In regards to the watchmaking trade, Seiko is the company that put Japan on the map and has consistently proved throughout their history that well-made timepieces can, in fact, be made outside of the confines of the famed Watch Valley in Switzerland. A derivation of the original company name Seikosha (which roughly translates to “House of Exquisite Workmanship,” this brand has been revolutionizing the wristwatch industry from as far back as 1969 when they introduced the world’s first quartz-movement watch, the Astron.
They have since continued their trend of excellence in both craftsmanship and innovation, going on to develop the first quartz chronograph and the first kinetic watch – an automatic watch style that is powered by the movement of the wearer. One of the best things about Seiko, however, is their widespread availability and affordability. The brand has created notable watches that stretch across nearly the entire budgetary spectrum, making it so that virtually anyone can get their hands on a worthwhile watch in any number of styles. There are, however, a few standouts from their catalog. We’ve collected them for you here on this list of the 12 best Seiko men’s watches of all time.
Seiko 5 SNK805 Automatic
Field watches are about as classic as wearable timepieces come and two of their biggest benefits are their durability and relatively low price tag. And this offering from Seiko fits the bill perfectly, but with the added bonus of an automatic movement – that means it requires no batteries to function. Featuring a precise 21-jewel movement, this military-inspired watch is fitted with three hands, a day/date window, and a 12mm thick steel case and a mineral glass window that’s water resistant up to 99 feet. It also comes with a rugged nylon band that matches the watch’s green dial.
Seiko 5 SNK793 Automatic
If you want a watch that’s a little more refined and formal, but you’ve still got a tight budget, the SNK793 is worth a glance. Made from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, this 36mm automatic watch features a classic three-hand analog display, as well as a day/date window. And, while it isn’t expressly a dive watch, it is water resistant to 330 feet. But, the coolest feature on this wearable timepiece is probably that the case has a viewing window on the reverse side through which you can see the kinetic quartz movement in action. That’s quite a lot of watch you can get for less than a Franklin.
Seiko SNE331 Solar
Another field-style offering from the Japanese brand, the SNE331 is a little bit bigger than your average wristwatch, its stainless steel case measuring up at 43mm in diameter. It’s also fitted with a Hardlex crystal, the brand’s go-to synthetic mineral glass alternative to sapphire, through which you can view the analog dial and day/date window. What makes this watch really unique, however, is that the quartz movement is solar powered, making this an excellent everyday carry watch for anyone who spends a lot of their time in the outdoors. It also has a unique buckle-closure nylon band and is water resistant up to 330 feet.
Seiko 5 SNZH53 Automatic
Don’t let the luxury looks of this wristwatch fool you, it’s plenty rugged to wear every day for any occasion. The stainless steel case paired with a Hardlex synthetic mineral crystal pair together to protect a 23-jewel automatic movement that’s powered kinetically by the movement of the wearer’s arm. And if you want to show off the excellent Japanese movement, this timepiece features an “exhibition” case back through which it can be seen. It also has a day and date function and is water resistant up to 330 feet, for those who don’t want to have to worry about removing their watch to take a dip. This is an excellent watch for both formal and casual occasions.
Seiko Prospex SSC007 Solar Aviator
While a first glance might elicit confusion at the massive amount of markings and numerals on the face of this watch, trust us when we tell you that this is one of the most comprehensively useful analog watches ever made – especially if you like to fly. Not only is this solar powered watch loaded with all the functions of a normal chronograph, it also features a flight computer slide rule in the bezel (for everything from measuring time-distance to calculating oil and fuel weight). And it doesn’t stop there – the SSC007 is fitted with a stopwatch, a date window, has a 12-hour alarm function, and dual time capability. It also has enough of a power reserve to last for 6 months when fully charged.
Seiko Prospex SSC081 Solar Chronograph
Not only does this watch sport a striking black dial with LumiBrite hands and markings within a tough stainless steel case, but it is a fully-functioning chronograph – with a date window, 12-hour alarm, split time measurement, and dual time functionality. It’s also solar powered and, once fully charged, has reserves that will last for up to 6 months. And while the handsome leather band makes it look refined enough that it might seem delicate, it has a Hardlex synthetic mineral crystal window and a water resistance up to 100 meters that would dictate otherwise.
Seiko SKX007K2 Automatic Dive Watch
If you are a fan of the looks of the Rolex Submariner (arguably the lauded brand’s most lusted after watch), but you either can’t or have no interest in paying several thousand dollars for it, Seiko offers this exceedingly handsome and capable alternative for a very small fraction of the price. For starters, this 42 mm watch is a bonafide diver’s watch, with a water resistance of up to 660 feet. The striking black dial, day/date window, and luminous hands and markings are protected beneath a Hardlex synthetic mineral crystal. And, beneath all that, the watch is powered by a Japanese kinetic automatic movement, so the motion of your arm functions to wind the springs in this gorgeous timepiece – saving you the hassle of replacing any batteries.
Seiko SKX173 Automatic Dive Watch
If something a little less formal, but still extremely capable is more your speed, this kinetic self-winding dive watch might be your best bet. Again featuring a Hardlex synthetic mineral crystal window protecting luminous markings on a black face, this very thick watch case is fitted with a synthetic band with a buckle closure – lending it a look that almost marries the formal and the tactical. And the thickness of the case isn’t for nothing, as the bezel features a one-way rotating dial that keeps track of elapsed time – perfect if you actually plan to dive with it. And the 21-jewel movement promises to stay reliable for decades.
Seiko SSC019 Solar Dive Chronograph
One of the brand’s most unique and recognizable watches, the SSC019 features an iconic blue and red bezel dial that can serve as a bold reminder of elapsed time when using this watch for a dive. And the inner workings of the chronograph (namely the solar-powered quartz movement) are protected by its Hardlex crystal and 43mm case. And, like other Seiko dive watches, this one is water resistant up to 660 feet. A little bit on the flashier end of the spectrum, this Pepsi-colored watch is, nonetheless, a major contender in the world of wristwatches.
Seiko Prospex SUN023 Kinetic GMT Dive Watch
A bit on the more subtle side, but still with an aggressive edge, this solar powered timepiece is a GMT watch (meaning it can track the hours in two time zones simultaneously), making it a stellar option for the modern man who likes to travel. It’s also fitted with a one-way rotating elapsed-time bezel and a date calendar. The window on this watch, unlike a vast number of Seiko timepieces, is made up of a high-end sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. It’s also water-resistant up to 660 feet, has a 6-month power reserve (which comes with a handy power reserve indicator function), and is fitted with a comfortable and durable silicone strap.
Seiko Prospex SBDC031 “Sumo” Kinetic Dive Watch
A bit of the old mixed in with the new is a pretty good way to describe the SBDC031 “Sumo,” thanks to the fact that it features what one might call classic styling and has the option for manual-winding (as opposed to the onboard self-winding automatic), if that kind of thing strikes your fancy. The 23 jewel movement also has a power reserve of about 50 hours and a VPH (vibrations per hour) of 21,600. The LumiBrite hands and markings contrast starkly against the black dial, which matches with the one-way bezel. If you’re looking for an excellent heirloom quality watch that can last for generations, this one is a good bet.
Seiko Astron GPS SAST009G Solar
The pinnacle of Seiko’s excellence can be found in what is actually their longest-running quartz-movement watch series – which also happens to be the first production quartz-movement watch ever made – the Astron. The bold styling of this watch alone makes it a clear standout, even amongst Seiko’s luxury competition. But there is so much more to this gorgeous watch than its looks. For starters, it is equipped with GPS controlled time and zone adjustment – so if you travel across any of 39 time zones, a simple push of a button can adjust this watch to the correct time. It is also fitted with a perpetual calendar that is correct to the year 2100 and it is accurate to an astonishing one second every 100,000 years. As far as non-complication highlights, this watch sports a ceramic bezel, a sapphire crystal window, and an extra strength buckle-fastening silicon strap. If you’re searching for a watch and only the best of the best will do, this is it.