Fratello’s Top 5 Current Seiko 5 Sports References
Another Friday, another Top 5! In this series, we take one watch or watch series and choose our five favorite references ever produced. This week, we decided to focus on the Seiko 5 line. This obviously led to the question of whether to go with modern or vintage/discontinued Seiko 5 models. To make things easier, this week’s article will focus on the current Seiko 5 Sports series, and we’ll create a different list for the Seiko 5 models of the past.
When we discussed this list in our weekly editorial meeting, some people were not necessarily gung-ho about the topic. Seiko has released an incredible amount of Seiko 5 Sports models since the introduction of the series in 2019. There are a tremendous amount of regular ones and an even more impressive number of limited editions, so there are easily enough choices to populate about five of these lists. And should we separate regular models from limited editions? It seems like a good idea to lower the number of available options. On top of that, doing so would allow us to create an overview of the five best regular models and five wild and colorful limited editions. So in this article, we’ll specifically highlight what we feel are the best regular Seiko 5 Sports models.
The principles of the Seiko 5 watches
As a short reminder, the Seiko 5 line of watches has been around since 1963. The series was based on the principle of having 5 attributes that defined the watches and also gave the series its name. The attributes are automatic winding, a day and date display, water resistance, a recessed crown at 4 o’clock, and lastly, a durable case construction. As we will see, the principle of the recessed crown at 4 o’clock is not very often in the current collection. For the majority of the models, however, the other principles still apply.
The current Seiko 5 Sports line comes in a variety of different sizes. Most of the models have a 100m water resistance rating, a crown at 4 o’clock, and the Seiko automatic caliber 4R36 with a day and date display. For many, these attributes help make the Seiko 5 collection the perfect entry into the world of Seiko and mechanical watches as a whole. But that doesn’t exclude the seasoned watch fans looking for an affordable daily wearer or a fun summer watch. While part of the Seiko 5 line has adopted the brand’s famous SKX aesthetic, it is by no means a replacement for the discontinued and much-praised SKX models, something that many fans still hold dear.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPD73
When the current Seiko 5 Sports series was introduced in 2019, the one model that stood out for many Fratello team members was the SRPD73. The watch immediately makes an impact due to its mesh bracelet and the classy dial design combining black and off-white/cream colors. While most of the other initially presented models have a more utilitarian presence, this SRPD73 has a much more stylish design. The watch comes with the familiar-looking 42.5mm stainless steel case that is 13.4mm thick and 100m water resistant. The push-pull crown is located at 4 o’clock, while the day and date indicators are neatly placed at 3 o’clock.
The dial design pops due to the radiating finish and the contrasting off-white inner chapter ring. The large indices and characteristic hands are filled with vintage-inspired lume, giving the watch a charming retro feel. There is a nice hint of color in the form of the red tip of the seconds hand, which jumps out immediately despite its thin profile. The mesh bracelet completes the classy looks of the Seiko 5 Sports SRPD73. Almost four years after the introduction of the Seiko 5 Sports series, this is still one of the best-looking models in the range. The watch is still available and can be yours for €380.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPG29
Next up is the Seiko 5 Sports series of field watches. Essentially, they are all the same watch in several different configurations. Mike wrote the introduction article for these references and rightfully mentioned that they fly a little under the radar. This series is the successor to the brand’s SNZG line. Fans loved those watches, just as they loved the SKX models, so it was a no-brainer for Seiko to release a follow-up. These watches feature a 39.4mm stainless steel case that is 13.2mm thick and 48.1mm from lug to lug. Each one features 100m water resistance and has a display case back. The watches are all powered by the caliber 4R36, like so many other models, but as you can see, the crown was moved to 3 o’clock.
The dial aesthetic for this series was cleaned up a bit and feels slightly more modern than the previous design of the SNZG references. I have to say I much prefer it as it also looks more serious (although slightly less unique). With this design, these field watches follow the popular examples we know from Hamilton, but they come in at a fraction of the price. All versions, whether on a bracelet or nylon strap, come in at €310. I have to say that all of them look very nice and offer serious value for money. I picked the version with the blue dial on the bracelet as it adds a bit of extra color and style to the great looks.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPK31
The next model is also part of a series. Not too long ago, Seiko added five 38mm models to the Seiko 5 Sports lineup that, just like their bigger brothers, use the looks of the famous SKX models. As Nacho explained in his review, these new watches all feature a 38mm stainless steel case measuring 44.2mm from lug to lug and 12.1mm thick. This means that they are substantially smaller than the standard 42.5mm models. This will please a lot of fans as the case fits a wide variety of wrist sizes.
The four different versions all come fitted with a three-link Oyster-style bracelet that tapers from 20mm hollow end links to 18mm at the pressed fold-over clasp. Nacho mentioned that the quality of the bracelets is better than many of its Seiko entry-level peers. Once again, the caliber 4R36 ticks away inside the case and offers 41 hours of power reserve. As for a favorite, well, that’s very personal. If you prefer the classic black look, the SRPK29 is your pick. If you like an orange dial paired with a black bezel, the SRPK35 is the one to go for. The teal-dial SRPK33 features a black bezel and comes with golden hands, but my favorite of them all is the SRPK31 with its off-white dial and anthracite bezel. All four models are available for €350.
Seiko 5 Sports SSK005
Just like the 38mm SRPK35, the Seiko 5 Sports SSK005 is another great model with an orange dial. It is part of the next series that simply cannot be left out of this list, the three Seiko 5 Sports GMT models. These watches borrow the same overall aesthetic from the illustrious Seiko SKX line and have quickly become a fan favorite for an affordable GMT. The watches feature the familiar 42.5mm case that is 13.6mm thick and 100m water resistant. You have the choice of three different versions. The first is the black-dial variant with a black and gray bezel, and the second comes with a blue dial and a black and blue bezel. The last of the three is the most popping of all with an orange dial, a black and gray bezel, and gold-colored numerals.
Inside the case, Seiko equipped the watches with the 4R34 movement, which is visible through the display case back. This 24-jewel workhorse provides a 41-hour power reserve and runs at 21,600vph. These watches are “office GMTs,” so they have an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. Equipped with a familiar Seiko Jubilee-style bracelet, the Seiko 5 GMT models have a retro-chic style that has a great deal of charm. Each one is available for €490, and for the money, you get a stylish and very affordable GMT. In particular, the orange SSK005 stands out in the crowd.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPE53
If you like a bit more of an Explorer-esque watch, Seiko also has you covered. The Seiko 5 Sports SRPE53 is part of a small series of watches that have a different aesthetic than most of the 5 Sports collection. The first one is the SRPE51 with a dark gray dial, the second is the SRPE53 with a blue dial, and the third is the SRPE57 with a black dial with gold-colored elements. Finally, if you like a bi-color statement, the SRPE60 is the last option, rocking a gold-plated/stainless steel look. The blue-dial version is my pick of the bunch because I do not like the combo of black and gold on an Explorer-style watch. This leaves the gray and blue versions, and the latter feels more lively.
The watches all come with a 40mm case that is 11mm thick and 44.6mm from lug to lug. As a result, they are perfectly proportioned for a wide array of wrist sizes. On top of that, these models are fairly slim, so they are very comfortable to wear. Once again, Seiko uses its 4R36 movement inside the case, and each model comes on an Oyster-style bracelet. I think these references are underrated as they provide something different, something more stylish and even somewhat dressy. Plus, with a retail price of €310, they also offer a lot in terms of good looks and daily practicality. This makes them great companions to their bigger brothers with dive bezels, and in combination with them, they could be an ideal solution to your watch needs.
There you have it — the five best regular Seiko 5 Sports references according to us. But we realize you might not agree with all the picks for this list. You may prefer the Flieger-like styling of the SRPH31 or the cool transparent dial of the SRPJ45. And there are even more great options out there as well. That’s why we would love this to be the start of a bigger discussion. Let us know your picks for the best models in the Seiko 5 Sports series. We will see you next week for another Top 5 list!
For more information on the current Seiko 5 Sports collection, visit the official Seiko website.