I Can’t Stop Wearing This Super Affordable Seiko Watch

The stunning value in a Seiko 5 Sports watch shows just what the Japanese brand does well, and why it’s so beloved.

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Zen Love

This is Kind of Obsessed, a column about all the stuff our team is really, really into right now.

There’s a mishmash of watches before me on little pillows that wait to be chosen as part of my morning routine. I’ll usually pause for a second to reflect on my mood as well as the requirements of the day ahead. Recently, however, decidedly more upmarket options have been passed over in favor of a totally unassuming and inexpensive little Seiko watch that just seems to click. It feels like the start of a good day.

Seiko’s army of fans will find nothing unusual about my experience. The particular watch in question is from the Seiko 5 Sports collection that was announced just last year in 2019, and it represents exactly the kind of value and character those Seiko fans won’t shut up about. We’re talking around $300 at retail for something that offers so much more than that price would suggest.

You’d expect a watch at this price to be pretty no-frills, so the details and features you find feel like a pleasant surprise. The case is brushed on top and polished on the sides (on this particular SRPD91 version); the dial is super legible, with tons of lume and applied indices; the fit and finish make it comfortable and attractive to wear, and its automatic movement is visible through the case back. It all makes the Seiko 5 Sports feel — dare I say — refined.

Visually, this is a classic Seiko dive watch with DNA from the brand’s iconic SKX line. Does it bother me that the Seiko 5 Sports, like some other popular watches, is styled like a dive watch but is only rated for 100m of water resistance? If it had 30m of water-resistance, like a dress watch, it would bother me. This watch, however, is ready for just about anything you can throw at it — including water.

I’ll probably go back to my other humble but beloved wrist companions eventually, but the Seiko 5 Sports probably has even the fanciest watches in the world beat in one important metric — and that’s fun.

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