Thursday, October 29

Review: Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1

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This is a review of the Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1 after about 3 months of ownership, and worn as a daily beater watch. This watch was released in 2019 as part of the refresh on the Seiko 5 range. Seiko calls the SRPD67K1 its Suit Style watch, intended to be worn with a suit. Though, like all Seiko 5 watches, it excels as a tool watch, and that is what we took it to task on.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1

The Seiko 5 has been around for 57 years. And over this time, the line is known for well made watches which are affordable, with hundreds of variants. The original Sportimatic 5 was released in 1963, with 5 principle specifications – automatic movement, a day-date in a single window, a good water resistance (from 30m to the current 100m), a crown at 4 (originally does not require winding and not capable of being wound, but later movements allow hand winding and hacking), and a robust steel case.

The Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1 with a beige dial and mesh bracelet.

The SRPD67K1 is within the line which Seiko calls the Suits line. The intent being that this is perhaps more formal, and suitable to be worn with a suit. But it seems to us that the entire collection is rather similar, and can easily interchange between intended use. I received this watch as a Christmas present in 2019, and our use case was to put the watch to task as a daily beater. A tool watch.

The case, dial and hands

The case is a rather standard round case with sloped shoulders which turn into the lugs, kind of like a tonneau shape. The watch wears smaller than the 42.5mm case diameter would suggest. The case is in steel, and very robust. The finish is a matte, brushed finish adds to the discreet looks. We think with the mesh bracelet, it looks very beautiful.

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The crown is at 4 o’clock with the case sides extending out to be crown guards, protecting the crown.

The bezel is unidirectional, as is the norm with dive watches. The crystal is Hardlex, which is Seiko’s nomenclature or trademark for its mineral based clear glass. Hardlex is not that as scratch resistant as sapphire glass, but more resistant to scratches than an acrylic crystal like haselite. In our usage, it does not pose any issues at all, and after the 3 months, there are no scratches on the crystal. The design where the bezel sits slightly higher than the crystal no doubt helps to protect it.

The Japanese manufacturers, especially Seiko focus quite heavily on perfecting the dial. And here, even at this low price point, they do not disappoint. The dial is a beautiful beige, with a sloped rehaut in the same hue, marked with the minutes. The dial has a chameleon like ability to look a different hue under different lighting conditions. And though there is no gradation in colour on the dial, it may sometimes appear to be have a gradation like a dégradé effect under some conditions. We rather like this effect, and kind of animates the dial.

The dial design has a clarity of a true dive watch, though with a water resistance rating of 100m, it barely scrapes through what we would call a dive watch.

Dial layout is simple with good clarity, the markers are very large, with a polished metal frame infilled with Lumibrite. Legibility is excellent, both in the dark and in good light. The hands are large, also infilled with Lumibrite. Lumibrite is a luminous paint, developed by Kenzo Nemoto in 1941. During World War II, he supplied aircraft and submarines with lumed gauges and meters. After the war, he had the idea use this product on clocks in civilian homes. It was not until 1993 when Nemoto commercialized the product as LumiNova, and licensed to the Swiss under the brand name Super-LumNova, now widely used in the watchmaking industry. The Seiko version, which also appeared sometime in 1993, is called Lumibrite.

The Lumibrite works very well, is very bright in the dark, and remains for quite some time. The colour depicted here is made with a simulation in Capture One raw processing to simulate the colour temperature underwater. And is pretty close to what my eye sees.

The bracelet is very well made, and the mesh is made of small links which make it very supple and comfortable around the wrist. The bracelet opens up completely, and the size is user adjustable. The polished finish of the links gives it a nice bright contrast to the matte case, and picks up on the polished knurled edges of the bezel.

The bracelet is a mesh type, which is very pliable and flexible, and comfortable on the wrist.

The movement: 4R36

The movement is visible through the see through case back, and is the trusty and reliable 4R36, which was introduced in 2011. Used mainly in tool watches in the Seiko range, the movement is designed and manufactured in-house.

The 4R36 is rated to between +45 / -35 seconds per day, and this bears out to be fairly on-point in my 3 months or so of ownership. The watch was kept on a winder while not being worn, and it would gain up to 5 minutes a week, well within the specifications. We would have wished for better precision, but there is no reason to complain as it performed within specs, and proved to be rugged enough for its function as a tool watch.

The movement, though visible through the case back, we think its probably a mineral glass back, is not one to win any beauty contests. It is well designed and built to a good engineering level to meet the specified performance. Movement decoration is minimal.

The competitive landscape

At the price range of €329/S$474, the SRPD67K1 with its mesh steel bracelet is hard to beat.

In our books, the only obvious comparison is perhaps to the Citizen Fugu series. The Fugu is similarly priced from S$498 to S$664 for its various models. Perhaps the direct comparison is to the model with the steel bracelet which retails for S$599, a bit more than the Seiko 5. But it is rated to 200m instead of the 100m.

Compared to other models within the same Seiko 5 line, the SRPD67K1 does have a more formal air, rather than sporty or casual mood that the others evoke. But aesthetics aside, they are the same watch.

Concluding thoughts

Overall, the SRPD67K1 is an excellent tool watch. It is well designed, well made, and is rugged and tough in day to day use as a tool watch. The bracelet lends the use case to more situations, making it perfect for hot and humid weather. Our only wish is that the movement run with a higher precision, but that would only increase the price.

The colour scheme also makes it more sober and perhaps more formal, and fits the Seiko designation of the Suit Watch. And at this price level, we think it is good value.

Photo Notes: All the images here were taken with the Fujifilm GFX100, a 100 Mpx camera equipped with the GF50mmF3.5 R LM WR and the MCEX-18G WR extension tube.

Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1 Specifications

Caliber Number: 4R36

Movement Type: Automatic with manual winding capacity, 24 jewels
Day/Date display, Stop second hand function

Power reserve: Approx. 41 hours

Exterior Case Material: Stainless steel

Crystal: Hardlex

LumiBrite: Lumibrite on hands and indexs

Water Resistance: 10 bar

Case Size: Thickness 13.4mm, Diameter: 42.5mm

Other Specifications: Screw case back, See-through case back, Unidirectional rotating bezel

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9 Comments

  1. Pingback: Review: Seiko 5 Sports SRPD67K1 | Wristwatch News

  2. Rando Miller on

    Some people want a ultra high performance watch for 400 bucks..not in 2020

    • Nick Mangkala on

      What a laughable comment. The point that I made to Peter was that I don’t think he should call a watch that is off by 5 minutes a week an “excellent” watch, and that if this is the best a mechanical watch under $300 could do, people would be better off with a quartz watch. The fact that I find 5 minutes a week unacceptable does not mean that I want an “ultra high performance”, whatever that means.

  3. After a quick $50 regulation a 4r36 movement in my Seiko Turtle runs +1.5 seconds a day when kept fully would. Actually much better than my Swiss “certified chronometer” regulated in 5 positions.

  4. That’s right I am on the same side where nowadays watch purposes is balance between time keeping, style & hobby. Seiko offered a great gate way for people to get into the wonderful world of mechanical watches for an entry price for general public to have a taste and fun looking at the movement, exploring how the machine work from the back.

    Not everyone can afford high end / luxury mechanical. Generally at least as a first mechanical watch purchase.

    Well to take a step back everyone have different perspective, if all they want is just for time keeping purposes a health band would be a great option too.

  5. Nick Mangkala on

    How can you say that it is an “excellent tool watch” when it clearly failed in its “watch” duty, which is to keep time.? It was off by up to 5 minutes a week. This is unacceptable. You said that this inaccuracy is “well within the specifications”. No, it is not “well” within the specs. The specs are up to +45 per day or +315 seconds per week. +5 minutes is +300 seconds. It in fact almost broke the specs.

    If this is the best an automatic watch in the US$200-US$300 can do, then you are better off getting a quartz watch. Your review is a review of a piece of jewelry. Don’t let Seiko get away with this. And I am saying this as someone who has had a few Seiko watches along the way. I have had ones with 7S, 4R, 6R, and 9S. Except for the 9S, I have been disappointed with their inaccuracy and inconsistency.

    • +300s a week is still within the specifications, which you correctly calculated is a max of +315s a week. It doesn’t bother me at all, as normally I don’t wear one watch for extended periods. Often a watch gets 3 to 4 days wrist time, and another takes its place. By the time it gets back to rotation, it would have stopped, and a reset is required anyway. If you would want to wear the watch daily for long periods, this Seiko 5 can be adjusted to better specifications, but in my experience, not direct from factory.

      Or as you say, buy a quartz watch. But that too will require resets, unless you get one of those ultra high precision quartz watches. Read our dissertation on that for more information. Or a GPS connected watch. Perfect time forever. 🙂

    • Nick Mangkala on

      Thanks for your reply. Now that it is established that watches that are off by 5 minutes a week are acceptable to you.

    • Nick, thanks for your comments.

      At this price level, personally, I do feel it is acceptable for a mechanical watch to be within 5 mins a week.