Last year, Seiko announced an entire re-vamp of their much-loved Seiko 5 line up. An entry-level staple and certainly a 101 class in mechanical watch ownership, the Seiko 5 had long represented a cornerstone in the foundation of Seiko’s enthusiast-focused offerings. But, as nothing lasts forever, in announcing the new Seiko 5, Seiko ended the lifecycle of all of the older models and began a new chapter in the Seiko 5’s impressive history.
Interestingly enough, this is not the only enthusiast icon that Seiko recently sent to live on a farm in the countryside. What first was a rumor on the forums later became known more widely: Seiko is discontinuing the production of the legitimately iconic SKX007 (and its many siblings).
I recently shared the story of my first watch, and while that humble little Timex did indeed kick off my interest in watches – like the endless stream of “entertaining” comic book movies every one assures me I should love – there is yet another chapter in my origin story. It’s a story that leads to many many Seikos, but like many of you, it started with one true enthusiast-loved model – the SKX007.
At this point, you may be wondering, “Why is he talking so much about the Seiko SKX? I thought this was a review of the new Seiko 5s”. Well, to my mind, you can’t understand the new Seiko 5s without understanding both the old Seiko 5s and their more dive-focused relative, the SKX007 (for simplicity I’m going to keep saying the SKX007, but this could be largely interchangeable with many of the other versions – more on that in a bit).
In creating a something of a new formula for the 2019 Seiko 5s, aka the SRPD Seiko 5s, Seiko had to ensure they paid some favor to the enthusiasts that had long been telling their friends to buy SNKs and SKXs, and you can see elements of both in the new Seiko 5 design. The brief is still very much a Seiko 5, but the look is just a skootch off of the SKX007. Let’s dig in.
With the above in mind, I look at the Seiko SKX007 (and in many ways the outgoing Seiko 5s), in two specific ways. First, as a product, and second, as the beginning of a fascination which has claimed more than the last 10 years of my life. I know that it may seem that I have digressed, but I’ll do my best to put the above context to use.