Hi guys. In this article, I’m covering on the Seiko SUN019 review, a kinetic watch from Seiko.
From the first look, we can already see how unique and cool looking the Seiko SUN019 is – and it IS unique.
Shroud Case, Kinetic, GMT
I think all these three words (shrouded case, kinetic movement, GMT watch) perfectly summarizes how different the Seiko SUN019 is compared to others out there.
The case has the distinctive shrouded layer for extra shock protection. Seiko fans should know that these shrouded case design is made famous by the Seiko Tuna, and its lil’ brother the Baby Tuna watches.
Powering the watch is Seiko’s own kinetic movement, a hybrid of quartz and automatic movements which we will go in-depth later on.
The multi-functional Seiko SUN019
Lastly, this SUN019 has a GMT function which can be used to show second time zone or to show the 24-hour time.
I’m pretty sure you guys already know how special this watch is, both physically and technically. But that’s just the summary of it. Let’s check out the full review of this cool Seiko SUN019.
Seiko SUN019 Specification
Diameter: 47 mm
Thickness: 16 mm
Lug Width: 24 mm
Lug To Lug Distance: 52 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Watch Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Dial: Black dial
Hands: Sword hands with lume, Skeleton hand for GMT
Markers: Raised Circular markers with lume
Movement: Seiko Caliber 5M65 Kinetic movement
Movement Features: Quartz movement, Watch is powered by wrist movement and turned into electricity
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per month (quartz accuracy)
Power Reserve: 6 months
Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: GMT function, Date display, Unidirectional rotating bezel, LumiBrite lumes, Meets ISO 6425 diver’s watch standard, Screwdown crown and pusher, Powered by hand movement, Power reserve check function,
Seiko SUN019 Caliber 5M65 Manual: Click HERE to download the manual from Seiko’s website
Best Place To Buy: Amazon, MSRP is $725
Tuna-like Shroud Stainless Steel Case
The stainless steel case of this Seiko SUN019 is encased in a stainless steel shroud meant to provide extra protection against shock impacts. The shroud is attached to the main case by three hex screws which is visible from the sides of the watch.
In my opinion, this watch’s design is unique because Seiko tries to innovate the hugely popular shroud case of the Seiko Tuna to make it look more like a normal watches.
What do I mean by that?
Notice that the original Tuna has a very straight sides from top to bottom. It’s also very circular, makes it look like a cylinder or a tuna can – see it? that’s how the Seiko Tuna got it’s name lol!
Above is a Seiko Tuna. Notice the very circular and straight sides of the watch that make it look very “Tuna can-like” shape
But this watch on the other hand has a sloping shroud which makes it look more like a normal watch. The shroud on the other hand is not as obvious as with the Tuna because of this.
On the other hand, this Seiko SUN019 has a traditional oblong watch look. It has the shroud too but it’s not as obvious as the Seiko Tuna
It’s because of this that I find the SUN019 a much better looking watch compared to the Tuna – no disrespect to the Tuna or Baby Tuna owners here =)
A Large Watch With Great Craftsmanship
As with the Tuna, this watch is also quite big. It has a 47 mm diameter with a 16 mm thickness. It’s totally big and might not fit well with smaller wrists.
Knowing this, Seiko designed the lugs to be short, resulting in a 52 mm lug to lug distance with a slightly curved lugs – this results in the watch being more wearable.
As with any other Seikos, the craftsmanship in this watch is also great. The shroud has a brushed finish, but the internal case has a highly polished finish which can be seen from small openings at the sides of the watch.
The bracelet is made from stainless steel and features brushed and polished finishes too. It’s quite pretty to look at and make a great combination with the watch.
At the sides are the crown (3 o’clock) and pusher for power reserve check (2 o’clock). Unfortunately the top of the crown and pusher is polished without Seiko’s signature “S” engraving. I’d swear the crown will look much better with that engraving on it.
The Seiko SUN019 from the left side. We can easily see the internal case at the center and the two screws holding the shroud to the watch
All in all, the watch is a big and heavy watch. It will fit those with bigger wrists. At least 52 mm or 2 inches of wrist diameter is needed to pull this off perfectly.
Other than that, the case is a high quality one. The big bulky size with unique case design will definitely look cool and manly on anyone.
Sapphire Crystal For Maximum Protection Against Scratches
One thing that delights me is that Seiko chose to put a sapphire crystal on this watch, which is something strange for them to do.
It seems they prefer hardlex crystals on their diver’s watch due to its high impact/shatter resistance such as with my Sumo.
While it seems practical for divers, it’s not a good thing for desk divers (or most of us who don’t bring our watches outdoor) as the hardlex is a scratch magnet.
That’s why I’m very pleased to know that this Seiko SUN019 has a sapphire crystal on it. It’s definitely a great material due to its high scratch resistant properties.
(To know more about watch crystals, click HERE to read my post about about watch crystal types)
Busy But Cool Looking Dial
The black dial on the Seiko SUN019 is quite busy no thanks to the GMT 24-hour markings on the inner part of the dial and the extra GMT hand (more about GMT function in later section of this review).
But then, it still look good. If any, the busy dial complements the highly crafted case giving the watch a complicated cool look, just like how a chronograph looks cool with those extra subdials.
True with any diver’s watch, the markers of this SUN019 are index markers. Those circular markers are filled with lume, an important item to make the markers glow in the dark – giving visibility to its owners.
If you closely, the markers of the watch is actually raised from the dial
One thing that’s very special about the markers is how it’s actually raised from the dial surface. It’s truly unique for this watch to have this.
The hands are oversized hands and also filled with lume. Seiko uses skeleton hand for the GMT to differentiate all three hands. I like how it’s done since it make the watch easier to read.
The lume is wonderful on this Seiko SUN019 – thanks to Seiko’s LumiBrite technology and the wide area for lume application
One complain from me is how small the date display is. It’s positioned between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers and is easily mistaken with the 24-hour markings.
I’d rather have a bigger date window at the 3 o’clock marker position than this small box. I mean what’s the point of having a date display if it’s too small and hard to read right?
GMT Function For Extra Functionality
An extra feature that separates this watch than the other Seiko diver’s watch is the GMT function. It makes the watch more appealing and cool if you ask me.
But I bet some of you guys don’t know what is a GMT watch right?
GMT is an abbreviation of Greenwich Meridian Time, or the official time of the world. Since the world is round and sun rises from the East, not all places on the world has the same time.
We use the timezones to categorically separate and coordinate the time around the earth. Each timezones has different time and there is an hour difference between adjacent timezones.
The GMT is the time at London timezone since the Greenwich (a place near London) is chosen as the Prime Meridian or the central longitude line of the earth (you guys can click HERE to read my post on this matter for more info).
As with any GMT watch, the Seiko SUN019 has an additional hand for GMT function. On this watch, the GMT hand is the skeleton hand to make it easily distinguishable from the normal hands
So a GMT watch is a watch that has an additional hour hand (the skeletonized hand) to show the time at GMT+0, the time of London. It’s also interchangeable with UTC+0 (for practical purposes, both are the same thing though UTC system already supersedes GMT..).
The GMT hand is in a 24-hour format (one complete rotation of the GMT hand is 24 hours) as compared to normal hour hand that is in 12-hour format.
Using GMT Feature On This Seiko SUN019
There are basically two ways of using the GMT function in this watch:
1- GMT Hand Showing Second Time Zone
The way that pilots and military personnel use their GMT watches is by setting the GMT hand to show the GMT timezone or so called Zulu time.
But, it can also be used to show a different time zone, such as the home timezone for a frequent traveller. It’s fairly easy to do this since the normal hour hand and GMT hand is independent with each other.
Suppose you are a businessman flying around the globe leaving your family behind. It’s a good idea to set the GMT hand to your hometown’s time so that you can call your spouse or kids at the appropriate time.
With this usage, only the normal hour hand will be reset to the current timezone whenever you’re travelling.
2- Setting The GMT Hand To Show 24-Hour Time
Another way to use the GMT function is to set it to show the current time to show 24-hour format. The drawback with an analog watch is the watch cannot show information about the AM/PM.
By setting the GMT hand to 24-hour time, the AM/PM can be shown for the owner to easily understand.
Refer to the Seiko SUN019 manual for step by step guide to set the GMT hand. Click HERE to download the manual from Seiko’s website.
Kinetic – A Hybrid Movement Of Quartz And Automatic
The Seiko SUN019 is powered by Seiko’s own Kinetic movement caliber 5M65, a proprietary watchmaking technology by the Japanese brand.
It’s actually a quartz watch powered by battery. But what makes it special is it uses a special assembly akin to automatic watch’s rotor to recharge the battery as we swing our hands.
The result is a quartz watch powered by our movement. Quartz accuracy with automatic watch’s self powered movement that strips the need to frequently change the battery.
This is a perfect movement for those people that dislike automatic watches because its accuracy is not as good as quartz.
But on the other hand, since it’s a quartz the SUN019 does not has a sweeping second hand. Instead, the watch has the usual tick-tock second hand movement which is not as fascinating (and boring lol!).
It also cannot be manual wind and has to rely on hand movement to charge it. Fortunately Seiko claims that the watch can be charged by a simple swing motion of the watch.
Just like an automatic watch, a simple swing of the Seiko SUN019 will recharge its battery using the Kinetic technology
In fact, just using the watch while walking for 700 m will give it about 500 swings which is good for 2 days of power reserve. I don’t know about you, but I usually walk much farther than that.
The power reserve can store up to 6 months of charge. By using the top pusher, the current power reserve condition can be checked by observing the movement of the seconds hand.
The power reserve indicator chart
ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch Compliance
True to the Prospex lineup, this watch also complies to the ISO 6425 diver’s watch specification.
It has a good 200 m water resistance, screw down crown and pusher to ensure water won’t get inside it.
Basically, the watch not only looks good, but it’s also a true deal for those looking for a real diver’s watch to be used.
Watch this video to see the Seiko SUN019 up close
Who Is This Seiko SUN019 For?
A diver would really find the Seiko SUN019 a good watch for him/her. It’s an ISO rated watch with 200 m water resistance.
Having a protective shroud will also protect it against any impact. It’s over-sized markers and hands will give great legibility underwater and basically anywhere.
Besides divers, anyone that wants a cool and manly looking watch should get this. The big, bulky and exquisite case design make this watch a gorgeous piece of steel.
It’s GMT function adds to the complexity of the dial, which make it cooler in my opinion. Sapphire is a bonus as the watch crystal will most likely remain crystal clear in its entire life.
Anyone bored with the usual quartz, automatic or solar watches should get this as it’s powered by Seiko’s kinetic movement.
I’m an automatic movement guy but to be frank, this kinetic movement is a very cool thing. Not to mention the 6 months power reserve is very good to have.
Who Should Not Get It?
In my opinion, those with small wrists should not use it and go for smaller watches. Some of my best pick is the Seiko Sumo (SBDC033, a diver’s watch) or a Seiko Baby Tuna for a similar shroud case design.
Seiko SUN019 Pros and Cons
- Great looking watch with cool dial and case designs
- Sapphire crystal to protect the crystal against scratches
- Extra layer of shroud for impact/shock protection
- GMT function is very useful
- Seiko’s LumiBrite with large marker/hand area give an outstanding lume
- ISO 6425 diver’s watch standard compliance
- Kinetic movement is unique by Seiko which combines quartz and automatic movements’ characteristics
- Can be too big and heavy for people with smaller wrists
Like The Seiko SUN019? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!
You can buy the Seiko SUN019 for the cheapest price on Amazon. The watch is currently listed at a huge discount on Amazon compared to its MSRP of $725. Click the link below to check out the watch on Amazon.
->Click Here To Buy The Seiko SUN019 On Amazon<-
The Seiko SUN019 is a unique diver’s watch for sure. It’s big, bulky with the shrouded case and very detailed craftsmanship. Add to that a complex dial, and you have yourselves a cool and manly looking watch.
The usage of kinetic movement also makes this watch very different than other diver’s watches in Seikos large Prospex stable. It also has GMT feature, further increasing its functionality.
For a good looking diver’s watch with unique kinetic movement, this SUN019 is the one to get.
Hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SUN019 review. Let me know what you guys think about the watch.
Drop your comments below will ya =)
Till next time. Cheers!
6 thoughts on “Seiko SUN019 Review – A Kinetic Diver’s Watch With GMT Function”
Thank you for all the insight. I was trying to find out more about this watch and you answered each and every question.
Glad I bought the watch when I did.
Hi Richard. I’m glad that you find this article helpful. So how’s the watch been like?
Just recently pulled the trigger on a second-hand one of these for $400 AUD delivered.
Agreed the date window is a tad small for the size of the watch but that’s easily dealt with.
Having 8 inch wrist means i’m totally rocking this thing and it doesn’t look out of place at all..
I like it!!
Oh yeah I’m pretty sure the SUN019 would look perfect on your 8″ wrist Mark! Looking back, I really wonder why Seiko put the small date window on this watch. I mean, it’s too small and can easily be mistaken for the 24-hour markings… Either way, congratulations on your new watch buddy. I’m sure it will serve you well =)
My father is a watch enthusiast, so nice men’s watches are a go to present idea for me. But he won’t deal with batteries, so I usually look into solar powered watches. I find the idea of a kinetic watch really interesting. You mention that it has a battery which is recharged by movement. Do you still have to change the battery periodically?
Yes, we still need to change the battery of Seiko SUN019, albeit at a longer interval than normal quartz watches.
Logically speaking, normal quartz watches will draw all its power from the battery and will run for 2-3 years. Seiko Kinetic movement will recharge its battery from wrist movements, thus the battery should run continuously as long as we are still using it.
But from the user manual, Seiko states that the battery performance (how much it holds its electrical charge) will degrade over time and this is depending on usage and environment. There is no guidance on how long until we need to change its battery, though some users claim that their Kinetic watches need battery change only after 8 years.