The Seiko 5 watch series traces its roots all the way back to 1963, when the Japanese mega-brand introduced the original Seiko Sportsmatic 5, a groundbreaking timepiece that ushered in the emblematic “five attributes” that define the vast collection today. These include automatic movements, day/date displays in a single window, water resistance, a recessed crown at 4 o’clock, and a case and bracelet made of durable materials. Stylistically, the watches run the gamut from dress pieces to field watches to divers, with all kinds of variations in between (the current shorthand descriptions are Sense, Specialist, Sports, Suits, and Street). Seiko 5 watches still adhere to those five principles initially laid out more than half a century ago while still retaining the famously inexpensive price points that have made them so desirable — from under $100 to the neighborhood of $500 for the more exclusive editions. Seiko 5 watches — rebranded in the collection’s relaunch in 2019 as Seiko 5 Sports, despite offering this diversity of styles — have a worldwide fan following, with many JDM (Japan Direct Market) models highly sought after by American collectors due to their scarcity. And for many a budding watch collector of modest means, a Seiko 5 watch is the gateway drug to a full-blown timepiece obsession. Here we spotlight some of our favorites.
Reference: SRPC65, Price: $150-$250, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
This model’s nickname comes from its cone-shaped case topped with a deeply notched bezel, and its hefty size speaks to fans of a certain style of robust, in-your-face dive watches. Available in a variety of dial colors, including the eye-catching turquoise model we spotlight here, the watch’s brushed case is water resistant to 100 meters (the best it can achieve with a push-pull rather than a screw-down crown) and its emblematic “bottle cap” ratcheting bezel, engineered for 120 clicks, is designed for easy gripping and turning to set dive times. LumiBrite coats the dial’s hour markers and sword-shaped hands.
SNZF17 “Sea Urchin”
Reference: SNZF17, Price: $150-$200, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Regarded by many as an homage to Rolex’s classic Submariner, the “Sea Urchin” is a solidly built divers’ watch with a substantial steel case, a coin-edge rotating bezel, a luminous-detailed dial with a wide pointed hour hand, and (as per the criteria) a day and date display in a 3 o’clock window. The crown presses, rather than screws, into the crown guards for a water resistance of 100 meters. The movement is self-winding but lacks a hacking seconds function and a manually winding stem. The 60-minute dive scale bezel insert is made of aluminum.
Reference: SNK357, Price: $95 - $119, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 7526
At an understated 37mm in steel, and boasting an azure-colored dial with a subtle texture evoking the Seiko 5 logo, this dressy model might well serve as an eminently affordable alternative to models from the high-end Grand Seiko brand that produces under the same corporate umbrella as Seiko proper, which are known for their textured dials. The silver-toned, luminescent hands and indexes join a framed 3 o’clock day/date aperture on the dial. The movement beats behind a clear caseback, offering a respectable power reserve of 41 hours.
Reference: SNK805, Price: $75-$100, Case Size: 37 mm, Thickness: 10.6mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43 mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Auto Seiko 7S26B
Some of the most enduringly popular Seiko 5 models hail from the 800 series, whose designs evoke historical military watches meant for the field and the cockpit. The SNK805, with its military green dial and matching double-layered nylon strap, channels this heritage most clearly. The matte dial hosts luminous diamond-shaped hands under a scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal; the modest 38mm case, with a rugged matte finish and the telltale 4 o’clock crown, contains the automatic Seiko 7S26B movement.
Reference: SNK789, Price: $75-$120, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 7S26C
The sunburst-finish, midnight blue dial of this model from the 700 series helps it stand out from the pack. The baton hands are filled with white luminous material, and the applied hour indexes (doubled in size at 12 o’clock) are elegantly faceted, with surfaces that catch the light at eye-catching angles. White minute markers are printed around the periphery, and the ubiquitous day/date window has a finely polished frame. The 7S26C is a reliable workhorse caliber, offering 40 hours of winding autonomy but no hacking or hand-winding.
Reference: SRPG27, Price: $275, Case Size: 39.4mm, Thickness: 13.2mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.1mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Following up previously well-received, budget-friendly field watches like those from the SNK series of a few years ago, Seiko added the SRPG27 to the Sports 5 family, with a 39.4mm case in bead-blasted steel and an automatic 4R36 movement, which includes useful upgrades from previous calibers like a hand-winding option and a hacking seconds function. Along with the classical military dial, with 12-hour and 24-hour scales, these attributes help this Seiko stack up quite strongly as an even more affordable alternative to field watches from the likes of Hamilton and Bulova.
Reference: SRPD51, Price: $295, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Seiko retired its much-beloved SKX lineup of dive watches in 2019, concurrently with the launch of the updated Seiko 5 range. The SRPD51 retains much of the spirit as well as the design language of the discontinued SKX007, one of fandom’s favorite entry-level mechanical dive watches, albeit with scaled-back specs to accommodate the price point. The blue dial of this model harmonizes with the blue aluminum ring of the unidirectional diver’s bezel. The blue/blue combo is something new that wasn’t offered in SXX models; also new are the applied hour markers and logo, replacing the painted ones of these watches’ predecessors, and the clear caseback that displays the automatic Caliber 4R36.
SNKL23 “Tuxedo Dial”
Reference: SNKL23, Price: $100-$150, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 10.5mm, Lug Width: 17mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.5mm, Crystal: Mineral, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 7S26
Probably the best watch on this list for a formal occasion, with its glossy black-and-white “tuxedo” dial and sharply edged Dauphine hands, the SNKL23 sports a very wearable 38mm diameter and slips easily under a shirt sleeve at under 11mm high. The dial consists of an outer pinstriped border with thin, polished indexes, and a shiny black center, with the hallmark framed rectangular day-date aperture crossing the sectors at 3 o’clock. The case offers a smooth silhouette, with the 4 o’clock crown embedded tightly into the case for wearing comfort.
Reference: SRPD53K1, Price: $440, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
This sporty, colorful alternative to Rolex's more lauded (and much more expensive) "Pepsi" GMT-Master derives its soda-inspired nickname not from a bisected 24-hour GMT bezel but from the use of red for the first 20 minute sector on an otherwise blue 60-minute dive-scale bezel. The watch's 4R36 caliber allows for hacking seconds and hand-winding, and the drilled lugs of the brushed steel case make bracelet and strap replacement easy. The large hands and markers are generously treated with white LumiBrite that glows green in the dark.
SNZH57 “Fifty-Five Fathoms”
Reference: SNZH57, Price: $160, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 14mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Fans of Blancpain’s iconic luxury divers’ watch, the Fifty Fathoms, might recognize some aesthetic influences in this Japanese diver that retails for a fraction of its Swiss inspiration’s ticket price. Distinguishing this model are its day-and-date window at 3 o’clock (not a feature of the original Blancpain model), rectangular hour markers, the wide, sword-shaped luminous hands, and the unidirectional rotating dive-scale bezel with an insert made of acrylic (rather than the sapphire currently used on most iterations of the Fifty Fathoms). Seiko’s automatic in-house movement ticks inside, shielded by a 100-meter water resistant steel case.
Reference: SRPE53, Price: $275, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.6mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
This watch’s nickname comes from its role as a dressier version of the sporty SKX models that serve as the clearest historical predecessor of the Seiko 5 Sports line. It’s still morer of a sports watch than a dress watch, however, with a handset that combines a syringe hour hands with an arrow-pointed minute hand and an array of geometrical shaped hour markers including an inverted triangle at the 12 o’clock position. The 3 o’clock index is displaced by the telltale day/date window of the 5 sports collection, and the crown is embedded into the 40mm steel case at 4 o’clock. Bridging the gap between sporty and dressy is the stationary bezel that replaces the rotating dive bezel one would expect on a watch of this design.
Reference: SNKE01K1, Price: $120, Case Size: 36.5mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40.5mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 50 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 7S26
Paying a fairly clear homage to the Rolex Explorer II (hence the nickname), this modestly-sized steel watch can be dressed up or down. Its satin-finished bezel is engraved with black-printed numerals and indexes for the 60-minute scale. Two sharp sword hands sweep over the black dial and its day/date aperture, and the case opts for a variety of polished and brushed finishes. Seiko’s proprietary luminous substance coats the outer tips of the hour markers. The in-house automatic Caliber 7S26 is on display behind a transparent caseback window.
SRP605K2 Diver Automatic
Reference: SRP605K2, Price: $395, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Seiko has been known to go big and bulky for many of its divers’ watches, and this model from the 5 Sports family is no exception. The 44mm diameter, 13mm thickness, highly angled lugs, and knurled bezel add to the overall robust tool-watch look. The bezel, made of a single piece of metal, sits high on the case and rotates in one direction. The matte dial’s large, luminous hour markers are framed in gold and coated with lume; a golden trim also surrounds the 3 o’clock date window. The distinctive handset combines a broad-arrow hour hand, sword minute hand, and arrow-tipped central seconds pointer. A push-pull crown at 4 o’clock helps seal the case to a tested water resistance of 100 meters — pedestrian for a watch of this type if you’re actually planning to dive with it, but plenty for everyday wear.
SNKK27 “Speed Racer”
Reference: SNKK27, Price: $109, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 30 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 7S26
The colorful, energetic look of this timepiece gives it its nickname, which comes from the heroic race car driver who stars in one of Japan’s most famous animé series. The dial has 12 applied hour markers matches with small numerals at each 5-minute interval and a contrast-colored arc sweeping the first 20 minutes that serves no real function other than adding some jazzy aesthetics. The hour hand is a small arrow, the minute hand a thin baton. A Hardlex crystal covers the dial and the case’s rounded lugs connect it to a steel link bracelet. The workhorse automatic 7S26 ticks away inside at a frequency of 21,600.
Reference: SSK003, Price: $475, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R34
Seiko introduced the first GMT complication to the Seiko 5 sports line in 2022, equipping the watches with the automatic Caliber 4R34. Available in three colorways for the dial and bezel — black, orange, and the blue version pictured here — the watches have a central GMT hand in a contrasting color, used in coordination with the bicolor day/night bezels, with rings made of Hardlex glass like the crystal, to indicate a second time zone. The GMT hand is coated in Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite for nighttime legibility. Based on the design of the much-beloved SKX series of Seiko sports watches, the model has a five-link bracelet with polished middle rows.
SRPE83K1 Brian May Limited Edition
Reference: SRPE83K1, Price: $595, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Legendary Queen guitarist and loyal Seiko fan Brian May is the inspiration for this 9,000-piece limited edition that takes its design cues from May’s “Red Special,” the guitar that he and his father hand-built back in the 1960s, with the same red-and-black color scheme and wood-pattern motif, and even comes on a leather strap like the one on the guitar. The watch, which is based on the Seiko dive watch that May wore for years on stage, contains the automatic Caliber 4R36 and features the musician’s signature inscribed on the clear caseback.
SRPF23 Street Fighter "Blanka" Limited Edition
Reference: SRPF23, Price: $440, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Seiko embraced Japan’s popular Street Fighter gaming franchise with a series of limited editions within the Seiko 5 series in 2020, each watch taking its aesthetic inspiration from one of the video game’s central characters. For this list of standouts, we’re going with the Blanka edition, whose predominantly green colorway, with yellow electrical lightning patterns, is a visual distillation of the namesake character’s “Electrical Thunder” signature attack move, and whose sharp-edged, gray hour markers stand in for Blanka’s sharp teeth; the red highlights on the strap echo the feral fighter’s flowing red hair. All of the Street Fighter editions are limited to 9,999 pieces.
SRPF70 Naruto Uzumaki Limited Edition
Reference: SRPF70, Price: $440, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Another limited edition drawn from Japanese pop culture, the Naruto Uzumaki version of the Seiko 5 Sports pays homage to the popular manga series Naruto — specifically its titular character — and its sequel series Boruto. The yellow-gold-PVD case and bezel represent the colors of Naruto’s training garb while the dial’s swirling gradient pattern references the “Rasengan” Ninja technique that the character masters during his journey to becoming village leader, or Hokage. The pendant-shaped index at 12 o’clock symbolizes his inheritance from the senior Hokage, and the clear caseback is imprinted with the emblem of the Uzumaki clan. The watch is one of a set of seven, all with colorways and design details patterned after characters from the manga series, each limited to 6,500 pieces.
SRPJ39 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition
Reference: SRPJ39, Price: $335, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
Yuto Horigome, Japan’s leading professional skateboarder and an X-Games champion, collaborated with Seiko on this special edition, selecting the colors, materials, finishes and graphics to produce the first camouflage-print dial in the 5 Sports SKX series. The 42.4mm steel case has a blackened finish and the dial’s 3D stamped pattern combines a number of finishing techniques and plating processes to catch different light reflections at different angles. The automatic, 24-jewel Seiko 4R36 beats inside, behind a clear caseback emblazoned with Yuto Horigome’s signature.
Reference: SRPG61, Price: $225, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Crystal: Hardlex, Water Resistance: 100 m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 4R36
The gritty, gray-toned, textured dial of this reference takes its cues literally from the street, i.e., the omnipresent cement and concrete surfaces that define our modern urban jungle. The streetwise, monochromatic appeal of the watch extends to its gray, coin-edged, rotating divers' bezel, whose aluminum insert has the same textured motif as the dial, and the gray nylon NATO-style strap. The day-date window at 3 o'clock, crown at 4 o'clock, and lume-coated hands (arrow for the minutes, syringe for the hour) identify the watch firmly as a Seiko 5 Sports, while the automatic 4R36 caliber beats inside.