Thursday, January 12, 2017

Seiko 5 Sports Men Automatic Watch SRPA89K1 Green Carbon Dial Limited Edition (Similar to SRPA87K1, SRPA91K1 & SRPA93K1) – An outdoors timepiece. The use of carbon fibre is refreshing but Seiko must look into the pricing issue as it starts to sit uncomfortably with consumers, A Review (plus Video)

I love watches with green in them. I was drawn to that colour as far as I can remember. Without fail, I will always used green in all my art projects when I was in school. Up to this point, I have collected 10 watches in green. This Seiko 5 Sports SRPA89K1 will be 11th green watch.

This watch is the latest in a series of limited edition Seiko 5 Sports watches issued by Seiko. It is important to note that “limited edition” in this context is more like a limited production run. Seiko does not set a limit in the number of production but instead limit the production window in its factories. Since no official word from the brand about this particular series, it is extremely difficult to gauge how many examples will be out there. Hence, the best advice for budding collectors is not to buy it due to the ‘limited edition’ classification but purely on whether it appeals to you.

This watch appeals to me because of a few factors. The first is the turtle shaped casing. Compared to the traditional round casing, a turtle shaped casing sits better on a wrist. The angle of the casing to the wrist has a natural incline that facilitate it from snagging into shirt cuffs. It also effortlessly reduce the size effect as our eyes automatically focuses on the smaller dial compared to the bigger floor plate of the casing itself. The second is the symmetrical dial design. The watch has a date complication. Instead of putting anywhere else, the Seiko designers placed the date aperture at the 6 o’clock position. This makes the displays on the dial symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. The third is the carbon fibre weave pattern on the dial. Made from carbon fibre, the pattern on the dial has a 3D look with a sense of depth and glossiness. The fourth is the short downward curving lugs. It has the tendency to make the large watch sits better on the wrist when compared to standard straight lugs. If you have a wrist circumference of 6.5 inches, a typical watch of this size with standard lugs will have an overhang over your wrist. However, the overhang is minimised by the shorter and curved lugs. Combined with the two-toned Nato strap, the watch looks visually refreshing.



Made out of stainless steel with brushed and polished surfaces, it has a width of 44.5 mm (excluding crown) and a height of 13 mm. Lug width is 22 mm while the lug-to-lug length is approximately 47.5 mm. The dial is protected by Hardlex crystal and so is the display case-back. The lugs have pass-through pinholes which help facilitate strap replacement. Paired with the turtle casing is thick nylon canvas Nato strap in black and green stripes.



The crown is rather small relative to the casing. Located at the 3 o'clock position, it is a simple push-in system. Despite the lack of a screw-down, Seiko's water resistance technology is superior and this watch has been rated for 10 ATM or 100 meters of water pressure.



Due to the “Limited Edition” classification for this watch, the watch box is slightly different. It comes in a unique black cardboard box with gold tone trimmings and a black polished chequered band in the centre. Apart from the usual documentations, Seiko added a small booklet which explains a bit about the watch. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be done to the standard expected of Seiko. The quality and style of language used in the booklet looks very amateurish.



The base of the dial is much lower than the top of the Hardlex window. This can be seen from the rather tall chapter ring which is polished to a mirror finish. There are hour, minutes and sub-minutes (1/5th of a minute) markers along the peripheral of the dial. Only the main hour markers are painted with Lumibrite paint while the rest of the markers are painted in gold tone. A second set of scale in Arabic numberings, in 5 minute intervals, can also be seen clearly on the dial. These numbers are painted silver.



There are seven lines of text and logos on the dial. The first three are located on the top half, the second three on the bottom half and the seventh is located (in very small font) along the bottom edge of the dial. All the text and logo are painted in gold tone apart from lines three and four which are painted in red instead.


There are three hands to this watch. The hours and minutes are simple straight sword-shaped hand and painted with Lumibrite paint with gold tone borders. The seconds hand has a unique red “5” as the counter weight and a water droplet-like triangular pointer which is painted with Lumibrite paint. This hand is also painted gold tone. Below is an example of the dial in the dark (photo was taken from the internet).

Seiko substituted the “30” minute Arabic marker with the date aperture. The aperture is thinly cut and with a date wheel with a white background and black numbers, it sort of blends itself naturally to the dial.

The use of carbon fibre and the inner height of the dial give the watch excellent visual perspective. There is a feeling of depth when looking at the dial. The carbon fibre surface enhances the depth perception further due to the wavy pattern. I do believe this is the first of my watches with the carbon fibre material and I must say I am impressed with the effect.

The pairing of the watch with colourful nylon canvas gives it the sportiness that complements the dial effect mentioned earlier. However, I have to put on record that the quality of the strap could have been better. It feels rough and the fire-sealed treatment on the edges felt sharp and not smooth. The buckle, although signed with the brand, does not have resting notch for the pin to rest on. This can cause the pin to rub and scratch against the buckle.

Due to the way Nato straps are attached to the watch, it is difficult to see the movement via the screw-down display case-back. However, on the Hardlex Crystal, a chequered pattern is etched around the perimeter and the words “Seiko 5 Sports Limited Edition” plus the logo is painted on the centre.

This watch is powered by the 4R35B series movement. The only complication is the date function. It is an automatic movement with hand wind features. It also has a second hand stop (hacking) function. The movement operates in the 21,600 bph or 6 beats per second (3 Hertz) range and has 23 jewels. Power reserve in the main springs is approximately 40 hours.


The Series

This particular limited edition series has 4 models. Colour is the differentiating factor in each of the models. These are:

SRPA87K1SRPA89K1
SRPA91K1 SRPA93K1

Each of these models have a MSRP of RM1,272 in Malaysia. I was able to get for RM954 from my regular AD, AWG.

The fans of Seiko 5s have started to see a very alarming pattern in pricing for the last five years. Seiko 5s are coming out and placed at price points that are becoming less affordable to the majority of its enthusiasts. I still believe Seiko can still cover the whole spectrum of the consumer market in terms of affordability. If material cost such as stainless steel is becoming an issue, find alternative and cheaper materials. With the right design, there will be demand. Just look at the various watch designs currently listed in www.kickstarter.com to witness the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking in timepiece concept. I hope Seiko gets this message.


The Wearing Experience

Although this watch is a sports watch, the thick Nato strap makes it more useful as an outdoors watch. It is too bulky to wear it in a formal office environment. Replacing the Nato strap with a nice leather strap can change the appearance and usability remarkably. As highlighted earlier, the casing has the necessary angles on the sides to minimise snagging.


It is a pity that the standard Nato strap provided by Seiko is stiffer than most of the branded after-market strap makers. If you are more into comfort, it would be advisable to replace the standard strap with a much better aftermarket example.

The crown is something else that Seiko should re-look into. I find it to be too small for a watch with hand-wind capability. It is difficult to wind especially if the watch is strapped on the wrist. A slightly larger crown would be more feasible.

Despite the stiff strap, the watch wears well. The short and downward curving lugs actually helps the watch sits better on the wrist despite the width. Below is a short video showing it on my wrist.



I don’t have a night shot of the dial but I was able to find one on the internet. As you can see the dial looks perfect will all hour markers illuminated as well as the hands for ease of reference.




In conclusion, the watch is an outdoors timepiece. A simple change to the standard strap can make it more user friendly for the office environment. The use of carbon fibre is refreshing but Seiko must look into the pricing issue as it starts to sit uncomfortably with the consumers.


Photo Gallery

SRPA89K1 SRPA89K1

2 comments:

  1. The watch is a symbol of a man taste. You are really a watch expert.It is hard to find the budget and good leather watch for men now.I found the Gearbest leather watch for men, it is good and new. What is your idea?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I believe the K1 is made in Malaysia. It is much cheaper than gentwatches.com. However, I think the quality of the K1 is no worse than J1.

    ReplyDelete

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