THERE is always a slight difference in one or two of the five qualities defining the “5” in Seiko 5, but the most mentioned are a self-winding movement, a respectable degree of water resistance, a day and date window in a single panel, a crown at 4 o’clock and a durable case. Some had listed shock resistance as part of the definition, and even a glass caseback. But the five mentioned above came from Seiko, so this is now the official list.
Surely, though, what isn’t up for any argument is that the Seiko 5 line has transcended class, knowledge, gender and taste, having been coveted by the horology afflicted as much as by those who can barely tell which hand is for the hour. And the 5 has been at it for more than 50 years — the Seiko 5 debuted in 1963, the first Seiko 5 Sports model came out five years later.
Now, Seiko brings out the latest 5 Sports models (to reach stores in September). All right, the release of new Seiko 5 Sports pieces normally isn’t something worth writing about. But then these are not “normal.” Because Seiko itself refers to the new pieces — there are five references — as a rebirth of the line. The latest quintet, then, heralds the other good stuff which can be expected from the Seiko 5 Sports tag in future.
Pitched as having been designed for the next generation — of what, Seiko is a bit ambivalent — the watches are lumped according to style. They are called Sports (SRPD51K1), Suits (SRPD73K1), Specialist (SRPD76K1), Street (SRPD79K1) and Sense (SRPD77K1). All are defined by dials with what Seiko says are three-dimensional hour markers (probably meaning applied rather than painted on) and straps or bracelets in silicone/leather, steel, steel mesh and fabric. There are 27 executions of the five references available.
The watches’ case, hands and hour markers are all decidedly identical to Seiko’s iconic SKX007. The “Automatic” inscription on the dial has been lifted off other Seikos. The bezel insert markings are reminiscent of those on the SKX007, too, only in the new 5 Sports the gradation is capped at 20 minutes. The bezel rotates counter-clockwise.
Only one case size and material are available; 42.5 millimeters wide and 13.4 millimeters thick in steel (the case can come in rose gold tint or black coating though). Covering the case on top is Seiko’s Hardlex crystal. A glass window appears on the caseback. The crown screws in place. The new Seiko 5 Sports has a water-resistance rating of 100 meters (half of that for the SKX007).
Assigned to the new watches is Seiko’s self-winding cal. 4R36. Usually found under the metal of Seiko’s Prospex divers, this 24-jewel movement spins at 21,600vph and has a respectable 41-hour power reserve. It can be wound manually, and it hacks as well. No stranger at all to the Seiko-holic, this movement is solid.
Well, the Seiko 5 Sports has always been, too.