SKX007 or bust…
The legendary Seiko watch that every enthusiast swears by, it certainly seems to have an almost fanatical following. I only really came across all this for real when Seiko released their new Seiko 5 Sports in 2019. I had been glancing at green watch dials (SRPD63K1) for a while so I thought, perfect, take my money. The usual watch review sites were all pretty positive. Better movement, seemingly more reliable, 100m water resistance, it could be hand wound rather than having to move it around to wake it up and a nice looking display back.
But then came the immense criticism that since this was a spiritual follow up to the SKX007, it was missing some major features. It had no screw in crown, 100m rather than 200m water resistance, no 12 o’clock lume pip and not ISO 6452 compliant.
To a new(ish) collector, this all seems quite silly. You’d think few people that buy these things would really test that limit in any meaningful way. And for anyone that would do just that, the prospex line of watches can be had for actually LESS money (see my own article here) and offer some serious water resistance.
But, I suppose for watch people, this is actually beside the point. Seiko released a watch that did not meet the many unique selling points of the SKX007 and added some other things that would leave the Seiko crowd lukewarm.
So, who are these watches for? Are they here to combat the (shock, horror) fashion watches?
Well, I don’t think so. When you first start taking an interest in automatic watches (and I guess, forever more..), the huge barrier to entry is money. This means that Seiko becomes a great option since they are good value, very well made and have a great reputation. So what better way to get started than paying around AUD 400-500 for a watch that looks great, does the job and is a great first step into automatic watches. This could be the watch that starts a love affair with the brand.
To really appreciate the Seiko 5 Sports, you have to take it at face value and ignore the legacy. And that, is what we’re going to do here.
My impressions after a few months of wearing the watch.
The green dial was sold out for a while, but eventually came up for sale, I ordered and received the box a few days later. Every Seiko watch I’ve ever bought have the same boring white box and manuals that are the same for all the models detailed on the cover (not even worth photographing in all its non-glory). A missed opportunity for me since we may be looking at somebody’s first exposure to an automatic watch. Packaging these days can be an event (thanks to Apple one must admit) and it does make a difference. But, the counter argument is that most people may just throw all this in the bin anyway so who cares. I don’t agree with that since if you look at the majority of watches for sale second hand, the value is higher if you have the original box/papers.
Anyway, opening up the box and the green dial is absolutely beautiful. The guilded details of the hands and applied markers complements the deep green dial well. I find the green dial is a slightly different green to the bezel, but that could just be the fact that the glass covers the dial and would slightly distort the shade of green, it’s nitpicking.
You have a few things printed on the dial, and some complications. The Seiko logo and new ‘5’ logo is up the top. I quite like the new logo and it’s pretty cool that it apes the Superman logo slightly. I think recognising who it’s aimed for once again makes sense here. If you compare the old ‘5’ logo to the new one, I’d say a younger generation would be more attracted to this one, but this is all subjective of course.
On the lower half of the dial you have the word ‘Automatic’ in a script font. This is definitely scratching a bit of a vintage itch here. Does that fit with the previous paragraph? I’d argue that it does. Mechanical watches are a throwback to the past after all. This may seem a bit contradictory (because it is!) but it does work with the rest of the look of this watch in my opinion.
Finally, we have both a day and a date complication on dial. Seiko watches seem to include the ability to have the day complication (if there is one) in Japanese Kanji as well as English. I’ve mostly kept it in Kanji since…it looks cool (hello, shallow). The reality is that I usually know what day it is, but date, perhaps not so much. I photographed it with days in English to avoid any confusion.
My one criticism here it that I’d have liked the date/day complications in the same green colour, rather than white. You get this on the black ‘street’ option and that looks great to me. With 27 models, it may have been cost prohibitive.
Moving on from the dial to the case, the Rolex Submariner influences are definitely there, but far more rounded overall.
The lugs transform in to an almost crescent shape. It's a soft and polished section, that flows underneath the dial, cushioning the straight display back. It’s a really nice effect and I would highly recommend trying the watch on in an actual store before purchasing.
Interestingly, the crown is not signed with a Seiko S. I really wonder if that was a cost saving that made sense. It’s a small thing, but it often comes up as a niggle on watch reviews of any brand. I think they should have embossed the crown.
On that note, one thing that hasn’t quite worked for me is the tall bezel. The clicks and movement are all good, it lines up well with the 12 o’clock but in my very personal opinion, it’s just slightly off proportion wise, particularly with the silver details. It’s a thick bezel and just could be slightly wider and/or slightly rounded to nail the proportions.
You likely won’t see this in photos and it’s also different on different wrists. I don't hate large dive watches, it’s not that. I have an average sized 19cm wrist, but putting this on my son’s wrist (17.5cm) the issue went away. In short, try before you buy.
The display back is lovely, again for the first watch buyer or a collector early in his/her journey. There are not heaps of fancy details to look at, but just seeing cogs move is always a buzz. If we’re still talking about what I think is the target market here, it earns its place.
On to the bracelet which is well made. You have a few micro adjustments near the clasp and it is a secure lock, push button release. There are endless forums of people complaining about Seiko bracelets. I think it’s perfectly fine for the money but I have mainly worn it on an Erica MN shamal strap since I’m not a huge fan of metal bracelets. Again, I think try before you buy here…but at the end of the day, there are so many great options out there for straps and bracelets and you absolutely should try this watch on another option also.
In typical Seiko style, the lume is truly excellent. Compare this watch to others in the price range and it’ll still allow you to check the time even towards the end of the 3 hour ‘The Irishman’ marathon movie in the dark. No small feat.
Again, I think this is a great first step in to collecting and it’s perfect for a younger crowd that wants to get in to this sort of thing. Just look at how Seiko presents it themselves if you need further evidence of this (there are skateboards…). So what if you’re not that person and more of a mature middle aged gentleman, that is still cool and definitely not old and stuf…I mean, ahem..read on.
Genuinely, this is a really nice looking watch at amazing value for money. Slap it on and go anywhere..it’s robust and you don’t have to worry too much about it. I’d go to the pub, shopping etc. in this..I’d not do that wearing a watch costing 10 x that, at least not without keeping a really close eye on those youngsters over there, wearing hoodies and balancing skateboards…oh wait, they’re wearing Seiko 5s, phew!
Go and try it on, and then buy one of the 28 variants available. If you don’t find one you like, buy it for a significant other.
Here's a good start to buying your own model.
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Did you enjoy this review? Coffee fuels my night time ponderings.