A popular Japanese watch brand, Seiko is a leader in innovation. They introduced the world to quartz watches and GPS solar-powered timekeepers. Not to mention, Seiko achieved all these while keeping their watches affordable. Offering all sorts of collections that cater to different people from all walks of life, Seiko blends traditional Japanese craftsmanship with modern watchmaking technology.
Seiko Watches: A Leader in Innovation and Reliability
Seiko is well-known in and out of the watch community for a reason. Offering all sorts of collections that cater to different people from all walks of life, Seiko blends traditional Japanese craftsmanship with modern watchmaking technology. From Seiko Presage dress watches to Seiko Prospex dive watches, everyone will surely find a Seiko watch that matches their personality. In addition, their watches’ reliability and durability are top-notch. Despite all of these achievements, Seiko produces some of the most affordable watches in the market.
How much is a Seiko watch?
Prices for the Seiko models vary widely, ranging from as cheap as $100 USD to as expensive as $40,000 USD. Below is a table that will show you the basic information you need about a specific Seiko model.
Seiko Prospex Automatic First Diver’s Limited Edition
200m water resistance rating, unidirectional bezel
GPS, solar-powered, chronograph, perpetual calendar, world timer
Seiko Prospex Kinetic GMT Diver
200m water resistance, 6-month power reserve, dual time
200m water resistance rating, unidirectional bezel
Prices for the Seiko Prospex: A Professional Sports & Dive Watch
The Seiko Prospex collection combines the words “professional” and “specifications”. And as its name suggests, it was made for professionals who need timekeepers that can handle stressful environments. In fact, in the horology community, the collection has a good reputation for being a high-end tool watch that is affordable at the same time.
Prospex models with reference numbers SPB053 and SPB051 have a retro design. The former comes in a blue dial while the other one comes in black. These timepieces offer 200m water resistance, a curved sapphire crystal, and the 6R15 automatic movement. They have an accuracy of +25/-15 seconds per day and a power reserve of 50 hours. When it comes to price, it will set you back for around $800 USD.
The GMT Kinetic models are an interesting bunch as they feature a hybrid technology for their movement. What this does is it turns kinetic energy into electrical energy to charge the watch’s battery. This allows the movement to get an approximate power reserve of six months. Models like the Seiko Prospex SUN019P1 use this type of movement and cost around $600 USD.
Lastly, the Retro Diving Watch Seiko Prospex SLA017 is a limited-edition model that costs around $4,000 USD. While it is not one of the cheapest Seiko watches, it justifies its price with its killer retro design and reliable movement. To be specific, it looks a lot like the first-ever professional Japanese diving watch in the 1960s, which is why this is a good choice for people who are hardcore fans of Seiko’s history.
Prices for the Seiko Presage: A Classy Dress Watch
Watches in the Seiko Presage collection run on mechanical movements only. Apart from that, they are also known to have an elegant and classy design as well as exquisite dials, which is why a lot of people use them as dress watches. Apart from their designs, the Presage series is also known for producing various complications — from a day-date display to a Seiko chronograph watch.
Leading in the popularity contest is the Seiko Presage Cocktail. This model was made in collaboration with Shinobu Ishigaki, a world-famous mixologist and proprietor of a bar in Tokyo. As its name suggests, the Seiko Presage Cocktail’s dial is inspired by various cocktail mixes like the Margarita and Martini. Its markers also take the shape of the stem of a cocktail glass. These beautiful watches for men have a starting price of $380 USD.
Some good examples of a Seiko chronograph watch are the Seiko Presage SRQ021J1 and SRQ023J1. Both of these models use the calibre 8R48 with an intermediate wheel. These watches offer a chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour trackers. Furthermore, they offer an accuracy rating of +25/-15 seconds per day. These men’s watches were made in a very limited number, which is why their prices can go up to $3,000 USD, one of the most expensive Seiko watches in the collection.
Another Presage model to look out for is the SARX019J. This enamel dress watch has Roman numeral hour markers for an elegant feel. Furthermore, its hands are leaf-shaped to complete the aesthetic. Inside, it runs on the calibre 6R15, which can last for 50 hours when fully wound. This watch has a price tag of around $1,200 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Lukia: Chic and Feminine
The Seiko Lukia family is for women. Indeed, watches under this collection come in a variety of elegant and chic designs. Apart from design, customers can also choose from different calibres, strap styles, and sizes.
A go-to choice is the Lukia Solar Radio Watch World Time, which costs around $500 USD. This timekeeper comes in a versatile silver and white colour scheme. On the dial, it features Roman numeral hour markers and a blue set of sword hands for a pop of colour. It looks so clean that you wouldn’t even notice the different cities written on the outer part of the dial. When it comes to accuracy, it is radio-controlled so you’re sure that the watch is always displaying the exact time.
On the other hand, the Lukia Solar Electric Wave SSQV047 is perfect for someone who wants a bolder design. It has a light pink background that is decorated with various markings. Furthermore, it has a few pink gems that blend well with the whole face of the watch. Inside, it uses the solar-powered 1B35 calibre that can operate for six months when fully charged. This watch costs around $650 USD.
While round watches are the norm, the Lukia is also available in barrel-shaped cases. The Lukia Solar Electric Wave SSVW123 is an example. On the dial, it has a sky blue background with Arabic numerals. Being a time-only watch, it is cheaper compared with the other Lukia models, which only costs $480 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Astron: The World’s First-Ever Quartz Watch
One of the most important timepieces in history is a Japanese watch and it is the Seiko Astron. When it first came out, it was the world’s first-ever quartz watch. In fact, experts would say that this was the watch that started the Quartz Crisis. Moreover, it created numerous patents and innovations for the watch industry.
The Astron 5X Series Dual Time GPS Solar is one of the most feature-packed Seiko watches for men and is sometimes referred to as “the most advanced ever”. Firstly, it has a world time function for 39 various time zones. Moreover, it has an automatic time zone adjustment for convenience. These features are very useful for the frequent traveller. All in all, this watch costs around $1,900 USD.
A limited-edition model is the Astron Shohei Otani 5X, which is limited to 1,700 units. This model features a black dial with ruby accents. Meanwhile, its stainless steel case has a diamond shield coating that gives it a sparkling effect. Like the other model, this one can display time from 39 different time zones, making it ideal for jet setters. Being a limited-edition model, it has a more expensive price of $2,300 USD.
Lastly, the Giugiaro Design 2017 Limited was made for motorsports enthusiasts. On the outside, it has an almost all-black colour scheme with red and green accents. In terms of performance, this watch has a chronograph function that can be useful for track days. In addition, it has a GPS module, a perpetual calendar, and a power reserve indicator. This watch is more on the expensive spectrum, costing around $2,800 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Brightz: Versatility at Its Finest
If there’s one thing the Seiko Brightz collection aims to do, it is to stand out from the crowd. While it was originally released in Japan, the collection’s popularity spread across the globe in no time. These luxurious watches are versatile enough to be worn casually and elegant enough to be worn in more formal occasions.
The Seiko Brightz Solar Radio Fix SAGZ079 is a go-to choice for most people and it costs only $500 USD. It is simple with only the time and date on the dial. Furthermore, it has a stunning white background that perfectly matches with most of your outfits. Under the hood, it runs on the 7B24 calibre, which is solar-powered and has an approximate six-month power reserve.
For the gentleman who needs a watch that can tell two time zones at once, the Brightz SAGA251 is ideal. Apart from the dual time function, this elegant men’s watch also has a perpetual calendar and a radio-controlled movement that ensures the displayed time is always correct. This watch costs only $730 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Spirit: A Casual Everyday Watch
Like the previous collection, the Seiko Spirit was also released for the Japanese market at the beginning. This lineup boasts a series of watches that are meant to be worn every day while still looking great.
One example is the Seiko chronograph SBTR011. This 47mm wristwatch is a reliable timekeeper in sports events. Its chronograph function is powered by the 8T63 calibre, which is a reliable workhorse. Meanwhile, its hands and markers are applied with luminous material so you can still read the time in the dark. One of the cheapest Seiko watches, this timepieces only costs approximately $180 USD.
The Seiko Spirit Giugiaro Design Limited-Edition SCED057 is made for the playful spirit. On the dial, it bears a grey and orange colour scheme that pops out. At the upper right corner, it says “Seiko chronograph”, which is then confirmed by the three sub-dials at the bottom. Another thing to notice is that the dial is slanted at 15 degrees to make it easy for motorcyclists to read the time when gripping the handles. This watch is a rider’s best friend and costs around $400 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Dolce & Exceline: Excellent Dress Watches for Men and Women
The Seiko Dolce & Exceline collection was initially made for women. However, due to popular demand, the Japanese brand decided to also make a few models for men. Watches in this collection have an elegant design that you can wear with a suit or a dress.
First up is the Dolce & Exceline Solar Radio Time Signal SADZ187 that costs only $769 USD. This classic black-and-silver timekeeper has a minimalistic aesthetic that displays only the time and date. The inner part of the dial has a subtle pattern that makes it visually interesting. It runs on the 7B24 calibre, which is solar-powered so you don’t have to change the batteries as often as a normal quartz watch.
For a smaller footprint, the Seiko Dolce & Exceline SWCW109 is only 28.6mm in diameter. Its dial takes its elegance up a notch with its mother of pearl white background. To add, the Roman numeral hour markers perfectly match the whole aesthetic. But this watch isn’t just about looking good. It also tells time with its radio-controlled calibre 1B25. All of these features can be had for only $880.
Prices for the Seiko 5: The Best Affordable Watch
The Seiko 5 is the budget-conscious person’s best friend. As proof, models in this collection can go as low as $80 USD, which makes them some of the cheapest Seiko watches. To keep the cost low, it uses bang-for-buck movements from the 7S family. These calibres have a daily deviation of -15 to +25 seconds, which is considered accurate. Because of its friendly price tag and various designs to choose from, it’s no wonder why this collection is well-loved.
A popular choice is the Seiko 5 SNK805K2, which boasts a military style. In fact, it comes in an army green dial and a NATO strap that is appealing. The dial itself is inspired by a Flieger type B dial that has three different scales. To add, the whole dial is encased inside a hardlex crystal to protect it from scratches. At the back, it sports a see-through case that lets you admire the 7S26C calibre, which can power the watch for 40 hours.
One of the most popular Seiko watches for men is the Seiko 5 SKX007. This dive watch comes in either a rubber strap (SKX007K1) or a metal bracelet (SKX007K2). These divers are water-resistant up to 200m, have ample lume on the dial, and have a unidirectional bezel. With that said, they offer great value for as cheap as $200 USD. These watches offer the same features that can be found on more expensive dive watches.
Prices for the Seiko Premier: Elegance on a Budget
The Seiko Premier collection is the most elegant among the bunch. These watches for men and women boast a classic design that makes them look like vintage watches. Skimming through the catalog, you’d see that a lot of these watches have Roman numeral hour markers and a neutral colour scheme. Despite looking old-school, these timepieces have modern technology built into them. For one, some are powered by kinetic movements or quartz calibres.
A good representation of this collection is the Seiko Premier Kinetic Special Edition 130th Anniversary. This timekeeper runs on the Japanese kinetic movement, which converts the movement of your wrist into electrical energy. Moreover, it has a perpetual calendar and a time relay system to preserve accurate time up to four years. This watch comes at a price of $900 USD.
Moving on, the SNA583P1 is a great Seiko chronograph that doubles as a dress watch. Features-wise, it has two sub-dials for the chronograph, a date calendar, alarm, and two push buttons to operate the watch. Inside, it uses a calibre called the 7T62, which is a quartz movement. This watch will only set you back for around $300 USD.
Prices for the Seiko Sportura: An Athlete’s Must-Have
As its name suggests, the Seiko Sportura can provide things that an athlete needs. These men’s watches are known to have durable cases made out of titanium or stainless steel that can go as big as 45mm. Moreover, these watches have hands that are coated with Seiko’s LumiBrite for a convenient way to tell time in the dark.
Some of these models are solar-powered like the Sportura SSC357P1, which costs around $500 USD. This watch is as accurate as a quartz watch and can get power from different types of light. When fully charged, it can last for up to six months. Apart from its long-lasting battery life, it also has a chronograph perpetual alarm and dual-time which are useful for travellers.
A more complicated version is the Sportura GPS SFF005J1, which costs around $1,400 USD. Inside, it uses a solar quartz movement that’s also used in some Seiko Astron models. Like the previous watch, this is also solar-powered and can receive GPS signals for top-notch accuracy. In fact, some users report an accuracy rating of +/- 1 second every 100,000 years. In addition, its perpetual calendar automatically adjusts until February 28, 2100, which means you never have to adjust your watch again in your lifetime.
Lastly, there is an affordable model like the Sportura Kinetic Automatic SUN015P1, which can go for as low as $300 USD. Despite its cheaper price tag, it still has a lot of features. Case in point, it has a power reserve indicator, a quick start function, a calendar, and an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month. And as its name suggests, it has a GMT complication powered by an automatic movement.
Prices for the Seiko Velatura: An Elegant Yachting Watch
The Seiko Velatura, on the other hand, excels in the maritime field. In fact, enthusiasts would say that these watches are inspired by compasses used at sea. Furthermore, these watches’ guilloche dials are reminiscent of waves. To add, they are also filled with LumiBrite for great visibility while at sea. This is why people often dub it as “the perfect companion for sailing”.
Velatura models come in chronographs or time-only dials. A good example of the former is the Velatura Yachting Timer Chronograph SPC145P1, which costs around $480. This watch uses the 7T84 quartz calibre that features a stopwatch, alarm, yachting timer, and a chronograph. It also has a water resistance rating of 100m so you wouldn’t worry about splashes while yachting.
Meanwhile, one of the cheapest Seiko watches in this lineup is the Velatura SNDW15P1 Women’s Watch, which only costs $280 USD. Unlike the other Ventura models, this one has an elegant look. Despite looking classy, it has a chronograph that’s powered by a quartz movement. Furthermore, it is also water-resistant up to 100m so you can still use this watch while yachting.
Seiko’s Milestones and Achievements
In 1960, Seiko created the Grand Seiko, which had unbeatable accuracy and precision. In fact, its Calibre 3180 boasts a chronometer certification which is even stricter than the COSC’s standard. Now, after years of research and development, Grand Seiko has released a 10 beat movement that can deliver an accuracy rating of +5/-3 seconds a day with a power reserve of 50 hours.
Seiko’s list of achievements isn’t complete without the Seiko Astron. In the late 1960s, Seiko disrupted the watch industry by introducing the world’s first quartz watch. Years after starting the quartz revolution, the Seiko Astron has received a lot of upgrades like a GPS receiver, which allows it to receive GPS signals and identify 39 different time zones. This breakthrough timepiece makes it easier for globetrotters to tell the time while moving from one country to another.
Although this is not talked about as much as the others, the Credor collection is a horological masterpiece. Watches in this lineup include a Spring Drive Sonnerie, a Spring Drive Minute Repeater, and a Tourbillon. Creating all of these complications requires top-notch skills in watchmaking. Very few watchmakers can achieve these complications.
History of Seiko
The history of this beloved Japanese brand started in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened a small clock store in central Tokyo. After repairing and selling watches for 11 years, he opened his first factory which he named “Seikosha”. This word comes from two Japanese words “Seiko” which means precise and “Sha” which means house. When he opened up this factory, he had one goal in mind — to make precise watches that are cheaper than their competitors. True enough, many budding watch collectors started with the cheapest Seiko watches, as these products boast great value for money.
Ever since the company introduced the first Japanese wristwatch called “Laurel” in 1913, Seiko has been making their components in-house. Today, Seiko is headed by Shinji Hattori and will celebrate its 140th anniversary this 2021.
Famous Patrons of Seiko
It is no secret that Seiko made a special watch for Brian May called the Seiko 5 Red Special. This watch was inspired by the rockstar’s guitar by having the same red and black colour scheme. But even before this collaboration, Brian May had been seen often wearing his Seiko watch, which he bought in Japan in the 1970s.
Steve Jobs loves his simple turtleneck outfit. In some interviews, he says he likes to keep things simple, which is why he also loves his Seiko Quartz 6431-6030. According to reports, this black time-only watch was originally from the Seiko Chariot series and was sold at auction for $42,500 USD — one of the most expensive Seiko watches ever sold. In 2017, Seiko released a reissue of the watch which was sold in limited quantities.
If you’ve seen a few of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s films, you might have noticed the huge Seiko watch on his wrist. The Seiko H558-5009 or sometimes called the “Arnie”, has been branded as the bodybuilder’s favorite watch. To honor him, Seiko revived this watch in the form of the new Seiko SNJ025.
Seiko and Sports
Besides its affordable price, Seiko is also known for its durability. Which is why it is popular in sports, such as diving and yachting. In fact, many people first think of Seiko when talking about affordable diving watches. Truly, this brand has produced dozens of reliable dive watches from then until now like the Seiko SKX007 and the Seiko Prospex line, which was made for professionals for its high water resistance rating.
Apart from diving, Seiko is well-loved in the yachting community. The Marinemaster, for instance, is a GPS Solar-powered sailing watch that can show the exact time and timezone at sea. This is very useful for communicating with people back on land. Furthermore, its dual-time feature can tell the sailor the time in their home port as well as local time.
Vintage Seiko Watches
Since its birth in 1881, Seiko has produced dozens of iconic vintage watches. In fact, some of those models changed the course of horology history, like the 1969 Quartz Astron. While the Astron has grown into a futuristic-looking collection, its ancestor was a golden time-only dress watch that had a vintage style. This watch was the world’s first “quartz clock” wristwatch and is now registered on the List of IEEE Milestones for its innovation in electrical engineering.
The Seiko Lord Marvel is another vintage Seiko watch to look out for. This isn’t just a classic-looking dress watch. In fact, it was the first model that had the Hi-Beat 36,000 movement. While this watch is significant when it comes to Seiko’s history, it comes at an affordable price of only $250 USD.
Another underrated vintage Seiko watch is the Seiko Rally Diver. While it is not as popular today, it is well-loved by Seiko collectors for its unique design. Apart from its cushion-shaped case, it has a “checkered-flag” pattern on its bezel insert.
Seiko Watches: One of Japan’s Best
There’s a reason why Seiko watches for men and women can be seen anywhere. It is because their watches offer great value for money. Apart from the low price, Seiko watches are durable and are powered by reliable Japanese movements. In addition, the brand’s history and contribution to the world of horology have impacted the world in a lot of ways.
One of Seiko’s mission is to create precise and beautiful watches. And that’s exactly what they have done. They first released the world’s first quartz watch in 1969 with the Seiko Quartz Astron. Fast forward to 2012 and the company puts out another world’s first - the first GPS solar watch which was the Seiko Astron. Other popular collections are their Prospex Diver, Presage and Brightz.