5 Reasons Why Seiko 5 Makes the Best Entry-Level Mechanical Watches

by Karlton Miko Tyack  |  in Watches

The world of mechanical watches can be overwhelming for newcomers. There are many moving parts to these analog wonders to learn about (literally!), and the brands often associated with mechanical timekeeping are intimidating. After all, Rolex is almost single-handedly keeping the tradition alive, and Grand Seiko isn’t attainable for most. Fortunately, Seiko 5 is.

Diving into this Seiko subline is the best mechanicals 101 course that curious new collectors can take. Their watches are affordable, high-quality, and well-respected. So today we’re going to list five reasons why a Seiko 5 should be your first mechanical watch.

Let’s first answer some burning questions…

Photo by Puria Berenji

What’s the Difference Between Seiko and Seiko 5?

Seiko 5 is a subbrand of Seiko launched in 1963, focusing on entry-level mechanical watches. Each timepiece in the line boasts the following features: 

  • Automatic winding
  • A day/date function
  • Water resistance
  • An unbreakable mainspring or Seiko’s proprietary Diaflex
  • Shock resistance, or Seiko’s proprietary Diashock 

Are Seiko 5 Automatics Good?

Seiko 5 automatic watches offer the best price-to-ratio mechanical watches out there. That’s why we were able to round up 15 of our favorites so easily!

Seiko 5 SRPD76K1

This Seiko 5 SRPD76K1 watch is geared for men, has rose gold plated steel case, is circular and with black rotating bezel

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02/14/2023 12:43 pm GMT

Two calibres that Seiko 5 watches use include the 7S26 and the 4R36, which are workhorse movements. They aren’t perfect, but they’re simple, efficient, reliable, and easy to service. 

The older 7S26 movement is an automatic, 21-jewel movement with a 40-hour power reserve. The upgraded 4R36 is a 24-jewel movement, which additionally features hacking and hand-winding.

Why is Seiko 5 so Cheap?

Call it Japanese efficiency! A lot of the parts and toolings are older and paid off, and the construction of the movement is mostly mechanized. This is especially true of the 7S26 movement.

On Seiko’s part, it’s good business since they’d rather sell these parts for something rather than nothing. And for collectors, it’s a great opportunity since we want affordable mechanical watches.

How Long Will a Seiko 5 Last?

A Seiko 5 watch can last anywhere from five years to over 25 years. The wide range is due to a variety of wildcards. For example, dust build-up can eventually cause a break in an old Seiko 5’s 7S26B movement.

However, this will likely take decades. And since Seiko 5 watches are so affordable, servicing them sometimes costs as much as buying a brand new watch

Why is Seiko 5 So Popular?

Seiko 5 offers some of the best bang-for-buck watches on the market! Basically, Seiko 5 watches are so popular because of the following five qualities…

5 Reasons Why Seiko 5 Should be Your First Mechanical Watch

1. In-house Automatic Movements

Seiko assembles their movements themselves from top to bottom. Of course, Seiko is a huge company that owns some movement factories, so this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t mass-produced. However, the benefit of companies developing their in-house movements is that they have control over the quality.

The Seiko company is steeped in horological tradition, so it’s no surprise that they take this approach.

2. There’s Something for Everyone

Seiko 5 may be a sports line, but their offerings are incredibly diverse. 

Seiko SNK355

This watch has the same silhouette as the SNXS79K, but features a lot more surfaces for light to hit giving it a glimmery, frosty aesthetic. The subtle repeating Seiko 5 logo pattern on the white face adds dimension, and the shiny, multi-link, multi-layer bracelet makes it just a bit fancier looking. Go for this watch if you want a fun yet elegant automatic that can easily transition from day to night. 

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Whether you’re looking for a robust dive watch like Seiko 5’s Fifty Fathoms homage, the SNZH57, something dressy like the SNK355, or a fan-favorite like the Seiko 5 SNK805 field watch, there really is something for everyone.

3. Affordable Prices

The prices for Seiko 5 watches range from $70 to upwards of $300. You can typically find the beautiful and robust rose gold Seiko 5 SRPD76K1 in the $250 range. Along with Orient watches, you won’t find prices this reasonable for automatic timepieces!

4. They’re Easily Serviced

The movements are simple and you don’t need to go to an elusive specialist to get your Seiko 5 watch fixed. 

There are just two caveats here. First, as watch models get older and less common, the more difficult and expensive it will be to find parts. This applies to watches in general, not just Seiko 5 specifically.

Secondly, if it costs just as much to buy a new Seiko 5 watch as it does to get your old watch serviced, it’s up to you which path you want to take (perhaps your watch has sentimental value!). This is especially true of the sub-100 Seiko 5 models.

5. Seiko 5 has a Dedicated Community

Seiko 5 fans are like an inclusive club. You can easily engage with other Seiko 5 admirers without pretension on countless online forums or at live watch conventions.

Seiko 5 SNK805
$195.00 $150.00

This watch eatures a stylish and durable green fabric strap that closes with a traditional buckle. The watch's green dial matches its strap and boasts easy-to-read Arabic hour and minute markers. The dial also features silver-toned hands and a date window at the three o'clock position.

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Whether you’re looking to celebrate a new watch acquisition or have a question or issue, Seiko 5’s massive following makes it easier for newbies to openly learn about mechanical watches. It’s like a crowd-funded class on automatic watches.

Seiko 5’s Crossover Appeal

People who are interested in the inner workings of a mechanical watch love this line as much as those who just want something pretty to look at on their wrist.  

Even watch specialists who collect upscale watches have fond memories of being introduced to mechanical timepieces through Seiko 5!

We hope this was helpful! What are some reasons you love Seiko 5?