Watches you can't go wrong with
I believe I speak for a vast majority of collectors out there, that Seiko is the quintessential of every collection. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast with an array of luxury Swiss timepieces from the likes of Patek Philippe, Jaeger LeCoultre or Hublot, to a budding collector with just his/her trusty Seiko mechanical watch, there’s a room for Seiko in everyone’s collection. If you were to have a one brand collection of watches, Seiko pretty much has you covered. From entry level daily sports watches like the Seiko 5 sports, to immaculately finished and astronomically expensive luxury art pieces like Credor’s Sonnerie, there’s always a watch for the occasion in the Seiko catalog. Today, we’ll be narrowing down 5 must have Seikos for those looking to build a one brand (Seiko) collection, or for any other collector, who wants to have a Seiko for every occasion.
The dependable professional tool watch: Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD27K1
Kicking off our list, we’re taking a look at one of my favourite Prospex models. In fact, it’s probably my favourite budget-friendly diver. I liked this watch so much had to get one the moment I saw it and it’s a wonderful piece for everyday casual wear.
Now before this gets too much into me blabbering about my personal collection, let’s take a closer look at what we have here--the 4th Generation Seiko Prospex Monster. For those of you unfamiliar with Seiko’s rather interesting nicknames for their watches (and yes there are plenty of them like Tuna, Turtle, Samurai etc.) the ‘Monster’ was aptly named due to, well, its monstrous-looking visage.
With this 4th Generation iteration, it’s even more handsome than ever.
Many of the funky, albeit polarizing design elements such as the shark-tooth like indices and jagged bezel have been simplified and have resulted in a more refined and approachable design. The dial is straightforward, with blocky indices, a short arrow-like hour hand and sharp sword-shaped minute hand that cuts very cleanly across the dial, it’s a very functional and handsome brute. The unconventional outer case-shroud still remains along with the circa 4-O’clock crown placement.
The Monster is rated to a water resistance of 200M no less and is powered by Seiko’s in-house caliber 4R36 with 41 hours of power reserve and a modest beat rate of 21,600VPH (3Hz). The watch also features a day-date function, magnified by a ‘cyclops’ lens attached to the hardlex crystal. If you’re looking for a proper reliable dive watch but want something a bit more fun and outstanding, then the SRPD27K1 is certainly for you.
The reliable daily watch: Seiko 5 Sports SRPE57K1
It should come as no surprise that the watch to fill in this category would be a Seiko 5. And the perfect reliable daily watch will have to be the new 5kx release with a fixed smooth steel bezel and 40mm case. With a 100m water resistance and no timing bezel, it is a proper sports watch in its own right.
The design will instantly remind you of the Tudor black bay 36 and the Rolex Explorer 1 (or even the Omega Railmaster too) and to be honest, that’s not really such a bad thing. The one we’re looking at today, the SRPE57K1 is as classically correct in its design as a sports watch should be. It features a stainless-steel case and bracelet, comfortable 40mm case, bold hands and markers (that are of course coated generously in lume) oh and some nice gold gilt too for a not-so-subtle touch of vintage.
If you can’t already tell, I love golden gilts on sports watches, I think it gives them so much more personality, adding a refined elegant vintage touch to an otherwise serious no-nonsense tool watch. But the steel bezel 5kx is still a lot of fun to have on the wrist. Powered by the tried and tested 4r36 caliber offering a useful day-date complication, 3Hz frequency and a modest 41 hours of power reserve, it unsurprisingly ticks a lot of boxes for what enthusiasts are looking for in a modern sports watch. All in all, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly vintage styled sports watch but aren’t looking to sink that much money into an Explorer yet, the SRPE57K1 is going to be the best place to put your money at.
The luxury sports watch: Seiko Prospex 62MAS Reissue SLA037J1
If the luxury sports watch to have is a dive watch, then the dive watch to have would be a Rolex Submariner. But at about $14,000 retail and being pretty much sold out everywhere, there’s no point being the watch to have if you can’t have it in the first place.
So, let’s look at something you actually can have, something that is as interesting, and maybe, just maybe a little more special. Introducing the Seiko Marinemaster SLA037J1, a commemorative limited edition to the first model from 1965, Seiko’s first ever diver the 62MAS. Powered by Seiko’s Hi-beat Caliber 8L55 and beating away at 36,000VPH (5Hz), the SLA037J1 pays proper tribute to the original 1965 62MAS Diver and then some.
The 8L55 is essentially an undecorated version of the Grand Seiko's 9S85 caliber, with 37 jewels, 55 hours of power reserve and an accuracy of -10 to +15 seconds per day is a proper demonstration of Japanese watchmaking prowess. Coming with a 39.9mm ‘Ever-brilliant steel’ case that is finished beautifully with Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing. It ensures stunning good looks and water resistance of up to 200m. The aforementioned ‘Ever-brilliant steel’ case has a brilliant white hue and is much more corrosion-resistant than traditional steel. It is certainly tougher than your run-off-the-mill diver. A boxed sapphire crystal with a dual-sided anti-reflective protects the proud blue dial and it features a screw-down crown at 3 O’clock too. Granted at over $6,000 this is the most expensive watch on our list, but then again, it offers fantastic history, craftsmanship and performance from a brand renowned for making amazing watches for over a century and is still properly brilliant at it today.
The Black tie/formal event only watch: Seiko Presage Chronograph SRQ025J1
No collection of watches in a man’s wardrobe is complete without a formal dress watch. And if you’re expecting us to look at a classic 3-hander from the Presage series, you’ll be half right. We are indeed going to be looking at the Presage line but the actual watch is far from a traditional 3-hander, in fact it has twice the number of hands.
The must have Black tie/formal event only watch should be something special, something subdued and timeless, and I can’t think of anything more special for a Black-tie event than a timeless dress chronograph. The Seiko Presage SRQ025J1 is a watch that fits that bill perfectly. With an elegant case, vintage piston style pushers, a simple crown and long swooping lugs, its silhouette is as elegant as a dress watch should be.
The watch features a gorgeous stark white dial with a subtle yet distinct wave-patterning, giving you something a little more to look at. Applied Breguet style Arabic numerals adorn the periphery of the dial which matches the gorgeous blued European styled hands perfectly as well. The watch is powered by the 8R48 automatic chronograph caliber offering a very traditional triple register chronograph function, 45 hours of power reserve and an impressive 4Hz (28,800VpH) frequency as well.
I think the SRQ025J1 is the perfect Seiko for a Black-tie event and is certainly one of the most impressive as well, considering that the mechanical chronograph is one of the most complex and sought-after complications in a mechanical wrist watch. All in all, it’s a timepiece that is a must-have in anyone’s collection.
The perfect all-rounder: Seiko Prospex SPB121J1 Alpinist
Could it have been anything else besides the Green Alpinist when talking about the perfect be all and do all watch? When the question of what the best Seiko watch to get per-category came up, my thoughts immediately landed on the Green Alpinist for the perfect all-rounder.
It should come as no surprise, it’s an absolutely brilliant watch. This may be a reissue piece, but what Seiko has done essentially is taken everything that made the Alpinist great and made them better.
The old Alpinist was powered by the Caliber 6R15 while the new one is powered by the 6R35, giving it a whopping 70 hours of power reserve. On top of that, there is an exhibition case-back for you to enjoy the 6R35 caliber in greater detail. However, not much has changed visually on the new Alpinist SPB121J1, aside from the Seiko Prospex “X” branding on the dial and the inclusion of a cyclops magnifier too.
It’s a small touch that shows everyone that this watch is more than just a pretty face, it means serious business. And that’s the brilliance of this watch, whether it’s paired with a suit or strapped on your wrist out in the forest, the Alpinist never looks out of place.
Versatility has always been a strong point for the Seiko Green Alpinist and with this modern reissue, that strength has been modernized and improved (thanks to the upgraded movement) and is easily the perfect watch to have in anyone’s collection.
A staple of the collection
And there we have it, our 5 must have Seikos to cover every occasion. If you’re already well versed with the brand, you may not be surprised, or might even agree with some of our picks. And for those newer to the brand and are just starting your journey, we hope that this simple guide has shown you that Seiko an incredible array of options for every collector out there. With that said, you may not agree with our list and that’s fine, it’s the differences in opinions that makes this hobby so interesting and worthwhile. Whatever your choices are, we’re sure you’ll be very, very happy with whatever Seiko that you’ve chosen.