INTRODUCING: Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Special Editions
The sporty, youth-oriented collection rewinds to its earliest references.
Seiko 5, particularly Seiko 5 Sports, are how many of us became interested in watches. As such, it holds an important place in our hearts (especially mine). I still recall trying to pry open the first Seiko 5 I bought with money I earned from working at my uncle’s confectionery after school and leaving massive scratches on the caseback. For many watch modders, the Seiko 5 collection is also the perfect jumping-off point for their watch journey. Seiko knows this; it’s why they have continued to build on the collection steadily while keeping the core tenets of the watch the same after all this time.
The ‘5’ in Seiko 5 refers to the five key features of the watches: water resistance, automatic winding, a day and date indication, a crown at 4 o’clock for wearing comfort, and a durable case and bracelet. These were possible due to several innovations, such as the Diaflex mainspring and Diashock design. In fact, the collection began in 1963 with the Sportsmatic 5 and subsequently became a sports watch collection as Seiko 5 Sports in 1968. The emerging pop culture scene influenced the watch’s design, with sporty elements and boldly coloured dials and accents.
Therefore, 2023 actually celebrates two Seiko 5 anniversaries: the 60th anniversary of the Sportsmatic 5 and the 55th anniversary of the Seiko 5 Sports. To commemorate this occasion, Seiko has introduced three Seiko 5 Sports models inspired by the collection’s 1969 releases as well as a limited edition re-creation of the very first Seiko 5 Sports model from 1968.
The SKX Sports Style
The Seiko 5 Sports collections today are based off the SKX diver’s watch, which is a popular timepiece that every collector has likely possessed in their lifetime. In its first years, the watches were hefty and quite chunky with wild colour schemes. At the time, psychedelia was steadily seeping into Japanese culture, with preppy fashion trends being adopted by its youths. These style trends shaped the new Seiko 5 Sports models. Three models from the 1969 collection have been selected as prime examples of the Seiko 5 Sports releases, which are once again relevant today thanks to the cycle of design that’s brought retro-chic back.
The three watches retain the profile of the existing Seiko 5 Sports design, with a lighter and sleeker case profile featuring tapered, chamfered lugs and crown guards and a slightly slimmer but more robust bezel construction. The first, SRPK09, has a racing-inspired bezel with alternating black and white lines interspersed with decimal minute markers in white on a black background. The brushed, sunburst silver dial has grooved, lumed hour indexes with an orange seconds hand and day and date discs in black.
SRPK11 is probably the boldest of the three, with a Dutch orange dial bearing a black bar stretching across the centre with the day and date indicators. The inner bezel has a minute track that alternates between black indicators on orange and vice versa. The aluminium bezel is black with white minute track markings and a lumed dot over 12 o’clock.
Finally, SRPK13 has red, green, and blue accents in another racing-style design. The black aluminium bezel has a strong minute track printed in white, with a 20-minute countdown segment in red and alternating triangle or Arabic numeral markings. The inner rehaut has a 20-minute segment in blue just under the red with a triangle index at 12, and the remainder is in green with Arabic numeral markings. Each watch comes with a brushed three-link bracelet with Hardlex crystal and a see-through caseback.
The Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Limited Edition SRPK17
The above watch is a re-creation of the first Seiko 5 Sports watch, which won fans over in the 1960s. The C-shaped case is exactly like the original watch but redesigned to modern specs and size. It’s not just a downsizing of the watch case to a unisex and comfortable 39.5mm, but also a slimmed-down case with case sides that gently curve into the edges and fuse with the bracelet.
The watch dial has a blockish white minute track interspersed with lumed bar indexes, and the black bezel has decimal markings with a lumed dot over 12 o’clock. A red lollipop-and-needle hand adds a touch of colour to the watch, with a day and date display at 3 o’clock. The case is brushed with polished sides, and it features a hidden crown at 4 o’clock, which improves the elegant symmetry of the watch.
But our favourite detail has to be the new bracelet designed for the watch – a mono-link bar-style design with articulated segments that make the watch an easy fit on any wrist while looking handsome. Like the case, it’s brushed on the front and polished at the sides, creating different finishings that play off light reflecting on it.
This watch is limited to 1,555 pieces and comes in a special box that uses the same logo and colour scheme as the original Seiko 5 Sports watch.
All four models are powered by the brand’s Calibre 4R36, a 3Hz movement with 41 hours of power reserve. This is the standard beater movement used in Seiko 5 Sports models and is highly reliable for daily use. The SRPK17 is priced at €410, while the regular models are priced at €350; local pricing will be available shortly. These watches will be available at Seiko boutiques and select retail partners globally – the SRPK17 from July onwards and the rest from September.
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