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Customer Review

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?

Wrong.

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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