5 Reasons Why Seiko 5 Sports Makes the Best Value Automatic Watches

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We’re big fans of the Seiko 5 line. In 2019, this Seiko sub-line upgraded their automatic movement and broadened their style offerings. We’re going to look at 5 reasons why Seiko 5 Sports makes the best value automatic watches.

As they continue to grow, and now that the watch community has had some experience with these added styles, we’re going to explore them and their 4R36 caliber.

If you’re new, let’s start with a basic but common question from first-timers!

closeup of seiko 5 watch black dial with brown leather strap
Photo by Peter Gombos

Is Seiko 5 Sports Automatic?

Yes, an automatic movement is one of the five necessary qualities that the appellation “Seiko 5” refers to. We explored all of the qualifiers when we dove into why Seiko 5 makes great entry-level mechanicals.

Are All Seiko 5 Watches the Same?

In 2019, the Seiko 5 Sports line introduced five different styles of colorways and finishes. Within the five different styles is the original Seiko 5 Sports Style, the descendants of the original Seiko Sportsmatic 5 that started it all in 1963.

The other four styles are Suits, Specialist, Street, and Sense:

  • Sports Style: The largest category featuring classic dive designs, stainless steel constructions, a Pepsi bezel option, and a lot of timepieces taking up the mantle for the discontinued SKX watches.
  • Suits Style incorporates retro designs, Milanese mesh bracelets, and even a faux patina lume to replicate a vintage feel.
  • Sense Style: This style is experimental, whimsical, and unconventional. Sense Style boasts several limited editions, unique textures, and collaborations with artists.
  • Street Style: As its name suggests, these timepieces are hip and fun. They’re also mostly monochromatic. Examples include an all-black PVD watch and even an all-rose gold stainless steel. 
  • Specialist Style: The Specialist watches are a lot like the Sports Style pieces, but with more fashion-forward options like rose gold plating, gunmetal gray cases, and different textured leather straps.

All these pieces have been updated to the 4R36 caliber from the older 7S26. Which leads us into the next question:

Is 4R36 better than 7S26?

Seiko’s in-house 4R36 caliber is similar to the 7S26, but with more functionalities. These include: 

  • Hacking
  • Hand-winding
  • 24 jewels (vs 21 in the 7S26)

Seiko’s official accuracy specs for the 4R36 is -35 / +45, while the 7S26 is -20 / +40. However, while there are alway exceptions, many often find that both are about the same in accuracy.

Additionally, the 4R36’s hacking feature lets you stop the second hand, which allows you to set time more accurately.

Having two extra jewels in the 4R36 may also help protect against wear better. So while many consider this movement an upgrade for the Seiko 5s, you may still ask yourself, on its own…

Is 4R36 a good movement?

Yes. It’s reliable, easy to service, and robust.

It beats at 21,600 bph. This low-beat movement isn’t as accurate as a high-beat movement, but the slower balance wheel creates less friction.

This means the watch will last longer because wear and tear is reduced. 

It also makes for a longer power reserve because less energy is used. The 4R36 has about 40 hours.

Theoretically, a low-beat movement is more sensitive to outside disturbances, but Seiko fixes this problem with their proprietary Diashock system. It’s a device that protects the balance wheel pivot from shock and pressure.

So now that we’re caught up…

5 Reasons Why Seiko 5 Makes the Best Value Automatics

Upgraded Caliber

Again, Seiko’s in-house automatic 4R36 is a reliable workhorse, and the hacking feature allows you to set the time more accurately.

The hand-winding capability is also a good back-up if the mainspring fully unwinds.

Sport Watch Capabilities

Even the dressiest Seiko 5 watches are durable with at least 100m of water-resistance. Additionally, they all boast Seiko’s proprietary Diashock system, and their unbreakable Diaflex mainspring.

Five Different Style Categories

They may all be sport watches, but each style offers something distinct. If you want something really robust, go for the Sports or the Specialist Styles.

If you want something dressy or nostalgic, there are plenty of pieces in the Suits category. While Street Style is hip and trendy, Sense is artsy and unconventional. 

A Great Resource for Those Interested in Horology

If the exhibition caseback isn’t enough to satisfy your horological curiosity, hop onto the several dedicated online groups or contact your local watch shop to start a conversation.

No watch brand has as much crossover appeal, catching the interest of even the highest-end experts.

Comparable Watches are More Expensive

It’s no secret that Seiko 5 Sports watches are affordable. But even compared to other budget sport watches, the SKXs for example, Seiko 5s will usually be anywhere from $100-200 cheaper.

What are the Best Seiko 5 Sports Automatics?

It depends on your tastes, but here are five models from each style that we love!

Seiko 5 Specialist Style SRPE80

The Specialist Style Seiko 5s take classic sport watches and soups them up with creative designs and materials.

In the case of the SRPE80, it’s an antique-style patina gold bezel, a distinct patterned dial, and unique strap made of silicon and leather. It’s an overall adventurous, masculine, and fun aesthetic!

Seiko 5 Suits Style SRPD69

The Suits Style SRPD69 boasts a beautiful vintage burgundy color with champagne and gold indices and hands.

The dial, however, is a modern-sized 42.5mm. For a touch of sparkle, the bracelet is a Milanese mesh with intricate lacing.

Seiko 5 Sense Style SRPD85

The SRPD85 is one of the original Sense Style timepieces which are sometimes called “5KXs” because they look like remixed versions of the SKX. This watch features a unique brown colorway and a textured face.

The case is also impressive, with its slightly enigmatic finish that sits somewhere between bronze and silver for a distinct look.

Seiko 5 Street Style SRPE71

This hip, monochromatic timepiece features brushed and polished stainless steel and a silver sunburst dial. The star of the show though is the noticeably textured and eye-catching bezel.

The numbers are three-dimensional and in an ornate Gothic style similar to the Grand Seiko logo.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPE51

We cover Seiko 5 Sports Style watches a lot. So instead of one of the many quintessential dives we’ve already explored, we’re showcasing this Sports Style’s diversity with the sleek and shiny SRPE51.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPE51
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10/04/2022 08:08 pm GMT

Its design is refined and restrained, with an elegant sunburst dial and a versatile 40mm case that can be worn with literally anything. 

The Best Seiko 5 Sports Automatic

They may not be as well-engineered or as legendary as the SKX watches, but Seiko 5 Sports are more than fashion watches. They’re fully functioning automatics that are reliable and durable

And it doesn’t hurt that there are so many styles. All things considered, there’s a lot of value in these Seiko 5 Sports Automatics. 

We hope this was helpful! Let us know your favorite Seiko 5 Sports Automatic on Facebook or on Instagram!