It’s no secret that we love Seiko and their sister company, Grand Seiko. The innovative watchmaker is one of the (admittedly many) apples of our eyes. Their mechanical watches are spectacular, their importance in the emergence of quartz-powered movements is undeniable, and they’re clearly willing to take risks when it comes to thinking out of the box.
One time, in the early 80s, they even made a TV watch. It was…pretty wild.
However, it’s the mighty Seiko 5 that we’ve come to love the most. It’s affordable, it’s mechanical, it comes in a huge variety of flavors, and it’s probably the most perfect entry point into the world of watch-mania that we can think of.
So, let’s dive in and explore the coolness of the Seiko 5.
The first Seiko 5, called the Sportsmatic 5, was released in 1963. It featured innovations like the Diaflex mainspring, which was said to be unbreakable. It also sported water resistance (a big deal at the time), and a Diashock design that added a level of shock resistance to make the watches more durable.
In essence, these were made to be watches that went wherever you went. You could run, swim, skydive, mountain climb, whatever, and always have your trusty Seiko 5 at your side.
So what does the “5” mean, anyways? Well, according to official Seiko canon, the number denotes the 5 qualities that must be present for a watch to be a part of the line. These qualities are as follows:
Day/date displayed in a single window
Recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position
Durable case and bracelet
It’s those attributes that shaped both the design of the watch and the functionality, and have since paved the way for it to become a legendary staple of watch collecting.
Another key characteristic of the Seiko 5, though not officially recognized, is that they’re affordable. Like, REALLY affordable. We’re talking 1 or 2 hundred bucks, with top end collector’s pieces maybe hitting the $500-600 range.
The prices, combined with the aspects mentioned above, make these watches the perfect entry point for would-be watch fanatics.
Now you might be assuming that this would put the Seiko 5 beneath the notice of those serious watch collectors who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on the highest-end luxury watches, but you’d be very mistaken. Seiko 5s are universally beloved, as far as we can tell.
For many of us, they were our entry points into the hobby as well. In fact, chances are that, were you to bring out your 5 at a watch collector convention, you’d be met with a lot of teary eyed nostalgia and fond memories from the people around you. And then everybody would be on their phones or laptops ordering another one for their collections, because that’s how we watch people are.
Anyways, without any further ado, let’s take a look at some Seiko 5s that we have in stock right now at amazing prices.
Let’s start off with a twist on the classic 5. One thing that we love about Seiko, particularly when it comes to the 5s, is their wild partnerships with IPs. They’ve made special editions for various anime and video games, but the Street Fighter collab is our favorite by far.
The design of this watch is the classic Seiko 5s (the s is for sports) look. Featuring a large unidirectional rotating bezel, this is a no nonsense daily wearer that can withstand a lot of punishment. Okay, well maybe there is a little nonsense, but it’s the good kind.
The camouflage dial is complemented by the Street Fighter character Guile’s dog tag at 9 o’clock, which is a detail that really got us.
Speaking of detail, that’s something we may have glossed over. Seiko is a brand that pays a lot of attention to detail. Even on their “plainer” looking watches, every micrometer of design is 100% deliberate, and it’s nearly impossible to find any flaws at all.
The brown calfskin leather strap is one of those details, completing the military look and making this an undeniably Guile-esque watch.
We’re putting this on the list to show off just how much variation can be found across these watches.
Also, Zangief is our favorite Russian wrestler. Did you know he beat up a bear once with his bare hands?!
The watch is, functionally, the exact same as the Guile version. The dial has the same configuration, the crown is in the same place, the large bezel is still very prominent. But everything about how the watch looks is entirely different!
Zangief’s dial is a swirling red to represent his heritage, and the gold tone case matches the gold tone hammer and sickle of his home flag. The Bezel is studded and industrial looking, and the brown leather strap has been replaced with a red and yellow nylon one.
To the untrained eye, this is a completely different watch, but at its core it’s still a Seiko 5.
And here we have a totally different sort of specimen.
You’re bound to immediately notice some differences between this 5 and the previous two. For one, it’s all polished steel. Gloriously polished steel, we should say. From head to foot, this watch is a glittering silver toned steel masterpiece.
Secondly, there’s no bezel. That’s because, while a common feature on these watches, the bezel isn’t one of the features that makes up the list of 5 that define these watches. Those things are still present in their full glory.
The crown at 4 o’clock is understated in this iteration, and a bit, dare we say it, classier looking than usual. The dial, however, is all 5. The date window is there at its place, the dial itself is a stunning deep blue with a flair of orange gradient that runs from 12 to 4. Underneath it all is the requisite automatic movement, ticking away steadfastly in true Seiko fashion.
And, continuing on our journey to tame the wild Seiko 5, we have this steel iteration that builds on the previous version to create a wholly respectable gentleman’s watch.
The white dial is pristine and beautifully made. It’s actually incredible how a company can so flawlessly build a watch, and then sell it for such a low cost. That attention to detail is on full display in this white backdrop where even the tiniest mistake would be glaring.
This is the Seiko 5 you wear to an important business meeting. You could probably even pull one off as president. We can tell you right now that you’d win over the watch enthusiast vote by repping Seiko at the podium.
Okay, so now we’re a little upset. This women’s 5, as beautiful as it is, actually does break one of the 5 rules! The crown is at 3 o’clock, instead of 4.
Oh, who are we kidding? It’s impossible to stay mad at this watch. Dripping in opulence and blinding gold toned glory, this women’s watch is an absolute treasure to behold. It really goes to show the sheer versatility of Seiko that they’re able to create such an elegant piece while (mostly) remaining in the confines of the 5 series.
It’s dainty, but not fragile. It’s classy, but not stuffy. It’s the belle of the ball, and it’s waiting for you to take hold of its glass slipper.