There used to be a time when any discussion around high-end watches would focus on Switzerland because of the undisputed pedigree of Swiss watch brands. But things started changing since the beginning of the new millennium as Japanese watchmaker Seiko started dominating the watch scene, and watch enthusiasts began to take the brand very seriously. It all started from the day Grand Seiko carved a place for itself as a separate brand, and since then, Japanesemovements are gaining traction.Despite being very pocket-friendly, Seiko 5 watches are winning hearts by providing excellent value for money for high-end watches that had remained out of bounds for the public in general.
Behind every Seiko watch, there are specific sets of clearly defined principles, and the Seiko 5 watches are no exception. The product line of Seiko Singapore watches clarity to buyers, and there's a watch for every purpose. The watches often hint at the intended use because users can make it out from the nomenclature. The Seiko 5 range of watches was introduced in 1963 to attract young buyers who wanted style and value, and the Seiko 5 was the mechanical timekeeper that they were looking for.
What Seiko Singapore has to say about the Seiko 5?
There were many reasons why Seiko 5 caught the fancy of young buyers, which becomes evident from some of its remarkable traits. Five distinct features bear the marks of Seiko superiority that is evident from the automatic movement, significant water resistance for sporting activities, a day/date window, and a shining crown at 4 o'clock, and durable case sporting a strap or bracelet. The features might seem obvious only because watches like Seiko 5 have contributed to making these ideals become benchmarks. Seiko could incorporate all these features into a watch that met the criteria of the Seiko legacy for a price that was agreeable to younger people. The design of Seiko 5 watches was purposeful with accessibility in mind, and the strategy and communication materials appealed directly to an audience of the 60s that was waiting for a watch like the Seiko 5.
Seiko 5 – A brief history
Sportsmatic was the face of Seiko5 when it was launched for the first time in 1963 that the world knows very well. A little-known fact is that 5 has an underlying meaning that very few know about. 5 stands for an automatic movement, water resistance, a day/date display at 3 o'clock position, a recessed crown at the 4 o'clock position, and a case and strap/bracelet built for durability.
1968 was a milestone in the history of Seiko 5 because, in that year, Seiko introduced the Seiko 5 Sports line of watches for addressing the growing trend of snorkeling, skin diving, water skiing, and other water sports. The watches were for withstanding rigorous sporting activity while introducing sportier styling elements like rotating bezels, bright colors, etc. The Sports nomenclature spread across everything from field watches, light divers, chronographs, and even made way for kinetic quartz movements.
The return of Seiko 5
The legendary Seiko 5 sports line had now made a comeback and carries the same appeal as it did when it first appeared more than 50 years ago. The line of Seiko 5 watches had been traditionally closely linked to the Southeast Asian markets instead of the United States. The recent relaunch and rebranding exercise breaks away from the earlier mold and reaches out to the American market. This is excellent news for American watch lovers because Seiko 5 has elaborated on Seiko's core designs while manufacturing the watches in a way that made it affordable to a wider audience.
This is true as well for the line-up ready for a relaunch as the Seiko 5 represents affordability and youthfulness. Seiko 5 is not a single watch but an entire line of watches that celebrate the youthful spirit without taxing pockets. The SNKL23 is a watch that looks far more elegant than the price that one must pay. When people look for some modernity in Seiko 5, there are the SNK800 series watches that live up to the expectation. Seiko 5 is a brand that boasts of 27 models that have carried the brand over the years.
Epitome of reliability
It is now 57 years that Seiko 5 has been in production during which it used a wide variety of movements. Reliability is a factor that binds all of them together, and affordability and minimal maintenance are like the topping on the cake. The word that goes around in the market is that the assembly of Seiko 5 movements is done with minimal or no direct human involvement at all. Indeed, it robs the timepiece of some of the mechanical mystique and romance, but what it gives the world instead is a very cost-effective watch produced on a mass scale.
Seiko 5 has also made its presence felt during space flights as Gene Kranz, former flight director NASA wore a Seiko 5 model 6119-8460 during several Apollo missions.
Seiko 5 SNK 809
Many people look upon the SNK 809 as the cheapest high-end watch because, arguably, it gives the biggest bangs or the buck with a movement built in-house. The Seiko 5 SNK809 is part of the broader series of Seiko 5 watches.
Case and Design – The not so big 37 mm stainless steel case of Seiko5 SNK 809 derives its inspiration from Pilot, and the front and sides have a matte finish with a polished back. The 11 mm thick watch might not be the thinnest but perfectly balances the small diameter on any wrist. The slightly heavy bezel works well with the case and encompasses a flat Hardlex crystal. The crystal is another display of inhouse design that resists scratches better than mineral glass but surely does not match sapphire.
It is impressive to see the crystal instead of acrylic, which could be an obvious choice for the price. The unusual positioning of the crown at the 4 o'clock mark is interesting and that it does not screw down makes the watch water resistant only up to 30 meters. It means you cannot swim with it, but undoubtedly it is good enough for splashes and walking in the rain. That you cannot wind the watch manually with the crown is undoubtedly a drawback, but that merely shaking the watch winds, it is also an aspect to relish.
The in-house 7S26 automatic movement is visible through the Hardlex exhibition window on the case back. The polished rear lugs and case back complement the rest of the matte finish very well, and the undecorated movement is a perfect fit for the overall aesthetic. The case has a no-nonsense attitude, and the substantial weight lends its real character.
Dial and Hands – The military aesthetic is on display in the matte black dial, which has white Arabic numerals for the minutes on the outer perimeter while the hours marking show up within a smaller inner circle. Seiko's famous luminous paint LumiBrite lights up the hour and minute hands in low light as it does for the dots on the outermost perimeter at an interval of 5 minutes.
The white seconds hand has a red tip and a lume in its rounded counterweight. The day/date complication at the 3 o'clock mark has an option of choosing the day in English or Spanish, and there are more language options depending on the market.
Movement – The movement is an impressive Seiko 7S26 automatic caliber, which is in line with the other remarkable features. The movement features a decoration with 21 jewels beats at 3Hz or 21,600 vph and has a power reserve of 40 hours. The movement contributes to the functions of hours, minutes, and seconds as well as a day/date complication. However, you may feel the absence of manual winding and the non-hacking seconds, but none of these are showstoppers. Daily wear keeps the watch ticking, and shaking it slightly for 30 seconds will adequately wind it.
Accuracy – Accuracy rating of Seiko SNK 809 is -20/+40 seconds per day, and it requires minor adjustments periodically to obtain the precise time. Testing carried over a week showed that Seiko 5 slows down 18 seconds per day, which means that it is good enough to adjust the watch only once a week.
Strap – If you are a strap snob, then the 18 mm black strap of SNK 809 will surely disappoint you, and replacing it with a better third-party strap is the only option. The looks might not be as bad, and it also does the job well, but it is highly uncomfortable, and inconvenient when you are trying to strap it because it snags on the metal loops. The cheap looks and feel of the strap belie the appeal and appearance of the watch. Except for the beautiful looks of the matte steel loops and buckle, there is nothing positive about the strap.
In the end, Seiko 5 SNK 809 is one of the most impressive watches in the price band that brings the high-end luxury to the masses.