seiko signature printed on it.

 

Seiko SNZF17 side

 

The use of double lock clasp gives more assurance as we know the watch won’t fall off accidentally.

But on thing that I don’t really like is the use of hollow end links on the bracelet.

It’s the connecting piece of the bracelet to the watch that is built of thin plates, instead of solid stainless steel.

I found that this hollow end links tend to rattle and create faint metal touching noises when we are moving out hands around. Well, such drawbacks are to be expected for a watch in this price range.

 

Robust Seiko Cal. 7S36 Automatic Self-Winding Movement

Inside the Seiko SNZF17 is the legendary Cal. 7S36 automatic self-winding movement. It’s one of the brands movement that’s has been proven to be robust and reliable.

The movement has 23 jewels with 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It’s accuracy is fairly average, at +- 15 seconds per day. The power reserve of this movement is about 41 hours.

 

(Download Seiko Cal. 7S36 movement user manual here)

Older Generation Movement – Non-Hacking and Non-Manual Winding

Even though the 7S36 movement is a good with proven track record, it’s undeniably an older generation movement from Seiko.

The newer movements from the brand are the 6RXX movement (for the higher priced watches, such as the SBDC033) and the 4RXX (inside SRP series watches such as the Seiko Monster).

The 7SXX movement series originated from a few decades ago but due to its effectiveness, it’s still around until today.

What I don’t particularly like about it is it’s non-hacking and cannot be manual wind. Non-hacking means the watch seconds hand won’t stop when we pull out the crown to adjust the time.

For some, this is considered unacceptable since they can’t precisely set the time accurately.

 

Seiko SNZF17 caseback

The Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic movement can be seen from the exhibition caseback of the SNZF17

 

But for me, it’s not a very big deal as a minute or two inaccuracy is acceptable (at least to me LOL).

It is the manual winding feature that I really miss in the movement.

That feature enables us to recharge/tighten the movement’s mainspring, increasing its power reserve just by turning its crown a few times.

This makes it easier for us to keep the watch running especially during those times when you just can’t wear it such as wearing your more expensive watch to a formal event.

Without this feature, we are left with having to wear the watch to keep it alive.

Or the other option is to use watch winder which can actually has the same cost as the watch itself LOL.

Problem To Keep It Accurate?

One of the main complaints about the Seiko SNZF17 is its accuracy. Some of its owners complain that the watch is not a good timekeeping device and has accuracy problem.

Well, in my opinion, automatic watch is already quite well known to not be as accurate as a quartz watch.

But again, this is something that not all people are aware of (especially those starting to learn about watches in general), which is why this complains surfaced.

Even the most accurate automatic watch, the COSC Chronometer watch can has a +4 or -6 seconds per DAY deviation.

Meanwhile, a quartz watch has +-10 seconds per MONTH accuracy.

Granted, automatic watch’s accuracy is its weakest point. But the main thing that make it unique is the centuries old movement that’s full of mechanical goodness.

There’s no electricity used in there – just gears, springs, rotor etc. to keep it running.

And the fluid seconds hand movement as well as the exhibition caseback are the elements that you can’t never get from a normal quartz watch.

But should your Seiko SNZF17 has a problem to keep it’s accuracy, say it’s gaining or losing almost one minute per day, then please bring it to your watchmaker to get it adjusted.

It won’t take a long time to do, depending on your watchmaker schedule though.

Sometimes, the watch can be magnetized which caused it to lose its accuracy. This can happen if you let the watch get too close to a magnetized source, such as speakers, fridge, TV, etc.

 


Watch the video above to see the Seiko SNZF17 up close

Who Is This Seiko SNZF17 For?

Fancy a Rolex Submariner but don’t have the cash or don’t feel like splurging it on a watch?

Then this Seiko SNZF17 sea urchin is definitely for you. It’s not like other watches that imitate closely (ehem, Invicta..) but it has the elements with some styling unique to Seiko 5 Sports, making it a watch on its own.

It’s affordable price makes the watch a good candidate for those wanting to buy his/her first automatic watch.

And since it’s Seiko, you’ll be guaranteed of a good quality timepiece to own.

 

Where Can We Buy The SNZF17 Sea Urchin?

 Seiko SNZF17 (Black)Unfortunately, the SNZF17 is quite hard to find at watch stores.

The issue lies with Seiko. They only officially import their higher end models (such as the Prospex, Presage, etc.) to overseas.

Luckily, we can still buy the Seiko SNZF17 with online retailers.

Of these retailers, Amazon usually has the cheapest price for the sea urchin. Click the link to check out the latest price of the sea urchin on Amazon.

 

 

Who Should Not Get The Sea Urchin?

Anybody looking for a real diver’s watch might want to skip this Seiko SNZF17. Even though it has a fully functioning unidirectional rotating bezel and lume, but that’s as much as it gets in terms of diver’s watch.

The 100 m water resistance rating is not bad too, but the lack of screw down crown is what makes me feel it’s not a good watch for diving.

You can read my list of the best 10 automatic dive watches under $500 to see various dive watch alternatives for the SNZF17.

If you don’t prefer the dive watch look, check out this list of the 10 automatic watches under $200 where I’ve also included other types of watches in the list – all for not more than $200.

 

Seiko SNZF17 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Good looking watch with resemblance to Rolex Submariner
  2. Full lume on its hands and markers
  3. Day date display
  4. 100 m water resistance
  5. Very affordable for an automatic watch

 

Cons:

  1. No screw down crown
  2. Older generation movement with non-hacking and no manual winding

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko SNZF17 or the sea urchin is a one of the best affordable automatic watches around. It’s a good solid watch with nice design.

And I have to say its affordable price makes it a great choice to be used everyday as a beater watch for any usage.

And not to mention its resemblance to the Rolex Submariner makes it a nice substitute.

But unlike the Rolex, this is a watch you can use for any activities. Now that’s a very good value for money timepiece =)

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNZF17 review. Let me know what you guys think about this Seiko sea urchin watch.

Drop your comments or questions down below =)

Cheers!
Isaac

Seiko SNKN37 Review – Recraft Series Watch By Seiko

Seiko SNKN37 Review

 

Hi guys! In today’s article, I’m going to write about Seiko SNKN37 review – one of the watches in the Japanese manufacturer’s Recraft series with gorgeous blue dial and retro square shaped case.

But before we go into the review, I think I need to explain a bit about this Recraft series as I’m sure you guys are wondering what the hell it is right?

 

What is Seiko Recraft Series?

The Seiko Recraft series is basically a watch line up by Seiko with vintage vibe designs.

And that’s the reason why it was named “Recraft” – a line-up of watches with styles re-manufactured from yesteryear.

Modern twist were added into the classic look with a bigger case size in line with current preference of big watches.

 

Seiko SNKN37 blue dial

 

Reactions from fans had been very good. Well, it’s no wonder since the watches are good looking and very different than today’s modern design.

It also help that the Recraft watches are affordably priced making them really good value for money buy.

Coming in many movement variations, the Recraft watches are not only confined to the good-ol’ automatics.

There’s also kinetic and solar movements to choose from which just exemplified the true purpose of the series – to produce retro-styled watches with modern features for modern fans.

 

Enough about the Recraft Series. Let’s check out the Seiko SNKN37 review shall we.

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Seiko SNKN37 in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

Seiko SNKN37 Recraft Watch Specification

Diameter: 44 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 24 mm
Lug To Lug Distance: 50 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Brown leather strap
Watch Crystal: Hardlex crystal

Dial: Blue sunburst dial
Hands: Sword style hands
Markers: Index and numeral markers

Movement: Seiko Caliber 7S26 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: 21 jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking and Cannot be manual wind
Accuracy: +-15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 41 hours

Water Resistance: 50 m
Other Features: Exhibition caseback,

User Manual: Click here to download Seiko Cal. 7S26 user manual

Best Place To Buy: Amazon, MSRP is $225

Gorgeous Blue Sunburst Dial

The first thing that anyone will notice about the Seiko SNKN37 is its blue sunburst dial that’s just too beautiful to look at.

It’s the defining characteristic of the watch (with its barrel shaped case, more on that later on) and featured prominently in other Recraft watches.

I love blue, and this sunburst blue dial is just too good to look at. Just look at its glow and how its reflection changes depending on the angle of light.

Seiko knows we love the blue dial, and they had been very kind to put minimal signatures (Seiko & Automatic) on the dial. Much thanks for this!

The watch has over-sized markers that are a combination of numeral and index markers.

I really like this arrangement as it’s very easy to tell time since there are over-sized numeral markers, and yet it’s not too busy at the same time.

Using steel markers makes the watch more classy and great to look at.

If you look closely, you’ll also notice how the dial around the markers is actually a bit higher than the inner dial.

Such detail make the watch more fascinating and interesting to look at.

By the way, there is no lume on this watch, in case you’re wondering.

There are some small bits of white paint on the hands and markers but those are not lumes (you guys can watch the video down below to see the watch in the dark to confirm this).

 

Day Date Display – Convenience or Disrupting The Dial?

Perhaps one of the things that I find not appealing on the dial is the day date window display.

It disrupts the gorgeous dial with its out of place white display.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of day date and I find it very convenient, useful and should be featured in more watches.

The ability to know the current day/date with just a flick of our wrist is truly convenient and much faster than other methods e.g checking our phones, asking other people, etc.

But that’s only for beater watches meant for everyday use.

The Seiko SNKN37 on the other hand is styled more towards dress watch.

I don’t think anyone would want to wear such an eye-catching watch everyday to work (though I could be wrong).

 

Seiko SNKN37 front

I love day date display for its convenience, but I have to admit, this Seiko SNKN37 will look better without it…..

 

Due to this, I think the Seiko SNKN37 is a much better looking watch without day date display on it.

It is understandable that most of the Recraft automatic watches use the 7S26 automatic movement (more on that later on) that has the day date feature.

So due to this, they just had to put it on this watch.

Notwithstanding that, I really hope Seiko will give more thought on this matter in their future designs.

I just feel that it’s just so wrong to defile a very beautiful dial with the day date display…  – let me know in the comments section below if you feel the same guys =(

 

44 mm Barrel Shaped Case

One thing that make the Seiko SNKN37 such a darling to retro watch fans is the barrel shaped case.

Rectangle shaped watches were the trend a few decades back.

Currently, watches in the market are mostly in circular shape so the Seiko SNKN37 is definitely one unique watch for those that want something out of ordinary.

I also like how Seiko chose to modernize the watch shape by making it larger at 44 mm.

It’s more in line with current trend and bigger size means more of that gorgeous blue dial for us.

 

Seiko SNKN37 on hand

The Seiko SNKN37 comes with a substantial barrel shaped case that gives a great wrist presence

 

Not to mention how substantial the watch is on our wrist. For those that want a watch with great wrist presence, this is the perfect watch for you.

But of course, at 44 mm diameter, only average to big wrist size can fit it nicely.

Due to this, I strongly discourage those with smaller wrists to not get it.

If in doubt, try to measure your wrist. If your wrist diameter is more than 2″, that means it can contain the 50 mm lug to lug width comfortably.

Brushed and Polished Finish

The 12 mm thick case features a combination of brushed and polished finishes on it.

I like how Seiko use brushed finish on the top of the Seiko SNKN37 case as it complements the shiny dial.

With a sunburst dial like this, I don’t think it’s a good idea to use a highly polished case as the watch will be too shiny and eye-catching. It seems Seiko got it perfectly in this matter!

In addition, the use of polished finishing at the short lugs is a really nice touch. The attention to such small detail is very welcomed, even though the watch is in the affordable price bracket.

On top of the straight side case is a hardlex crystal, Seiko’s proprietary mineral crystal variant that has a higher impact resistance than normal mineral crystal.

 

Seiko SNKN37 side

 

Unfortunately, based on my experience, the crystal is not scratch resistant (contrary to what other online retailer website will state).

The hardlex will collect some scratches, with small minute scratches almost always to be there.

The only thing that we can do as a Seiko watch owner is to avoid scratching the watch against any hard surfaces (steel, concrete, asphalt,etc.).

That way, we can avoid deep scratches that’s very ugly to look at….

 

Leather Strap and Exhibition Caseback

The Seiko SNKN37 has a padded brown leather strap on its 24 mm lugs.

My personal preference is to use black strap for a blue dial watch but seeing the watch makes me think that brown can also work with blue too!

The colors are not exactly complementing with each other but it’s not bad looking either. In fact, it’s quite a nice combination.

But if you guys prefer a different strap on this watch, you guys can order an aftermarket strap online easily =)

At the back of the watch is an exhibition caseback that shows the automatic movement.

Being a low-priced automatic watch, the automatic movement is not decorated and just plain stainless steel.

 

Seiko SNKN37 exhibition caseback

 

But then again, to be able to look at the internal working and gears of a movement is a feature exclusive to it.

Nobody wants to look into a boring electronic circuit of a quartz watch right? LOL!

 

The Legendary 7S26 Movement

Powering the automatic movement in the Seiko SNKN37 is the legendary 7S26, the movement used in many of Seiko’s watches – most notably the SKX dive watch family.

The movement has 21 jewels, 6 beats per second, 41 hours power reserve and +-15 to 20 seconds per day accuracy.

It’s one of Seiko’s robust automatic movement as any SKX (SKX007, SKX009, etc) can testify. Some of these had gone for years without any servicing.

In addition, if the movement is good enough to be used in a diver’s watch, I’m pretty sure it’s more than enough to be used in a casual/dress watch like this =)

 

Old Movement In A New Watch?

But one thing pops in my mind when I look at the spec – why does Seiko put an old movement in this new watch?

The 7S26 is a good movement, but it has been superseded by other movements recently.

Right now, the 4R36 is the automatic movement of choice for mid-range watches by Seiko with day date display.

Although the basics of these two movements are the same, the 4R36 better as it can be hacked and manually wind – the latter feature is something that I really recommend in any watch.

The only explanation why Seiko would put an “old” movement into a newly released watch is because of cost.

Words on the internet speculated that the company has a lot of these 7S26 movements laying around unused so it’s better for them to put it to use in their Recraft series.

That way, they can also reduce the price on this watch and make it very competitive against other watchmakers (hint: Orient)

Make no mistake – the 7S26 is a robust movement and certainly will get the job done.

But if you’re someone that has many watches and can’t afford to wear the same watch everyday, the manual winding function is very useful to keep the movement power reserve full without having to use it. And that’s something the 7S26 lacks

 

(Read more about manual winding of automatic movements HERE)

 


Watch the video above to see the Seiko SNKN37 up close

 

Who Is This Seiko SNKN37 Watch For?

Anybody who loves blue sunburst dial should get this Seiko SNKN37! It’s truly on its own class considering its beauty and affordability.

If you are someone that wants something different than the other watches out there (i.e retro style, rectangle case shape with big case), this is something that you need to seriously consider.

With it’s beautiful blue sunburst dial, it’s a watch that will definitely catches everyone’s attention =)

 

Who Should Not Get It?

In my opinion, those with smaller wrist size should not get this watch. The watch is a good 44 mm diameter with 50 mm lug to lug width.

Anyone with wrists smaller than that will not look good wearing… But then again, it’s totally your choice to make.

 

Seiko SNKN37 Recraft Watch Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Gorgeous sunburst dial
  2. Very easy to read and tell time with large markers
  3. Unique retro style with big case size
  4. Has exhibition caseback

 

Cons:

  1. 7S26 automatic movement is a bit outdated without hacking and manual winding functions

 

Like This Seiko SNKN37? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

If you like the Seiko SNKN37, get it cheapest on Amazon as it frequently has the best price on watches among online stores. Click the link below to check out the Seiko SNKN37 on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To See The Best Deals Of Seiko SNKN37 On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Seiko SNKN37 is one of those watches that will catches people’s attention towards your wrist, in a good way.

It’s retro style with beautiful blue sunburst dial is just fascinating to look at. Not to mention the big barrel shaped case causes it to has a substantial wrist presence.

This automatic watch uses Seiko’s very robust and reliable 7S26 movement – the one used in their famous SKX007 diver’s watch. If it’s good enough for a diver’s watch, it sure is good enough to be used in any other watches.

All in all, the Seiko SNKN37 is one solid watch, and at its current price, it’s definitely one of the best value for money watches in the market right now.

 

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I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNKN37 review. Let me know if you guys have any questions or comments on the watch.

Drop your comments on the Seiko SNKN37 below =)

Cheers
Isaac

Seiko SNZG15 Review – The Big Brother To The SNK809

Seiko SNZG15 Review

 

Hi guys. Today I’m writing about the Seiko SNZG15 review.

I’m sure most of you guys know about the Seiko SNK809, the very affordable and lovable automatic watch from the Japanese.

Well, this SNZG15 is a sort of an upgrade over the SNK809 with bigger size and better overall build quality in my opinion.

Not to mention the better water resistance rating in this watch (100 m vs 30 m) compared to the SNK809 makes it a great choice for adventure type of activities.

No worries, we will get into the detail comparison of both watches later on.

 

Seiko SNZG15 front

 

SNZG15K1 VS SNZG15J1

I believe I should write a bit about one of the common questions regarding the Seiko SNZG15 – What’s the difference between SNZG15K1 vs SNZG15J1?

To put it simply, the J version is made in Japan while the K version is made elsewhere in Asia (China, Southeast Asia, etc).

That’s why you guys will frequently encounter the J version to has command higher price than the K version.

Fans associate the Made In Japan SNZG15J1 having a higher quality than the SNZG15K1 and are willing to pay a higher price for that.

Now, I’m pretty sure Seiko has the same quality standards for their factories but it’s quite hard to not say the Made in Japan version to be better.

Either way, it depends on how much you want that Made In Japan badge.

Just know that the Japan version typically costs more – the SNZG15J1 can be about $30-$40 more expensive than the SNZG15K1.

With that out of the line, let’s get into the in-depth Seiko SNZG15 review shall we.

 

Seiko SNZG15 Watch Specification

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 11 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case with gray matte finish
Strap: Nylon strap
Watch Crystal: Hardlex crystal

Dial: Black dial
Hands: Sword hands
Markers: Numeral markers

Movement: Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: 23 jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking movement, Cannot be manually wind
Accuracy: +-15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 41 hours
User Manual: Download Seiko Cal. 7S36 movement user manual here

Water Resistance: 100 m
Other Features: Lume, Day date display, Exhibition caseback

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Military Styled Dial

The dial of this Seiko SNZG15 is unmistakably military style with that black matte face and easy to read white numeral markers.

It’s fairly simple and yet that’s one of its strength. It’s very easy to read time on this watch as the numerals are easily deciphered compared to index markers by our brain.

The highly contrasted black face and white markers/hands also help with that.

The Seiko SNZG15 also has an inner markings from 13 to 24, presumably to show the pm time.

It has a sword style hands that are just normal in size. The seconds hand has a red tip which is a very nice touch on the dial to make it a bit more colorful than the monotonous black-white.

There are index markers also index markers at the outer edge of the dial.

The lume of the watch is applied on these index markers and the hands which help to tell time in dark areas.

 

Seiko SNZG15 lume

The lume on the Seiko SNZG15 is minimal but should do be able to help to tell time in dark areas

 

Just don’t expect a diver’s watch-like lumes on the Seiko SNZG15 as it’s still in the more affordable sector of the Seiko 5 line up.

But still, some lume is very much welcomed on any watch that’s intended to be our daily beater watch.

 

Recessed Dial Design

From a glance, the Seiko SNZG15 dial looks normal like any other military watch.

But a close observation will reveal that the dial is unique in which it has a recessed inner dial.

 

Seiko SNZG15 recessed dial

Notice how the outer edge of the Seiko SNZG15 dial (the index markings) is a bit higher from the inner part?

 

If you guys look closely, you’ll notice how the outer edge of the dial is in fact slightly higher than the inner dial.

This unique design gives the Seiko SNZG15 a 3-D look that’s so great to look at.

It’s sort of like an easter egg that only those looking closely at it can notice LOL!

Either way, this effort by Seiko certainly had made the Seiko SNZG15 to has its own character and stood up from the rest of the other Seiko 5s.

 

Day Date Display: Ugly Or Functional?

Being a Seiko 5 watch, the Seiko SNZG15 has day date display at its right side of dial.

Some people say this break the watch’s symmetry, and thus making it look less appealing which is correct to a certain extent.

But then, having day date display on it makes the watch more functional and useful.

Consider this: you’re busy working and suddenly you remember about an assignment or meeting at a particular date.

And being someone with less than stellar memory, you somehow forget about what date it is currently.

With just a flick of your wrist, the Seiko SNZG15 can tell the day and date in less than you’ll require to take out your smartphone from the pocket and bring it out from sleep.

Such scenario happened to me a few times in a week LOL! And that’s the reason why I feel that day date display is instrumental for a watch meant to be an everyday watch.

Let me know in the comments section below if you guys agree with me on this or not. I love to hear your thoughts on this matter =)

42 mm Stainless Steel Case

Securing the watch is a stainless steel case with a 42 mm diameter and 11 mm thickness.

Due to its average size, I don’t think there is any problem for any men to wear this Seiko SNZG15 as it’s not too big or too small.

 

Seiko SNZG15 on hand

 

Not to mention its narrow bezel design makes the dial appear larger and results in the watch looks bigger than it actually is.

 

Impact Resistant Hardlex Crystal

On top of the watch is a hardlex crystal which is Seiko’s own upgrade version of mineral crystal. It has a higher impact resistance making it more shatter proof.

But it’s still a mineral crystal and will scratch easily. Despite what the online retailers will tell you, hardlex is not scratch resistant – only sapphire is qualified to wear that title.

(read my introduction to watch crystals HERE for more info.)

The problem with sapphire is it’s more expensive and hardly any watch below $200 will has them on it.

Because of this, my recommendation is to take a good care of the Seiko SNZG15 (or any watches with mineral/hardlex) to avoid it from scratches.

 

Seiko SNZG15 side

 

That means always putting it face up on a table, don’t put it inside a pocket full of metals/coins/keys, avoid any contact with hard surfaces such as steel, concrete, rocks etc.

With good care, your mineral/hardlex crystal watches can lasts a lifetime =)

Nylon Strap and Exhibition Caseback

The Seiko SNZG15 uses a nylon strap attached to its 22 mm width lugs. Honestly, I think a leather strap will do wonders on this watch but then again, this is to be expected for a watch at this price.

If you guys want to make it more stylish, consider using different straps on it instead of sticking with the boring nylon.

Or you could also get the Seiko SNZG13 or SNZG17. Both are the same watch as this Seiko SNZG15 but with stainless steel bracelet.

The difference is the SNZG13 is silver color while the SNZG17 has black pvd case.

 

Seiko SNZG15 exhibition caseback

 

At the back of the watch is an exhibition caseback that is certainly welcomed on any automatic watch.

The movement is not decorated but still, it’s fascinating to be able to see the internal workings of an automatic.

This is something that you won’t be able to see on a quartz watch lol!

 

Seiko Cal. 7S36 Automatic Self-Wind Movement

Powering the Seiko SNZG15 is the Caliber 7S36 automatic self-wind movement by Seiko.

It is not to be mistaken with the 7S26 movement commonly found in the famous Seiko SKX series.

Frankly speaking, I’m not sure the difference between these 2 movements apart from their jewel count. The 7S36 has 23 jewels while the 7S26 has 21 jewels.

But specification wise, both looks almost the same with the day date wheel, 6 beats per second, non-hacking and cannot be manually wind. Even the power reserve is the same at 41 hours.

If you guys know the difference between these 2 movements, do let me know ya!

 


Watch the video above to see the Seiko SNZG15 up close

 

Various Colors To Choose From

One of the good thing about the Seiko SNZG15 is there are many different colors to choose from – though these different versions have different model no.

Seiko made at least 6 different variations of the watch. Each variation will has a complementing strap color to its dial.

Below is the list of those variations and their model no. in case you guys want to find it:

  1. SNZG07 – Cream dial and nylon strap
  2. SNZG09 – Dark Green dial and nylon strap
  3. SNZG11 – Blue dial and nylon strap
  4. SNZG13 – Black (similar dial to SNZG15) but with stainless steel bracelet and polished case (thanks to Fred for this info!)
  5. SNZG15 – Black dial and nylon strap
  6. SNZG17 – Black (similar to SNZG15) but with Gunmetal PVD stainless steel case and bracelet

(Click here to check out the various Seiko SNZG series on Amazon)

SNZG15 VS SNK809

The SNZG15 (top) and SNK809 (bottom) are two similar looking watch. Let’s find out the differences between them!

Now, onto the fun part. What’s the difference between these two similar Seiko 5 watches: SNZG15 vs SNK809?

I’ve broken it down into a few points to better breakdown the differences of these 2 affordable automatics.

 

1- Watch Size

SNZG15 is the bigger watch here at 42 mm diameter compared to the 37 mm of the SNK809.

For those that want a more classic look with small watch, the SNK809 is best for them.

But if you want a more modern look or your wrist is just big, the Seiko SNZG15 is the better choice.

 

2- Dial Design

The Seiko SNZG15 has a military/field type of dial design while the SNK809 is more towards aviator (B-Uhr Type B) dial.

While the SNK809 markings are unique (it has minutes as the main markings), the SNZG15 dial is clearer and easier to tell time with because of the normal 1-12 hour markings.

Either way, both watches are truly made as field watches. Both can be used casually and for outdoor activities as its not too flashy with simple look.

 

3- Movement

The two watches have different automatic movements in them. The Seiko SNZG15 has the 7S36 with 23 jewels while the SNK809 has the 7S26 with 21 jewels.

As stated earlier, I can’t find any difference in these two movements as the specifications are identical to each other.

 

4- Water Resistance

This is the area where the Seiko SNZG15 trumps over the SNK809. SNK809 only has 30 m water resistance but the SNZG15 has a better 100 m water resistance rating.

 

5- Price

The SNZG15 is almost twice the price of the SNK809 (which typically sells for around $50-$70 online).

 

So, does the price hike in the Seiko SNZG15 is justifiable? It’s really hard to say frankly speaking.

Though the 100 m water resistance is good, but not everyone will use their watches to swim or dive.

For me, I think the deciding factor to go for the Seiko SNZG15 is because you like the military design, easy to read dial and its bigger size.

But from an automatic watch point of view, the SNK809 is the one with better value for money.

(Read my in-depth review of the Seiko SNK809 HERE for more info about the watch)

 

Who Is This Watch For?

The Seiko SNZG15 is for those wanting a good quality automatic watch at an affordable price.

It has a simple design and if you’re looking for a beater watch to be used during gardening, carpenting, all the outdoor works – then this is the watch for you.

Being the cheaper automatic watch means you’ll be able to do all sorts of stuffs without a concern about damaging that expensive watch on your wrist =)

Who Should Not Get It?

Those that want a more flashy and dressy type of watch will do well to find another watch.

Even though we can increase its style with a good looking brown leather strap, the watch face is still too simplistic and just not suitable for a dress watch.

Also, we need to remember that the 7S36 movement cannot be manual wind which will pose problem to keep the watch fully charged.

In fact, this is one of the common complains or problems faced by the Seiko SNZG15 owners that don’t fully understand its specification before getting it.

Since it cannot be manually wind, the watch will only rely on you guys wearing it to charge its mainspring.

So unless you are wearing this at least every other day, then you are in for a real problem..

 

Seiko SNZG15 Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. Average sized case that can fit with all wrist sizes
  2. Easy to read dial
  3. Simple military watch design
  4. 100 m water resistance
  5. Self-winding automatic movement
  6. Lume on hands and markers

 

Cons

  1. Automatic movement does not has hacking and cannot be manual wind

 

Like This Watch? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

If you like this Seiko SNZG15, get it cheapest on Amazon. Click the link below to check out the best deals on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To Check Out The Seiko SNZG15 On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Seiko SNZG15 is one of the most affordable automatic watches around. And it does not look and feel cheap at all.

It has a nice simple design that’s good for those wanting a beater watch for daily wear.

The automatic movement inside it is actually on par with the ones used in Seiko’s diver’s watches – that shows how robust the movement is.

For those wanting a good automatic watch without breaking your bank, this Seiko SNZG15 should be in your shopping list.

 

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I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNZG15 review. Let me know if you guys have any comments or questions on it.

Cheers!
Isaac

Seiko SARZ005 Review – The JDM Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch

Seiko SARZ005 Review

 

Hi guys! Today, I’m going to write a review about the Seiko SARZ005, one of the models in the Seiko 5 Sports lineup.

So, what’s so special about the Seiko SARZ005? For a start, it has a unique design (very different than the other Seikos out there) and is an affordable automatic watch. It’s also a Seiko JDM watch.

 

Seiko SARZ005 jdm watch

 

For Seiko fans, I’m pretty sure you guys are well aware about what JDM or Japan Domestic Model means.

It’s basically a watch made in Japan and is regarded as having a higher quality than Seiko watches made elsewhere (China, Southeast Asia, etc.)

It’s also not normally sold outside of Japan, for reasons that still perplexes me till today (if any of you know the reason, feel free to share it will ya!).

One of the easiest way to spot a JDM watch is the kanji/Japanese characters used in the day wheel.

Due to this, JDM watches are often in high demand and can command a higher price than other non-JDM Seiko watches. And this Seiko SARZ005 is one of the coveted JDM watches.

 

Seiko 5 Sports Watch – A Brief Introduction

I believe a quick summary of the Seiko 5 Sports lineup is needed to make this review more compelling and complete.

(For those that are not interested in this, you guys can just jump ahead to go to the Seiko SARZ005 review section below)

In the year 1963, Seiko introduced its Sportsmatic 5 watch with the intention of marketing an affordable and quality automatic watch to the masses. The “5” corresponds to the five attributes that Seiko believes an automatic watch need to have.

 

 

The five attributes in Seiko 5 are:

1- Automatic movement
2- Day and date display in a single window/place
3- Water resistance
4- Recessed crown at 4 o’clock (not strictly followed in most Seiko 5 models)
5- Durable case and strap

 

As you can see, Seiko emphasizes some basic items that a good automatic watch need to has. The Seiko 5 Sports has all the same characteristics but with a more sporty look (e.g dive, aviator, sports watch etc.).

As one of the only remaining “true” watch manufacturer, Seiko’s above list is something that we all can learn from though not strictly followed. I know some people that dislike day/date display and prefer a clean dial look.

Putting that aside, the water resistance and durable case/strap are two of the most important thing that an automatic watch (heck, all watch) should has.

Next, let’s go in-depth on Seiko SARZ005 review shall we.

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005 Specification

Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Watch Crystal: Hardlex crystal

Dial: Black dial
Hands: Dauphine hands
Markers: Index markers

Movement: Seiko Caliber 4R36 Automatic Self-Winding movement
Movement Features: Japanese made in-house movement, 24 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 41 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m
Other Features: Lume on markers and hands, day and date window, exhibition caseback

Seiko SARZ005 Manual: Click HERE to download the user manual

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Classic + Sporty Black Dial

The Seiko SARZ005 has a pitch black dial that has a classic feeling to it. And yet, it does have a sporty look befitting of a Seiko 5 Sports model.

On top of the dial is slim dauphine hands with little lume on it. The seconds hand is the real catch here as it has a very unique look, something that you’ll never see on any other watch.

 

Seiko SARZ005 dial

 

The seconds hand is white in color and has a very long tail. The tail, surprisingly, is triangle shaped and can be easily mistaken as the tip. But on closer look, you’ll notice that the tip is the longer end of the hand.

Coupled with a sweeping motion characteristic of an automatic watch, the seconds hand is simply my favorite on the watch.

Slim index markers are used in this watch, with the 12 o’clock marker having a different shape to differentiate it in the dark.

On the edge of the watch are minute markings that can help with telling the time. We can see how the dial shifts from a clean center towards a busy and complicated outer edge with this design.

I also likes how the “Sports” signature is painted in red at the middle of the dial. Since it’s red in color, it’s not so much popped out of the black dial but you really have to look at the watch face to spot it.

In my opinion, it’s something like an easter egg that only those wearing the watch will notice it lol!

 

Day And Date Display In The Same Window

One of the characteristic of a Seiko 5 model is the day and date are displayed in the same window. This might be common nowadays but back in the 1960s, most watches usually put the date at the right and the day on top of the dial

 

(You can google Rolex Day Date to find out how it looks like)

 

But Seiko had a different opinion on this trend. They have the opinion that putting the day and date display next to each other at the same location (3 o’clock) is better in terms of legibility and telling day/date.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Having the day and date together means we only need to focus on one location only to figure out the current day/date. Less work for us right?

 

Seiko SARZ005 black dial

 

For what’s it’s worth, I always recommend a watch with day and date display for those looking for a beater watch to be used for work everyday.

It’s more useful and very practical for a working men/women in this current modern age that requires fast and prompt action.

That shiny dress watch? You can wear it after work or during weekends =)

Average Sized 41 mm Stainless Steel Case

Seiko SARZ005 on hand

 

The Seiko SARZ005 has a more traditional sized case at 41 mm diameter and 12 mm thick. It’s definitely very wearable even for those guys with smaller wrists.

Well, this is after all a watch made for Japan market and the smaller Asian wrists.

The watch has a good 100 m water resistance and an exhibition caseback for its owner to peek at the automatic movement inside it.

 

Seiko SARZ005 exhibition caseback

 

Unique Bezel Design

The case is stainless steel and what I like the most about it is the bezel design.

As you can see, there is no rotating bezel or tachymeter scale on it. But Seiko ingeniously designed the bezel with some unique styling in the form of 12 holes (at each hour) and a small ridge from 12 o’clock to 4 o’clock.

The result is a unique bezel design that’s very rare and different than other watches out there.

It also works perfectly with the busy outer edge of the dial, creating a continuity from it onto the bezel/case.

 

Hardlex Crystal For Extra Protection

On top of the Seiko SARZ005 is a hardlex crystal to protect the watch from any impact directly onto it.

For your information, hardlex crystal is Seiko’s proprietary technology that improved the toughness of a normal mineral crystal.

As a result, the hardlex is more impact resistant than normal mineral (which means it will take lots more impact from breaking).

But it’s still a mineral crystal and is not as scratch resistant as a sapphire crystal.

Despite that, we need to remember that we are talking about a low budget automatic watch, so some trade-offs is to be expected lol…

For what it’s worth, the hardlex will do the job fine. Just make sure to keep the watch away from abrasive surfaces (bricks, concrete, steel, etc.)

 

Stainless Steel Bracelet Or Leather Strap?

From the factory, the Seiko SARZ005 is coupled with a stainless steel bracelet on its 20 mm width lugs.

The bracelet is nothing to scream off – it’s normal Seiko bracelet the one that you can expect.

The absence of solid links at the lug connection will make the bracelet to have some rattle, though it’s not so much as to be a deal breaker.

And of course, due to its black watch face, a black leather strap is one of the most favorite aftermarket straps to be used on the watch.

In my opinion, a black strap (either leather or nylon) will work wonders with a black watch face such as this.

 


Check out this awesome review of the Seiko SARZ005 where the watch is strapped on a leather band

Seiko 4R36 Automatic Self-Winding Movement

The one thing that makes the Seiko SARZ005 a special watch is its Cal. 4R36 automatic self-winding movement.

This alone sets it apart from the numerous other quartz watches out there (which also makes it more expensive lol!).

Having an automatic watch is definitely something unique that no quartz watch can give. Inside an automatic watch is decades research and innovation from the first time when men made the first mechanical watch.

It’s also giving to life the sweeping seconds hand motion thanks to the 6 beats per second 4R36 movement. Speaking of which, it’s much pleasing to the eyes than the tick-tock movement of quartz watch.

The Seiko SARZ005 4R36 movement has 41 hours power reserve that is recharged by the rotor inside it whenever the watch moves i.e when we are wearing it. Hence, the automatic/self-winding name.

The low power reserve (a bit short of 2 days) is one of the disadvantages of using a low budget automatic watch but using it every other day will keep the power reserve from depleting completely.

In addition, the 4R36 can also be manually wind by rotating the crown clockwise and so you can keep the watch running even when not wearing it.

Changing the day and date is very simple. At the first position after pulling the crown, rotate the crown clockwise to change the day and counter-clockwise to change the date.

Be very careful not to change the day/date around 9 pm to 4 am as the gears are connected at this point.

What I usually do is to advance the time first and then change the day/date afterwards.

Yep, It can take a lot of work to change the time/day/date in these analog watches but that’s the price to pay to enjoy such beautiful mechanical timepiece =)

Anyway, I’ve included the link to Seiko SARZ005 4R36 movement manual below for those that want to learn more about its technical specification.

 

(Click HERE to download the user manual)

 

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005 Common Complains Or Problems

Being an affordable automatic watch, the Seiko SARZ005 is not free of complains or problems found by its owners.

While some of these are minor and is actually what we will get for the price that we pay, some are quite major and need to be looked seriously.

Below are 4 of the most common complains/problems on the Seiko SARZ005.

 

1- Not Enough Lume

 

Seiko SARZ005 lumeThere’s only a faint lume on the Seiko SARZ005 for added legibility in low light condition. But it’s nowhere near Seiko’s legendary lume on its dive watches

 

Perhaps one of the most common complain is the less than stellar lume on the watch. Seiko put only some lume on the markers and hands to make it usable in the dark but apparently it’s not enought to glow brightly.

This is because the lume applied area on the markers and hands are small, so it won’t glow as bright as those diver’s watches.

Not to mention Seiko don’t use their LumiBrite on this watch (for cost saving I believe) which is why the lume is less astounding than their diver’s watch models.

But in my opinion, since this is not a diver’s watch, then the not-so-brigth lume is still acceptable as the lume is an added bonus to this watch.

What’s not acceptable is a diver’s watch with little to no lume as it’s integral to the usefulness to the watch for divers.

 

2- Low Power Reserve Less Than 41 Hours

If you feel the Seiko SARZ005 watch does not have sufficient charge, this might be due to the watch does not get the sufficient hand movement to recharge it.

It will take a few hundred turns of the rotor to charge it to full, and unfortunately wearing the watch while doing a desk job won’t cut it.

Most automatic watches need a large swing of the hand (e.g walking etc.) for the rotor to effectively spin and recharge it, and why most of them always have low charge even with constant use.

Fortunately the solution to this problem is very simple. Thanks to the manual winding capability of the Seiko SARZ005, periodically manual wind it once a week is enough to make sure it’s always in full power.

 

(Check out my article here on how to manual wind a watch)

 

3- Accuracy Problem

The published accuracy for a Seiko Cal. 4R36 is +-15 seconds per day, and if your Seiko SARZ005 watch is making worse than that, it could be due to some problems in the movement.

Some common causes of accuracy issue are:

– Too high or too low temperature
– Accidentally knocked the watch too hard
– Exposure to very strong magnets

If your watch is affected by all of these, quickly bring it to a watchmaker to check the internal condition of the watch.

Demagnetization can be done easily with the right tool but a broken jewel due to hard impact will cost some money to repair. Lastly, taking the watch away from extreme temperature should return its accuracy to original.

 

4- Moisture Inside The Watch

The Seiko SARZ005 watch has a 100 m water resistance but since it does not has a screw down crown, I’d be wary to use it underwater for swimming or diving.

In theory, the watch can be used for those activities but I always like to be on the safe side.

If water does seeps into the watch, moisture could form and fogged the watch crystal. At this point, only a trip to your local watchmaker can save it.

Another thing to be wary about is to not use the watch in a sauna or anywhere with high water vapor.

The Seiko SARZ005 is water tight but not air tight, so water vapor can actually seeps into it causing the same moisture problem.

So guys, do remember to take off your watch when you want to get into that hot sauna.

 

Last but not least, if you feel that you got a lemon unit i.e you’ve taken care the watch as good as you can but problems still persist – proceed to claim warranty from the seller as soon as possible.

Some note: Amazon has a great and fuss free return policy for watches sold by them 

 

Who Is This Seiko SARZ005 Watch For?

Anyone wanting a good looking automatic watch that’s sporty and casual should look into this Seiko SARZ005. It’s a great combination of classic Seiko 5 elements with sports touch.

Not to mention the meticulously designed dial, hands and case (especially the bezel) is something that is usually found in the higher priced watches.

For a stylish timepiece that you’ll want to wear everyday to work, the Seiko SARZ005 fits the description nicely.

 

Who Should Not Get It?

While the Seiko SARZ005 is a good looking watch, it’s a bit too rugged to be worn for dress or formal events.

For these purposes, I’d recommend for a true dress watch such as the Seiko SARB033 (or the white version SARB035), Tissot Visodate and the Hamilton Jazzmaster.

 

Seiko SARZ005 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Good looking and well designed watch
  2. Has lume for visibility in low light condition
  3. Impact resistant hardlex crystal
  4. Unique bezel design
  5. A JDM model which is usually regarded as having a higher quality among Seiko watches
  6. Day and date display adds to its functionality

Cons:

  1. No screw down crown

 

Like This Watch? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

If you guys like this Seiko SARZ005, look for the best deals of the watch on Amazon. Amazon usually has the cheapest price that you can get out of the other online retailers (as this is a JDM, online shops are the only way to buy it). Click the link below to check out the price on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To Check Out The Seiko SARZ005 On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Seiko SARZ005 is truly one outstanding watch in the Seiko 5 stable. It’s design is unique and it’s hard to find something like this among other Seiko 5 watches.

Besides, its low price for an automatic watch means it’s perfect as a watch for everyday use. Working, gardening, etc. – all those activities that you’d never do with that expensive Swiss watch can be done while wearing this “cheap” watch.

For an everyday automatic beater watch that’s also looks good, the Seiko SARZ005 is the one to go.

 

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I hope you guys like this Seiko SARZ005 review and find it interesting. Let me know if you guys have any questions or comments on the watch.

I’d love to hear from you guys =)

Cheers!
Isaac