Seiko fans are in for a treat today. The Japanese brand’s hyper-successful Seiko 5 Sports watch turns 55, an affordable, robust watch which many consolidated watch writers believe kickstarted their passion for the wonderful world of mechanical watchmaking. To celebrate, Seiko is releasing a limited-edition watch with a strong resemblance to the original 1968 Seiko 5 Sports. But the party doesn’t stop here, and three non-limited SKX Sports Style models referencing the design and colours of the 1969 collection enliven the options. All four models are powered by Seiko’s workhorse calibre 4R36.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPK17
The Seiko 5 Sports was the ultimate robust daily beater with a contemporary design and a super-competitive price. The origins of the Seiko 5 Sports go back to 1963 with the Sportsmatic 5, Seiko and Japan’s first automatic day-date display and the first to embrace the five key specifications that would characterise the Seiko 5 collection: an automatic movement; a day-date display in a single aperture at 3 o’clock; water-resistance; a recessed crown at 4 o’clock; and a robust steel case and bracelet or strap. Inheriting the five specs, the Seiko 5 Sports of 1968 was also fitted with innovative solutions used inside the Sportsmatic, like the new mainspring and shock-resistance system, as well as the Magic Lever (1959), to improve the winding efficiency and extend the power reserve.
The face that launched a thousand ships was the Seiko 5 Sports of 1968 with its enhanced water-resistance, strengthened crystal and luminous hour hands and markers. Designed to appeal to a new generation of active young people in the 1960s, the robust case and movement of the Seiko 5 Sports was versatile and could handle just about any situation.
The limited-edition watch unveiled today is a spot-on revival of the original with a robust brushed 39.5mm tonneau-shaped case with a thickness of 12.5mm. The signature half-moon scalloped areas at noon and 6 o’clock, along with the case flanks, are polished, and the crown is tucked into the case at 4 o’clock. Although the looks are faithful to the original, there are upgrades throughout, including the new, more solid bracelet construction crafted from contemporary materials for a more comfortable fit.
Comparing the original and the new models, you can appreciate how Seiko has respected the design of the dial. Framed by the notched rotating bezel with silver markings and a luminous pearl at noon, the black dial has a silver peripheral track and the same applied bar indices treated with Lumibrite, just like the hands. Almost identical to the 1968 model, the original Seiko 5 logo is transferred in silver at noon, the day and date window uses a very similar frame to the original, the baton-style hour and minute hands are treated with Lumibrite and the lollipop central seconds hand is red. The only aspect that differs slightly is the inclusion of the words 10 BAR in the inscriptions in the lower half of the dial, with SPORTS picked out in blue. In keeping with the vintage spirit of the watch, the dial is protected by a curved Hardlex crystal.
The caseback is sealed and marked as a limited edition (00001/15555), and the watch comes in a special box that captures the colours and design mood of 1968 when the watch was born. Below deck is Seiko’s automatic 4R36 calibre, an in-house movement that has long proved its reliability and sturdiness. It ticks at 3 Hertz and has a 41-hour power reserve. As always with the Seiko 5, its magnetic resistance is a class 2, which means it can withstand magnetic fields created by everyday gadgets and home appliances within a proximity of 5 centimetres. The Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Limited Edition SRPK17 is comprised of 15,555 pieces. It will be available in July 2023 at Seiko Boutiques and select partners worldwide and retails for EUR 410.
Quick facts: 39.5mm diameter x 12.5mm thickness (43.1mm lug-to-lug) – stainless steel, brushed and polished – rotating bezel with Lumibrite pearl at noon – sealed caseback – curved Hardlex crystal over dial – 100m water-resistance – black dial with Lumibrite hands and indices – automatic in-house calibre 4R36 – 21,600vph – 41h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds (hacking), day/date – steel bracelet with three-fold clasp and push-button release – ref. SRPK17 limited edition of 15,555 pieces – available July 2023 – EUR 410
For more information, visit Seiko’s dedicated Seiko Sports 5 website.
Three Tributes to 1969: SRPK09, SRPK11, SRPK13
The 1968 Seiko 5 Sports spawned innumerable models over the years. Perhaps the most iconic of these was the SKX, Seiko’s line-up of bulletproof dive watches at bargain prices that now appear in the brand’s newly restructured collection in the SKX Sports Style segment. Although the three models pick up on the vibrant colour schemes of 1969 Seiko 5 Sports models, they are housed in the legendary SKX case with crown and guards at 4 o’clock and the unidirectional rotating bezel. The 100m water-resistant case measures 42.5mm, has a thickness of 13.4mm, features a see-through caseback to view Seiko’s automatic 4R36 calibre and is fitted with a three-link stainless steel bracelet.
Apart from the obvious colour variations on the dial, all three models have different bezels and flanges. The most restrained model is the SRPK09, with its silver dial combined with a black and silver unidirectional rotating bezel. In contrast, the black dial model (SRPK13) has a black bezel with red and silver markings and a sloping flange in blue and green. The loudest model is the orange (SRPK11) with its black bezel, two-tone orange and black flange and a thick black band traversing the dial from 3 to 9 o’clock. All three share the same rectangular applied hour markers and baton hands with Lumibrite, an orange central seconds hand, a large day/date aperture at 3 o’clock with a black background and the inscription Automatic in blue.
The three new and colourful references are not limited in production and will be available at Seiko Boutiques and retail partners worldwide in September 2023. The retail price is EUR 350.
Quick facts: 42.5mm diameter x 13.4mm thickness (46mm lug-to-lug) – unidirectional rotating bezel with Lumibrite pearl at noon – see-through caseback – curved Hardlex crystal over dial – 100m water-resistance – silver, orange or black dial with Lumibrite hands and indices – automatic in-house calibre 4R36 – 21,600vph – 41h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds (hacking), day/date – steel bracelet with three-fold clasp and secure lock and push-button release – ref. SRPK09, SRPK11, SRPK13 non-limited – EUR 350
For more information, visit Seiko’s dedicated Seiko 5 Sports website.