Long offered in a dizzying range of iterations – all priced extremely affordably – the Seiko 5 Sports collection has, for the longest time, enjoyed stardom in the segment of watches below US$200. The affordability of the range and its core features – automatic winding, day and date, water resistance, a durable case and bracelet, plus the recessed crown at four o’clock – have been a gateway drug for aspiring watch enthusiasts who have never owned a mechanical timepiece.
The Seiko 5 Sports line-up has just been streamlined, and now consists of five core variants, each conceived for a specific style of dress. The entire line-up will be made up of 27 specific models. All the watches are essentially “diver-lite”, looking much like Seiko’s “SKX” scuba diver’s watches but not built to the same robust standards.
The new Seiko 5 Sports collection is centred on a common watch design, sharing the same case, rotating bezel, hands, and dial design. And the movement used across the line is the self-winding cal. 4R36. All the redesigned models are identified by the new Seiko 5 logo that has the “5” rotated 45 degrees to the left.
What seems to be missing from the revamp is a new version of the popular Seiko 5 Sports “field watch” that has a distinctive, military-inspired design and has long been a perennial favourite for first-timers to the watch world. Given Seiko track record in swiftly iterating a model into dozens of variations, the field watch will no doubt be making a comeback soon.
The Seiko 5 Sports “Sports Style” – yes, that’s one too many “sports” – is the widest with 11 watches. Most of the models have metallic finish, sun-ray brushed dials in colours reminiscent of the “SKX” divers, including one in orange and also a “Pepsi”.
The next largest sub-range is “Suits Style” that’s made up of eight watches. The line is characterised by darker dials, with the exception of one in cream, most paired with ivory, faux aged luminous paint. Accentuating the vintage look is the “Milanese” mesh bracelets offered on some of the models, a retro twist that’s a first for the Seiko 5.
“Street Style” is exactly as its name suggests, designed for the streetwear crowned. Thematically, the watches are similar to the Seiko x nano.universe collaboration that was launched in 2016, meaning an all-black look with contrast colour LumiBrite.
The “Specialist Style” line is the most mundane of the lot, with conventional colour schemes and finishes, including one with a gold-plated steel case. The gilt model is unusual also because it’s the only one with a silicone strap lined on top with crocodile-print calfskin.
The smallest sub-range with just two watches, “Sense Style” is oddly named but unusually styled. Both watches have dials finished with an irregular texture and imaginative colour combinations: one is entirely green with an orange seconds hand, and the other is brown with a turquoise seconds hand.
Material: Stainless steel (with gold-plating or hard coating on certain references)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, day and date
Frequency: 21,600bph or 3Hz
Power reserve: 41 hours
Pricing and availability
The new Seiko 5 Sports line is priced between 30,000-38,000 Japanese yen before taxes, or about US$280-360. They will be available in stores come September 2019.
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