Customer Reviews: Seiko Men's SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Black Canvas Strap
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on July 13, 2010
This is a nice little entry level automatic watch. Upon opening the box it came in the first thing I noticed was the size of the watch itself and the band. The watch itself is somewhat small but not too bad. its slightly larger than a quarter. The band however is much smaller than I expected. I have tiny wrists so It doesn't bother me too much but someone with a larger wrist may find it odd looking; it's really just preference and shouldn't make or break the deal as the band can easily be swapped out. The watch has a nice heavy weight to it and doesn't feel cheap like some other larger automatics I have. One strange thing I noticed right away when I picked up my watch was that the weight that spins the mainspring slides against the interior of the watch as I move it. So I can feel the weight as it moves around. This doesn't bother me but I hope its normal and doesn't mean I got a faulty watch. Everything is working fine at the moment (I've only been wearing it for a day) and I see no other problems or peeves about the watch. I'll break down the pros and cons here:

+ Overall nice looking watch. As most watches; the picture online just doesn't do it justice.
+ Watch has a nice weight to it.
+ It's an automatic for under $100; thats a bargain, especially for a Seiko.
+ The luminous hands are pretty good and last for a good 20 minutes. (Not as good as a Seiko Monster but what do you expect)
+ Comes with a 3 year warranty (although the retailer warranty card I received was not filled out by Amazon, not sure if this matters)

- Both the watch's body and strap were smaller than I expected.
- Hardlex glass is not exactly the best material, it suffices but Mineral would've been better. Sapphire is good too but thats a little too much to ask for in a watch of this caliber.
- Grindy mainspring weight.
- Malaysian movement. Although it says this watch has a Japanese movement in the specs; There is a Malaysian movement in them. I believe these are designed in Japan and built or assembled in Malaysia; either way the movement is definitely not made & assembled in Japan. If this was already common knowledge I apologize.
- Water resistance is sub-par. This watch should at least have the ability to withstand swimming and not just be resistant to minor splashes.

All in all it seems like a nice watch. As long as that weight isn't defective and its normal everything should be fine. I'll post an update eventually to let you know how its held up over time.

*** Update
I've been wearing the watch almost everyday for a few weeks now. It's kept time perfectly only gaining a couple seconds a day. It's by far the most accurate automatic I own; even more than some of my Swiss ETA movements. As far as the quality of the watch it seems almost perfect. I love the size and look of it. The Hardlex has held up and I still have no scratches on the dial or caseback (More time will tell how well it really holds up) The only problem I have with this watch is that it seems theres still some friction between the weight and the inside of the watch body. This has been causing it to sometimes keep the weight stationary at some points rather than spin around as it should. It still spins with enough force but some normal hand movements have not been enough to keep the weight moving. That being said it hasn't been a big enough problem to cause the watch to stop on me. It still keeps ticking long after ive put it down. After some research I realized this watch uses the same movement as the famous Seiko Monster & is a bit of a workhorse for seiko.
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on March 14, 2010
Seiko offers two similar versions of a mechanical "military" watch:

The SNK809 (which is black, but there are other colors). This has a 21 jewel movement (generally the 7S26B, but the earlier models have the 7S26). It has a 36mm case (excluding the crown) and18mm wide band.

The other model is the lager SNZG15 (which is black, but there are other colors). This has a 23 jewel movement (generally the 7S36B, but earlier models have the 7S36). It has a 40mm case (excluding crown) and an 22mm band.

Both of these watches are gray market. You won't see them for sale in US stores.

I've owned my SNK809 for several months and love it. Its very accurate for the price. Mine gains about 5 sec/day. You'll have to spend a lot of money to do better than that in the mechanical watch world.

Two of my friends own the SNZG15, and they seem to gain about 10 sec/day. Note: The fact the SNZG15 has 23 jewels doesn't mean its more accurate than a 21 jewel movement. It's larger, pushes more mass (bigger hands), and thus I speculate is inherently less accurate than the smaller SNK809.

I got my SNK809 on eBay for $45 + $25 shipping (2009). However, it was shipped from Hong Kong. It had to clear customs, shipping takes about three weeks, and has more inherent risk. I'd expect to pay more on Amazon if it was shipped from within the US. Similarly, I've seen the SNG15 for as little as $105 with free shipping, shipped from Singapore.

What I did not appreciate at the time I bought my SNK809 is that its water resistant rating is 30 meters (WR30M). 98 ft. That seems sufficient unless you're a serious scuba diver, right?


Look up water resistant ratings for watches on Wikipedia.

30 meters is the static water pressure for the test conducted in the ratings lab. The working/dynamic pressure rating will be much less. You should not even shower wearing a WR30M watch, let alone swim with it. WR30M is considered splash resistant only. I have splashed my watch, it still runs great, but depending upon your lifestyle, this may or may not be an issue.

The bigger SNZG15 is rated at WR100M, which you can swim and skin dive with. The smallest rating you should swim with (but no skin diving) is WR50M.

The other aspect of the SNK809 you should be aware of is that its smaller than most watches are today. In the 1960's an 18mm band was typical. Today its small, aesthetically, particularly for a person with large wrists.

When I first got my SNK809, I was taken aback by how thin the band looked (and I have smaller than average wrists). I have read the market Seiko is targeting with this model is teenagers in Asia. That market base probably has smaller wrists than the average American male.

But after wearing it for awhile, I noticed I wasn't banging it into things like I do with my larger watch. And it fit under my shirt sleeves better.

Its notable that my friends say the 22mm SNZG15 is a bit bigger than they wish it was.

I've concluded I like the 18mm band. I'm an outdoorsman (when I can be), and do wish the SNK809 was at least WR50M. Other reviewers will say they wish it had a hacking mechanism or a sapphire crystal. Those are not issues for me, and for the price, let's get real.

This is a phenomenal mechanical watch for what you'll pay. I wear mine to work every day. I wear it to meetings and snicker to myself as my second hand moves at six clicks per second, while others sitting at the table suffer the one second lurch of the ubiquitous quartz movement. Yes, I'm a watch geek. Just be aware of the smaller width of the band and WR30M rating. If those aren't big issues for you, you can't beat it.
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on February 28, 2015
I immediately changed the strap to a brown leather one with deployment clasp. Makes the watch very classy. Almost like a Hamilton. For the price, I am bee impressed!
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on March 12, 2012
I purchased this watch as my first foray into mechanical watches, knowing that it was a budget watch with excellent credentials, and calibrating my expectations to this. I have not been disappointed.

First things first, this watch is NOT a Japanese movement, and buyers should not expect a Japanese movement, regardless of what Amazon's description may say; I did not, at this price point. The movement is designed by Seiko in Japan, but produced in Malaysia, and the markings on the watch clearly indicate this. I have contacted Amazon about this, but they do not seem to show any interest in correcting their ad copy. Caveat emptor.

The movement in this watch as purchased in January of 2012 is a 7S26C.

I have been tracking the accuracy of the watch I received for about 50 days now, taking the time once a day from both the watch and a clock disciplined by the time signal transmitted by the observatory in Boulder, CO. The long-term accuracy is excellent, with an aggregate drift of 13 seconds over this time period. The daily drift is variable, with nearly 1/4 of daily readings showing no change at the second granularity, and 3/4 or more of the readings within +/- 2 seconds per day. I don't know how other units may compare to the one I received, but I am quite pleased with its performance.

The case finish seems to be plenty hard, and is very even and relatively attractive. After nearly two months of wear there are no apparent marks or dings in the finish. The crystal appears to be very hard (likewise no apparent marks there), certainly harder than the Skagen crystal I wore previously, and is very flat and not unduly prone to reflection.

I had concerns about the nylon band looking cheap, but it is reasonably classy and matches the style of the watch body. The clasp and keepers are stainless steel with a matte finish, with the clasp appearing to be cast and the keepers extruded wire. The butt joint of the wire keepers is clean and well-deburred, and of course not visible when the watch is worn.

The lume on the hands and dial is very efficient, much brighter than any watch I have previously warn (which is pretty much limited to Timex and Skagen in recent memory). It is also evenly laid. If I had a complaint about the lume, it would be that the 12 o'clock position bears the same small dot as all other positions, making it easy to read off by one hour mark if you must read the watch in an unusual position. This is not a show stopper, but it does require some care.

As others have noted regarding the 7S26 caliber, the rotor is a little bit noisy. I do notice a rattle from my wrist from time to time going about my daily business. On the other hand, it is plenty efficient. I do not consciously wind the rotor unless I have had to lay the watch aside for an extended period of time (such as when working at a particularly dirty or wet task for the better part of a day), and then I give it no more than a couple of twirls, if anything. I normally wear the watch 24/7 and I have not had any stoppages. When first starting the watch after receipt, I twirled it for 5 to 10 seconds, put it on, and didn't give it any further special attention.

All in all I feel this is an excellent introduction to mechanical watches, and a good everyday watch for the price.

* More than adequate everyday accuracy
* Casual but not "cheap" look
* Good fit and finish, quality materials, feels solid
* Light and slim for an automatic

* Band appears likely to be good for only about a year (time will tell)
* Occasional rattle from the winding rotor
* Malaysian movement finish is workmanlike but not particularly fine
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on June 29, 2014
I had been eyeballing this for a while as a sort of dressier alternative for my Timex and Casio sport watches for wearing to work. I like the field watch style: simple, understated, no-nonsense. I had never had an automatic before and was reluctant because of the accuracy and 30m water resistance (Seiko recommends only rain and accidental splashing). I bike to work, so I need something that can put up with sweat and rain and I can wash it off in the sink. It was cheap, so I got it anyway.

I love this watch. The second day I had it, my 5-month-old puked on it, so I washed it off in the sink. It is usually 90+ degrees on my way home from work, so it gets soaked with sweat and washed off in the sink when I get home. I showered with it (soap and all) the other day. I haven't swum with it, but I wouldn't hesitate to. I venture that the watch's actual water resistance is much higher than 30m. I've read about people taking it snorkeling and shallow diving without leaks. Something other reviewers have not mentioned is that it has a screw-down caseback, another clue that it might be more water resistant than it's rating.

If you hold the watch within 2-3 inches of your ear, you can hear it tick-tick-tick 6 times a second like on "60 minutes" and of course there's the exhibition caseback if you want to watch the balance wheel wobble back and forth.

The lume is great. It's probably twice as bright as my Casio Slim Solar, and I can still read it after being in the dark for hours. My only gripe here is that the lume on the hour markers is all the same, so you can't really tell which way 12 o'clock is, especially if you're not wearing it.

I like the nylon strap. It's tough and understated. I don't think it looks cheap, but it might be a little out of place with a suit. If you don't like it, get another one. I think it's comfortable and dries quickly, so I'll keep it.

The day and date are easy to set (pull out one click) and you can set the seconds, too, if it's not wound up too much by putting a little back pressure on the crown while setting it (Google 'back hacking watch'). It gained +13 sec the first day (against, but over the first week or so it's settled down to within -1/+5 sec a day. What more could you ask from a $50 automatic? Wow.

Update 7/20/2014: Just got back from a week at the beach; the watch didn't come off my wrist. Building sand castles, swimming in the ocean, showers, bike rides, you name it. Not a drop of water inside the case, no fogging, no scratches. I've been wearing it for a month now and it stays within -1/+1 seconds a day.
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on October 20, 2013
If you're considering buying this watch and have reservations due to some negative reviews let me try to assuage your fears. I've been reading the less than positive reviews with some amusement and the majority seem to be from people who have little or no idea of what an "automatic" watch exactly is or how to properly operate one. For example, one gentleman returned two of these watches as they both arrived with dead batteries. Another customer with a PhD after his name seemed rather disappointed that the watch did not have a light for better night time viewing. See what I'm getting at?
Others seemed to have purchased the watch as they liked the idea of battery free operation yet seemed rather dismayed when they received their purchase only to find that they had to actually do something to make the watch function. Like occasionally wave it back and forth for half a minute or so if you've not worn it for a while.
Then there are the complaints from people who obviously didn't bother to read the specs and repine about the size of the case, lack of hacking feature or screw down crown, no sapphire crystal etc. and then knock off a couple of stars from their review. If you read the specs there will be no surprises. Just do a little research to make sure the specs meet your needs. In other words, don't order a hamburger and complain that it doesn't taste like a Kobe steak.
The only negative reviews that seem inexplicable are the ones that just complain of receiving a very substandard quality watch. The only explanation I can think of is they may have unwittingly purchased a counterfeit. Buying from Amazon's site doesn't mean it's coming from Amazon. I purchased mine from "Amazon" as opposed to "Sold by ______ and fulfilled by Amazon". I noted that choosing to purchase from Amazon was the only option that seemed to make mention of a warranty. Just because these are inexpensive watches doesn't mean there aren't dystopian factories in China full of wan 9 year olds pumping out a few hundred metric tons of counterfeit Seikos a day. Because there are.
On a brighter note, the watch I received showed excellent fit and finish and has been keeping excellent time. I can't really think of anything bad to say about it. Had I paid several hundred dollars I would be more critical but I paid a little over fifty dollars for an automatic that functions as it should and has a day/date display to boot. How can you go wrong? To be honest, if I had paid double or triple this price I'd still be more than happy with it.
If you want the ultimate in time keeping accuracy pull out your iphone. If you're interested in buying a Spartan yet aesthetically pleasing automatic and are aware of their limitations and idiosyncrasies (be it Rolex or Seiko) then this watch is an easy choice. To revisit my earlier metaphor, while this may be hamburger in the world of automatic watches it's still a damn good hamburger.
I'd just recommend ordering directly from Amazon as opposed to "fulfilled by Amazon" as I have mentioned earlier.
Hope this was helpful.
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on September 21, 2010
This thing is brilliant. Only complaint is, I had to get a replacement from Amazon, who was extremely nice about it. More about that later...

The SNK809 series movement is 7s26b. Yep, it's Seiko's famous fully-mechanical movement, designed to be (1) accurate and (2) dirt-cheap to manufacture. Accuracy-wise, it keeps its own against mechanical watches twenty times the price. How'd they do it? The 7s26b is an in-house Seiko design. It's gems are functional, the gears are unpolished, two of the rarely-used gears are even plastic! That's right, this movement doesn't put up airs. It's gonna do its thing. Absurdly well, for the price! Sorry if I sound flippant, but this is really cool!

If you don't like the band, you can get it replaced. Not everyone would like a leather/more expensive band, and it adds to the initial cost. This is dirt-cheap for a mechanical watch-- once its YOUR mechanical watch, you can mix and match! Capitalism is fun!

One thing! The mainspring doesn't rotate freely. If you watch the clear back as you move the watch around smoothly, the weight won't move around smoothly. This is important, because the first one I ordered basically wouldn't move. It wouldn't charge. I pissed off no fewer than five strangers who asked for the time. I guess the mainspring was defective, or one of the Seiko robots resented its fleshy human masters. Anyhow, the folks at Amazon were very nice and sent me a replacement, and this one works great.

What's in the future? The SNK809 series has been discontinued by Seiko. Its successor is the SNKH63 series, feat. the same movement, with modified cosmetics and 20mm lugs. I like the snk809 better. That's why I bought it! Get it while you can. Unless you don't want to, in which case why did you read my review to the end? Get back to work! :)
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on December 8, 2015
when I open a box, OMG, a second dropped down inside the watch. What is happen?
So disappointed.
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on August 11, 2014
This is an excellent watch. A couple of other reviews have had issues with the watch gaining time. However I have had mine for about a week now and it has not lost, nor gained any time in the way of minutes.
There has also been a few reviews that have complained about the size of the watch, being to small, looking like a kids watch or a 'girls' watch. That is not the case. This watch is about the same size as the men's Timex Easy Reader watch, which I own.
Also as I work nights, I like the 'automatic' winding feature of the watch. Sometimes going back to basics is a good thing. You will not have to worry about a battery dying or have to set your watch under a light source to recharge it. And as I move a lot around in my job, my watch will stay wound up.
On a note regarding the band. I find it comfortable. The metal band of my Timex watch was uncomfortable on my wrist.

In all, I personally, really like this watch and am happy that I purchased it.

Update: I have owned the watch for 1 month now, and in all I am very happy with it. It has gained about 15 seconds from when I first set it. There are a couple of small scratches on the face, which I do admit to being my fault as I forgot to take the watch off when I was helping a friend in his yard and bumped my watch against a steel pipe, but they are so minor that unless you are looking for them you cannot see them.
The watch band is very comfortable and the size of the watch is perfect for me. I sometimes forget I am wearing it.
I am exceedingly happy with this purchase.
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on February 4, 2016
I love it! Rather than say “price”, I will say “value”. It is an incredible value. Probably about the lowest priced Automatic (non quartz/battery) you can find.

I was interested in getting the Hamilton Khaki Field Officer Handwinding watch for around $275. While looking around for a good price, I stumbled upon this, the Seiko, and felt it would satisfy my curiosity at a good bit lower price.

It arrived fast. I was immediately impressed with the packaging. It comes nicely packed in a nice Seiko box. At this price, I really expected no frills, like maybe a bag or envelope of some type. Also, I was struck by the overall appearance. If someone told me this was a $200 watch, I would believe it. It doesn’t look cheap at all. It looks like a strong, sturdy, well made, good quality item.

The face struck me as somewhat overly crowded and busy, though interesting with different numbers and lines going every which way. I can easily read the time on it though. The hands are bold and clear.

I love the 37 mm size. As an older dude, the big watches of today are just too much for me. This is a great size for me. For a moment, I felt it was a little bit “blocky” or thick but that quickly passed, and I guess it needs the depth to accommodate the automatic movement.

Speaking of which… I read a bit about this online and understand this movement is used in many higher priced Seikos. The reviewer said it was superior to what he sees in other low priced automatics.

The crown is of note. It is not in the middle but off center and small. Sometimes, big crowns jut out and can kind of dig into my wrist. So this is very comfortable.

The brushed steel is rugged and apropos for this watch and it’s military design. It is really quite understatedly handsome.

I love the band. Though a simple piece of material, it is somewhat reinforced around the eyelets, but best of all, it fits my thick wrists comfortably. And because it is cloth, it has some give and everything combined make for an extremely comfortable feeling watch.

When I took it out of the box, it immediately started working, ignited by the little bit of movement of simply removing the watch. I know it sounds weird, but I was fascinated at seeing the second hand glide around the face so smoothly. It seemed so much cooler to me than the way the second hand moves on my Quartz watches.

It has stopped running a few times, but never when it was being worn. I may not have worn it long enough to keep it wound up and running.

I am concerned that about 10% of the reviewers cite bad experiences with the watch. That is not acceptable to me. Even though it is not high priced, I still expect some reliability and durability. Then again, I don’t know if that is realistic in an item at this price. Too bad, because it’s a honey for the money…
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