As the Seiko SNK809‘s legacy gets larger by the day, almost every other Seiko 5 watch seems to fall in its shadow. However, this lack of media attention means that there’re plenty of Seiko 5s that can be picked up for dirt cheap.
One of these is the Seiko SNK601/603/605/607, and boy is it a good watch!
The Seiko SNK60X is built upon the same frame as almost every other Seiko 5 watch. This results in a small timepiece that will blend with your wrist and casually make you look like a sophisticated watch collector.
With its 43mm lug-to-lug tip, it’s not a watch that screams for attention. It’s a rather inconspicuous piece that will let other people know you’re a person of culture without bringing too much attention from the general public.
It’s a timepiece that can look stunning on men and women alike, but it might get lost on the large wrist of a construction worker. However, it will feel at home in a business casual setting or even at a dressy cocktail party.
|Water Resistance||30m / 100ft|
|Lume||Lumibrite Hands & Pips|
There’s a saying I’d like to think I coined myself: “If you’ve owned one Seiko 5, you’ve owned them all”. This saying doesn’t refer to the styling, which of course varies greatly from one Seiko 5 to the other. However, almost all Seiko 5 watches have the same specs.
Of course, the Seiko 5 Sports series might have an increased 100m water resistance rating or an “upgraded” Seiko 7s36 movement, but the gist of it remains the same. This isn’t a bad thing at all, this means that Seiko found a tried-and-true formula to maximize reliability over the long term.
Indeed, the workhorse 7s26 movement found inside the Seiko SNK60x has been known to last for over a decade without being tinkered with. Its specs are utterly basic (21,600 bph, 38h power reserve, etc..), but this is what allows your Seiko 5 to tick through-and-through for 10+ years.
The rest of the specs are equally as basic, including the 30m water resistance, which is just enough to withstand a few splashes, or the Hardlex (mineral) crystal, which will start collecting scratches quickly if you’re not careful.
The Lumibrite formula painted on the hands and lume pips at the hour marks’ extremities will be hard to beat at this price point. Indeed, you can expect all-night glow in a pretty legible fashion, which is impressive for a sub-$100 watch.
The bracelet is what you would expect from an entry-level Seiko watch: “Meh”. Its folded links are rattly and feel light on the wrist. Usually, I would urge you to put it on a Barton strap, but the SNK601/603/605/607 is burdened by an integrated end-link.
This means that no other bracelet (unless you’re a good craftsman) will fit on this watch. This might be the only reason why I would steer someone away from buying the Seiko SNK60x, the bracelet is poor and you’re stuck with it.
|Styling||Casual / Dressy|
The Seiko SNK60x is a truly intricate piece that has a high level of details which you would usually expect from a much more expensive watch.
The first feature that drawn you to explore the SNK60x is probably its wavy-patterned dial. This design choice adds some texture to the dial in a tasteful way, making it stand out from its glossy-dialed peers by a mile.
While this wavy dial (which reminds me of wire mesh) makes the SNK601/603/605/607 unarguably distinctive, there’s also a slight drawback. This dial finish makes it a bit harder to read, especially under heavy lighting (the wavy pattern shines in a silver shade, which can be blinding).
As a whole, the Seiko SNK60x is one of the most versatile pieces in the Seiko 5 collection. Its basic specs and playful dial make it perfect for a casual day with the kids, but it also has a few features that might place it in the “dress watch” category.
For instance, the SNK601/603/605/607 sports elegant dauphine hands with a polished finish, which is a component that’s usually reserved for high-end dress watches. The same could be said for the classy polished bezel.
The Seiko SNK601 is the white-dialed version of the collection. This one’s not my favorite because its dial resembles a wire mesh, which is not something I associate with being classy.
If you look from afar, the dial looks more like grid paper, which I associate with more than a lifeless piece of wire mesh. Indeed, the grid paper can be seen as a white slate to let your imagination free, or a methodical tool that implies precision.
Nonetheless, I think the SNK601 undermines the potential of this patterned dial, and you’ll see that other models make better use of it.
The Seiko SNK603 is a watch that makes me vibe much more than the SNK601. This one evokes thoughts of a troubled sea, or maybe a pair of blue jeans on a cowboy that’s about to mount a bronco. This blue dial rhymes with adventure and boldness.
This one will match your jeans or your blue suit, it will follow you at the gym or at the office, it will draw attention without begging for it. If you haven’t noticed by now, the SNK603 is my favorite watch of the collection and it’s the one I personally recommend.
The Seiko SNK605’s dial might look black on pictures, but in person you’ll quickly notice it actually has brown shades. This makes the already distinctive SNK60x even more distinctive, but is that a good thing?
A good-looking brown dial is a very hard project to take on, the only great one that comes to mind is the Seiko SNKP25, and the SNK605 is nowhere near as beautiful. Instead of the gorgeous walnut dial of the SNKP25, the SNK605 looks more like the scales of a lizard.
This is cool if you’re into herpetology, but i’d rather have a Seiko with more vibrant colors like the SNK603.
The Seiko SNK607 has a black dial that makes it easy to pair with almost any outfit you can think of. What this one lacks in personality is made up for in versatility. If you’re looking for a daily watch that won’t require much thoughts to pair with the right clothing, the SNK607 is perfect for you.
I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet review of the Seiko SNK601/603/605/607. In conclusion, I think it’s a great watch that’s held back by its proprietary lugs that won’t allow for a strap change.
If you can stomach the subpar bracelet, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning watch that can be had for a proper bargain.