Did you know that Seiko was responsible for the creation of the world’s first-ever quartz chronograph? That very timepiece, the Seiko Astron, contributed greatly to the brand’s success as a renowned Japanese watchmaker today. There is no doubt that Seiko’s century of experience in watchmaking has made them one of the top watch brands alongside names such as Casio and Omega.
Over the years, Seiko has become a well-established company that makes some of the best and most affordable chronographs in the market. The brand is also known for its prolificness, and it has a very diverse range of chronograph offerings, catering to all sorts of needs such as diving, formal events, aviation, and more. As such, we have gone over Seiko’s catalog and curated a list of 10 of the best Seiko Chronograph watches available today. Here is a quick overview of what you can expect in this article:
- Best Seiko Chronograph for Everyday Use: Seiko Brightz SAGA197
- Best Seiko Chronograph for a Formal Event: Seiko Presage Chronograph 55th Anniversary Limited Edition
- Best Seiko Chronograph for Diving: Seiko Prospex SBDL065 Diver Solar Chronograph & Seiko Prospex SSC807J1 Chronograph Diver
- Best Seiko Chronograph for Pilots: Seiko SNA411 Flightmaster
- Best Vintage Seiko Chronograph: Seiko Prospex SSC739P1
- Best Seiko Chronographs for Traveling: Seiko Astron 8X Series SBXB009 & Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSH001J1
- Best Affordable Seiko Chronographs: Seiko Prospex Chronograph SC741P1 & Seiko Alarm Chronograph SSC141
Top 10 Best Seiko Chronographs for Your Needs
Best Seiko Chronograph for Everyday Use: Seiko Brightz Wave Solar Radio SAGA197
The Seiko Brightz chronograph watches are some of the best models for everyday wear and we have picked one that is sure to meet your daily needs. The Seiko Brightz Ref. SAGA197 is a robust and professional-looking timekeeper. Despite its standard 43.6mm build, this Seiko chronograph does not feel heavy on your wrist at all, with its lightweight Diashock-coated titanium casing and bracelet. Its exterior is sleek and well brushed, with polished and trimmed central links.
This Seiko Chronograph model features a bold black dial that is versatile enough to match any style, whether it is a suit and tie or a casual shirt and shorts. The majority of the dial is taken up by three chronograph sub-dials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock, which can be controlled by the pushers on the left and right side of the case. At the very rim of the dial, you can see markings indicating 25 different cities, which allows the wearer to track 25 different time zones. The watch’s bezel also comes with a rotary slide rule, which you can use to do calculations such as addition, division, multiplication, and conversions.
Powered by the Caliber 8B92, a solar quartz movement developed by Seiko itself, this Seiko Brightz Chronograph for your everyday needs retails at a price of $819 USD.
Best Seiko Dress Chronograph for Formal Events: Seiko Presage Chronograph 55th Anniversary Limited Edition
Seiko’s Presage collection is designed to be the brand’s line of fashionable and elegant dress watches. The quintessential Seiko Chronograph representative from this collection has to be the Presage Chronograph Ref. SARK015. It is a limited edition piece inspired by the brand’s Crown watches from the 1960s. This model stands out from the rest with its sleek, modern looks and high-tech features.
This Seiko Chronograph comes in a 42.3mm stainless steel case with well-shaped lugs paired with a black Cordovan strap. It boasts an ivory tint dial, featuring double-ridged hour markers and luminous sword-shaped hands. This is contrasted with a bold and striking matte black bidirectional bezel, with rugged teeth-like edges that provide wearers with a better grip.
This Seiko Presage watch is powered by an automatic Caliber 8R48, which allows the column wheel and vertical clutch to accurately function. Finally, it bears an exquisite Zaratsu polished finish, commonly found in the luxurious Grand Seiko pieces, which adds to this watch’s dressy and sharp aesthetics. You can purchase this Seiko Chronograph for approximately $3,679 USD.
Best Seiko Chronographs for Diving: Seiko Prospex SBDL065 Diver Solar Chronograph & Seiko Prospex SSC807J1 Chronograph Diver
For this section, we offer two excellent Seiko Chronograph dive watches that will make excellent underwater companions. First up is the Seiko Prospex SBDL065 Diver Solar Chronograph, which belongs to the limited edition Prospex Black sub-collection of dive watches from Seiko. This Seiko Chronograph dive watch is highly durable, with its 44.5 stainless steel case that is coated in a hard black layer, designed to support safe and convenient diving in the deep seas.
This Seiko Prospex model is a solar chronograph, with a dial designed to display maximum legibility during deep-sea diving. Its hour markers come in large geometric shapes that are generously filled with LumiBrite, allowing the watch to stay brightly lit up even when underwater. Its luminous hands also come in silver and vibrant orange to better contrast against the watch’s black dial, so that wearers can read the watch face more easily and quickly. As a top-notch dive watch, this Seiko Chronograph has a secure screw-down crown and caseback, which contribute to its substantial 200-meter water resistance capacity. This Seiko Chronograph diver has a price tag of $929 USD.
The next dive chronograph from Seiko we are looking at is the Seiko Prospex SSC807J1 Chronograph Diver. This is yet another limited edition piece that is inspired by Japan’s famous Iriomote Island. Most professional divers have probably heard of this island before, as it is home to an abundance of marine life and is a popular destination for diving. The watch’s island green dial is representative of the island’s scenic greenery and ocean depths.
This Seiko Chronograph watch has a bulky stainless steel case that measures 13.7mm in thickness and 44.5 mm in diameter, so it will feel quite substantial on your wrist. Its green Sunday dial has large sword-shaped hands and bold hour markers in the form of geometric shapes, all of which are coated in LumiBrite. At the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock markers, you can find three small chronograph sub-dials in grey that blend in well with the vibrant green backdrop. This Seiko Prospex watch typically comes with a stainless steel bracelet, but you can also opt for a green silicone strap that is highly resistant to saltwater and does not retain moisture instead.
Powered by a Caliber V192, a solar quartz movement with an accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month, this Seiko Chronograph dive watch has a solid 200-meter water resistance capacity. It retails at a fairly affordable price of $789 USD.
Best Seiko Chronograph for Pilots: Seiko SNA411 Flightmaster
The Seiko SNA411 Flightmaster is one of the best chronographs for pilots in the market. Reliable, masculine, and very affordable, the Flightmaster has almost everything you need in a pilot’s watch.
This Seiko Chronograph pilot watch has an exterior made entirely of stainless steel, with a sturdy stainless steel case that measures 42mm in diameter and 13mm in thickness. The watch’s black dial is busy and jam-packed with features, as it comes with three chronograph sub-dials, a tachymetric scale, luminous hour indices and sword-shaped hands, and a date display at 3 o’clock. A bright yellow seconds hand also helps add a splash of quirkiness to this otherwise monochrome watch. It is also equipped with a slide rule bezel which works as a handy navigational tool for calculating speed, distance, and height.
This Seiko Chronograph pilot watch runs on the brand’s Caliber 7T62, which is a quartz movement that gives excellent precision and a water resistance capacity of 200 meters. You can purchase this aviation watch for a very budget-friendly price of $255 USD.
Best Vintage-Style Seiko Chronograph: Seiko Prospex SSC739P1
If you are a fan of quintessential looks, check out the vintage-inspired Seiko Prospex SSC739P1. This solar-powered Seiko Chronograph has an old-school and timeless look that is sure to elevate your style, no matter what you are wearing.
This Seiko Prospex watch boasts a 44mm stainless steel case with a layer of hard black coating, improving the case’s durability and allows for less visible scratches. Its vintage vibe is enhanced by a brown calfskin leather band, which is one of the most comfortable strap materials for watches.
This watch also boasts a dark green dial that blends well with its three light grey chronograph sub-dials. Its white sword-shaped hands and organised Arabic numeral hour markers are heavily reminiscent of old-school military dial layouts, adding to the watch’s classic aesthetic. These indices and hands are also coated in LumiBrite paint for improved visibility at night.
The Seiko Prospex SSC739P1 is powered by the Caliber V176, which is a solar-charging quartz movement that has an accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month. You also do not have to worry about using this vintage-influenced piece outdoors, as it has a handy 200-meter water resistance rating, and its battery can last up to 6 months without being charged. You can purchase this Seiko chronograph watch for approximately $429 USD.
Best Seiko Chronographs for Travelling: Seiko Astron 8X Series SBXB009 & Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSH001J1
With regards to the best Seiko chronograph watches for travelers, there are two great options available. The first is the Seiko Astron 8X Series SBXB009, which was picked because its features and build are all extremely helpful for travelers. This model has a sleek black titanium case with fairly large size of 44.6mm. This is paired with a smooth three-link bracelet with no sharp edges, so it will fit comfortably on your wrist. Like the case, the bracelet is made of lightweight titanium, so this watch will not feel too heavy despite its larger size.
Keeping the watch’s all-black theme consistent, the Seiko Astron 8X also comes with a sunburst black dial with silver accents on the luminous indices and hands. This model features automatic time adjustment, depending on which time zone you are in. It also has an in-flight mode if you need to avoid any interruptions from electronic devices during your travel. On the bezel, you can find a litany of airport codes marked. These indicators guide you in setting the time for 39 different time zones, making this the perfect Seiko chronograph for frequent travelers. All these functions are made possible by the watch’s GPS Solar 8X82 movement.
This multifunctional Seiko Astron watch retails at around $2,229 USD.
Another chronograph that is great for traveling is the Seiko Astron GPS Solar SSH001J1. With this watch, your international travel experience is guaranteed to be hassle-free. This titanium chronograph watch actually bears very similar specifications and functions to the previous Seiko Astron model, but this is an upgraded piece that belongs to Seiko’s 5X Series. It has a smaller case size of 42mm and is powered by a Caliber 5X52 GPS solar movement instead. As such, it has unique functions including a perpetual calendar (up to February 28, 2100), power save function, and a reception result display. You can purchase this Seiko chronograph for $1,999 USD.
Best Affordable Seiko Chronographs: Seiko Prospex Chronograph SC741P1
If you are working with a limited budget, here’s a high-quality yet affordable Seiko Chronograph option for you. The Seiko Prospex Chronograph SC741P1 is a 2019 Special Edition model that was released for the brand’s “Save the Ocean” campaign, an environmentally-friendly initiative aimed towards promoting marine conservation.
This Seiko Prospex watch comes in a 43,5mm stainless steel case and a matching three-link bracelet. In keeping with the campaign’s theme, this watch features an ocean-inspired blue dial and a two-toned blue-and-grey bezel. Its gradient blue dial is a reflection of the seas, with a pattern of thick wavy lines that resemble ocean waves. The handset of this watch is also designed to look like the shape of the caudal fin and dorsal fin of a shark. On the dial, you can find three contrasting black chronograph sub-dials, along with bold hour markers in the form of white geometric shapes.
On top of its stylishness, the affordable Seiko Chronograph is also the perfect companion for outdoor adventures. It is equipped with a 200-meter depth rating, a Hardlex mineral glass for greater dial protection, and LumiBrite coatings on the hands and indices for improved visibility. Powering this timepiece is the V175 quartz calibre which is a solar-powered movement that can go for six months without recharging. You can purchase this useful and budget-friendly Seiko Chronograph timepiece for $489 USD.
Another affordable chronograph option is the Seiko Alarm Chronograph SSC141. This model comes in a 42.5 mm stainless steel case with a deep blue dial, featuring luminous silver indices and sword-shaped hands. On the very edge of the dial, there is a tachymetric scale, which allows you to easily keep track of elapsed time. The bulk of the dial is taken up by three sub-dials, which can be found at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock markers. These include the 60-minute counter, a split time measurement, and a 12-hour alarm. This solar-powered watch is run by the Caliber V172T and has a price tag of approximately $375 USD.
Seiko’s Innovation with Chronographs
Along with many other brands in the industry, Seiko started creating chronographs equipped with Japanese technology. The brand’s first chronograph was developed in the 1940s with a pocket watch design. In 1969, Seiko chronograph watches surpassed Swiss-made pieces when the brand released the Caliber 6139, which is the first-ever automatic chronograph movement. This caliber was equipped with a column wheel and a vertical clutch, which was a huge improvement for tool watches since it allowed for more accurate time measurements. In fact, the column wheel and vertical clutch are still essential components in high-end chronograph pieces today.
Seiko’s 6139 series, also known as the Speed-Timer, was considered the brand’s quintessential vintage watch. It was designed with a chunky 40mm case, with an aluminum tachymeter bezel, a winding crown, and chronograph pushers located on the right of the case. It was offered in various dial colourways, such as blue, yellow, and silver. Its watch face also featured a day and date display, along with a 30-minute sub-dial at 6 o’clock.
In the following decade, Seiko launched the 0634, which has the distinction of being the world’s first digital quartz watch with a chronograph. The 0634 watch is essentially a multi-functional digital piece with an internal light for luminescence in poor lighting conditions. This milestone led other brands to start developing their own quartz digital chronograph watches as well.
In 1982, Seiko also created the world’s first portable television watch with a chronograph complication. Aside from its chronograph feature, this watch was also fitted with a tuner, headphone jack, alarm, and calendar. This unique creation was quite an achievement, not just for Seiko but also for Japan, as a country of advanced technology.
A year later, the Japanese brand released yet another quartz chronograph, but with more innovations. This was the world’s first analog quartz watch with a chronograph function, designed by the famous Italian car designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro. This groundbreaking piece was a result of Seiko’s expertise in quartz technology and mechanical chronograph watchmaking.
In the early 2000s, Seiko showed their mastery in making chronographs yet again when they released the Spring Drive Chronograph collection. This was a selection of watches with the ability to display elapsed time more accurately, with a precision rate of +/-1 second a day. Since then, Seiko has only continued to enlarge their catalog of chronograph offerings, equipping them with more state-of-the-art technology and stylish designs.
Seiko Chronographs: Multi-Function Timepieces for Everyone
With over 100 years of experience in watchmaking, Seiko has gained credibility as a brand and as an international watchmaker. Ever since the invention of quartz watches, Japanese watches have been dominating the market with their advanced technology and keen attention to detail. The same, of course, applies to the chronograph watch market. Seiko chronograph watches prove that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars just to satisfy your desire for a well-crafted, reliable chronograph piece.
Featured image by Lucas D. of Unsplash.com
Can’t get enough of chronographs? Check our full list of chronographs watches and see which one suits you best.