Seiko 5 Field Watch Review

Seiko 5 Unboxing

Not as many people wear watches these days but I am one of them.  And my style tends to drift towards the look of the military field watch.

I’m a big fan of Marathon, Hamilton and Bertucci Field Watches  and a real big fan of the Seiko 5 Series of field watches.

First and foremost the Seiko 5 offerings are AFFORDABLE.  They aren’t priced to the moon.

The Seiko 5 line was recently refreshed and I just picked up a new SRPG35.  It’s a beauty.  It is a 40mm watch face with a 20mm strap.  The movement is their bulletproof 4R36 Automatic. Right after that I’m not going to discuss specs.  There are videos and web pages galore that do nothing but repeat the Seiko specifications and I don’t find those particularly useful.  Here on my blog I like to talk about real world usage and obvious gotchas.

I first got hooked on the Seiko 5 series when I got the SNK803 Seiko 5 back in 2019.

Seiko SNK Series (click pics to enlarge)

Those are some beautiful watches, and best of all the watch snobs LOVED THEM. The tan one is the SNK803 and the black one is the SNK809.  I put custom straps on both of them.

That’s right, the watch snob reviewers who wear Rolex and Omega and other high dollar brands   mostly LOVED the Seiko 5’s.  The best part about the SNK series was that they are LESS THAN $100.  The one complaint that some folks had with them though was that the watch face was fairly small at 37mm.  Personally, I love that size though.  Still some guys love a big honking watch.

So anyway, Seiko refreshed the line and recently came out with the SRPG Series and here are some random pics of mine.  The dial is quite black in real life but the crystal and my camera phone might make it look a tiny bit washed out.

Seiko SRPG35 (click pics to enlarge)

The Seiko 5 Sports line is varied in a big way but I love the field watches and they do come in a few different colors with some different bands, and different case polishing. You can see the Sports line here.  They are up-priced a bit to around $275 but if history is any indicator you can wait a bit and the price will come down a bit.

It has a cool Exhibition Window on the back of the case so you can see the movement.

Seiko uses a substance called LumiBrite to light the dial, which does not contain any radioactive materials.  You can read about it here.  To my eyes the lume is blue/green and even the second hand pointer has lume applied to it.  Real military field watch feature. Again, without getting technical we at John’s Tech blog did some real world testing of the Lumibrite.  I had a few drinks, passed out with my watch on 😃 and woke up at 2 AM.  How’d I know it was 2 AM? Because the lume was still lit up enough so that I could see.  Seiko says LumiBrite lasts 3-5 hours.  My drunk testing confirms this claim.

We don’t need fancy experimental testing here at John’s Tech Blog.  We do real world testing.  And let’s face it, what are your criteria for a watch?   Here is my rigorous list.

  • I can read the dial
  • I can read the day and date
  • It is comfortable
  • The lume lights up in the dark making it legible
  • It keeps time accurately
  • It is either fashionable or practical or BOTH

What I mean by practical is that it is rugged or scratch resistant or has some other useful features such as a compass, altimeter, etc.  I don’t care about fashion out in the woods.

My last real world observation is this.  The 4R36 movement has a published accuracy of between +45 / -35 seconds per day.  When I set my watch up yesterday I set the correct time to the SECOND.  This morning at 4 AM it is still on the money.

NOTE:  On the 3rd morning of ownership it is about +2 seconds fast.  That’s pretty good!

So I’d say it is pretty accurate! The 4R36 movement has been around since about 2011 and is hand winding and hacking. Hacking means the second hand stops when you pull out on the crown.  Did you ever see the old war movies where they would synchronize watches?  That’s how they did it.

That’s it.  If you find yourself comparing stats against other watches and poo-poo-ing some watch based on that, you aren’t living in the real world.  Here are my conclusions on the SRPG35:

  • Gorgeous watch
  • Highly legible
  • Excellent LumiBrite legibility that is long lasting
  • Perfect size at 40mm
  • Price is a little more excessive than the SNK Series.  I wish it was a little cheaper.
  • 20mm band gives lots of low cost options for band swapping.

If you like a Field Watch………this is your new Huckleberry.  Seiko has scored another home run with the Seiko 5 refresh.

 

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