Mechanical, Affordable, Durable

Seiko’s Affordable Mechanical Watch is the Perfect Blank Canvas

May 22, 2019 Watches By

The Seiko 5 line, a collection of inexpensive, durable, self-winding watches, has been in production since 1963, and offers some of the best value in mechanical timepieces. With a plethora of models to choose from in numerous sub-lines (Seiko 5 Sports, Seiko Sportsmatic, etc.), the 5 remains a perennial favorite of not only Seiko fans, but fans of affordable, enduring designs in general.

Though a seemingly revolving door of models makes it difficult to keep track of the entire Seiko 5 current catalog (not to mention the fact that Seiko doesn’t exactly publicize the line in the US market), a quick Google search often yields plenty of results, and many can be found for less than $100 (and certainly less than $200) on Amazon and elsewhere. Cheap enough to collect and plentiful enough to easily find, the 5 is a watch that you may as well have multiples of.

Below are some of our favorite Seiko 5 models across different sub-categories:

Buyer’s Guide


The SNKK27 features a blue dial with the first 20 minutes demarcated in orange, for a fun pop of color. The SNKK27 also features an orange second hand, steel indices with luminous material and an internal scale in 5-minute markings as well as a steel bracelet and exhibition case back. A white-dialed Seiko 5 with a similar configuration and a Jubilee-style bracelet is available in the form of the SNK369.


About as basic as a Seiko 5 gets, the SNK809 is available in several dial and strap colors and features a 37mm stainless steel case with fixed bezel, luminous hands and Arabic numeral indices, 5-minute markers, a Hardlex crystal, a day-date complication at 3 o’clock, and the automatic Seiko 7S26 movement with 40 hours of power reserve. With 30 meters of water resistance, you can get this watch wet, but it’s best not to swim with it.


The SNXS73K is a funky, 70s-influenced take on the Seiko 5 that tends to look a bit dressier. You still get all the typical Seiko 5 goodness, including a steel case, automatic movement, Hardlex crystal, etc, but in this case, the silver dial, day-date display and short, rounded lugs with the tapered bracelet come off as slightly less “field watch” and more “boardroom.”


Classic proportions (36mm x 12mm) make the SNKD99 perfect for fans of vintage mechanical watches who nonetheless would prefer a modern model. 50m of water resistance isn’t enough to dive with, but certainly enough to help you get through most everyday activities. The SNKD99 features a fixed steel bezel and matching stainless steel bracelet for a clean, uniform look.


This “bottle cap”-style diver features a distinctive case shape and an attractive black dial with red contrast printing and large oversized indices. As is often the case with the Seiko 5, you get an automatic day-date movement with hacking, plus a unidirectional dive bezel and a stainless steel bracelet.


For a bit more money, you can get yourself into a Seiko 5 Sports watch with some proper diving creds. In the SNCF15’s case, you get a unidirectional blue dive bezel with the first 20 minutes demarcated in red, a 42mm stainless steel case, a Hardlex mineral crystal, the Seiko 7S36 automatic movement, a day-date display, Lumibrite-powered luminous hands and indices, and 100m of water resistance. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for your first automatic dive watch.


Larger than many of the other options presented here, the SRPB25K features a 43mm case with an internal rotating dive bezel with the first 20 minutes demarcated in red (the three o’clock crown controls the time, day and date functions, while the 2 o’clock crown controls the bezel). A handsome blue sunray dial and 100m of water resistance round out the feature set.

Timekeeping Icon: Seiko 5

We delve into the background of Seiko’s famous affordable, mechanical watch. Read the Story

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Oren Hartov

Oren Hartov is Gear Patrol's watches editor. He knows what time it is, and one or two other things.

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