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



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)


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


  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



  1. Automatic movement does not has hacking and cannot be manual wind


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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.




I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNZG15 review. Let me know if you guys have any comments or questions on it.


Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53 Automatic Watch Review – Poor Man’s Fifty Fathoms

Seiko 5 is an affordable (or you can also say cheap.. lol) automatic watch line up from the Japanese watchmaker Seiko and I’m happy to finally have a Seiko 5 review. This post is for the Seiko SNZH53 review, one of the most popular model in the line up.

It is a step above the normal Seiko 5 as it’s a “Seiko 5 Sports” model, a sports oriented version of the Seiko 5. It comes with higher water resistance, better movement and overall better quality.

One of the reason for the SNZH53 popularity is the gorgeous blue dial automatic watch which is very popular due to its design similarity to the famous Blancpain Fifty Fathom until it has earned the nickname Poor Man’s Fifty Fathoms.

Now let’s get to the Seiko 5 SNZH53 review shall we.


Seiko SNZH53 Blue Review


Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53 Automatic Watch Specification

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 14 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case with brush and polished finish
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp

Dial: Blue dial with index markers
Dial Window / Watch Crystal: Domed mineral hardlex crystal
Bezel: Unidirectional blue diving bezel with minute markings
Hands: Sword shaped hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume. Minute markings at between the hour markers

Movement: Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic self-wind movement with 23 jewels. 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. Non-hacking movement. Cannot be manually wind
Power Reserve: 41 hours
Download Seiko Cal. 7S36 movement user manual here

Water Resistance: 100 m or 330 ft
Other Features: Exhibition caseback, day display (English and spanish option), date display, lume on hands and markers

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Beautiful Glowing Blue Metal Dial

I’m sure you have noticed how brilliant the glowing blue metal dial is. As usual, pictures won’t do justice to this gorgeous watch. I recommend you to watch the video above to see for yourselves how beautiful the blue dial is. The dial has a metallic finish which easily reflects light from different angles.

On the dial are index markers and sword shaped hands that has lume on it. I should warn you guys that the lume is not really that good. Despite the look, this is just a Seiko 5 Sports watch and not a full diver watch. As such, the lume is using Seiko’s famous Lumibrite material. It’s a shame but then for $150, you got to overlook a few things.


Check out this review to have a look on the Seiko 5 SNZH53 up close. Just look at those gorgeous blue metal dial reflecting lights from different angles


Also on the dial are the day and date indicators which are very useful – at least for me. I can’t stress enough how convenient it is to have a watch that can show you the date as well as the day. Only one glance to your wrist is what you need.

No more checking your smartphone for the date of today (I really have a hard time remembering what date today is..). It’s truly a big plus to have a watch with this features.

You also can see the minute index markers (not the big markers but the smaller markers) are a bit longer than usual watches. Honestly, I don’t really like this design decision by Seiko on the SNZH53.

One, it does not achieve anything. Secondly, it makes the dial a bit cluttered. A normal small and short index for the minutes will look better and will make the amazing blue dial pop up more.

Seiko SNZH53 Review - Exhibition caseback

Exhibition caseback of the Seiko 5 SNZH53 and the stainless steel bracelet


Tough Stainless Steel Case

The Seiko SNZH53 is made from stainless steel case with a diameter of 42 mm and is still acceptable (for my small wrist of course). The thickness of the watch is about 14 mm – which is quite thick.

It is nicely constructed with brushed and polished finishing. The lugs curved down to be flush with the bottom of the watch to avoid any gaps between the lug and the wrist when wearing it.

It has a lug width of 22 mm and comes with stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp. As always, Seiko’s lower end ranges of watches will have a less than satisfactory bracelet. There is no solid end links and the bracelet feels lower grade than the watch itself. It’s a business decision that nobody is complaining though.

The bulk of the price paid goes to making an awesome watch, and if you don’t like the cheap bracelet, just change it. On this matter, Seiko SNZH53 really excels as the watch is very versatile and can go with many straps (leather, bracelet, nato, and my fav – sailcloth).

It is not uncommon – in fact it is standard for owners of the SNZH53 to trade off their bracelet for something else. Just make a quick search for Seiko SNZH53 on the internet and you will get what I mean.


Seiko 5 SNZH53 on different straps: rubber band and Nato strap. Somehow this watch can pull off many straps and still look gorgeous. But a matching blue colored Nato is my favorite =)

Domed Dial Window And Glass Bezel

Two things that have made the Seiko 5 SNZH53 famous and associate it with the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms are the domed dial window and glass bezel. The similarity between these two watches are very similar – though it’s pretty obvious that Seiko copied these designs from Blancpain.

As you can see, the Seiko 5 SNZH53 has a domed dial window which is made from Hardlex crystal, Seiko’s proprietary crystal that is touted to have a high resistance to impact.


Seiko SNZH53 Blue Review

You can see how the dial window is domed and also the glass on top of the bezel. These unique design has made the Seiko SNZH53 a highly sought after watch.


In addition to that, it also has a glass bezel. If you look closely, the bezel has glass on top of it which is different that normal stainless steel bezel. It is a very neat design and adds to the beauty of the watch. The bezel is also a bit bigger than normal bezel if you look closely.

Since the bezel and dial window are not treated with any anti-reflective coating, we can see lots of reflection from them. Coupled with the reflective blue dial, this is a watch that will surely catch anyone’s attention.


Seiko’s Cal. 7S36 Movement

Inside the Seiko 5 SNZH53 is a 7S36 movement, Seiko’s automatic movement for their lower priced watches. The movement that can be seen from the exhibition caseback of the watch has 23 jewels and vibrates at 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second which I can say is the minimum of modern automatic watches.

The low beat movement results in a not so smooth sweeping of second hand, but still is acceptable. It also has a respectable 41 hours power reserve, which is 3 hours more than Swiss’ most common automatic movement ETA 2824-2 with 38 hours. Even a $150 watch has more power reserve than you. Take that ETA!

The movement keep acceptable accuracy, around +-30 seconds per day, depending on positions (dial up, dial down, on right or left wrist, etc.). For such a cheap price, we cannot really expect a COSC Chronometer accuracy right? The things that I really dislike are the non-hacking and non-manual winding of the movement. For more information on the 7S36 movement, you can download the user manual here.

I can let the non-hacking pass as I (and most people) don’t really care to get the watch to be set perfectly with atomic time. What’s the point anyway? It’s an automatic watch and will gain/lose time after all. But to not being able to manual wind the watch is a very big disadvantage to me, something that is a deal breaker.

As I’ve written before in my manual wind vs watch winder post, I like to keep my watches running all the time so that it will be easy for me to just pick one of them and get going. The way to keep an automatic watch running is by manual winding it via rotating the crown or using a watch winder.

Now, a watch winder is an investment in itself as you have to buy a high quality winder or the thing will just break in a few months.

Since Seiko 5 SNZH53 cannot be manually wind, you have to wear it everyday (not possible if you have other more expensive watches around) or use a watch winder. Now who would spend $100 for a winder just so he can keep his $150 Seiko 5 running??


  A fantastic video showing the Seiko 5 SNZH53 side by side with the legendary Blancpain Fifty Fathoms


Seiko 5 SNZH53 Vs Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Poor Man’s Fifty Fathoms, that’s the nickname that Seiko 5 SNZH53 has. It is because of the similarity between these two watches especially the domed dial window and glass bezel. That’s their similarity, the others (dial, markers, hands, etc) are totally different.

That’s what I love about Seiko. Sure, they took design cues from Submariner, Fifty Fathoms and others but they don’t copy the watch (unlike Invicta…). Instead, they put their own design into the watch making it their own. This gives their watches a soul, a character of their own and not just am imitation of a famous watch.

Seiko SNZH53 vs Blancpain fifty fathoms

The original 1953 Blancpain Fifty Fathoms – the first diver watch in the world


Blancpain Fifty Fathoms – History Of The First Diver Watch

For those that don’t know, Fifty Fathoms is the first true diving watch – even before the famed Rolex Submariner. First released in 1953, it was the brainchild of Blacnpain’s CEO at that time, Jean-Jacques Fiechter and the French elite military diving unit.

The army wants a watch that can assist them in underwater operations, something that is not present at that time. To set the record straight, water resistant watch have been in production for a few decades, but none of them have the characteristics of a diver’s watch that the Fifty Fathoms produced for the army such as:

  • Unidirectional rotating bezel to calculate diving time
  • Bold large markers for easy of reading time
  • Lume on the markers for underwater and low light condition usage
  • Solid caseback
  • Water resistant up to 91 m (or 100 yards/fifty fathoms)
  • Automatic movement so that it won’t have to be manually wind
  • Anti-magnetic frame to protect watch from disturbance with military equipment


During that time, no watchmaker is interested to make a diver watch with all these criteria. Dress and aviator watches are the main interest back then and no brands would be willing to cooperate with the French diving team to design a diver watch.

The watch will be big and thick – something that is very unsightly and awkward at that time. Blancpain was the only brand interested to do them as their CEO was reportedly an avid diver himself.

Imagine if Blancpain didn’t make the Fifty Fathoms.. the unique and rugged diver watch as we know it won’t exist!

For more detail on the history of diving and waterproof watches, you can read this on terrific piece in ABlogToWatch


Seiko 5 SNZH53 As A Great Watch Mod Platform

Another thing that I’m sure most of you don’t know is how famous the Seiko 5 SNZH53 to be modded (or modified). Around the world people are making lots of modification on this watch from changing the dial, hands, bezel, and even the movement!

The low price of the watch as well as lots of cheap compatible parts for Seiko’s watches have made the modification easy and cheap on your wallet. Besides, in the case you break something the watch does not cost a lot after all.

Among the most popular SNZH53 mod is the Fifty Five Fathoms (or FFM) mod. Yep, you guessed it. This mod will make the SNZH53 looks just like the famed diver watch.

The Fathoms is an undoubtedly very handsome watch that is highly sought after but not many can own it because of its astronomical price. The FFM mod is the cheapest for these enthusiasts to get their hands on it.


Some of the mods done using the Seiko 5 SNZH53 as the basic watch


There are a lot of famous modders out there – you can ask them to make a mod for you, for a price of course. You can also source some compatible parts from them and do the mod yourselves – at you own risk though. Check out Yobokies, a famous Seiko modder. You can view his work on his photobucket page here.


Seiko 5 Sports SNZH53 Automatic Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summarized the pros and cons of the Seiko SNZH53 below for easy reference. Please take note that though the disadvantage list is quite long, it is after all a $150 watch. I’ve just listed the cons below based on the review of the watch without taking into consideration of the price to make a detail comparison.

Without a doubt, Seiko will cut lots of corners to make a great automatic watch to be as affordable as this and I do hope you guys understand this and take it into consideration. In the end, you will get what you pay for.


1- Great value for money
2- Gorgeous looking glowing metallic dial with matching bezel insert design
3- Superb versatility. Can be matched with many strap (bracelet, leather, nato, etc) and will look just as good.
4- Very moddable with plenty of cheap parts around.
5- Day and date functions are very useful and nice to have

1- Weak lume
2- No solid end links on bracelet
3- Non-hacking and cannot manually wind
4- Stainless steel bracelet on Seiko’s lower end watches are really disappointing.


Where To Buy Seiko 5 SNZH53?

Currently Seiko 5 SNZH53 is listed on Amazon for an amazing $150. If you like this gorgeous but cheap automatic watch, click the link below to check out the watch on Amazon.


–>>Click Here To Check The Best Prices Of Seiko 5 SNZH53 On Amazon<<–


Seiko 5 SNZH53 is a gorgeous automatic sports watch. It is beautiful and rugged with great construction finish. The domed dial window and glass bezel are totally outstanding and will look great on your wrist. It also have day and date display which are very convenient to have.

A 100 m water resistance is also very good for most people. It does not have a screw down crown but that should not be a concern. In fact the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms first edition also don’t have screw down crown. Water resistance for the crown area can be achieved by double o-ring which is sufficient for low diving.

But one thing that prevent me from getting this beautiful watch is the lack of manual winding function. As mentioned earlier, it would be very unreasonable to buy a watch winder just so you can keep your $150 Seiko running.

The winder itself can cost around $100 for a high quality one. I really hope Seiko create a diver watch with SNZH53 great looks but with better movement (hacking, manual winding, higher accuracy), better bracelet, better lume and screw down crown. That would be the perfect diver watch =)



Hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNZH53 review. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask it here.

Let me know your questions and feedback. Don’t forget to subscribe to my site =)