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When browsing for watches for around a couple of hundred dollars, the most frequent models typically coming up are the ones from the Seiko 5 collection.
The watches possess pleasant desk diver aesthetics, are modestly sized, and, above all, feature highly-coveted automatic movements.
But what are the watches actually like? And do they stand up to the hype surrounding them?
I decided to test one of the re-vamped Seiko 5 Sports line watches – the Seiko SRPD76 – to give you an insight into this particular watch, as well as the whole collection of the SRPD watches.
Therefore, discover my thoughts from this Seiko 5 review.
Brief Background of Seiko 5
The Seiko 5 line has been available to the crowd since 1963. The number “5” in its name is not just because it looks good or stands for some kind of succession of models like iPhones and Apple Watches do.
What it really stands for are the five attributes the line offers:
1. automatic caliber
2. day-date feature
3. crown at a 4 o’clock position
4. durable case
5. water resistance
The aim for Seiko was to offer durable and reliable everyday-carry watches that were available for affordable prices.
Fast forward 60 years and the Seiko 5 is still the first choice for an affordable and reliable automatic watch.
Over the decades, there have been numerous designs and types of Seiko 5 watches, ranging from casual everyday timepieces to field watches (the SNK line). However, the most popular and talked about are still dive watches.
And with the introduction of the new Seiko 5 Sports SPRD line in 2019, the talk has been significant indeed.
The Seiko SPRD watches are equipped with the same five attributes we discussed above, just like every Seiko 5 out there.
However, compared to its predecessors, the timepieces add some functions and aesthetic features that were missing earlier and that are highly appreciated in the watch community.
Seiko SRPD76 Specs & Overview
Case Size: 42.5mm
Case Thickness: 13.4mm
Lug to Lug: 46mm
Lug Width: 22mm
Bezel: 120-click one-way rotating
Crown: pull-push with protectors
Water Resistance: 100m (330ft)
Caliber: 4R36 with hacking and hand-winding
Since the SRPD line was introduced in 2019, the same year when Seiko decided to discontinue the SKX series, it was seen as a modern replacement for the world-famous dive icon.
The reason for that is quite apparent – the new SRPD line (also referred to as 5KX) loans the case and dial design from the SKX series. Hence, the new Seiko 5 watches come with the same hands, hour markers, bezel, and case.
However, what takes the SRPD watch one notch up is the inclusion of a hand-winding and hacking 4R36 caliber. It is a significant upgrade compared to the 7S26 movement that didn’t offer these features in the SKX series watches.
Unfortunately, due to the fact that SRPD watches are still desk divers (as typical to the Seiko 5 line), they are not backed with ISO and come with a 100m water resistance (200m for SKX).
Still, in terms of Seiko 5 watches, the SRPD line offers a whole lot more than its predecessors.
I was instantly hooked when I first got hold of the Seiko SPRD76.
It had everything I could wish for from an affordable diver – a versatile automatic caliber, pleasant size, great luminosity, and the famous looks of the SKX.
Moreover, the watch cost me only $275, which is much cheaper than ISO-certified Seiko divers. As I’m not a professional diver anyway, the missing of the certification didn’t play any significance.
But let’s have a closer look at every aspect of the Seiko SRPD76 and the SRPD line as a whole.
Case & Bezel
The Seiko SRPD76 comes in a rose-gold tone 42.5mm stainless steel case. It’s a size that goes well with most wrist sizes and shapes for being the perfect sweet spot between large and small.
If you’ve previously considered the 42.5mm size to be somewhat large for your wrist, then Seiko SRPD watches will most probably feel and look a bit smaller than many other similarly sized timepieces. Why?
Because the lug-to-lug distance stands at 46mm, which is considerably smaller than usual with 42-43mm cases.
A classic feature inherent to Seiko 5 watches is the crown’s placement at the 4 o’clock position.
I find it super comfortable because not only does it stay out of the wrist’s bend, but it also helps for a more convenient crown operation. Compared to the 3 o’clock placement, I don’t have to reach for the crown as much as I do with the 4 o’clock placement – it feels more natural.
The crown is not screw-down but works in a classic push-pull way. It means the watch is not as watertight as professional divers that feature screwable crowns. Nevertheless, it is decently sized and is easy to operate. What’s awesome is also the existence of crown protectors that add streamlined contours.
When it comes to the bezel, it turns in one way and comes with 120 clicks. The bezel isn’t cumbersome to operate and turns smoothly.
What’s missing, though, compared to many other divers, is the luminous pip at the top of the bezel. But, then again, if it’s not a professional-grade diver, it’s not an essential feature anyways to have on a desk diver.
Finally, what’s truly remarkable about this case is the transparent caseback that showcases the inner workings of the 4R36 caliber. Also, the typical information you find from the caseback is placed on the glass rather than the stainless steel surroundings.
The Seiko 5 Sports SRPD76 model comes with a black silicone strap that is very comfortable and lightweight.
I’ve always been more of a metal bracelet guy rather than a NATO or rubber/silicone strap wearer. Therefore, I was very surprised to find the silicone strap so pleasing with its softness and the ability to comfortably grab the wrist.
Moreover, during the month I have worn the watch, the strap hasn’t shown any signs of wearing and tearing – it has maintained its flawless looks.
The strap comes with a rose-gold tone buckle closure that has Seiko stamped on it. The number of pinholes seems adequate for both slender and large wrists.
But unfortunately, the straps aren’t with a quick-release function. It means you’re going to need a spring bar tool to replace the straps once the time comes.
Overall, the silicone strap looks good with its dark-toned stitching and embossed surface. What’s even better, it is comfortable and seems to be long-lasting as well.
As already mentioned earlier, the new Seiko 5 watches come with a similar dial design to the SKX watches.
It means they have a day-date window at the 3 o’clock position, sword-shaped hour hand, arrow-shaped minute hand, and round hour markers (plus oval-shaped for the 6 and triangular for the 12 o’clock marker).
The overall aesthetics of the watch is therefore known to everyone who’s into dive watches.
The styling of the Seiko SRPD76 is solved in a manner that is perfect for clear legibility both in the daylight and in the dark.
As such, the light-toned hands with rose gold frames offer pleasant contrast in front of the black background. The hands are also quite thick and easily distinguishable, leaving no space for confusion.
The hands and hour markers contain Seiko’s LumiBrite luminosity that emits a classic greenish glow.
Like with most Seiko divers, the strength and longevity of the glow are fantastic. In addition, there’s no distinguishable difference between the strength of the lume in watch hands and hour markers – both are equally strong and with the same tone.
When it comes to the alignment of indices and markers, my Seiko SRPD76 is an exemplary model. I know some people have had concerns with that, but it seems to be a rare exception rather than a repetitive letdown.
Finally, the famous dial design is protected with Seiko’s developed Hardlex crystal that is decently scratch and impact-resistant. The substance isn’t as durable as sapphire but works out better than standard mineral glass.
Besides the dial, the Seiko SRPD watches strike with another element – the 4R36 caliber.
At its core, the movement isn’t anything premium-class that makes your jaw drop when found in a $300 watch.
However, what the 4R36 is highly regarded for is its ultimate reliability. As a result, it rarely lets you down, and it keeps sufficient precision on top of that.
What makes it even better compared to the previous calibers found in the Seiko 5 watches is its possibility to halt the second hand for time synchronization and manually wind the watch for the maximum exploitation of the 41-hour power reserve. These extras were missing in earlier models that sported non-hacking and non-winding 7S26 and 7S36 calibers.
Specs-wise, the 4R36 movement is a classic 21,600 bph caliber that makes six steps in a second and keeps the said 41 hours of power reserve.
The construction consists of 24 jewels, which is more than most automatic calibers have. However, the larger number of jewel bearings has nothing to do with enhancing the accuracy, but it depends on the construction of the caliber instead.
When it comes to accuracy, Seiko states it to stay between +45/-35 seconds per day, which is pretty much the standard you can expect from an affordable automatic movement.
My SRPD76 was off by +12 seconds the first day and another +14 the second day. After a week, it had gained around a minute. It’s nothing spectacular but nothing to complain about either.
Therefore, my overall impressions of the 4R36 caliber ticking inside this Seiko 5 are positive. It offers highly-coveted hacking and hand-winding features, stays conveniently between the stated accuracy brackets, and comes with a handy day and date window.
Seiko SRPD76 – Overall Impressions
After wearing the Seiko 5 SRPD76 for more than a month, my overall impressions are positive. The watch grabs the wrist comfortably, looks classy, is highly legible both in the daylight and dark, and offers a versatile and reliable automatic caliber.
The best parts of the watch are, without a doubt, the hacking and hand-winding caliber and the dial that resembles the aesthetics of the iconic SKX watches.
Many have complained that the new SRPD line is far from being at the same level as the SKX series watches because of its weaker lume, push-pull crown, and 100m water resistance.
I find it strongly unfair as the SRPD watches are not meant to replace the discontinued icon. Also, they are meant for different segments of buyers than those admiring SKX watches.
For example, when the SKX is a professional diver that costs $500+, the SRPD is still Seiko 5 – it is for people who admire the looks of a dive watch and use it mostly for everyday events, not professional submersion.
To put it into another perspective, I would say the Seiko SRPD is a significant upgrade to the previous Seiko 5 models in terms of quality and specifications. Moreover, if you get the iconic SKX appearance on top of that, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about, especially considering the affordable price the watches are sold.
But when juxtaposing the Seiko SRPD with another value king at a similar price point, the Orient Kamasu, the story is slightly different.
The Kamasu watch possesses somewhat better specifications compared to the SRPD – it has a 200m water resistance, features a screw-down crown instead of the push-pull version, and costs a little less. On the other hand, the Kamasu is not as appreciated appearance-wise as the SRPD, although the watch is a true marvel.
Therefore, the preference of choosing one over the other between these two value kings is down to specs (Orient) vs. aesthetics (Seiko).
Other Seiko 5 SRPD Watches to Consider
The rose-gold-toned Seiko SRPD76 has several alternatives from the Seiko 5 collection. To be exact, there are 27 different SRPD watches you can choose from. They all come with the same specifications but differ in terms of color schemes and strap materials.
One of the most popular Seiko 5 watches is the SRPD79, which represents the blacked-out models from the SRPD line. What makes this particular watch unique is the dark gunmetal-tone case combined with a black dial. Its legibility may not be the best out there due to low contrast between the hands and dial, but it’s not why the watch is bought.
Another style you should check out is the all-metal design. These watches come with stainless steel bracelets and alternate with different dial colors. For instance, there is the classic black-faced SRPD55 and more distinct green SRPD63.
Final Words on the Seiko 5 Review
Seiko 5 watches have never disappointed in terms of durability and aesthetics. They are real workhorses that rarely let down and look fantastic on top of that.
However, with the upgraded 4R36 calibers and the SKX aesthetics the re-vamped Seiko 5 SRPD watches come with, Seiko has made this entry-level automatic line even better.
My personal experience with one of the watches, the Seiko SRPD76, has been highly positive. The watch looks like the famous dive icon and acts almost as equal, too. Therefore, if you’re after a top-notch desk diver, the SRPD should be one of your first options.
I hope this Seiko 5 review has been of help to you in shaping your opinion of the watches, as well as the brand.
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