Seiko has just announced the launch of two new Seiko 5 models — the SSK023K1 and SSK025K1. Though this debut comes late in the year, it’s an exciting one for sure. Last year, the brand introduced a trio of Seiko 5 GMT models in the SKX-style case. Back then, I called them “the best budget-friendly GMT watch out there.” The last 12 months have witnessed the introduction of pieces that have given them a run for their money, but are these latest offerings from the Japanese brand ready to dethrone them as such? Opinions will differ, but I believe they can.

These two new models tick off plenty of boxes, even at a glance. A well-sized, affordable field watch with the addition of a 24-hour GMT hand? Sign me up! I had a chance to get my hands on these two new Seiko 5 Sports models to form some first impressions. As you know, I was a vocal fan of the SSK GMT models launched last year. They offered plenty of feature-packed value at a humble price point. Those watches also harked back to the beloved SKX, with which they shared their form. The new SSK models take a similar approach yet use the form of the popular entry-level Seiko 5 field watch. The result? A slimmer and more versatile watch, with only one small compromise in exchange.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1 and SSK025K1

But what’s this about a compromise? Well, it’s only a matter of bezel rotation (or lack thereof). That’s right; the stainless steel bezel is fixed to the 39.4mm case. Its other key dimensions are its 13.6mm thickness and 47.9mm lug-to-lug. As you might imagine, on the wrist, it’s spot-on. The five-row bracelet is also comfortable for the price point and suits the watch well. I also appreciated it being fully brushed. The case follows suit, with only the radially brushed bezel’s edge and sides featuring a polished finish. The watches have a domed Hardlex crystal and feature a good helping of Seiko’s Lumibrite. Not complicating things, the watch ops for a grainy black military dial (with hours marked in both 12-hour and 24-hour formats), lume blocks, and a little bit of reddish orange on the seconds and 24-hour hands for contrast. It’s a classic formula that has worked well in the past and gets the job done here.

Sure, it’s not breaking any molds, but you can’t fault it. Only the black hard-coated SSK025K1 opts to add a little bit more color, with its numerals featuring a greener tone. The 24-hour hand here is also slightly different. Instead of being fully orange, it’s black from the central pinion until just before the tip, where it adopts the familiar shade. The black case on this model matches the 20mm leather NATO with color-matched hardware. The 4R34 movement allows hacking and manual winding, and it has both a date and an independently adjustable 24-hour hand. It can be seen through the crystal on the screw-in case back, which helps provide water resistance to 100 meters. The aforementioned date sits at 3 o’clock, displaying a color-matched black disc and an applied steel frame.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK025K1 on wrist

Final thoughts

All in all, the Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1 and SSK025K1 are a pair of quiet overachievers. They do what they do well but without making too much of a fuss. Priced attractively at €460, it’s hard to imagine these not being successful. They’re the kind of watches that I could picture setting any budding watch enthusiast on the right path, and they have a style I could’ve only dreamed of in my early days of lusting after watches. Even today, I think these would be brilliant watches for travel. Even in the sketchiest of destinations, you know they’ll fly under the radar while providing decent timekeeping both locally and back home.

What do you think of these new Seiko 5 Sports GMT models? Are you a fan of the SSK023K1 and SSK025K1? Or did you prefer last year’s SKX-inspired SSK models? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. For more information on availability, check the Seiko websiteSeiko website.

Watch specifications

5 Sports
SSK023K1 / SSK025K1
Grainy matte black with Lumibrite indices and numerals (1–12), 13–24-hour scale, and date window with applied frame
Case Material
Stainless steel / Stainless steel with black hard coating
Case Dimensions
39.4mm (diameter) × 47.9mm (lug-to-lug) × 13.6mm (thickness)
Domed Hardlex
Case Back
Stainless steel (with black coating for SSK025K1) and Hardlex crystal, screw-in
Seiko 4R34 — automatic and hand winding, 21,600vph frequency, 41-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
10 ATM (100m)
Stainless steel five-row bracelet with all-brushed finish and safety clasp / Black leather NATO black-coated steel hardware — 20mm width
Time (hours, minutes, seconds), GMT (independently adjustable 24-hour hand and fixed 24-hour bezel), and date