February 15, 2009
by Ariel Adams
For years people have enjoyed the quality of Seiko diving watches as high value “beater” watches. Meaning that many of the watches offer solid construction and looks, but with a price that doesn’t warn against using them in high impact activities. As such, you’ll find legions of Seiko watches that have been put through it all; yard work, construction, moving, auto repair, cooking?, sports, and anything else where you can be sure your watch will be subject to abuse and dirt.
Well here is a new and stunning beater watch from Seiko, the 5 Sports model SNZF17K1 (there are also other ones in different colors that have other model names), also known at the “Sea Urchin”. While there are a few in the Seiko line that look like similar to this watch, my opinion is that this watch is an idea fit between price and style, compared to what else Seiko currently offers. You get a completely automatic Seiko mechanical movement with the time, day, and date. The movement is all viewable through a caseback window (and front crystal) that is made of Seiko’s own formidable Hardlex material that is stronger than mineral glass. The case construction is all steel, and even the links are solid steel. Why do I mention this? Because a lot of watches in this price range have folded metal bracelet links. Meaning that the links are not solid steel, but rather are made up of pieces of folded metal. Further, the bracelet is secured with a triple locking clasp, that Seiko is know to construct well. I would imagine that this is a very durable and comfortable bracelet.
The size of the watch is perfect at about 41mm wide. This won’t make them appear giant on your wrist, but won’t them dainty either. A perfect size for such a watch. Style is completely Seiko, with reference to the classic Rolex Submariner look. Notice the “5 Sports” emblem on the dial, which indicates that this model fits into Seiko’s value – activity line. This SNZF17K1 watch is probably the highest quality model I’ve seen come out of the 5 Sports line of watches. With 100 meters of watch resistance this watch is a true diver. You should have no qualms about basic diving with this watch, as well as swimming, snorkeling and anything like that should be totally fine. If you want a more serious diving tool, you’ll need to pony up a bit more.
The design of the dial allows for a perfect amount of legibility. The markers are raised a bit, and closely resemble the markers on a Rolex Submariner. The hands are large and lume covered for easy viewing. Also, notice the application of the slanted chapter ring with indicators on it as well. There is of course the traditional black rotating bezel that adds extra functionality and style that I appreciate. It is also nice that Seiko colored the date and day discs to match the dial of the watch (rather than leave them white). And all this is available for under $200, often close to $100 depending on where you get it. At prices like that you have no worries about subjecting these stylish and functional, fully mechanical watches to anything, and you can tell why I present this Seiko SNZF17K1 Submariner styled watch with my aBlogtoRead.com’s Good Value Award. Note that you’ll most likely need to get one of these watches online as US distribution is limited with this new 2009 watch model.
See Seiko automatic diver watches on eBay here.