In Person: The Seiko 5 SNZJ Review

In Person: The Seiko 5 SNZJ Review
Seiko 5 SNZJ59, SNZJ53, SNZJ67, SNZJ65, and SNZJ63 | $134 – $174

Pictured Above:  The SNZJ59, which the price has dropped back down on to a reasonable $159.00

Inertia is a powerful force.  If you’ve never been a fan of the way stainless steel links look on your wrist, or you’ve never placed a premium on watches with automatic movements, it’ll take one hell of a watch to get you to change your mind on both fronts.  This is one of the few watches under $200 that’s up to the challenge, and could very well make you leave your leather band, battery powered, old favorites in their case.

The Pros
  • The Size: 42.5mm is the sweet spot for many guys who want a watch with some size but nothing ridiculous.  Well balanced & stands out just enough.  You can get a perspective on its size here.
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  • The Color Schemes: Five options to choose from and the dark dial w/ the dark outer top ring on the SNZJ59 (pictured here) knocks the shine down nicely.  Good for those who are wary of metal bands
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  • The Dial: Varies only slightly between the 5 and 6 model options, but both have enough detail without getting cluttered.
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  • The Crowns: The one at 9:00 rotates the inner bezel, and the one cocked down at 3:30-4:00 gives it great balance w/out being completely symmetrical.  They really set this thing apart.
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  • The Links: They’re not matte but they’re not obnoxiously chromed out either.  Great spacing and width.  Sport inspired, not jewelry inspired.
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  • The Versatility: Recently wore this for an hour hike in the afternoon, and then to a wedding later that night.
The Cons
  • The Slippery Bezel: The crown that controls the inner bezel is touchy.  So much so that sometimes the skin where your arm meets your wrist will nudge it a couple degrees/minutes or more.
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  • The Scarcity: Finding these can be a pain.  Amazon has a couple of the models, but the prices on the SNZJ59 has swung wildly by more than $100 recently.  Looks like it’s back down to around $160.  For now.
The Bottom Line

It’d be fair to call me a convert, and I’d never thought I’d get used to any watch with a metal band.  It doesn’t look cheesy, it doesn’t look showy, and the automatic movement is a nice bonus.

You can’t wind it via the crowns, but instead to start/recharge it you hold it between your thumb and index finger (like you would a flashlight) and gently swing it from side to side.  That’ll oscillate the weight which winds the spring.  When fully wound it’ll go for about 40 hrs if stationary, and it seems to stay powered up easily if you live a moderately active lifestyle.  Nothing quite like having a watch that you look forward to taking for a walk like you would a dog.
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The Seiko 5 movement. Like all autos, when you move, the weight moves, which winds the watch.