If you’re familiar at all with the so-called “quartz crisis” of the 1960s and ‘70s, then you’ve definitely heard of Seiko. Of course, what was a crisis for the Swiss watch industry could easily be called a quartz revolution by consumers around the world.
If you’re new to Seiko, here’s the skinny: Seiko is Japan’s premier watchmaker. They’re known around the world for producing high-quality watches at very affordable prices. This is mostly due to the company having the means to produce every individual component of their watches in-house. The movements are also developed by the company, many of which can rival much more expensive Swiss movements.
They even make their own crystals using a proprietary substance called “hardlex,” which sits somewhere between mineral and sapphire in terms of hardness. That’s not to say they don’t also use sapphire crystals on some of their higher end pieces, but the in-house production of hardlex makes their watches even more affordable.
To say that Seiko watches are popular is a massive understatement. Because of their incredibly varied catalogue and their eagerness to try new things (they once made a watch that also contained a drum machine inside of it), the brand has become a darling for both enthusiasts and casual watch folks alike.
The community has a wide variety of nicknames for the watches, so it’s not uncommon to see people talking about their “turtle (the Prospex SRP77x)” or their “orange monster (SKX789)” in watch enthusiast forums across the internet.
Seiko’s sister company, Grand Seiko, was created to rival the likes of Rolex and Omega, and generally features more conservative, but incredibly beautiful, designs with a mind-blowing quality that can easily match or maybe even surpass any of their Swiss counterparts.
Let’s take a look at 5 of our favorite and unbelievably affordable (for the most part) Seikos from the WatchMaxx catalogue.
Seiko’s 5 series is the brand’s entry level automatic watch that’s been around for over 50 years and comes in a dizzying array of styles. The name, 5, comes from the promise that each watch in the series will contain 5 elements: Automatic movement, a day/date window at 3 o’clock, water resistance, a recessed crown at 4 o’clock, and a durable case and bracelet.
This particular model is a favorite of ours for a very superficial reason. Look at all that gold-tone glamour! Everything, from the hands to the dial to the bezel to the bracelet, is colored like a gleaming sun that would make Scrooge McDuck’s eyes bulge out of his head. The only thing that isn’t gold is the white window for the day/date complication, which is a concession we grudgingly accept.
Order the 5 Automatic Gold Tone Stainless Steel today for 37% off.
A more petite women’s version is available here for 48% off.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about this piece is the day complication that sweeps out like a fan across the dial near the 5 o’clock mark. This is a perfect example of what we meant when we said that Seiko isn’t afraid to experiment with designs, and this Kinetic completely sweeps us away with its bold look.
The white cream dial is luxuriously beautiful, and the stark contrast of the blue hands is exciting. The black leather strap ties everything together with an extra touch of class. It’s honestly amazing that a watch of this caliber can be had for under $200.
Order the Kinetic White Dial Leather Strap today for 47% off.
Seiko has a long and colorful history of partnering with brands that are firmly rooted in popular culture. Their limited edition Street Fighter line may be the most exciting example yet of this out-of-the-box approach to special edition watches.
The Blanka edition is a 5s (the s is for sport) series with a rugged build quality to withstand even the harshest of fighting tournament environments. Almost the entire piece is washed in the titular character’s green aesthetic, with lightning blasts on the rotating bezel and orange highlights on the nylon strap. The dial features a reflective green vortex design and blazing yellow hands. The entire watch screams “Fight!”
As Blanka says in Street Fighter II, “OW OW OW AAAH!” Same here, Blanka. Same here.
Order the 5 Automatic Blanka Street Fighter Limited Edition today for 20% off.
When you hear a Seiko fan talk about the legendary “turtle,” this is the design they’re talking about. Well, an evolution of it at least. The beloved nickname comes from the rounded, non-threatening design of the large case and the way it resembles a turtle shell.
This particular Prospex really knocks the look out of the park with its deep blue dial that catches light as if it’s being filtered by the ocean depths. The luminous hands and markers stand out in a way that’s impossible to miss, and the steel bracelet completes the heavy duty look.
Speaking of the look, this watch sports a 44mm case diameter and looks like it’s gigantic. However, in reality the rounded contours allow it to sit so comfortably on the wrist that you might forget it’s there. Well, except that you’ll be spending so much time looking at it, of course.
Order the Prospex Automatic Blue Dial today for 51% off.
At first glance, it might seem like this is called a “Solar” because of how wonderfully it replicates the play of sunlight on polished metal. But the reality is that this is actually a solar powered watch. That means this beauty is best suited for a wrist that likes to be out in the sun where it can be shown off like the luxurious knockout it is.
The polished gold-tone hands and bezel are just gleaming with lux, and the gold colored accents on the steel bracelet are a touch of fashion that will never go out of style. The solar powered movement means it will never go out of power, either.
Order the Solar White Dial today for 52% off.
We just couldn’t pass up the chance to gush about this incredible beauty. Earlier, we talked about Grand Seiko being a rival for even the nicest Swiss watches on today’s market, and this piece exemplifies that in every way.
The dials on Grand Seikos are so meticulously crafted that it’s pretty much impossible to find even the tiniest flaw. The bezels on the hands and markers are so perfectly shaped and polished that you could count the hairs on your head in their reflection with a magnifying glass. The subdial near the 8 o’clock mark shows the power reserve in the Spring Drive movement, and...well let’s talk about that for a second.
Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive is perhaps the most ingenious and advanced movement of any mechanical watch out there today. The essence is that it combines automatic self winding gear-driven movement with a quartz oscillator, culminating in a hybrid engine that delivers a ±15 second per month accuracy.
The power of the Spring Drive is obvious when watching the mesmerizingly smooth sweep of the second hand across the dial, an effect that is almost impossible to believe without seeing it for yourself. And by now, seeing it for yourself is something that you should definitely have on your to-do list.
Order the Grand Seiko Blue Dial today.
If you feel you’re ready to jump into the world of Seiko, check out our full Seiko catalogue and find the perfect piece to add to your collection.