on January 7, 2006
After many years of collecting watches, I'm falling again with Seiko watches! Where can you find affordability, durability, and realiability in one watch? Seiko "5" is your answer. Seiko "5" is probably the most affordable of all automatic watches from any brand, and they are built to last a lifetime. Seiko "5" means, 1.Date, 2.Day, 3.Automatic, 4.Shock Resistant, 5.Water Resistance. This model in particular, it's a rolex style. It has stainless steel bracelet(jubilee) and case, see thru back, hardlex scratch resistance crystal, luminous hands and markers, water resistance to 100 feet, a 21 Jewel automatic movement cal. 7S26, and 1 year warranty. Where can you find all that for less than $100? This watch can be adjusted for accuracy, but I would recommend a waiting period of a couple of months for the movement to settle down. When I dress up, this is the watch I wear. It's confortable, classic, and simply gorgeous. The same watch upgraded to water resist 100m (330ft) is called "Sport". With saphire Crystal and a 23 jewel automatic movement, "Superior".
on March 1, 2014
The movement - which is the most important part of a watch - is Seiko's 7s26C (the 3rd and newest generation of the 7s26 caliber). Although this 21 Jewel movement is not considered a high-end movement, it has been proven reliable and very accurate for a mass-produced mechanical movement.
Out of the box, my watch was -10 secs per day. After I allowed for a two-month break-in period, I adjusted the +/- regulator. Since then, this watch has been accurate to within +/- 2 seconds/day -- which is as good as or even better than the kind of accuracy expected from $6,000-$12,000 Automatic Swiss watches. Owners of Rolex and other Certified Swiss Chronometers are told that after a servicing, they should expect their watches to be accurate to within +6/-4 seconds per day (typically: +/-3 seconds). So I have been elated to be averaging one-to-two seconds per day with this $100 Seiko.
STYLE: Other reviewers have noted this watch has a light silver, satiny dial--not a white dial as shown in the pictures. That is correct. I prefer this silvery dial--the watch looks much better in-person than it does in the pictures. It is a classic look; I would call it an 'homage' to the Rolex DateJust, but not a replica. The major appearance differences are the date indicators and crown locations. The Seiko has day as well as date, whereas the Rolex has just date; the Rolex has a cyclops date magnifier, and the Seiko does not. The crown on a Seiko 5 is at 4 o-clock and the crown on a Rolex is at the traditional 3 o-clock position. Other than those date and crown differences, the two watches are very similar in both looks and size. It is not a large watch--just ever so slightly larger than my 1984 Seiko, and that is perfect for me. I wouldn't want it any bigger--I don't care for today's giant wrist watches. An added bonus: In the spirit of a 'skeleton' watch, underneath (on the bottom) is a large round mineral glass window. Working mechanisms such as the self-winding rotor, the balance wheel, hairspring, +/- regulator, gears, etc., are visible through that window.
QUALITY: Fit and finish are perfect. No flaws. The case and bracelet are both stainless-steel, meaning that the metal is not going to pit/corrode or grow green scum like the cheap alloy metals used in a $25 Timex. My 30-year-old, stainless-steel Seiko never had corrosion, pitting or green scum, and I have no reason to expect that this one will either. I have read a few reviews with complaints about the bracelet's quality, but I have found NOTHING wrong with the stainless-steel bracelet; it is strong and beautiful, and has only become more comfortable with wear. Although it may not fit the largest of men's wrists (I don't know, that's what I read in at least one other review), I had to remove a few links to fit my wrist. The crystal is made of Seiko's Hardlex mineral glass, which is very scratch resistant. (This is a welcome feature; both of my older Seikos had acrylic crystals that required occasional buffing to remove fine scratches.) The luminescent phosphor paint at the 1-through-12 markers and on the minute and hour hands all glow evenly after exposure to light. It helps to be able to see the time in a bright-to-dark situation before the eyes fully adjust to the change, but then it dims fairly quickly (IOW, a few minutes of glow is all you're going to get).
PROS: For me, it is the watch's accuracy for a mechanical watch, as described above (especially because I was used to the accuracy of a Seiko Quartz for decades prior to this watch). 2) It's an Automatic, which has a mesmerizing, smooth, sweep-second hand (6 beats per second), which is very similar in effect but not quite as smooth as a Rolex (which is 8 beats/sec). Because it is a mechanical watch, it reminds me of my childhood (this is an esoteric 'pro', which may be irrelevant and meaningless to some younger readers). :-)
CONS: Although the following are not a big deal for me, I think its best to mention them. 1) The 7s26 Seiko movement does not have the 'hack' feature that comes with more expensive mechanical automatic watches (which forces the second hand to stop when the crown is pulled out to adjust the time). 2) There is no manual crown-wind feature (also found on expensive mechanical movements). But from a run-down state, a fully-wound state can be easily accomplished with about a minute of lateral, half-moon movements of the forearm, after which the watch will stay wound simply by wearing it. If you wear the watch daily (which I do--and I take the watch off at night before bed), an initial lateral arm winding should never have to be done again. Note: I have read online that some of the higher-end Seiko movements that have those two features share everything else with the 7s26. If true, then this 7S26 caliber is like a higher-end movement, but missing two nice, but unnecessary bells and whistles.
CONCLUSION: If you're going for status, buy a $7,000 certified Swiss chronometer. But if you're looking for a tasteful, classical-looking auto-winder with a quality movement and workhorse reliability - for not a lot of money - and if you're willing to open up the back and tweak it (sometime after the 2 month break-in period) - you can achieve accuracy that rivals a Swiss timepiece (for much less than the cost of just servicing a certified Swiss chronometer). It is just what I was looking for--an affordable, tasteful and accurate automatic dress wristwatch, which I could regulate without having to take to a watch repair shop, and that I wouldn't be afraid to wear both every day and for special occasions.
Shortly after regulating this watch a couple months ago, I began recording time upon waking and upon going to bed. Wearing the watch during the day, a 15 hour average, I've found that this watch loses ~1.5 seconds per day. I was determined to find the best *compensating* resting position at night. From six different resting positions tested, I found that resting it face-up at night (which is coincidentally the most normal and most desirable resting position), the watch gains an average gain of ~1.7 seconds per night. Subtract the ~1.5 daily loss and that works out to a net gain of .2 second per 24 hour day, or ~+1.3 seconds gain per week. If this luck continues, that works out to a little over a minute per year - better than some Quartz movements (YMMV). I'm thrilled! ;-)
Note: regulating an automatic mechanical watch requires a tool to remove the back (one can acquire these for $5-15 on the Internet), and a miniature screwdriver or tweezers--something small and sharp to nudge the regulator lever. I suggest wearing strong magnifying reading glasses, as well as reading up as much as possible on the Net before attempting the procedure. You can over-shoot the goal if not careful, so although I got it in just one try, you may find yourself removing the back and re-adjusting a few times before getting the accuracy you want. If you have a steady hand and you're up for a minor challenge, then go for it. (Caution: be very careful, one slip and you could damage the hairspring.) The reward can be a vastly more accurate watch than how it came from the factory. And clearly, if one has no patience, I would not recommend trying to regulate your own watch.
A year on and I'm still very happy with this watch. I still love the smooth second hand and the look of this watch. The links have stretched a little (I understand this is common for Jubilee-type bands), but not so much that I've had to remove a link. There are no scratches on the glass. And I'm still impressed with its continued accuracy. Although that has drifted slightly - it is now gaining ~2 seconds wearing it during the day. (A year ago after nudging the regulator, it was losing an average 1.5 seconds/day. So, that is a shift of ~+3.5 seconds/day in a year.)
Update: 2.23.15 - I'm performing another night resting position test. One week after a different rest position each night, the watch has averaged 2.4 seconds gain per day. I will post an update after the end of the test.
on August 28, 2011
I have always either not had a watch or just bought cheap battery-powered watches. I decided to investigate automatic watches, and everything I found seemed to point to the Seiko 5 line. I decided this particular Seiko 5 watch was the one I liked the style of best. It looks like a more expensive watch, and so far performs very well. I am not checking if it is off by a few seconds every day like some reviewers have said, because that just doesn't concern me. If I notice it's off a few minutes I'll just take a few seconds to reset it.
As far as the appearance, I wouldn't want it to be much smaller but it's a good size. Larger watches seem to be popular lately, so I've seen a lot that are much bigger. This has a nice weight and feels like it is built well for the price. The actual day of the week is black during Mon through Fri, turns blue on Sat and turns red on Sun. There are options for Spanish or English weekday abbreviations. The back of the case (not visible when worn) is see-through, which is a nice effect. If you press the watch against your ear you can hear the ticking, but even in a silent room I didn't hear it on an end table. The motion of the second hand (which corresponds to the ticking sound) seems to be 4 moves/ticks every second.
I was unsure how bright this watch is, and an interesting note is that the ribbed ring around the face is a bright and shiny silver. The center three strips of the band are also bright silver, while the rest of the watch is a more dull polished steel color. The two colors are very similar and it creates a nice effect that gives the watch a nice design and in my opinion makes it wearable for dress or casual occasions. It's also nice to know that the hands themselves and dots at the ends of each hour mark are not quite white, but that very slightly green-yellow color that then glows a bright green-yellow in the dark. This has already come in handy after just a week of ownership.
Other notes are that I have very short, non-functional fingernails yet I was still able to pull out the thing to set the time pretty easily. And on this band, don't struggle with removing links by pushing them out from the very ends - there are little dots in the middle of the band that you can push with something pointed to remove the links really easily. It does require some pressure but is easier than most band adjustments I've dealt with before if you take a minute to look closely at the band and see how it works.
Overall, I think this is an excellent choice if you're looking for a classy watch from a reliable budget brand - you really can't go wrong with any of the Seiko 5 watches in my opinion.
on November 3, 2015
First I am going to start by saying I would give this watch 4 stars because of what I paid for it ($169), but it is no longer being made and if I knew of this watch when it was new, it would have been running for less than $100. So I paid for its rarity which is why I will keep it as a 5 star.
I have been looking for watches with a similar style to this one, simple design with date, textured bezel and a jubilee band (similar to classic Rolex Datejust) but I did not want a knockoff Rolex and I wanted a brand that people know of. I did a lot of searching and came across this eventually.
Overall design: Right off the back, I love the way this watch looks. It has the exact proportions of the classic Datjust from way back. It has everything about that style a person could want, in a brand you trust. I recently returned a quartz Seiko with a similar style, I really like the fact this watch is an automatic and a clear backing so you can see and experience the work put into it. This adds to you knowing you have a decent watch.
Band: This is the weak point of this watch. The proportions are great and it even has a fold-over clasp like the Datejust design which was a big deal to me. The look is fantastic as well, shiny for the inner 3 links and brushed for the outer 2 links. The links form a pattern that is spot on to the typical Jubilee band. The issue is the band feels very cheap. This is how they can offer such a great deal for such a great watch. It is very light weight so it lacks that quality feel of heft you want on a solid quality band. Also I worry about how long the band will hold up overtime because of its weight and feel. This lack of weight on the band makes the watch feel kind of light which makes the whole watch almost feel cheap in the hand.
Face and casing: This is a very strong point of the watch and where it makes up in points. The case is a nice solid stainless steel. It feels of good quality. The textured bezel looks great on this watch, bring the look altogether. The sides polished stainless steel while the top is brushed. As I mentioned before, the backing adds to the quality of the watch (clear view to the mechanics). And the face is just perfect to me and a very important part of this watch. This is because I wanted this kind of "style" but I did not want a Datejust ripoff. The styling of the face separates it enough that it becomes its own watch. It has a simple but classy design with dashes for the digits, a day and date box which does not have a magnifying bubble (so it is not trying to copy) and a simple layout. The face is a almost white silver backing with Seiko written at the top, the 5 series shield just below it and the words automatic near the bottom above the "6" dash. This face layout along with it being apart of Seiko's known 5 series I feel establishes it as its own watch and not trying to be a Rolex. Just simply a Seiko watch with a Jubilee band and simple casing.
I love this watch and recommend it. Try to get one while you can, soon it will be to hard to find.
Edit: After having this watch for about a week and a half, my thoughts are the same for the most part. I honestly though would give this watch 4.5 stars if I could. I really do feel the lack of weight to the hallow bracelet takes a lot away from the product. Also considering the fact the band is of the curved design meaning it flows into the casing, the importance of the band becomes even more so. I have also uploaded some photos comparing it to a classic Rolex Datejust. I think this Seiko watch is simply stunning visually.