As it’s almost a year since we were introduced to the rich Seiko 5 Sports line of watches, we explored around to see if the world was amused by them as we were - and still are, as it promised a lot at the beginning, plus with the 2019 Seiko 5 Sports line came many expectations due to its high positioned standards. It is never easy to offer great value at a fraction of a cost. Let’s see if Seiko has made it.
As we know, the first Seiko 5 Sports model was born in the ‘60s – in 1968 to be exact. Since then, the Seiko 5 Sports name represents youthfulness and affordability, but without sacrificing the value. The number 5 in the name marks five traits Seiko 5 watches have and these are: automatic movements, a day/date displays, water resistance, crowns at 4 o’clock and durable cases and watch straps. So, in short, we could say these were, at their beginnings, tough watches made for outdoor activities and yet charming enough to attract young watch lovers and to fit somewhat modest youth budgets.
The discontinued, famous Seiko diver SKX007
At first look, the watches from the 2019 edition may reminiscence of the tool watches, as their original model from the ‘60s, but in fact, the SRPD watches were nicknamed 5KX due to many design similarities to the Seiko SKX dive watch line, mainly models Seiko SKX007 and Seiko SKX009. That doesn’t mean the 2019 line is a hybrid of the two, but rather that the 2019 Seiko 5 Sports line inherited the concept of the original Seiko 5 line, but pulled the design inspiration from Seiko SKX.
Translated to the real facts it sounds like this: even though their cases have roughly the same dimensions and a crown at 4 o’clock (with the difference of Seiko 5 Sports lacking a screw down option), the SKX is run by movement 7S26, while Seiko 5 Sports is run by 4R36, with added hacking and hand winding options. On the other hand, Seiko SKX has a water resistance of 200 meters, while Seiko 5 Sports have only 100 meters. So, to resume, the functionalities may not be the same, but Seiko 5 Sports watches still have much in common with SKX.
Seiko 5 Sports 2019 models inspired by the look of their SKX cousins
For example, to make Seiko 5 mods, you can use some of the same accessories you would use for SKX, such as watch bands (by using special spring bars) , as Seiko watch straps on SKX line have the same lug widths and very similar curvature as many of the Seiko straps on Seiko 5 models. Other than that, Seiko SKX and Seiko 5 have compatible bezels, dials, hands, bezel inserts and chapter rings, plus crystals, so you can replace your Hardlex crystal with a sapphire one, if you wish to do so.
While Seiko SKX line is loved among the watch collectors, it may be too simplistic for some tastes, especially young minds that have a knack for stylish designs, the Seiko 5 Sports series offers stylish tough watches that truly have a charm.
The 2019 Seiko Sports line introduced 19 new models (27 watches), categorized in five different styles: Sense, Specialist, Sports, Street and Suits.
- The Seiko 5 Sports Sense series subline has a unique texture on its dial and features burgundy or green color and offered models SRPD77K1 and SRPD85K1.
- The Seiko 5 Sports Specialist series come in a gunmetal or rose gold plated case with an alligator embossed bracelet made of leather or rubber. It offered three models: SRPD55K2, SRPD76K1 and SRPD65K3. The former two models also have Japanese editions marked as: SBSA027 and SBSA028.
- The Seiko 5 Sports category may be the most similar to the SKX line with its fairly simple design and featuring popular colors among youth - blue, black, green, Pepsi or orange. It offered 8 models but some of them come in brushed or smooth version. The first three models that have only one version with brushed case and stainless-steel watch strap are: SRPD53K1 (SBSA003) with Pepsi bezel and blue dial, SRPD57K1 (SBSA007) with black bezel and dial and SRPD59K1 (SBSA009) with black bezel and orange dial.
The Sports series also includes green and deep green models SRPD61K1 (SBSA011) and SRPD63K1 (SBSA013) with brushed cases and stainless-steel watch bracelets. They come in brushed or smooth versions.
The deep blue and black dial models SRPD51K1 (Japanese: SBSA001) and SRPD55K1 (Japanese: SBSA005) with stainless-steel bracelets come in two versions, with brushed cases and stainless-steel bracelets and with smooth cases and Nato bracelets. The brushed case versions are marked with the same codes, but come with Nato straps instead of steel ones.
The last model in Sports series are another two variations of the model SRPD65: the PVD coated SRD65K1 and SRPD65K4 with Nato strap.
- The Seiko 5 Sports Street series watches are all-black - black PVD coated with black bezel inserts, with either black, blue or red lume markers. It offered three watches marked: SRPD81K1, SRPD83K1 and SRPD79K1 (Japanese model: SBSA025).
- The Seiko 5 Sports Suits watches have somewhat of a vintage spirit with their faux patina lume and Milanese mesh bracelets. Models SRPD75K1 (SBSA019 - Japanese model), SRPD69K1 and SRPD67K1 include mesh watch strap, but have differently colored bezels and dials.
Beside Specialist series, the model SRPD65 also has its representative in the Suits category: SRPD65K2. Here it comes with black, textured silicone strap and has all the charm a watch can hold.
The same watch strap is included with Suits models SRPD71K2 and SRPD73K2 (shown below), while their variations SRPD71K1 and SRPD73K1 come with mesh bands.
The year 2020 brought the Seiko 5 Sports watch made for the fans of the rock band Queen. The model SRPE83K1 is also called the Red Special (Full name: SRPE83K1 Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited edition) and is inspired by the work of the band guitarist, Brian Harold May, and the handmade guitar he built with his father in the ‘60s. Seiko also made a special page devoted to this story. When you take into account the number of Queen fans, we can freely say that there are ‘only’ 9000 pieces of this gem. The Red Special has the dive bezel.
SRPE83K1 Seiko 5 Sports Brian May Limited edition, Image source: seikowatches.com
Japan market saw another limited edition of dive bezel release, Seiko 5 Sports Limited edition JDM (Japan Domestic Model), as a result of cooperation of Seiko and Japan’s JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind manga. The series of watches is called Seiko 5 Sports JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind and each model is released in 1000 pieces only. The models are marked as: SBSA029, SBSA030, SBSA031, SBSA033, SBSA034, SBSA036, SBSA037, SBSA038 (shown below).
Seiko 5 Sports JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind Limited edition models,Image source: rakuten.co.jp
The robust beauties : 2020 Seiko 5 Sports : SRPE71K1, SRPE72K1 & SRPE74K1
Around the same time last year just before the start of the summer, Seiko launched 27 New Seiko 5 Sports model. This year till this month, another 19 new models were added to the New Seiko 5 Sports collection to international market.
Of the nineteen New Seiko 5 sports models, eight of them (SRPE) are the same SRPD 42.5mm case with rotating bezel models that we are familiar with. However, it is the other eleven new models that are worth mentioning since they have been downsized from 42.5mm to 40mm, along with a new smoothed out bezel instead.
The year 2020 also brought the new releases of Seiko 5 automatic watches, with new 40mm diameter cases (the 2019 versions have 42.5mm diameter cases). Seiko 2020 models are marked SRPExx and there is 11 new Seiko 5 models, along with some limited editions. Basically, the 2020 models lost the diver bezels and got smooth, non-rotating ones instead, plus the watch hands appear a little slimmer than in 2019 watches. All models are still run by Seiko 4R36 movement and have the same hardware so it appears Seiko decided to only add more style variations this time. The new models: SRPE51K1, SRPE53K1, SRPE55K1, SRPE57K1, SRPE58K1, SRPE60K1, SRPE61K1, SRPE63K1, SRPE65K1, SRPE67K1 all fit into the Sport category.
Seiko 5 Sports 2020 models SRPE Series
After almost a year on the market, it is clear that Seiko 5 Sports line offers a good watch for a fair price and it seems that it perfectly resonated with its target group. There are plenty of mods already out there and the youth nation is not shy to show them. If you use hashtag #seiko5sports on Instagram, you’ll see plenty of style inspirations with Seiko 5 straps (including but not limited to: Seiko 5 Nato band, Seiko 5 leather band, Seiko 5 metal band, etc.) along with some useful information on Seiko 5 band width and Seiko 5 watch band size recommendation for your wrist size. On top of that, when you start your search for the perfect Seiko 5 band, you’ll get to see there are some that may be surely categorized in best men’s watch bands out there, as watch band designers were probably highly inspired by this fine collection.
To make your Seiko 5 Sports piece more serious in terms of classics and traditional values, you can go with one of the leather straps and your eyes will hurt from the time spent browsing them as possibilities are almost endless. To give it a vintage look, you can go with Seiko 5 mesh band and for more masculinity, go for the stainless steel. Rubber strap will talk all sports if you’re an agile strap and this is where the whole new universe of variations will open up, as designs go from subtle to screaming patterns and colors. The nylon strap will give you fashion-forward punch in any occasion, but, in the end, who says you need to follow guidelines? The only thing you need is to like your combination and don’t forget about the similarities with parts of SKX, because this is something rarely seen in other Seiko lines.
Minding the fact that the functionalities of the Seiko 5 Sports watches will also make a good friend in outdoor activities, you’ll not only be cool by having one of these beauties and adapting it to your moods in the years to come.
All in all, we think Seiko 5 Sports line offers a fair share of functionalities that it not only continued the excellence of its original idea, but also raised the bar when it comes to fashion possibilities, especially when you include all the limited editions.
Written by M.H. , images from Seikowatches and others as noted
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