Normally when a watch company starts to talk about products for ‘a next generation’, the implicit message is: ‘run away now.’ But not this time. The Seiko 5 sports watch has existed for over 50 years, but like a G-Shock it has maintained its coolness. That achievement probably has to do with a conscious lack of pretence. Trying to be cool is usually the fastest way to be very uncool, indeed. Of course, there’s the common marketing slang like ‘created for the individual’ and obvious skateboard references, but that doesn’t matter at all because these watches speak for themselves.
The first Seiko 5 was introduced in 1963 and went under the name Seiko Sportmatic. It was Seiko’s and – Japan’s – first-ever automatic day-date watch. The number ‘5’ was chosen intentionally and represented the 5 promises that every Seiko 5 watch would have: an automatic movement; a day-date display; water-resistance; a recessed crown at the four o’clock position; and a case and bracelet built for durability. Taken together, these features gave, and give, Seiko 5 its tough appearance and its strength. The case measures 42.5mm diameter and 13.4mm in height.
The Seiko 5 Sports delivers these values in a very basic way. They look a bit like tool watches, but instead, they’re actually made for daily use in practically every way. Reliability, accessibility, durability, performance and a nice but not too flashy style are definitely the values that Seiko has used for this collection. And mechanical knowledge, of course, as the new collection is fully equipped with mechanical movements!
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The movements are all Seiko’s basic automatic Calibre 4R36, with 24 jewels, optional manual-winding, a 41-hour power reserve and a hacking seconds hand.
Nice detail: the movement can be seen thanks to a see-through caseback.
There are no fewer than 27 different varieties, grouped in five different styles: Sports, Suits, Specialist, Street and Sense. All have very basic dials with three-dimensional hour markers and straps made from different materials. There’s steel (also in mesh), nylon, silicone/calf hybrid and straps. The cases are all in steel, in colours like black, rose gold, grey or olive green.
All of them are quite sporty in traditional watch terms (although a twenty-something could also easily wear them in a casual work environment), but they’re definitely not intended for professional use – after all, they’re water-resistant to 100m and have Hardlex crystals.
The Seiko 5 Sports will be available in September 2019, and retail prices start at 280 EUR. What’s not to love about these wonderful Japanese watches? More models and info at the seikowatches.com website here.