Seiko Blue and Black SSK003 or Black and Gray SSK001 – $475
NOTE: US retailers who run sales are having a real hard time keeping these in stock. We’ll send up a Stock Alert if/when they come in and are on sale at an authorized shop.
Editor’s Note II: Links above go to Macy’s, who is an authorized dealer which means you get a manufacturer’s warranty. They’re also one of the rare A.D.s who have put these on pretty significant sale early after their release in the US. A 20% off deal would drop them to $380, while a “lowest prices of the season” event has seen them go as low as $342. Yet they’re often stuck to full price and excluded. Confusing indeed. Gotta play the game.
In a culture of absolutism where nuance isn’t just undervalued but actively ridiculed, the following two statements about the new Seiko 5 Sports GMT might seem at odds despite being true:
- The Seiko press shots make it look a little better than it does in person
- It’s still a really cool watch
That big red GMT hand.
Also, framing matters… That says “Passport.”
Very much based on the Seiko 5 Sports dive-style platform, the case is just 0.2 mm thicker than their non GMT brothers (13.6mm vs 13.4mm). Crown is still placed at 4pm, the hour, minute, and seconds hands are all the same, the indices are the same, and the SEIKO and S/5 tilted mashup logo appear identical as well. 42.5mm case (which wears more like 41mm), 100m of water resistance, and an exhibition caseback are all carried over from the non-GMT. Movement still hacks and hand winds, and the crown does not screw down. Although it feels nice and secure in the seated, waterproof position.
Magnifier over the date window + two tone GMT ring.
The GMT ring is covered in Seiko’s Hardlex crystal,
so depending on light/reflection it can sometimes look all black.
The GMT hand is bright red on the blue & black as well as the black & gray model. (On the seemingly rarer orange dial option the GMT hand is black.) The smooth rotating (not “clicky”) 24 hour ring is broken into two halves of color via a definitive but still smooth transition at 0600 and 1800 (sun-up and sun-down…ish).
Exhibition caseback so you can see that automatic GMT movement at work.
Made specifically for time-zone hopping travelers,* that GMT hand can be used in a few different ways. But one of the easiest is to “set it and forget” it to the 24-hour time in the 2nd time zone you want to track (London, Shanghai… Peoria) and then by seeing where that red hand is pointing to on the bezel, you’ll know if they’re eating dinner or breakfast over there. Wherever there is.
Jubilee style bracelet feels excellent. Substantial. Not rickety or jangly.
But Jubilee = center bits are polished, not brushed. So there’s a minor “jewelry” effect to it.
The bracelet feels great. A bit of flexibility thanks to the geometry of the Jubilee-style links, but staying true to traditional Jubilee style, those center links are polished. Thinking that’s where it looks cleaner and meaner in the press shots/on retailers sites, since it doesn’t look high polish over there. The high-polish center links just don’t stand out as much online as they do in person. They’re not awful, far from it, but an oyster-style bracelet or brushed center links on a Jubilee style would be preferred by those in the anti-“bling” crowd.
13.6mm thick. Not a super slim dress watch,
but just a wee bit thicker than the non GMT dive-style Seiko 5 Sports series.
Seiko has done a terrific job producing a wristwatch with an otherwise spendy look and complication. Along with the MoonSwatch and Timex GMT, it seems to be the year for that kind of thing. And like those two other “give ’em what they want” watches that came before it, stock on the Seiko GMTs might be in short supply for the near future.
The Seiko 5 Sports GMT is rugged, fun, a bit different than a normal diver thanks to the GMT function, and hitting the market as travel once again becomes aspirational and worth saving for.
*GMT watches are also fun for us homebodies who live vicariously through various far flung travelling circuses, ships on the water, and/or Rick Steves.