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One of the more exciting new watches by Seiko in recent memory is the SNZH53 – also popularly known around the web as the ‘Fifty Three Fathoms’. There are also white, black and green dial variants, and a gray PVD case. It is powered by the ubiquitous Seiko 5 7S36 movement – a workhorse that can be found in just about every automatic Seiko under $300. There’s not a lot to say about the movement other than a) it’s entirely in-house, but assembled with almost zero human intervention; b) it lacks manual winding and hacking; c) it winds very efficiently indeed thanks to the ‘Magic Lever’ pawl system; d) there’s a day-date function with the day in two languages or Roman numerals. Functional would probably be the best description, but at this price, who’s complaining?

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More interesting are the aesthetics. There are a lot of Seiko designs which come so close to hitting one out of the park, but due to some quirk – perhaps concessions for Japanese domestic market tastes – they don’t get the cigar. The ’53, on the other hand, does just about everything right. Unusually, it has a bezel with crystal insert; I’m pretty sure it’s Hardlex (mineral) like the other crystals. The dial is a captivating shade of deep blue, which fortunately managed to match a NATO I happened to have (the watch is delivered on a so-so bracelet). And the crown is at the 3 o’clock position rather than the usual 4 o’clock seen on other Seiko 5 models.

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The case is nice and solid – surprisingly weighty – with a mix of brushed and polished surfaces. I personally didn’t like the brushed bits, so out came the Cape Cod and elbow grease. This is the result after a couple of hours of polishing.

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Without further ado, enjoy the pictures!* MT

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*A word of advice: never put your mineral crystals face-down on a Teflon pan. The Teflon coat is harder than the crystal and WILL scratch it! Learned the hard way so you don’t have to.