About a year ago I was looking for a good watch that I could wear backpacking or traveling and I ended up with the Seiko 5 SNK803 automatic. The 4.4 out of 5 rating on Amazon.com is solid evidence that this a capable watch. It isn’t the most accurate or rugged watch in the world but it might be the best at its price point. I’ve also seen the Seiko 5 on sale at various etailers like Jomashop so if you keep an eye out you may be able to find one new for under fifty dollars. Read on for my review of the Seiko 5.
The Seiko 5 is available in a few different styles and colors. I got the beige canvas strap because it looks at home hiking on the trail and it also matches nicely with khaki pants or jeans in the office or around town. The dial is clean with larger minute numerals on the outside, smaller hour numerals on the inside, and day date at 3 O’clock. There are luminescent dots on each hour and hand that are ok but small and not the brightest. At 13x37mm the case is an average size for an automatic and the matte silver gray finish is simple and attractive.
The 21 jewel automatic movement in my particular 5 is the 7S26C. I am not sure if my 7S26C is made in Japan or Malaysia because I have seen pictures of the same movement that are stamped Malaysian but mine has no such stamp. The movement is accurate enough for me and easy to wind since it is a bidirectional automatic movement. I don’t really wear the watch regularly and I don’t have a watch winder so when I wear it I just set it in the morning and that works for me. I like how it starts ticking almost immediately after a few turns because I’ve had some other automatic watches that don’t start until you’ve wound them 20+ rotations.
The canvas strap is comfortable and offers a lot of sizing choices. The one thing that I did not like about my Seiko 5 was the end of the strap. Mine had some pokey fibers that would get caught on sweater sleeves and pick up lint. I tried to burn them down with a lighter which worked a little bit but it’s still a little rough. I don’t know if this is a common problem for all 5s or if I was just unlucky.
In terms of durability, I have owned my Seiko 5 for about a year and taken it on a few travels and camping trips. The band is still in great shape, and there is just a minor scuff on the side of the case. The dial window is mineral crystal so it is not as hard as sapphire but mine hasn’t gotten any scratches yet. The other shortcoming is the water resistance which should be ok for some splashes during hand washing or rain but not swimming or diving.
Overall the Seiko 5 is a great choice for an entry level automatic watch and I highly recommend it.
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