Seiko 5 SNK809 review — In this article you’ll find out whether this watch is worth the money, pros and cons, design and functionality.
While Japanese watches aren’t quite as sought after as their Swiss cousins they’re thought of as the more everyday and affordable choice.
Seiko has been around since 1881, when pocket watch pieces became much more common.
Thecompany was started by Kintaro Hattori, a jeweler from Ginza in Tokyo. The name was originally Seikosha, a Japanese term meaning House of Exquisite Workmanship, though the shortened term of Seiko means exquisite it can also mean success, something the founder probably never imagined on the scale the company has expanded to today.
The Seiko 5 SNK809 was released in early 2014 as an affordable automatic watch that allowed “normal” people the convenience of a self winding movement previously only used in luxury brand designs.
It was the first made by a major brand at least and started the trend of inexpensive automatics that didn’t feel like cheap imitations.
It’s considered a bargain watch, coming in at well under $100 these days, though when it came out it was certainly more. It’s ranked #1 in it’s category out of 2600 watches on Amazon as of the end of 2016.
The watch is an evolution of the Seiko 5 began in 1963 when Seiko engineers tried to product a watch with 5 standard features – automatic winding, day/date within a singe window, basic water resistance, a durable design, and a recessed crown.
Along the way the model successfully managed to do all of this and then added the first automatic chronograph in 1969 to the original design concept.
Essentially the Seiko 5 is a piece of horological evolution with a proven history that can be traced back through each feature.
As it’s name suggests the Seiko 5 is 5th in a line of 5 different watches, though in fact the only difference in the line is the color or strap which is nothing but cosmetics.
They’re pretty easy to compare and depending on what color you choose prices range from $42 (an olive green) to $90 (red faced with black strap).
The model number itself usually has a suffix of either J1, K1, or P1 which will denote where the watch itself was made (although this should be in the product information anyway).
The number after the letter determines what color the model is, but these two characters are usually left off so you’ll easily find it under SNK809 without those last two.
Seiko 5 SNK809 Review: Top Features
Dials and Hands
The model has an analog face that features three hands (seconds, minutes, hours) as well as a day window for the day of the week which usually comes with English and an option of one of 8 different languages as a secondary choice depending on where you purchase the watch ( Spanish, Kanji, Chinese, Arabic, German, Danish, French or as Roman Numerals).
Saturday or Sunday is usually written in either red or blue depending on the language choice. The window also has a date dial.
There is a problem with this model that has noted models made within a certain production date could not be adjusted between 8pm and 2am because the movement would be damaged.
If you aren’t sure about the model you’re looking for there are several websites where you can enter the watch serial number and find out.
The hands are all white though the second hand may also be red depending on the model.
• 3 hands
• English plus 1 other language
• Day & Date
It’s a watch that will appeal to those who like military watches (field watches or pilot watches). It’s a mens watch with a monochrome color scheme on the face, though the strap comes in a variety of colors.
It’s appealing to anyone who wants a readable timepiece that isn’t fussy but functional. It’s simple and that also gives it an appearance of elegance.
The three hands and single date/dial window leads to an uncomplicated and easily readable design. In this model it’s a black face with Arabic numerals there there are 5 levels of shields as well as the word Automatic, 21 Jewels and Seiko.
This is by no means a “pretty” watch, though it has it’s own flat charm that is fairly flexible when you can change the strap to just about anything.
The canvas band is casual, but you could easily swap for a crocodile skin or leather and make it into a much classier piece.
It’s not a dressy watch though, and even changing the strap won’t help that. The case is 37mm not including the crown and it’s 11mm thick which isn’t exactly slim but still doesn’t make it feel blockish.
The single crown itself is positioned at 4.00 and is not screw down.
While this might seem unusual since most watches keep the crown at 3.00 this actually helps stop it from digging into the wrist which is great for comfort and also gives it more of a unique shape.
It has a round face with a Hardlex crystal window that’s water resistant up to 30m. 30M or 3ATB’s is suitable for the occasional splash and rain but no submersion, showering or swimming.
The band for the 809 is simple black canvas to match the face and it comes with a silver fixed bezel which is blank. The inner bezel is black and has both bars and circles on it.
The strap is functional and durable but it’s far from attractive. The 37mm case and lugs are all finished in a pewter gray that’s burnished to give a smooth but unreflective finish.
It’s actually smaller than the average watch of this size despite having a lot crammed into the face.
• 30m Water Resistant
• Hardlex Crystal Window
• Black Face with Black Canvas Strap
• Military Inspired Design
As noted this is an automatic 7S26 made in Japan. This is actually the same basic movement used in the much more expensive Alpinist and is quite impressive and will appeal to enthusiasts.
It has a power reserve of 43 hours with 21 jewels and a rate of 6 beats per second or 21,600 beats per hour. It requires no hand winding at all and there’s also no power meter or dial to show you when it’s getting low.
The power reserve is great because it means you aren’t forced to wear it constantly or risk it stopping. It’s sensitive enough that for a person of average movement during the day this shouldn’t be an issue even when sleeping.
The movement isn’t hackable and the second hand will not stop unless the watch does. It has a standard deviation of -20/+40 seconds per day, which is actually up to a minute a day and could be considered a lot though regulable.
The case features an exhibition back which means you can view the movement while it’s working, though it’s close to impossible to actually see any of the 21 jewels it’s actually really neat to be able to watch the gears turning as it works.
The movement is called undecorated because there’s no additional embellishment (such as jewels or scrollwork) added so that it appears “prettier” to look at.
• Automatic 7S26
• 21 Jewels
• 43 Hour Power reserve
• No Hacking
• No Winding Necessary
Seiko is a brand that stands behind their products and has been in the industry long enough that they know what they’re doing. It isn’t a premium or a luxury watch, and if you’re expecting that then you will be disappointed.
However, it’s reliable and since it’s a standard movement can be fixed just about anywhere in the world.
The Hardlex is exclusive to Seiko products and it’s slightly more durable than the standard mineral crystal when it comes to being scratch and wearproof.
This is merely scratch resistant though and not scratch proof like Sapphire crystal, though you’ll pay more for that.
The matte finish helps make scratches a little less noticeable, and though it will get scratched with time it won’t be so obvious.
How to Set it:
Pull the crown out the furthest position (3 places) then turn it clockwise. This will set the time while the day and date will adjust automatically when the hands pass midnight.
To adjust only the day or date pull the crown out to position 2 and then turn clockwise for date and counter clockwise to adjust the day.
• Made of durable materials like Hardlex crystal, steel and canvas
• Automatic 21 jewel movement
• Self winding and doesn’t require a battery
• 18mm standard lugs
• luminous hands and hours for dim light
• Plain design
• 30m water resistance is poor
• accuracy is questionable
The result of our Seiko 5 SNK809 review: it is a very popular watch on Amazon and other retail sites. There are tons of reviews dedicated to it and hopefully this one has been pretty thorough.
This is one of the most popular of the Seiko brand itself and is both at a price range that’s affordable and a quality that is reliable to appeal to the average consumer.
The design fits the purpose of an everyday watch that is both functional and durable, and though it’s not exactly pretty it does have a certain charm. It deserves