Hello everyone, and welcome back to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Saturday, I round up ten of my favourite Seiko watches.
Given that Wah So Shiok has a focus on affordable watches, I have received a lot of questions over the years from readers about Seiko watches – whether or not a Seiko is a good first watch, which “first” Seiko to get, etc. In my opinion, Seiko does a bunch of great watches across a wide variety of price points, and it’s a great brand to start your horological journey. As such, I’ve rounded up ten of my favourite Seiko watches, which you can get directly online (with full set and local warranty) from H2 Hub.
If you’re on an ultra-tight budget, the Seiko 5 SNKM87K1 is my pick for a sub-S$150 watch. It’s brilliant. It has Hardlex crystal, a Seiko automatic movement, and a stunning dial. I love the dauphine hands, the guilloche dial patterning, the layered nature of the dial, and the polished applied indices. It’s a watch that has plenty of depth and texture, and a look that belies its low price point. It also comes on a metal bracelet, has a contemporary 42mm sizing, and even lume! This is one that I’ll wear proudly, and needless to say is a much better option as compared to your usual fashion watch from Daniel Wellington/MVMT/Fossil/etc.
For those with a bit more to spend, the new Seiko 5 series is a great way to kickstart your watch journey. Introduced in 2019, the rejuvenated Seiko 5 series not only made a statement stylistically, but also came with significant internal upgrades – the watches are now powered by the Seiko 4R36 movement, which is more accurate, hand-winding, and hacks. There are plenty of variations to choose from, but my favourite is the SRPE71K1, which has a silver, bead-blasted bezel adorned with stylized font. It reminds me of the Rolex Yachtmaster 40, but without coming across as a homage. I also love the monochromatic silver look. It is a great everyday watch, and undoubtedly one of the best watches that you can buy at under S$300.
I’m a huge fan of the Seiko Presage series – I think the lineup offers some of the most intriguing dials under S$500, and I personally own multiple timepieces from the collection. One of my favourites is the SRPE15J1“Mockingbird”. Just look at that dial! The alternating shades of green and black, paired with the applied faceted claw-like indices culminates in a winning design. Green dials have become increasingly popular as of late too. It’s stylistically versatile too – it works as an everyday watch, but also as a dress watch when thrown on a leather strap. Again, the “Mockingbird” is one that punches way above its price point.
Of course, Seiko is known for its affordable dive watches, especially with its Prospex line. The enthusiast community has given all sorts of names to various Seiko divers – Turtle, Sumo, Samurai, Tuna, etc. One of the best dive watches under S$500 is the Seiko SRPD21K1 Turtle “Save the Ocean”, with a blue wavy dial and the blue/grey bezel. Without a doubt, it’s probably the best dive watch (in terms of iconic look) that you can find for under S$500. Combined with the Seiko “Mockingbird” above, you can own a respectable two-watch collection for well under S$1000.
A few years ago, Seiko’s marketing was pretty poor. The newer generation of watch buyers viewed Seiko as an “uncle” watch brand, a brand that their fathers and grandfathers wear – I would say that their designs looked dated as compared to the various fashion watch brands that were skyrocketing in popularity a few years ago. That all changed in the past few years, with Seiko launching the aforementioned refreshed Seiko 5 collection, but also launching various collaborative watches to attract a younger audience. One of those collaborations was with popular anime franchise Naruto, and one model that instantly attracted my attention was the “Gaara”. It has a lovely brown dial that reminds me of the Seiko Presage “Irish Coffee”, and a bezel that is reminiscent of the Urban Safari. I don’t watch Naruto, but I still find this watch immensely appealing – that speaks volumes in itself. And at below S$500, it’s great value for what is essentially a fun weekend watch.
If you’re not a fan of Naruto, another worthy consideration for the “fun weekend watch” spot is the Urban Safari SRPE29K1. This is just one cool watch that works perfectly with streetwear. The watch has a classic “Tuna” case, but reinterpreted in such a way that it is almost unrecognizable. I love the colour scheme and its bold design. Technically speaking, it’s also a higher-specced watch as compared to the previously mentioned “Gaara”, which falls under the more entry-level Seiko 5 line-up.
The Sumo is arguably one of Seiko’s most iconic dive watches. Out of all the variants, my pick is the “Green Sumo” SPB103J1. It is reminiscent of the impossible-to-get Rolex Hulk, but without coming across as a homage, and of course at a much more accessible price point. The differing shade of green between the dial and the bezel is darn cool. As compared to the cheaper Seiko divers mentioned earlier in this listicle, the finishing on the Sumo is visibly better, with alternating brushed and polished edges. It also has the higher-specced 6R35 movement that has a whopping 70 hours of power reserve, and sapphire crystal instead of hardlex. Whilst not cheap, it’s still relatively affordable, and is perhaps the best dive watch you can buy at under S$1000.
Ah, the Alpinist. It’s safe to say that the original Alpinist is a cult icon, beloved for its affordability and iconic look. Seiko controversially discontinued it, then re-introduced it in 2019 with an upgraded movement but at a higher price point. In 2020, Seiko released a trio of smaller, 38mm Alpinist-inspired Prospex dive watches, which the watch community fondly refers to as the “baby Alpinists”. I think the “baby Alpinists” are immensely charming in their smaller, tool watch cases and curved sapphire crystals. Out of the three, my pick will definitely be the green dial variant, which has a lovely textured dial. The green colour also evokes the trademark green dial of the original Alpinist. While the price is a tad high, it’s still an incredibly charming watch that combines a familiar look with a new case.
Inspired by its classic Hi-Beat 1968 Diver, the SPB187J1 is a great watch for enthusiasts who want a slice of Seiko’s dive watch history, albeit in a re-interpreted, modern form. The lugs are distinctively angular, the crown is at 4 o’clock – same as on the 1968 original, a domed sapphire crystal, a solid 200m of water-resistance, while the design of the dial remains very close to the original. It’s also much more affordable than the limited edition SLA039J1. Again, I would say that the SPB187J1 is one of the best dive watches available under S$1500 – I would definitely pick it over the similarly priced Tissot Seastar or the Mido Ocean Star.
If you want the best of what Seiko has to offer, that would be the Marinemaster SLA023J1. The highest specced watch available in Seiko’s regular catalogue, the Marinemaster 300 appeals best to die-hard dive watch fans that appreciate the finishing and technical prowess the watch possesses. The bezel is ceramic, the movement is the top-of-the-line 8L35 (made in the same studio as Grand Seiko’s movements), and the finishing is superb. Once again, I think the Marinemaster 300 is one of the best dive watches under S$5000, alongside perhaps the Tudor Black Bay 58.
That rounds up my listicle on my top ten favourite Seiko watches! While my picks span a wide price spectrum, a commonality is that all the watches mentioned are great value for their price tag. In case it isn’t obvious, I think Seiko offers great value propositions – it’s a brand that you can’t really go wrong with, and one that is considered respectable by most watch enthusiasts.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Seiko watch, I highly recommend going to H2 Hub. For my readers, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 5% off all watches from H2 Hub online. Their prices are one of the best locally – I bought the above “Irish Coffee” from them – and they have over 10 outlets in Singapore which you can bring the watch back to should any issues arise. If you want to get a Seiko, go to them!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.