If I had to name one watch brand that won’t break the bank but still builds quality timepieces, I would go with Seiko.
With so many watches on the market, Seiko is a consistently reputable, (relatively) affordable, and trusted brand that you can depend on for a solid wristwatch.
Not to mention, when we wear a good-looking timepiece, we not only add to our outfit, but we also simplify our day-to-day operations.
(Ever pull out your phone to check the time, and twelve minutes later, gasp as you come up for air from the infinite scroll hole you dove deep into?)
It’s no secret that Swiss watches are the leaders in the watch market, but most Swiss watches are pricey and expensive to maintain. And while you might be able to find affordable Swiss watches, Seiko is a Japanese watch brand that never fails to impress.
YOU’LL LOVE THIS ONE, TOO
Why You Should Buy a Seiko
Since 1881, Seiko has been creating jaw-dropping watches that are both highly effective in their field (dive watches for water, field watches for the outdoors, etc.) and good-looking on the wrist.
Their craftsmanship has been honed over decades, starting with pieces like the Seikosha Timekeeper to timeless classics like the Seiko SKX007.
So, if you’re wondering, “Why Seiko?”, it boils down to this: Great value for the price, and a seemingly infinite number of good-looking models to choose from no matter your budget.
You’re sure to find something that works for you, but there’s also a chance you may be overwhelmed with their huge offering. And so that’s why we put together this article for you!
Let’s get into a few models and styles I recommend.
Seiko Dive Watches
Seiko has made some great dive watches throughout their history. However, their most famous dive watches weren’t made until the late 1900s. I’ve listed three of my personal favorites and when I say that these are watches I’d wear day-in and day-out, I truly mean it.
Seiko SKX007 / SKX013
The Seiko SKX007 is a must-have for any watch enthusiast, retailing for about $300.
Editor’s Note: While we’re mostly referring to the SKX007 here, know that the Seiko SKX013 is very similar, just housed within a smaller case (the 007 is 42mm, while the 013 is 36mm). If your wrist measures 7″ or smaller, I’d suggest the SKX013. –BC
The Seiko SKX007 uses the 7s26 mechanical movement, which is a less expensive movement than the movement in models like the Seiko Presage or any of the Grand Seiko models.
Of course, you have to keep in mind that the Seiko Presage and Grand Seiko models are substantially more expensive than the Seiko SKX007.
On top of that, the Seiko SKX007 has a 44-48 hour power reserve, meaning that the watch will keep ticking for two whole days before you need to wind the watch spring up again.
The Seiko SKX007 also has a very clear day and date window centered on the dial. You’ll be able to see this easily in the dark thanks to the watch’s LumiBrite markers which provide long-lasting luminosity..
This is a watch that is highly regarded by both the watchmaking and the watch-wearing community. You’d be hard-pressed to find a watch that provides more value than the Seiko SKX007 at its price point.
Seiko SKX007 Features:
- 42mm case diameter
- 7s26 mechanical movement
- Water resistant up to 200m (660ft)
- Band Options: Stainless Steel or Rubber
- Day and date window
- 44-48 hour power reserve
- 22mm band width
Seiko SKX013 features:
- 21 Jewels Calibre 7S26 Automatic Movement
- Stainless Steel Case
- Band Options: Stainless Steel or Rubber
- Hardlex Crystal
- Day/Date Display with Arabic Option
- Luminous Hands and Markers
- Case Size: 37mm Diameter, 11.5mm Thickness
- Water Resistant to 200M
- Screw Down Crown and Caseback
- 20mm band width
Seiko Prospex SBDC005 Orange Sumo / SRPC07 Orange Samurai
I like this watch because it stands out more than your average watch.
The first thing you’ll notice with the Seiko Prospex Orange Sumo is the orange dial. This is what makes this watch unique.
Somehow, Seiko has managed to take a color that most people think is too bright for watches and turn it into the standout feature of a beloved timepiece.
Furthermore, there’s plenty of contrast with the white hour markers against the orange dial. On this watch, you’re getting an Automatic 6515 movement and a screw-down crown that prevents water and dust from entering the watch.
Judging by the aesthetics and build of the Seiko Orange Sumo, it’s perfect for the rugged, active guy who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.
Here’s the bad news: It’s not easy finding an Orange Sumo. And if you do find one, chances are they’re for resale at a much higher price point than its original retail.
But there is some good news…
While the Sumo is hard to find, here’s another option, the Seiko SRPC07 orange Samurai.
Seiko SRPC07 Orange Samurai features:
- Self-winding 4r35 automatic movement
- Rotating bezel
- Vibrant orange dial
- 44mm diameter case dial
- Water resistance of up to 200m (660ft)
- 20mm band width
So, while the iconic Orange Sumo is a little difficult to find nowadays, Seiko has offered a solid alternative with similar aesthetic and just as many features as the Orange Sumo. Some might say this one looks even better.
Seiko Dress Watches
There’s no doubt that Seiko makes some of the best dress watches. They meet the standards of any extraordinary dress watch: clean, highly functional, and dazzling to their own degree.
Seiko Presage SRPB43 Cocktail Time
When you first set eyes on the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time (model SRPB43), you’ll be awed by the look of this watch.
And considering its luxe aesthetic, you’ll be even more surprised by just how affordable this timepiece is.
At $400, this is the perfect minimal dress watch. It has a beautiful ice blue sunburst dial, sharp markers, and a 23-jewel, self winding automatic movement.
What I really like about the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time is that they don’t follow the traditional dress watch route. Most watch brands play it safe and design a dress watch with a minimal white dial and black leather band.
Seiko added their own flair with a sunburst-style dial in a subtle, unique coloring. And the best part about this dial is that it doesn’t take away from the aspect of a dress watch… it adds to it.
There are plenty of great dress watches out there, but the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time will help you stand out in all the right ways, and at a relatively affordable price point.
Seiko Presage SRPB43 Cocktail Time Features:
- 40.5mm diameter case
- Cal. 4935 automatic movement
- Water resistant up to 50m
- Leather strap
- 20mm band width
- Calendar date
- 41 hour power reserve
When I think of Seiko classics, I think of the watches that define Seiko as a brand. Perhaps it’s the design, the craftsmanship, the message, or all three things combined. But in the end, Seiko classics are watches that can be identified the moment you lay eyes on them.
Seiko SARB017 Alpinist
The Seiko Alpinist has a rather interesting story.
Initially, the watch wasn’t regarded as a keeper for Seiko enthusiasts. But when its discontinuation was announced in 2018, not only did its demand rise, but so did the price.
What used to be a mid-$350s watch now averages at a price point of around $450. And for good reason too.
The Seiko Alpinist has a wide range of interesting features. For one, it boasts an attractive, deep green sunburst dial and mix of goldtone Arabic numerals and indices with luminous dot hour markers and hands.
The Arabic numerals are situated at the 12, 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10-o’clock positions and markers are situated at the 1, 5, 7, 9, and 11-o’clock positions. The Seiko Alpinist also utilizes cathedral-like minute and second hands, which adds a more elegant touch.
The Seiko Alpinist uses the caliber 6R15 Automatic movement. This is a higher-end movement typically utilized in Seiko watches costing upwards of $1000.
If I see someone wearing a green dial watch while walking down the street, the first thing I’ll think of is the Seiko Alpinist. It’s a timeless classic from Seiko and no other green dial watch will ever be able to one-up it.
If you’re looking to buy a Seiko but don’t have a particular preference, then I highly recommend you check out the Alpinist.
It has so many great technical and aesthetic qualities that you usually find in more expensive watches. But with the Alpinist, you’re getting the value of a $1000+ watch for about half that.
Seiko SARB017 Alpinist features:
- 39.5mm case diameter
- Caliber 6R15 automatic movement
- Water resistance up to 200m (660ft)
- Calfskin leather strap (stainless steel options also available)
- 20mm band width
- Calendar date
Best Budget Seiko Option
Most of the watches we’ve already mentioned are already quite affordable, but what if you only have $100?
Luckily, Seiko also offers timepieces that cater to those who don’t have $300+ to spend on a timepiece. And in case you were worried about a drop in quality, the value isn’t overlooked with Seiko’s sub-$100 watches.
Seiko 5 (SNK803, SNK805, SNK807, SNK809)
When you consider the price-to-value ratio of the Seiko 5 line, you’re going to be shocked.
If you’re looking for the perfect outdoor watch, the Seiko 5 SNK809 is right up your alley.
The different model numbers, SNK803 / 5 / 7 / 9, seem to signify the alternative color options only. Each watch is solidly built with a stainless steel casing and Seiko’s exclusive Hardlex crystal.
While the black canvas strap isn’t necessarily a stand-out option, it can definitely hold up in most gritty situations. If you want to get rid of the canvas strap and opt for a leather or steel bracelet, the 18mm lugs make it very easy to swap.
Utility-wise, you’re getting a lot from the dial. For one, Seiko makes sure to contrast the black dial with the white Arabic numerals, allowing for a simplistic design that is easy to read. They also incorporate luminous hands and markers that allow you to easily tell time in the dark, nother plus for any watch-wearer.
But the two best things about this watch, in my opinion, are the automatic movement and day-date window. I’ve never seen these two features offered at such a low price.
Usually, you won’t see an automatic movement or a day-date window in a sub-$100 watch.
In fact, the Seiko SNK809 will only run you about $80!
The Seiko SNK809 holds a wide range of features. The watch has an automatic movement, a day-date window, 30m water resistance, and a durable case and strap.
You get all of these features for $80, so if this isn’t a budget watch packed with incredible value, then I don’t know what is.
Seiko 5 (SNK803, SNK805, SNK807, SNK809) features:
- 37mm case diameter
- In-house 7s26 automatic movement
- Water resistant up to 30m
- Nylon band
- 18mm band width
- Calendar day-date
So what’s the BEST Seiko for you?
In this article, we’ve taken a look at some of Seiko’s best watches. From their icy classics like the Seiko Presage to uncanny masterpieces like the Seiko Prospex Orange Sumo, Seiko has offered a wide range of great watches that we can choose from.
But if we had to offer you our favorites right now, which would they be? Which Seiko pieces would we recommend without hesitation?
After re-examining the benefits and features of each watch, plus the general aesthetic and all-around style, we’ve come down to our two favorite timepieces: the Seiko 5 SNK809 and the Seiko SKX007 (or SKX013).
Both of these watches are known for their value and quality. The Seiko SKX007 / 013 has developed a well-known reputation for its functionality both in and out of water while the Seiko 5 SNK809 is the perfect budget-friendly timepiece even though wearing it will make you feel like a million bucks.
But what about looks? Yes, neither the SKX007 / 013 nor the SNK809 can compete with dress watches like the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time, but they still have good looks thanks to the watchmakers’ design and craftsmanship.
Which Seiko watch is your personal favorite?
Seiko has always been a well-respected watch brand in the watch community. However, what’s shocking is just how many esteemed timepieces Seiko has created in its lifetime. You can almost never go wrong with a Seiko.
They’ve created luxury watches, budget watches, dive watches, dress watches. You need a specific type of watch; they’ve probably made it before.
But no matter which timepiece you get from Seiko, you’re always guaranteed to receive solid quality and craftsmanship at a wallet-friendly price point.
Tristan is a male fashion enthusiast and lover of watches. When he’s not playing tennis or creating content for his own blog, Jargon Style, he’s probably watching Narcos, grinding Clash of Clans, or learning about something new.