Customer Reviews: Seiko SK Mens Kinetic 42.0mm Watch
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on November 26, 2012
This is a fun watch. The green highlights along the black background really make it stand out. I would say the kinetic watch is a hybrid from a automatic mechanical watch and a battery quartz watch. It has a mechanical movement that charges a capacitor that sends a an electrical input to the quartz. When fully charge, it will last for about 30 days. You will never replace another battery and it is highly accurate. I really like listening to the watch wind when shaking it side to side. Like most mechanical watches, the back of this watch has a glass view port where you can view the mechanical features of the watch movement.
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on December 7, 2013
I hope that is will be a helpful review for someone considering this watch. Naturally, watches aren't just utilitarian so there's quite a bit of subjectivity here. For the tl;dr crowd:

* attractive and easy to read
* has the date
* in theory, if you wear it daily, it shouldn't need a battery change for 20 years
* keeps accurate time (even the worst of the quartz watches is generally off less than 15 seconds a month).

* terrible strap - bunches up and the lumps show through on the top surface (actually makes the watch less attractive)
* kinetic instead of solar (250 swings for 1 day worth of charge) - requires much more effort to keep it charged
* swinging mechanism is very noisy (multitudes louder than a automatic)
* lume on the hands are okay, but only the dividers are luminous, the numbers are not - so takes a bit of mental trickery to divine the time in the dark
* the crown protrudes quite far as to occasionally leave impressions on the back of my hand depending on what I'm doing
* extra button to check the charge (why? *more below)
* the second hand aligns to the left edge of the minute marks instead of to the center (YMMV)

The longer explanation:

I love watches (always have). And even though I could just check the time on my phone, I just can't seem to manage. Plus I've always worn a watch, and just don't feel right not wearing one. I wanted a daily wearer, and had some rather specific criteria.

1) should be easy to read the time quickly (I don't understand watches where there are so many things on the dial that it takes some concerted mental effort to figure out the time)

2) needs to be waterproof enough where I can shower or bathe with it (so anything that's not at least 100M or 10ATM/BAR is out)

3) accurate enough that I shouldn't need to futz with it every week or two to adjust the time

4) ideally not need battery changes (I'm a geek that likes to fix things, so I actually have tools to open up watch cases and can change the battery myself - but even so, regular watches just suddenly stop and there's the whole needing to find/get the right battery; I'd just rather not deal with the hassle)

5) ideally have both the date and day display

6) not ugly (subjective, but I'm the one that have to look at it every day...)

When my Citizen Eco-Drive (solar) quartz watch was stolen, I set out to find another daily wearer. It was totally hassle free and accurate (off only few seconds in several months), and I never needed to worry about the charge. The only reason why I didn't want to buy it again was that it had a proprietary strap, so that when it broke, my only option was to buy an expensive replacement off the Internet (local dealers don't carry it).

Not having a lot of experience with automatics, I ended up getting a Seiko automatic. It fit all of the criteria except for accuracy. I would lose a couple of minutes every week or so, enough that I would show up late for meetings and whatnot without realizing that my watch was slow. I've tried regulating it, and even though the accuracy is better, it's still just not anywhere as easy and accurate as a quartz. Shame because I really love the look and functionality/practicality otherwise.

Since I was pretty happy with the automatic (accuracy aside), I though maybe I'd try a kinetic. I think this is one of the quirks of history that IMO should be avoided going forward. An automatic just has to wind a spring, so relatively speaking, it's fairly easily accomplished. The mechanism can hardly be felt and is pretty quiet in normal situations (I've never really noticed it). The kinetic OTOH, has to charge a rechargeable battery. To accomplish this, the Seiko engineers had to gear the crap out of the swinging mechanism, and the result is almost like wearing a rattle that makes gear spinning noises on your wrist. I happened to have gone to a pretty noisy party tonight, and while lifting up my wrist to check the time, I actually heard the gear spinning noise. It would be terrible if you were to do this say, in a quiet meeting room...

The strap wasn't a huge deal, since I just assumed that I'd replace it. Then there's the odd lume markings being only on the dividers. Then there's the second hand not quite aligning in the center. Then there's the whole noisy rattle thing on the wrist thing. Also, though not really a "fault" because I knew it didn't have a day display, once all of the other negatives all added together and even though I find it an attractive watch, it just makes it an undesirable watch for me.

One last mention about the kinetic charging. Note that none of the solar watches have battery metering/checking/gauges. The simple reason is that human beings don't live in darkness, and even if you're office bound and are never in the sun, there's enough light to keep the watch charged. So unless you keep the watch in a dark drawer, you simply never have to worry about the charge. The kinetic charging mechanism is quite different. The short gist is that it's poor fit for charging a rechargeable battery because of the amount of work required. Though the Seiko engineers impressively managed the feat, they ended up with a noisy mechanism that's prone to not recharge the battery enough (250 arm swings = 1 day worth of charge).

Well, if you're still reading this, here's another bit of um, trivia (that I've found out since buying this watch). The early Seiko kinetics actually used a different (custom Seiko designed) battery (not actually a capacitor) that was prone to failure, so if you google "seiko kinetic battery failure," you'll find out that essentially rechargeable batteries don't like to be discharged completely. And since it's much more difficult to keep a battery charged by swinging your arm (especially if you don't wear the watch everyday), a lot of people's batteries died prematurely. The newer battery is designed by Maxell (TC920S) and is essentially in the same class as the Citizen Eco-Drive battery (Panasonic MT920) and provided you can keep it at some nominal charge level, the life expectancy is around 20 years.
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on January 19, 2016
Very nice and sturdy watch. Nice to never need a battery. Seconds hand does a weird ticking pattern when battery is low, which is normal. Also nice to have a button to test how much charge it has. The rotor is rather loud though. You can hear it pretty clearly when in a moderate noise environment.
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on April 4, 2014
I read almost all the comments here and I started to wonder if Kinetic is a good choice. After receiving the watch and the first hours of using it I can tell this: I do not hear any loud mechanism, the watch strap is comfortable, the watch has a great look and very nicely lit in the darkness both arms and the four points hourly - so one sees an hour very easily and clearly.
Again, I have words of appreciation for the seller - they sent the watch to Poland while Amazon did not want to do that.
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on June 9, 2014
I'm bought this watch because of Zaad's two star review. It is an excellent review. I urge everyone considering this watch to read it.

I, as Zaad, needed a watch for everyday wear that is: easy to read, waterproof enough to survive a shower or a rainy outdoor day, accurate enough to not need weekly or daily time adjustments, not need a battery change, some type of date complication, not ugly (again look at the picture and decide for yourself).

My expectations, I found, were in line with the review and I purchased the watch. Zaad seemed to me to have analyzed these points thoughtfully and in my opinion I was willing to live with the pros and cons as he described them. And after three weeks of living with this watch and wearing daily I have to say Zaad's analysis was exactly on the money in every respect.

Regarding the charging. Zaad is correct in pointing out it takes some effort. I was able to fully charge my watch (6 month power reserve or so) only after several 30 mile fixed gear rides (constant peddling no coasting) with the watch placed in my sock; meaning you need to really be active with it otherwise you will find it stubbornly unwilling to go beyond the 1/3 charge level.
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on December 14, 2015
Always bought Seiko watches, had the last one over 20 years, had this one about 18 months, the watch is great and good value, I changed the strap for a mesh one , the Hardlex crystal is very poor, it is to soft and has chipped and scratched from every day use.
I called Seiko USA and quoted the # of the new & 20 year old watch, and was told that they both have the Hardlex crystal !
This cant be right, the 20 year old watch crystal is unmarked, just like the day it was new, yet the new watch crystal is all beat up!!!
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on February 23, 2016
Bought this watch for my boyfriend back in 05/2014, he still loves it and wears it every other day. The watch works great, the green is a nice pop of color but not too much, great quality, very happy with the purchase. I recommend it, it's a beautiful watch!
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on August 30, 2014
Great watch. I did not like the band and found a replacement band from Citizen that is much nicer. Now, I love the watch. Makes a funny noise as you shake it. Great to fidget with. I you like obnoxious watches that make noise, I recommend. If you want a silent watch that winds easily, not so much.
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on July 17, 2013
I wanted to try a watch that no longer required replacement batteries. This has worked out well for me. It fits great.
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on June 2, 2013
Lightweight and accurate. Time will tell if the kinetic charging system was worth it. The band could be a little longer.
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