With its classic tool watch design, robust automatic movement, and a price south of $400, it’s no understatement to say the Seiko 5 Sports is in a class of its own. Whether you’re in the market for an entry-level steel sports watch (the place where many budding watch obsessives start their journeys) or are just looking for an affordable automatic to add to your collection, the Seiko 5 Sports collection is pretty hard to top.
Fortunately, Seiko has responded to the watch’s recently-booming popularity in the best way possible: by producing even more of them in ever-cooler variations. Following a stylish relaunch of the entire collection in 2019, the latest of these is the Seiko 5 Sports SKX Sports Style GMT Series, offered in black, navy blue, and orange dial variants. While at $595 its retail price is higher than other versions, it remains one of the most exciting sub-$1,000 timepieces to come along in years, and an excellent option for anyone looking to add a GMT to the rotation.
A traveller’s watch
Depending on where your travels take you, you might not feel comfortable flaunting a five-figure Swiss grail on your wrist, a consideration which previously made the Seiko 5 ideal for travel. Now, with the addition of a GMT complication (an extra hand that is used to indicate a second time zone in 24-hour time), it’s a travel essential on par with noise-cancelling headphones and comfortable shoes. Available with a choice of black, blue, and orange dials, the new watch features a GMT hand in bright red (on the black and blue dial versions) and black (for the version in orange) to ensure visibility. The GMT hand is also coated in a layer of Lumibrite to ensure legibility in low light conditions (say, when you wake up in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar hotel room). In addition to the GMT function, which can be set to indicate home time on a 24-hour scale, the watch also features a rotating bi-colour bezel to easily distinguish night from day at a glance.
Quality is in the details
Seiko is a brand that is renowned for attention to detail, and the new Seiko 5 is no exception. The bezel’s ring indicator is made of Hardlex glass, for one example, an alternative to sapphire or ceramic with comparable durability. The design of the case and dial, meanwhile, takes inspiration from one of Seiko’s best-loved line of sports watches, the SKX series, with a five-row bracelet featuring polished middle rows of links that contrast subtly with the solid feel of the brushed links alongside them.
Automatic for the people
The Seiko Calibre 4R34 that powers the new Seiko 5 Sports SKX Sports Style GMT Series isn’t a groundbreaking movement by any stretch, but that’s totally ok here. What it offers instead is a tried-and-true powerhouse with time and date functions, plus the GMT function and a 41-hour power reserve. While its accuracy rating of +45 / -35 seconds per month won’t win any awards, the 4R34 is robust enough to keep the watch faithfully ticking for many years to come, and withstand whatever knocks your travels may have in store. The new collection is expected to hit retailers in July of 2022.