I was looking for an inexpensive, automatic "beater" watch that I can wear to work, etc. and not really have to worry about. I have previously owned a Seiko Black Monster and an Orient Orange Mako, and while I usually don't like the "Submariner" styled watches, when I saw this one, I thought it looked pretty cool, and different. So, I decided to pick one up.
I won mine off of eBay (about $100, shipped), and it came from a dealer/seller in Singapore, which took about two weeks for the watch to arrive to me here in Chicago (via mail). I wish I could have bought it here in the USA, but I do not believe these are US-Market watches (at least I have not been able to find one from a US dealer).
This is the first Seiko-5 I have owned, and I have to say that for the price, it's not too shabby! Comparing it to the similar watches I've owned (Monster and Mako), the fit and finish is pretty good!
A few photos:
Here's my first impressions:
Made from stainless steel, the dimensions are approximately 42mm wide (not including the crown), 12mm thick, and about 46mm lug-to-lug, with a 22mm lug-width. It is rated to 100M, so it is not really a "real" dive watch. The finish is very well done for a watch in this price range--it is a combination of brushed top, with polished sides, case back and bezel edges. The crystal is flat and very slightly recessed below the bezel, and I believe it is made of Hardlex (as is the screw-down, exhibition case back). The crown is located at the three-o'clock position, and it is NOT as screw-down crown, but rather a push/pull type (which is to be expected on a Seiko 5, I guess). One nice thing is that the bezel rotates very smoothly (counter-clockwise, 120-clicks), but I cannot tell if it has an actual insert or if it is just painted--to me, it just looks painted. (I hope it doesn't scratch too easily!)
The dial is actually the reason I decided to buy this model--it has the styling of a Sumo or Marine Master, and it looks really nice! It has a smooth, black finish, with raised, silver-trimmed, luminous markers. The "Seiko 5" logo also appears raised, but the rest of the text on the dial looks like it is just painted on in white. There is a day/date window at the three-o'clock position, and on this model, the day can be displayed as either English or Roman numerals. The silver-trimmed, hands are another really nice element of this watch. While the hour and minute hands remind me of Samurai or Sumo hands, the second hand is a standard "stick-and-ball" type.
As for lume, from my short test, it looks like it has decent-enough lume, but it doesn't seem to be as strong as the Monster (and I doubt it will last as long).
It is 22mm wide at the curved end links and tapers to 20mm at the signed clasp. It is a nicely made and finished bracelet, but it does not have solid end links on either the case side or on the clasp side. Although the clasp does not have a divers extension, it does have four micro adjustment holes which is a plus. Unfortunately, next to the non-screw-down crown, this is the weakest part of the watch. Also, the bracelet it a little more noisy than I would prefer, but again, for the price it's not too bad. It is nowhere near the quality of the Monster bracelet, though, and I would say that even the Mako's bracelet is better, even though that one has hollow end links, too.
Well, since I just got the watch, I can't comment on accuracy, yet, but it utilizes Seiko's 7s36 23-jewel automatic movement. It is a tried and true movement, so I expect it will run well, and if it is any better than +10 seconds per day, I will be happy!
Although I just got this watch today, here's what I think about it....For the price I paid (about $100, shipped), I think it is a decent watch. The fit and finish is actually really nice, and it uses a very solid movement from Seiko. It is definitely not as solid as an ISO-rated diver like a Monster or other SKX models, but it is not really priced in that range, either. Compared to an Orient Mako, however, it is a littler closer--the Mako has a better water resistance rating, screw-down crown, and a slight edge on the bracelet, BUT personally, I think the finish of the case (and especially the bezel) and the overall design of this Seiko 5 to be better than the Mako.
In fact, the only real "cons" I can see with this watch are, first, the lack of a screw-down crown and a 200m water resistance (basically that it is not an ISO-rated diver), and second, the use hollow end links in bracelet. That's about it!
So, in the end, for a non-dive watch in the $75-100 range, I think this watch is very nice and deserves some consideration. Personally, I think that if Seiko were to make an actual ISO-rated diver's watch with the size and styling of the SNZF17, I think they would have a real winner!
Now...I just have to see how this watch holds up to actually being a beater! (It's almost too nice-looking for that, but we'll see...!)