The (Almost) Return of the Legendary Seiko SKX

Article By: Logan Hannen

FROM THE PRESS | AUGUST 08, 2019

Source: Seiko

Seiko has relaunched their 5 Sports model family with not one, not two, but 27 brand new models, all of which might look very familiar.

The new Seiko 5 Sports line is a full-scale revamp of the line as it has existed for well over a decade. Now with 27 fresh models available, the series brings back a fan favorite design in a series of interesting and unique variations. If you’re looking at the new 5 Sports models and thinking to yourself “I think I’ve seen that before,” then worry not; you aren’t crazy, and yes, the inspiration for these new models is undoubtedly the beloved SKX series.

Source: Seiko & Amazon.com (respectively)

Take the above, where we have the new Seiko 5 Sports SRPD55 on the left, and the classic SKX007 on the right. The differences are relatively few and far between on the surface. Most of them are on the bezel, where the individual minute markers now stop at the 20 mark, and the dial with changes to the logo and text. There is also the matter of the bracelet being an Oyster style on this example, but that isn’t a constant across the five sub-lines. So let’s take a look at some basic specs and break down the new Seiko 5 Sports models across their five different groups/families/categories.

Case Diameter: 42.5mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel (various finishing)
Movement: 4R36 Automatic (hacking, hand-winding)
Water Resistance: 100 meters
Crown: Push-Pull
Price: ????

The Sports Style Series

Source: Seiko

First up is the so-called “Sports Series” which, though slightly confusing giving its place as a part of the Seiko 5 Sports model line, is still pretty appropriate. The pieces in this series are all by far the beefier options, most of which come on solid Oyster-style bracelets or NATO straps. The classic SKX colors are present here, from the solid black option above to the Pepsi bezel of the 009. Even the orange dial SKX011 gets some love in one of the new variations. There isn’t much to be said for these models, as they really serve as the kind of familiar entry point into this new series.

The Suits Style Series

Source: Seiko

The Suits Style Series, as the name might suggest, is meant to be the dressier side of the new 5 Sports family. Many of the models here come on mesh bracelets, and are given an overall vintage design with lightly simulated patina on the hands and indices, faded dials, and even faded bezels in a few cases. I like the idea of these models, because they very much reflect the way vintage dive watches don’t really see much time in the water anymore, and have become kind of chunky defacto dress watches as a result.

The Specialist Style Series

Source: Seiko

The Specialist Style series is perhaps the one I find most interesting. The watches feature coated cases, be they PVD/DLC or Rose Gold, as the one above shows, and each of them comes equipped on a silicone rubber strap that features a section of crocodile embossing, but not on the entire strap. It’s a unique choice, but one that I think helps to set the series apart as the more “modern executive” type pieces in the collection.

The Street Style Series

Source: Seiko

The Street Style series feels, on a lot of levels, like the new Seiko 5 Sports collection’s answer to generic, blacked out fashion watches. All of the watches feature black PVD/DLC coated cases, black bezels and dials, and black textile straps. The only variation is the color of the hands and lume, which range from the charcoal you see above to neon red. This one personally feels the most contrived to me to be its own series, and I very easily could have seen the all black model fitting right into the Sports Style series just fine and leaving the rest on the cutting room floor. But, to each their own.

The Sense Style Series

Source: Seiko

The Sense Style series is the final series in the new collection, and features two models only – one green, pictured above, and one a kind of clay/rust-red. Both models are intended to capture a sense of detail orientation and uniqueness intended specifically for those who live and work in creative fields. The dials are interestingly textured, and their cases are gunmetal coated to give them a sense of restraint so the colors on the dials and bezels can truly pop a bit without being too vibrant.

The Damage
As of this writing, the US prices for these models have not been released, but European pricing is set between 280-340 Euros.

The Take
I know I sprinkled some opinions throughout here, but that’s because I wanted to reserve this section to address the giant elephant in the room – the water resistance. Sure, Seiko finally upgraded the movement to the 4R36, but at the same time, they also installed a display caseback, replaced the screw-down crown with a push-pull option, thus reducing the overall water resistance from the ISO certified 200 meters of the SKX to a non-certified 100 meters. The choice, if I’m being honest, is just perplexing, since so much of the SKX’s appeal was its true tank-like nature, and not just its curvy case design. So has Seiko missed the point entirely? Or do they simply intend to keep the Turtle and higher end divers the only true divers in their collection going forward? You could even go so far as to say that their intention is NOT to re-introduce SKXs, but allow them to serve a different purpose. Maybe this is their attempt at producing a simple sports watch, (dare we say “dress” watch?)- in which case, do they succeed? Let me know what you think and, as per usual, keep it classy, watchfam.

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