Under 1000:

Hands on the Seiko SNKK47

There’s no hiding it: We love Seiko.  If you’ve followed us on Instagram for anytime, our love is obvious, but well founded. This Japanese brand has earned the respect of enthusiasts of all ages and income by providing some of the best value in any price range.  With a rich history of consistent quality and horological innovations, veteran collectors should consider Seiko in the same conversation as Omega, Rolex, and Panerai.  At the same time, Seiko offers newcomers endless options when shopping for their first watch.

Seiko 5 have served as the gateway to collecting for most seasoned enthusiasts; you will have a hard time finding an experienced collector that has not had a “5” shield on their wrist at some point or another.  For over 50 years, the line has grown and established an undeniable presence in the market of affordable watches.  The first Seiko 5 dates back to the early 1960’s.  Named Sportsmatic 5, the “5” gained popularity quickly.  It was not long before the line expanded to different styles, including the world’s very first automatic chronograph: The Seiko 5 Sports Speed Timer.  Today, the line has become a plethora of affordable watches of any style.  If you’re looking for a dressy watch, a pilot watch, a dive watch, or anything in between, it is almost certain a Seiko 5 exists for you.  Two things are assured: That Seiko 5 will be an incredible value, and it is guaranteed to get you at least a nod of approval from even the snobbiest watch collector.

Contrary to popular belief, the “5” shield is not just a glorified logo that sits atop millions of watch dials throughout the world; it isn’t just a badge of honor watch nerds like me wear religiously, showing our membership to the Seiko club.  No.  The “5” has a meaning that adds significance, value, and defines the identity of the line.  When wearing a “5” on your wrist, you know you are getting five things:

1) An automatic (self winding) watch

2) A water resistant watch

3) A shock resistant case

4) A day complication

5) A date complication


Note: These defining five qualities have been the center of debate for some time.  As the line grew throughout the decades, so did the Seiko 5 family.  Originally, one of the five qualities was a recessed crown at the 4 o'clock, but a quick “Seiko 5” search on Amazon shows the design changes time brought.  Aside from that, the “5” characteristics have been consistent as can be.  In a few of my many late night eBay scavenges, I have run across several Seiko 5 pieces that fall out of the norm. I’ve seen a quartz "5". I’ve seen a "5" with no day complication. I’ve even stumbled upon a "5" with a moon phase display.  Personally, I cannot attest to the authenticity of these pieces.  I credit these to the alarming popularity of the counterfeit and franken Seiko market.  Maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in and shed some light regarding the legitimacy of these mysterious Seiko 5 pieces.

Hands on

With a near infinite choice of Seiko watches within our budget, why did we choose the SNKK47?  This particular model encompasses all the qualities an everyday watch should, with some small cues that add flavor to this piece.  It is a perfect introduction to the hobby and a great addition to any collection; it offers a conservative and classic design, while avoiding being labeled as dull or uninteresting.


The case comes in stainless steel and measures a compact 38mm, making it the perfect size for a dress watch.  The 12mm thickness makes this a slim case that may slide under the cuff, if needed.  This model features the classic 3 handed design, applied indices, luminescent markers and hands, a crown located at the 3 o’clock position, and the proprietary day/date display; the classic black dial lies beneath a hardlex crystal.  Under the hood, the workhorse and reliable 7S movement is runnig this piece.  This 7S movement has powered hundreds of different Seiko models for decades; it has earned the reputation of a solid, no fuzz movement that will keep running longer than advertised.  You’ll be able to gaze at this iconic movement under the exhibition back of the of this piece.


So, what differentiates this from hundreds, if not thousands, of 3 handed watches in the market?  The case.  This non-circular case is the true highlight of this watch.  The circular bezel sitting atop a non-circular case creates a contrast that stands out from an overall solemn design.  This theme of smooth layers and soft curves extends beyond the case with a light curve that bleeds onto the integrated stainless steel bracelet.  This design, paired with a thin case and integrated bracelet, allows the watch to sit ergonomically on the wrist.


This Seiko doesn’t hold a monopoly on this style of design.  While few pieces with this case design may be found within our budget, outside of or budget, you will have a difficult time finding one that doesn’t carry the Gerald Genta name and consequently, the hefty price tag of at least 100 times (seriously) this Seiko. To state it simply, this case design isn’t common and often carries a big price tag.


Most amazing of all, this can be on your wrist for under $70; it’s just an Amazon search away. 


If this is going to be your first watch, beware: It is likely to lead you into the rabbit hole that is watch collecting: A world where we “need” to own 10 watches and countless straps.  This is a great option to start down this path.  If watch collecting is not on your horizon, this is as fantastic option for an every-day watch.  It’ll do the job and hold the fort down while the inevitable happens and more watches join the watch box.

-Affordable Wrist Time Team