Friday, May 27, 2016

Seiko 5 Sports "Helmet" SSA283K1 - Re-crafted from an icon, A Review (Video)

The Seiko “Helmets” of the 1970s were a series of watches that have a unique case design that lent its nickname. Built tall with long sloping sides, it has some semblance to the German World War Two M1935 steel helmet. It is also sometimes known as the “Vader” of the Star Wars fame.

Recently, Seiko re-crafted a series of new models with similar line to the 1970s “Helmet” models. This set is placed in the Seiko 5 Sports line and has the designation of “SSA”. There are 5 models to choose from; SSA281, SSA283, SSA284, SSA285, SSA287 and SSA289. The first three models come with bracelets while the last three modes come with patterned NATO canvas straps.

My choice is the SSA283K1. The “K1” designation means that it is made in Malaysia. As highlighted earlier, this watch comes with the “SSA” nomenclature. Based on Seiko’s coding system, this watch is deemed to be “Enhanced” and is typical under Seiko’s Superior line of watches. However, the same nomenclature is also accorded to models under the Seiko 5 Sports series. Typical Seiko 5 with the newer 4R movements are usually referred with the “SRP” nomenclature.

The watch is made out of 316L stainless steel and is approximately 45 mm wide (excluding crown). It has a lug width of 22 mm and its lug-to-lug is 50 mm. Its height is 13 mm.

The casing has the famous “helmet” design made famous by Seiko’s classic model 6318-7100. Although not as tall as the original, the new re-crafted series retains some of the original DNA that makes it visually familiar to previous models.

The fixed bezel has a slope of approximately 45 degrees and the flat Hardlex crystal sits slightly higher than the bezel edge. Due to the height of the bezel itself, the dial sits lower down the watch and surrounded by a high chapter ring. The chapter ring is polished steel and devoid of any marking. Most of the dial is black except for a green ring at the edge of the dial where two sets of timing scales are located. The first scale from the edge has 1/5th second markers and the second scale has the standard second markers. A common hour marker straddles both scales. The hour markers are painted with Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite luminous paint.

The watch has two complications. The date complication is in a window located near the 6 o’clock position. The date wheel has a white background which enhances visibility. I am quite pleased to note that Seiko did not sacrifice the 6 o’clock hour marker for date aperture. The second complication is a 24-hour indicator in a sub-dial located at the 10 o’clock position. The surface of the sub-dial has fine concentric circular black lines which make it stand out from the rest of the painted black dial. Meanwhile, the hand that serves this sub-dial is polished without any LumiBrite paint. This hand is linked to the main hour hand.

The designs of the hands on the SSA283K1 are thin sword-like. All three main hands are painted with LumiBrite.

There are three groups of writings on the dial. The first is located near 3 o’clock and consists of the brand and watch line reference. The second is located near the 6 o’clock and consists of the number of jewels, the type of movement as well as the water rating. The third is a set of manufacturing codes in very small font near the edge of the dial at the 6 o’clock position. All the text are in white except for the word “SPORTS” which is in red.

The SSA283K1 have pass-through lug holes. This is good as it allows a simpler and quicker way to access the lug pins to replace the bracelet. Also note the size of the crown. It looks slightly out of place doesn’t it? I would have preferred it if a slightly larger crown was used.

This watch has a display case-back. Here is where you can view the movement powering the SSA283K1, the Seiko 4R37 caliber. This caliber has a 24-hour hand, which moves correspondingly with the hour hand. The 4R37 vibrates at 6 beats per second or 21,600 BPH and has a power reserve capacity of 41 hours.

Standard information about the watch is sandblasted around the peripheral of the display case-back including the serial number. The watch is water rated to 100 meters or 10 Bar.

The bracelet design is new to me. It has a reference number MOKW-B-I and has solid links. It is 22 mm at the lugs and tapers down to 20 mm at the clasp. Interestingly, the connecting pins between the links no longer uses friction tubes but instead a screw system. This makes it much easier to resize.

The Wearing Experience

The watch has a refined sporting look that can make it equally adoptable at formal functions. The dial is clean and it makes time referencing easy. It is comfortable to wear but I suspect the canvas strap option is the best went it comes to fitting and comfort. Nevertheless, the “helmet” shaped casing is the star of the show and it gives a retro feel to the whole package.

Below is a short video of the watch on my wrist.

The need to have the 24 hour sub-dial is something that I would question Seiko’s designers. For all intense and purposes, the only information that I can get from that complication is whether the time refers to the morning or afternoon. Unless you are in a submarine or in any other situation where you cannot have access to a window, I think this particular complication is not useful at all. Instead, a power reserve indicator would be more beneficial. In fact, if Seiko still want to have the 24 hour sub-dial, perhaps they can engineer a separate module in the movement that would allow the sub-dial to independently tracked time i.e. a second time zone. This would definitely be useful.

Overall, I am satisfied with the wearing experience considering the investment to get the watch. It is listed at RM1,038.80 in Kuala Lumpur (inclusive of 6% GST). However, I was able to get it for RM750.

The reveal

I got the watch from my favorite AD in Mid Valley. The watch comes in a much better display box compared with typical Seiko 5. The main white box which opens up via a hinge at the back is nested in another bigger white box with a nice Seiko logo printed in silver at the top.

Apart from keeping the main watch box, the storage box also keeps the manual as well as the guarantee document.

The watch is placed on a pillow in an all black interior. Another Seiko logo in silver in printed on the inner top part of the watch box.

Photo Gallery

Seiko 5 Sports "Helmet" SSA283K1


  1. Is it a new model? Where will i can buy?

    1. Yes. A new model. Check with the closest SEIKO authorised dealer near you for info on this model. Happy hunting

  2. I definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.
    best laptop for architecture students

  3. Hi, could I use some of Your pictures in my blogpost of the Seiko Helmet's review?
    Don't need to steal it :)

    1. Sure. Just acknowledge it/link it to this blog would be fine

  4. Of course, will link You :) Thanks!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Any contributions is appreciated!