As you may have noticed by now from our past posts, both of the authors at Shikaiseki are fans of Seiko watches. But fret not, as we won’t cry out “SEIKO IS THE BEST” nor make posts only about Seiko watches. Anyways, in all seriousness, there is one thing that we, as horological/watch enthusiasts, need to admit. Seiko really does pack a lot of value in their watches, especially in the affordable range. This brings us to the Seiko 5, which is a series of watches from Seiko that arguably gives you the best bang-for-the-buck.
With its origins dating back to the 1960s, the Seiko 5 series promises five attributes in all of its watches:
- Automatic movement (7S series)
- Day and date function
- Water resistance
- Recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position
- Stainless steel case and bracelet
Looking at the five attributes above, it seems that you’re getting a decent watch for the money. Is it really, though? The watch we have on hand today is the Seiko 5 SNXJ89, one of my most favorite watches in my personal collection.
Let’s start off with the specifications of the watch. The SNXJ89 has a case diameter of 37mm, a lug-to-lug distance of 42mm, and a thickness of 11mm, making it an adequately-sized watch for both small-wristed and large-wristed people. In reference to the checklist above, the SNXJ89 does indeed tick all five boxes. It sports the proven 7S26 movement, day and date function at the 3 o’clock position, water resistance of 30m, recessed push-pull crown at the 4 o’clock position, and a stainless steel case and bracelet.
Focusing on the design of the case, the SNXJ89 has a very beautiful sunburst silver dial with applied hour indices. It also has lumed pencil hands for the hour and the minutes, with lume pips below every hour indices. The addition of an applied Seiko 5 logo really shows that Seiko does take (almost) every small detail seriously. Despite the lumed hands and pips, the existence of a fluted bezel strongly suggests itself as a dress watch, or perhaps a dressy everyday watch.
Speaking (or writing, in this case!) of dressy everyday watches, I believe that the SNXJ89 is a legitimate and respectful homage to the Rolex Datejust as it pays the right amount of tribute without sparking any controversy surrounding homage watches. By controversy, we are talking about “copying” a watch design a little too much. Although opinions surrounding homage watches can be very different depending on the individual, I strongly believe that the vast majority of watch enthusiasts will deem the SNXJ89 as the perfect example of a good and respectful homage watch.
Going into the heart of the watch, the 7S26 movement provides solid performance with an expected accuracy of -20 to +40 seconds per day and around 41 hours of power reserve. Meaning, once the watch is fully charged via the automatic self-winding movement, you can leave the watch on the table and it will still be ticking for 41 more hours.
Moving onto the bracelet of the watch, this is where Seiko cuts corners in terms of cost. I would say this is perfectly reasonable as the prices of Seiko 5 watches ranges from US$60 to US$150+, inclusive of both online and physical store prices. If I had to choose whether to cut costs on the watch case or the bracelet as a customer and/or a manufacturer, it would always be the bracelet as there are many third-party options for bracelets and straps.
Early on in this article, I asked whether the Seiko 5 series really is great value-for-money. My answer? Yes, no doubt about it. The level of value may vary as some Seiko 5 models are much more expensive due to its rarity and high popularity. However, on average, you realistically will have trouble finding a series of watches that offers such value for its price.
tl;dr : The ultimate value? Perhaps.