I have always had a preference for mechanical watches. My father gave me an Omega Constellation from the seventies. Later I owned an early Glashütte automatic watch, which was powered by an ETA movement. Unfortunately my early watches were either stolen or I lost them.
Some years ago, I discovered by chance the affordable Seiko 5 Sports automatic watch series. Most people know them because of their affordable but very attractive diver models. Although I admire large stainless steel diver watches, I find them uncomfortable to wear because of my rather small wrists. I bought a Seiko 5 Sports SNZG15K1 automatic military style watch. This is a very affordable stainless steel watch, which is available in Germany for about 180 Euro and looks like it costs much more. As with their divers, Seiko has nailed the looks: This is how a military style watch should look like.
Seiko 5 Sports SNZG15K1
When I was looking for a gift for my older son and he wanted a stainless steel diver, I remembered the Seiko catalog of attractive divers. Soon I discovered the sports watch line Prospex. This line ranges in the medium to upper price range and costs between 350 Euro and several thousand Euro. Seiko also discovered the trick of bringing out special limited editions that allow them to charge a multiple for exactly the same watch. Nevertheless, there are some nice, affordable options among the standard models. If you are just asking for a pragmatic choice for a watch to wear every day, it won’t get better than the Seiko Solar models. These are quartz movements. And yes, they may not have the charm of a mechanical movement, but they are much more accurate. Combine this with a solar-charged buffer battery that will keep your watch running on a full charge for 6-8 months and only needs to be replaced every 12 years, and you have the perfect low-maintenance No Brainer watch. And again, Seiko has two affordable models available that put the classic stainless steel diver design in a nutshell: the Seiko Prospex SNE437P1 for around 350 Euros or, if you prefer the chronograph style, the Prospex SSC015P1 for 399 Euros. Again, the design and workmanship of these watches would give the impression that they are much more expensive than they actually are. Seiko Prospex SNE437P1 Seiko Prospex SSC015P1
Well then, motivated by the great value offered by these Prospex divers, I started looking for an attractive watch for me in the Seiko catalog. At first I was looking for a Solar quartz watch and looked for hidden gems in the Seiko catalog. I searched for watches in military or dress watch style. Seiko again has you covered, the Seiko SUP873P1 is a very light and thin dress watch in minimalistic style made of stainless steel with a white dial for 199 Euro list price (you can get it much cheaper). For watches in military style there is the Seiko SNE475P1, a beautiful classic watch in military style for 229 Euro list price. This one is a bit bigger, but still comfortable to wear. Seiko Solar SUP873P1 Seiko Solar SNE475P1
I have always admired the styling of the Omega Seamaster and Constellation dress watches from the sixties. By chance, I found a series of Presage watches with a similar design. The Presage line are mid-range automatic watches with a classic dress watch design. They cost between 400 Euros and almost 1200 Euros. One watch that I particularly liked, my wife says it is a grandfather watch, is the Seiko Presage SRPC99J1 model. This watch also offers very good value for money, and its workmanship and design are well above its price point. Now I started to look for similar watches and discovered that Seiko is one of the few manufacturers who still designs and builds new automatic movements, especially in the lower and medium price range, and has a rich history of automatic watches in the last 20-30 years. If you are interested in mechanical watches for a bargain, I dare to say that you need look no further than Seiko. There are already many iconic classics, watches that are no longer available but are highly praised and sought after. These are especially the watch models with the automatic movement 6R15. Examples are the SARB033 (codenamed “Baby Grand Seiko”, and its sister model SARB035 with a white dial), the SARB065 Cocktail time dress watch (which was the model for my Presage SRPC99), the SARG009 and SARG007 military style watches and the SARB017 Alpinist (which was re-released in 2019 as Prospex SPB121J1). There is a large catalogue of all SAR models on watchsleuth.com. Seiko Presage SRPC99J1 Seiko SARB035 Spirit Seiko SARB017 Alpinist
This is my path to collecting Seiko watches. I hope I’ve given you enough clues to become a Seikoholic too. You cannot praise Seiko highly enough for still serving the market for sophisticated yet affordable mechanical watches. This is not to be expected from the inventors of quartz watches and one of the largest watch manufacturers in the world. There is much more to discover and learn about these interesting watches.