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The Seiko 5 SNZG series of field-oriented watches has been long considered as Seiko’s performance-driven value choice for a field 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 Sports “Military Style” Black - Leather Ref. SBSA121 / SRPG241
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 perfectly-sized tool watch that finds a balance between traditional sizes and modern look. The attractive dimensions of the Seiko 5 Sports “Military Style” Black - Leather Ref. SBSA121 will definitely satisfy most wrist sizes, measuring in just under 40mm with a case diameter of 39.4mm, a lug to lug distance of 48.1mm and a case thickness of 13.2mm. Constructed out of 316L stainless steel, the case takes after the rustic look of well-used metals, finishing is meticulously executed with an entirely bead blasted finish for a tough utilitarian appeal, making the watch appear as if it lived through a lifetime of adventures.
4R36 automatic caliber
Despite having a non-screwdown push-pull crown at the 3 o’clock position, the SBSA121 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 black vintage-stitched 20mm calf leather strap brings a sweet retro look to compliment its case finishes.
Underneath Seiko’s proprietary Hardlex crystal, the Seiko 5 Sports “Military Style” Black - Leather Ref. SBSA121 carries a matte grain-textured charcoal. Bearing many similar traits from its predecessor portrayed in its dashing orange-tipped second hand and the customary secondary 24-hour markers while refined with striking new details for an additional contemporary touch. Integrating raised cream-colored Arabic numerals here wonderfully lifts the dial up to another level of depth, pairing incredibly well with its prominent lume plots at every 5 minute interval. Naturally, Seiko delivered their famous LumiBrite luminescent treatment on its brushed pencil-style hands for an excellent blue glow in the dark.
Seiko's proprietary LumiBrite
The Seiko 5 Sports “Military Style” Black - Leather Ref. SBSA121 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 white text against a black background, seamlessly matching against the dial. 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 mechanical field 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.
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