Watch Talk

Q: What are the major differences between Seiko watches and the Seiko “5” line?


With the popularity and affordability of Seiko 5 watches, it easy to overlook specific differences between them and the non-5 pieces; after all, Seiko 5 watches are fantastic.  However, there are specific characteristics that differentiate the two.

Here, we reviewed and discussed a Seiko 5 model.  We detailed the history of the line and the proprietary characteristics found in each watch.

"For over 50 years, the line (Seiko 5) 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.

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:

  • An automatic (self winding) watch

  • A water resistant watch

  • A shock resistant case

  • A day complication

  • A date complication"


It is important to note there are some Seiko (non-5) watches with these characteristics that are not part of the Seiko 5 line.  However, a Seiko 5 must have these qualities.  How’s that for confusing?

A perfect example is the Baby Tuna (SRP641) pictured in this article.  It meets all characteristics of a Seiko 5.  It is an automatic watch.  It is water resistant.  It has a shock resistant case.  It has a day and date complication.  However, it isn’t part of the Seiko 5 line. 

Usually, the Seiko 5 line offers (even more) affordable watches, but with inferior specifications compared to the parent line.  For example, a Seiko 5 dive watch can look very similar to a non-5 and be priced lower.  However, the Seiko 5 will likely have inferior water resistance, an inferior bezel and lack a screw down crown.  For 99% of collectors that will never dive with a Seiko, this shouldn’t be a problem.  Nevertheless if money isn’t an issue, springing for the parent Seiko line is best. 

Regardless of your choice, you are getting the unbeatable Seiko quality and value.  You are getting a workhorse movement.  You are getting unbeatable lume.  And most importantly, you are getting a watch that will last you a lifetime.


-Affordable Wrist Time

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