Thursday, September 8, 2016

Seiko 5 Sports Military Automatic Green SSA299K1 (Equivalent to SSA293K1, SSA295K1 and SSA297K1) - A very good beater watch, A Review (plus Videos)


One of my sub-collection focus is military watches that are not specifically diver or pilot watches. I currently have two under this sub-category (Seiko 5 Sport 100M SNZG09K1 & Seiko 5 SRP145K1). This latest one, The Seiko 5 Sports SSA299K1 will be the third in the sub-collection.

For this particular purchase, I decided to try a new dealer located in the center of Kuala Lumpur, on Jalan Raja Laut. Perniagaan Jam May May (www.jammaymay.com.my) prices looks rather good relative to other stores that I have been going to. For the SSA299K1, the shop quoted RM644 (plus GST it would be RM682.64). The next closest was from www.citytime.my at RM780 net.

This model has a case size of 44 mm excluding crown (with crown is it 47 mm). It has a thickness of 13 mm and its lug width is 22 mm. Lug-to-lug distance is approximately 52 mm. Made out of 316L stainless steel with cloth strap, the watch weighs in at 90 gm. Protected by Hardlex crystal glass in the front as well as the display case-back. The front glass diameter is 38 mm.



The stainless steel has a sandblasted matte finish and fitted with with a Seiko khaki green cloth weave buckle strap able to fit wrist size up to 8.75 inches. It has two complications, a 24 hour sub-dial located between 10 and 11 o'clock and a date aperture located between 4 and 5 o'clock. The push-in crown is located at 3 o'clock and it has a water rating of 10 ATM or 100 meters.



The SSA299K1 has the drab military green on its dial. It is design to have the element of stealth which is synonymous with it being designated a military watch.

The chapter ring has markers down to 1/5th of a second increment. Every fifth second marker is illuminated with LumiBrite paint. All the markers on the chapter ring is painted white.



On the dial itself you will find the main time scale. This watch has Arabic numberings at the 12, 6, 3 and 9 o'clock positions. These markers are not painted with LumiBrite. Instead, the markers are painted grey with green tone. The scale on the 24 hour sub-dial is also treated the same. The only written alphanumeric on it is the number “24” and “HOUR”.

The brand and logo are located at the 3 o’clock position and there are 4 lines of watch description at the 6 o’clock position. Apart from the word “SPORTS” written in red, the rest of the words are printed with the same grey with green tone colour.




The date aperture is non-obstructive and the numbers are printed on a black background. I like the fact that the design on the SSA299K1, despite having a sub-dial as well as date window, did not sacrifice any of the main markers. This maintains the symmetry which I truly appreciate.

This watch has 4 hands. The sub-dial has hand painted in the orange which the rest are in standard white. The minute and hour hands are like Greek swords and painted with LumiBrite.

The flat Hardlex crystal glass is a shade higher than the edge of the fixed bezel. The bezel may not protect the glass from glancing side impact.

The lugs are angled downwards. This has the effect of making the watch wear better for smaller wristed person. It also has pass-through pin holes. I like this as it makes strap changing rather easy.

An interesting point to note is the polished surface between the lugs at both ends of the watch. It looks like the watch casing was first polished before the main surfaces were given the sandblasted matte finish treatment. Areas where one would not expect to see was not given the treatment hence the presence of polished surfaces.

This watch has a display case-back. Here is where you can view the movement powering the SSA299K1, 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. This movement has a second hand halt mechanism when adjusting.



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 cloth strap is rather thin and hard to the touch. The strap holes are simple holes heat treated so as not to fray. The buckle and strap guides are stainless steel with sandblasted matte finish. The brand is stamped on the main surface of the buckle. I am actually rather disappointed with this. In fact, the quality of design of the cloth strap appears to have deteriorated after every successive military watch designed by Seiko.

The Wearing Experience

The watch wears well on my 7.5 inch wrist. The angled lugs kept the watch tight on the wrist despite it having a diameter of 44 mm. In fact, I feel like I am wearing a watch that is about 40 mm in width.


The illumination in the dark is sufficiently bright. As none of the LumiBrite painted markers were substituted by the two complications on the watch, at night, the watch face when illuminated looks complete.

My only complaint is with the cloth strap. A softer and thicker material should have been used instead. This strap is hard and takes time to get used to it.

Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.



Below is the video of the movement of the second hand.





Other Examples in the Series

  1. The SSA297K1 is a black dial version with black leather strap
  2. The SSA293K1 is a black dial version with stainless steel bracelet
  3. The SSA295K1 is a beige dial version with brown leather strap



The Unboxing

The SSA299K1 comes in a simple square white packaging box with a Seiko 5 logo printed in black. Inside this box is a plastic white box that hinges at the back. The watch sits on a white pillow.



It comes with the necessary tags with states the MSRP in Malaysia at RM975.20 (inclusive of GST).

Due to the special price that I got for this watch, the guarantee comes directly from the seller and not from the manufacturer. This tells me that the seller is not an authorised dealer for Seiko.

I am not concerned with this issue as Seiko 5 are easily repaired. Since I was able to inspect the watch before taking delivery, I cannot see any potential manufacturing defects that could warrant me to exercise the guarantee. Anyway, very seldom you hear any problems with Seiko watches once they get passed Seiko's stringent QC process.




Conclusion

This is definitely a very good beater watch. The dial is wide enough for you to be able to see (you don’t need to help of reading glasses to see it – I should know) clearly. Although I do have some feedback on the strap, the positives outweigh the negatives. The strap can be used on all conditions either in the stifling heat of a jungle or in the sea. It gets clean easily with just soap and water. The replaceable items such as the Hardlex crystal is cheap and easily available. 

I definitely would recommend this watch to a friend.



Photo Gallery







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