Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Seiko Retro Classic Automatic Watch SNKN45K1 - Visually Pleasing, A Review

Last year I got myself a Seiko SNKM97K1under the Company's retro classic reproduction series. The SNKM97K1 has the vintage cushion case which I like. After that launch, Seiko introduced another reproduction, the SNKN45K1. This particular watch has the 'turtle' case with hidden lugs. I also like this design.

I got the opportunity to get one. Although I would assume that I could have gotten it cheaper if I have gone via the net, with the recent introduction of GST in Malaysia, I am not sure how Customs will treat the package and assess the value. To be safe, I decided to go to a normal brick-and-mortar shop. The investment was RM665 (SRP RM888 GST included). I though this was higher than the internet price but after actually going through the various internet merchants, the actual amount I paid was RM5 cheaper than the best offered (inclusive of courier fees). Very surprising to note.

The watch is a black ion plated stainless steel case and perforated leather calfskin strap with red underlay. A sizable watch with 44 mm diameter face (excluding crown) and 12.8 mm thick. It has a day and date window located at the 3 o'clock position. The dial is protected by Seiko's proprietary Hardlex artificial crystal. The crystal is slightly domed. The display case-back also uses the Hardlex crystal.

The dial in black and devoid of any notation apart from "SEIKO" at 12 o'clock, "AUTOMATIC" at 6 o'clock and some micro words indicating manufacturing reference at the bottom of the dial. The chapter ring and part of the hour markers are painted silver. Seiko's proprietary LumiBrite luminous paint is painted on square tabs at the upper end of the digital 'U'-shaped markers. You can see that the dial is made from a number of levels (at the edge) that create a subtle 3D effect. Interestingly, both the hour and minute hands are also black ion plated with a strip of LumiBrite paint on them. This gives a nice 'floating' effect at certain angles. The second hand is painted red with only its square tail painted with LumiBrite.

I truly appreciate the conscientiousness of the Seiko designer(s) of this watch for taking the effort of not replacing the hour marker at 3 o'clock with the date and day window. By keeping the 3 o'clock hour marker, the dial becomes symmetrical especially in low light. Also, the use of just square and rectangle shapes for the markers and luminous parts (even on the hands) makes the dial look very consistent.

The lugs are hidden. This type of design makes it very suitable for straps instead of bracelets. You would not be able to see gaps between the strap and the casing. Moreover, this makes it look bigger. The lugs are 22 mm wide which helps balance the already sizable watch.

The thick leather calfskin strap is comfortable to wear. Coupled with the Seiko signed buckle, the watch looks balanced on the wrist.

The crown is a push-in system with 3 positions. Position 1 is with the crown flat on the casing; position 2 is with the crown pulled out by one-click which allows adjustments to the day and date functions; position 3 is with the crown pulled out by two-clicks which allows adjustments of the minute and hour hands. Due to the lack of a screw-down crown, the watch has a depth rating of 5 ATM or 50 meters (165 feet).

The movement used in this watch is one of Seiko's old workhorse, the 7S26 caliber. The best feature in this caliber is the Magic Lever winding system. This winding system involved only four moving parts: the rotor, the Magic Lever, the pawl wheel and one other wheel. This simplicity of design adds to its robustness while maintaining a high level of functionality. Along with the lack of manual winding (and stop second or hacking function), it makes the 7S26 one of the simplest automatics around. This movement uses 21 rubies and operate at the 21,600 beats per hour range. Power reserve is approximately 40 hours.

The thick leather calfskin strap wraps itself softly around one's wrist. Very spongy and comfortable. A real joy to wear. The black strap with red underlay seen through small holes is visually pleasing and gives it a sporting look.

My only wish is that Seiko consider using the 4R series movement for this model instead.

Photo Gallery

1 comment:

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