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The discontinued Seiko 5 SNX series of flieger/field style watches has been long considered as Seiko’s performance-driven value choice for an affordable military style watch that packed a whole lot of mechanical watch goodness in its low price segment, a range endeared by watch enthusiasts in the market for a durable, inexpensive and automatic timepiece. For a welcoming refresh to their popular cult-favourite, Seiko launched their latest line up of Seiko 5 field watches bringing compelling new upgrades in its movement and a modernized military-inspired architecture for a sweet contemporary appeal.
Seiko 5 “Field Sports Style” Automatic 36 Desert Tan Ref. SBSA199
It comes as no surprise that Seiko 5 watches come with an incredible value proposition and are arguably praised as being one of the most affordable automatic watches available on the market. More than 50 years ago, Seiko unveiled their first Seiko 5, the “Sportsmatic 5” in 1963 which brought specifications and innovations to the watch industry that rivals many of their Swiss counterparts, this also marked Japan’s first ever mechanical watch with a day-date complication. Even until today, the Seiko 5 collection remains one of the most competitively priced entry-level range of Seiko mechanical timepieces, especially after its revitalization in 2019 which ushered in a brand new stylized “5” logo and updated specifications.
Seiko hit the nail on the head with this new release with a mid-sized tool watch that finds a balance between traditional sizes and modern look. The attractive dimensions of the Seiko 5 Field Sports Style Automatic 36 Desert Tan Ref. SBSA199 will definitely satisfy most wrist sizes, measuring a case diameter of 36mm, a lug to lug distance of 44.4mm and a case thickness of 12.5mm. Constructed out of 316L stainless steel, finishing is meticulously executed with an entirely brushed finish for a tough utilitarian appeal.
4R36 automatic caliber
Despite having a non-screwdown push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position, the Seiko 5 Field achieves an astonishing water resistance rating of 100m (10 ATM), allowing for a worry-free experience with ample protection against water splashes. Accompanying this impressive tool watch, the supplied military-style 18mm tan colour NATO strap gives it a sporty versatile overall, aligning itself with the military field watch theme while providing utmost comfort and durability.
Underneath Seiko’s proprietary Hardlex crystal, the Seiko 5 Field Sports “Style carries a matte grain-textured dial in desert tan for some outdoorsy vibe. Bearing many similar traits from its predecessor portrayed in its dashing large Arabic hour numerals, an inner military24-hour scale while refined with striking new details for an additional contemporary touch. The dial is as engaging as we’ve known it to be, pairing incredibly well with its broad hands and prominent lume plots for a pleasurable time reading experience. Naturally, Seiko delivered their famous LumiBrite luminescent treatment on its syringe-style hands for an excellent green glow in the dark. Since the case is at 36mm, its day-date window gets to sits closer to the edge of the dial at 3’o clock.
Seiko's proprietary LumiBrite
The Seiko 5 Field Sports Style Automatic 36 Desert Tan Ref. SBSA199 runs on the ever reliable Seiko’s in-house caliber 4R36 automatic movement. This long awaited upgrade features hacking and hand-winding capabilities, which were lacking in the previous generation caliber 7S26 movement which were lacking in these aspects. The 24 jewel movement has a beat rate of 21,600 beats per hour with a power reserve of about 40 hours. Additionally, the movement houses a date and day calendar at the 3 o’clock position printed with crisp black text against a white background. The back of the watch presents a see-through exhibition caseback for a view of this trusty “workhorse” engine.
Soon after the many SKX-inspired Seiko 5 dive watch releases from Seiko, the classic Seiko 5 field watches finally receives a long-awaited update it deserves with a new movement and attractive dimensions. For those seeking their first automatic timepiece, this is the perfect outdoor mechanica mid-size watch that offers an incredible value, performance and a beautiful versatile look—a fully in-house offering that will satisfy even the most seasoned enthusiasts. Both him and her.
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