Seiko is one of the most well-established brands in the watchmaking industry. It has an extensive catalogue that includes many pieces famous amongst watch patrons and collectors, such as the Seiko Tuna and the Seiko Monster.
One of the brand’s most iconic models is the Seiko Speedtimer. This is a cutting-edge sports watch and chronograph piece which has certainly made its mark on watchmaking history. Read on to find out all about the Seiko Speedtimer and what it brings to the table.
When did Seiko make the Speedtimer watch?
The history of the Seiko Speedtimer dates back to as early as the 1960s. Originally a part of the Seiko 5 Sports collection, the Seiko Speedtimer is notable for being the first-ever automatic chronograph to be introduced to the world. Before its ground-breaking release in 1969, the Japanese brand spent over two years conceptualizing and developing the Seiko Speedtimer, ensuring that it would become the iconic watch series it is today.
An In-Depth Look at the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813
Before we take a look at some of the best variants of the Seiko Speedtimer available on the market, let us delve into the Seiko Speedtimer Ref. SSC813. With its classic style, this watch is arguably the core model of the Seiko Speedtimer Solar Chronograph series.
Case and Bezel
The Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 comes in a high-quality stainless steel case that promises utmost durability. It has a diameter of 39mm and a standard thickness of around 13.3mm, making it the ideal size for those with smaller-to-average-sized wrists.
On the right side of the case, there is a stout screw-down crown that is surrounded on either side by two pushers. These components are vital in allowing the Ref. SSC813 a reliable depth rating of 100 meters. The screw-down crown also has deeply grooved sides, so wearers can grip and turn it more easily.
Flipping the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 over, you can find a solid stainless steel caseback that is tightly screwed down. Showing off a sleekly brushed finish, this caseback keeps the back of the watch secured, preventing any moisture or dust from getting in and damaging its inner mechanisms.
In addition, the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 also comes with a fixed bezel, which is fitted on top of its watch case. It has a black ceramic bezel with a tachymeter scale inscribed on it. This tachymeter bezel is one of the most important parts of a chronograph and Seiko was able to incorporate it well into the timepiece’s rugged design.
The Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 is paired with a stainless steel bracelet that has a three-piece link structure. The links of this watch have a semi-circular shape, while the insides of the link are flatter. This design allows the bracelet to fit more snugly on your wrist, which is exactly what you want in a sports watch. It was also constructed to have just the right amount of thickness and weight plus a low center of gravity, allowing for superior stability and comfort.
The dial of the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 is arguably the most striking aspect of this watch. The brand used contrasting black, grey, and white colors for its different components, which creates a highly-legible and easy-to-read watch face. Design-wise, this Seiko Speedtimer model is heavily inspired by the Seiko chronographs from the 1960s.
This white dial comprises fluted hour markers in soft grey and sharp black sword hands. A compact date window can also be found in between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. As a chronograph watch, this timepiece also has a handy chronograph display. Its dial features three chronograph sub-dials for its 60-second, 60-minute, and 24-hour counters. These chronograph counters all come in grey, so they stand out clearly against the rest of the white dial.
A curved sapphire crystal is used to protect this watch’s face. This sapphire crystal has been treated with anti-reflective coatings, so wearers have a clear view of the dial that is unhindered by any visual or light distortions.
The Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 is powered by a V192 caliber. This is a solar chronograph movement, which means that it is driven by both artificial and natural light. This movement has an excellent precision rate of around +/-15 seconds per month, which is a testament to the Japanese brand’s expertise in watchmaking.
Lastly, on top of all its usual chronograph functions, the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 also comes with an electric power generation display. It also possesses an overcharge prevention feature, so you do not have to run the risk of burning out your watch.
Despite its rich heritage and excellent craftsmanship, the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813 has a very reasonable price tag of just $675 USD. Considering it uses state-of-the-art technology while also boasting a timeless, versatile design, anything under $1,000 USD certainly seems like a good deal for this watch.
Other Variations of the Seiko Speedtimer
Now that we know more about the Seiko Speedtimer SSC813, let us consider some other best Seiko Speedtimer models you should not miss out on.
1. Seiko Speedtimer SSC817
First up, we have the Seiko Speedtimer SSC817. This watch offers a completely different design compared to the SSC813. It has a more retro and playful vibe, which gives it a bit more of an edge compared to the standard black-and-white SSC813 model. It is the ideal Seiko Speedtimer option for those who love timepieces that boast both modern and vintage-inspired aesthetics.
The SSC817 is presented in a 39mm stainless steel case and a sporty three-link bracelet made of the same material. Affixed to the top of the watch case is a black bezel. It bears a tachymeter scale inscribed in muted yellow, which adds to the old-school look of the watch.
The dial of this watch also blends well with the bezel, thanks to its textured yellow-gold finish. It is adorned with rectangular hour markers, black sword hands, a small date display, and three chronograph sub-dials in black. A curved sapphire crystal is used to protect this dial from any scratches or impacts.
Driving this Seiko Speedtimer model is a V192 solar chronograph movement. On top of providing exceptionally precise timekeeping, this movement also has a solid battery life of six months when fully charged and a depth rating of 100 meters.
This Seiko Speedtimer watch sells at a very reasonable price of $550 USD, making it one of the more affordable Speedtimer models.
2. Seiko Speedtimer SSC815
Next up, we have the Seiko Prospex Speedtimer SSC815. This watch has a more masculine and sporty exterior which makes it the perfect choice for all the sportsmen in your life. Its cool colorway makes this a very versatile timepiece that is easy to pair with different styles. On the whole, this is a fail-safe option for those who want to make the most out of their watch.
This Seiko Speedtimer watch is housed in a 39mm stainless steel case, coupled with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. It has a lug-to-lug distance of 45.5mm and a thickness of 13.3mm, which makes this an average-sized timepiece that can be comfortably and unobtrusively slipped under the cuff of your shirt. On top of the watch case is a sharp black bezel, with indicators in white and red for its tachymeter scale. While the dark red indicators can be a little difficult to read against the black bezel, they add a very rugged edge to the look of this timepiece.
The dial of this watch, on the other hand, showcases a grained dark blue finish. It is furnished with applique silver hour indices, thick white sword hands, and a small date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. You can also find three chronograph sub-dials in grey and a vibrant red seconds hand, which provides the watch face with more dynamism and variety. The chronograph counters can be controlled using the two pushers on the right side of the watch case.
This Seiko Speedtimer SSC815 runs on the brand’s V192 solar chronograph caliber. It has a precision rate of +/-15 seconds per month, an electric power generation display, and an overcharge prevention function. You also do not have to worry about getting this watch wet as it has a depth rating of 100 meters.
If you are looking for a sports watch to use in your everyday life, this $580 USD model should definitely be on your radar.
3. Seiko Speedtimer SRQ035
Next up, we have the Seiko Speedtimer SRQ035. Released in 2021, this is actually a limited-edition model from the brand’s Seiko Prospex Speedtimer lineup. It draws inspiration from the Japanese brand’s long-time role as the official timekeeper at various sports competitions and events. In particular, this watch was designed to pay tribute to a particular 1/5th-of-a-second stopwatch from Seiko’s 1964 catalog, which explains its vintage aesthetic.
The SRQ035 utilizes a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a three-link bracelet. This watch has a lug-to-lug distance of 45.5mm and a thickness of 15.1mm, which makes it slightly larger and heavier than the aforementioned models. That said, it was made to still rest ergonomically and comfortably on the wrist.
Complementing the watch’s all-silver exterior is a clean white dial. It has a very straightforward layout, containing tiny dot indices, slim sword hands that are coated in lume, a subtle 60-minute track in black, and a date complication at 6 o’clock. On the outer rim of the dial, you can also find a black internal tachymeter scale which you can use to measure speed and distance. Two small chronograph sub-dials can also be found at 3 and 9 o’clock, for the 60-second and 30-minute counters.
On the underside of this watch, you can find a see-through caseback, which gives you a clear view of the watch’s state-of-the-art Caliber 8R46. This is a brand-new automatic Seiko chronograph movement. It comes with a manual-winding capacity and can last for up to 45 hours when fully wound.
As a limited edition model, there are only 1,000 units of the Seiko Speedtimer SRQ035 in existence. It is priced at around $2,900 USD.
4. Seiko Speedtimer SRQ039
In this entry, we are looking at the Seiko Speedtimer SRQ039. This is the newest model in the Seiko Speedtimer line, as it was only released in February 2022. It is one of the most unique pieces in the Speedtimer series, as it offers a more elegant and dressy aesthetic than the rest of its peers. This is a great option for Speedtimer patrons looking for a sports watch that would look great with formal ensembles as well.
The SRQ039 sports a 42.5mm stainless steel case, paired with a handsome crocodile leather strap in black. It has the same lug-to-lug distance and thickness as the SRQ035, making it a good fit for those with slightly larger wrists.
The dial of this watch shows off a gorgeous, sky-blue finish. It is decorated with applique hour indices, long sword hands, a date display at 6 o’clock, and an internal tachymeter bezel on its rim. It also has a chronograph display with two sub-dials for the 60-second and 30-minute counters, both of which come in a darker blue hue. An anti-reflective sapphire crystal helps guard this watch face, contributing to the timepiece’s 100-meter depth rating.
Flipping the SRQ039 over, you will see an exhibition-style caseback. This allows you to fully admire the watch’s brand-new 8R46 Caliber. This is one of the most advanced chronograph movements offered by Seiko as it utilizes high-tech MEMS technology. It offers a precision rate of +25/-15 seconds per day and has a decent 45-hour power reserve.
The Seiko Speedtimer SRQ039 retails at about $3,000 USD.
5. Seiko Speedtimer SRQ037
The last model we recommend is the Seiko Speedtimer SRQ037. With its simple and sleek style, this watch serves as a subtler and more understated take on the Seiko Speedtimer. It has a versatile design that will probably still be in style even 20 years from now. This is a great choice for Seiko patrons who want something straightforward and timeless.
The SRQ037 uses a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. Both the case and bracelet are hard-coated, boasting their durability and resistance to scratches and impacts. On the right side of the dial, you can find an especially thick screw-down crown, along with two pushers for the watch’s chronograph functions. Compared to the previous models, this watch shows off a more muted brushed finish. This adds to the watch’s quiet and unostentatious style.
The dial of this watch comes in a lovely and serious charcoal grey. It consists of silver applique hour indices, thick dauphine hands that are coated in lume, and a date aperture at 6 o’clock. A tachymeter scale in black encloses the dial. It also contains two chronograph sub-dials in black for the 60-second and 30-minute counters.
The back of this watch is sealed shut by a thick, transparent sapphire crystal caseback. Through this caseback, you can see the impressive 8R46 Caliber that powers this Speedtimer watch. Consisting of 34 jewels, this is an automatic chronograph movement with manual-winding capacity and a 45-hour power reserve.
You can purchase this watch for around $3,000 USD. This is one of the pricier Seiko Speedtimer models.
How is the Seiko Speedtimer Different From Other Chronographs?
One thing that truly separates the Seiko Speedtimer from other chronograph pieces in the market is that it has such a rich history to back it up. As we mentioned earlier, Seiko was one of the brands at the forefront when it comes to pioneering the development of chronograph watches. In fact, the original Seiko Speedtimer was the first-ever automatic chronograph to ever hit the market. The fact that the Speedtimer series can trace its lineage all the way back to the start of automatic chronographs is a serious point in its favor.
Another factor that makes the Speedtimer so distinct is the fact that it is equipped with highly advanced mechanisms. For instance, Seiko was able to integrate a high-tech solar-based movement into the Seiko Speedtimer. Not only did this make the Speedtimer more convenient to use for wearers, but it also proves the extent of the Japanese brand’s mastery over the watchmaking craft.
The Seiko Speedtimer is a truly historic watch. It made a huge impact in the 1960s, when it was released as the first automatic chronograph watch ever, and has remained relevant to this day. Over the years, Seiko has made sure to upgrade the Speedtimer with the most ground-breaking technology available, which is why it is no surprise that it remains such a popular series today. The Seiko Speedtimer is definitely worth adding to your collection if you enjoy high-quality chronograph pieces.
Photo Credits: WatchShopping Site
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