The Seiko 5 collection is usually renown for its incredible affordability. Even though the SNKK is part of the Seiko 5 lineup, you certainly won't buy it as a beater watch.
Ever since it was discontinued, the price of the Seiko SNKK has skyrocketed. It quickly became a collector's favorite because of its atypical shape and resemblance to the Patek Nautilus. This means you'll have to fork out several hundreds of dollars if you plan on owning an example.
Spending big money before seeing a timepiece can be a bit intimidating. Worry not, I will lay out everything you need to know before buying the Seiko SNKK41/43/45/47, to make sure you don't regret your purchase.
As you can see from the table above, the Seiko SNKK4X has quite a small frame, which is the norm for Seiko 5s. The 38mm case diameter paired with the 44.5mm lug-to-lug length makes this watch perfect for men with wrists ranging from 5.75 to 7''.
The 12mm case is also considered normal for a Seiko 5. Taking into account the 4.80mm height of the movement as well as the beveled case back, the SNKK4X is about as thick as any other mechanical watch.
Finally, the 21mm lug width is a bit uncommon, so you might have some trouble finding a replacement bracelet that fits perfectly.
30m / 3 Bar
Back when the SNKK4X was in production, the in-house 7s26 caliber was pretty much used by Seiko for (almost) every Seiko 5 model. This 21 jewels automatic movement beats at a low frequency of 21,600 bph and has a power reserve of around 40 hours.
The main selling point of this movement is its reliability and durability. You can expect it to run for well over a decade without needing a single service. Also, Seiko's proprietary Diashock system gives it top of class shock resistance.
As for accuracy, it is usually pretty good but it's nothing out of the ordinary. In my experience, you can expect your SNKK4X to gain or lose about 10 seconds per day. Of course, there are a few lemons here and there that might have poorer accuracy.
The only downside I can find for the 7s26 movement is the lack of functions. For instance, this caliber doesn't allow for hand-winding nor hacking (seconds hand halt).
The components found on the SNKK4X are identical to almost every other base Seiko 5 model, which is normal considering this watch used to retail for around $60-$80.
On top of the dial, you get a flat Hardlex (mineral) crystal. In my opinion, Seiko's Hardlex is slightly above the competition when it comes to mineral crystals, so you shouldn't get too many scratches.
The crown used to operate the date and time is situated at the 3 o'clock position, right next to the day-date display.
As is the case for any entry-level Seiko 5, the SNKK4X uses a push-pull crown.
For this crown, Seiko chose a pretty neat unsigned design, with a cogwheel pattern all-around. Of course, push-pull crown equals low water resistance, so this means you cannot take your SNKK4X for a swim (30m only withstands splashes).
Even though this is not a dive watch, Seiko still went through the trouble of applying their Lumibrite application on the hands as well as the lume pips located at the extremity of every hour mark.
This is a pretty durable luminous phosphorescent that will glow for a decent amount of time, but the brightness is nothing comparable to Seiko dive watches (such as the SKX).
Sunburst / Lacquered
Fixed Stainless Steel
The dial of the Seiko SNKK4X is very simple but also quite stylish. From afar, it looks like a pretty basic dial: monochrome color, baton indices, and a straightforward day-date display.
To unlock the potential of the SNKK4X's dial, you have to get up close and personal with it. Under the right lighting, you will be able to notice the two-tone aspect of the dial.
The inner ring of the dial has a dark color with a sunburst pattern. In contrast, the outer ring of the dial has a lighter lacquered finish.
The case design is certainly what made the SNKK4X so popular over the years. Its shape is loosely based on the famous Patek Philippe Nautilus sports watch.
Even though it isn't an exact replica of the Nautilus's case, there's enough resemblance for the SNKK4X to be coined the "Baby Nautilus". On top of the "porthole" shaped case, you get a beveled stainless steel bezel.
On the other side of the watch, you can find Seiko's signature exhibition window that lets you see through the 7S26 movement.
As is the case for most affordable Seiko watches, the bracelet of the SNKK4X is a disappointment.
The hollow-end links make the bracelet rattly, light, and just give it a general cheap feeling. At least, once it is wrapped around your wrist the rattle subsides and the bracelet is comfortable.
Per usual, Seiko shows great attention to detail even for their entry-level timepieces, so the finish is on point.
The bezel, case back, and case sides share a polished finish, whereas the top of the lugs and the bracelet are brushed.
The Seiko SNKK41 has a very clean and understated look. The white dial goes really well with the silver shades of the case, bracelet, and indices. On this model, the inner ring of the dial features a grey/silverish sunburst pattern.
In my opinion, the SNKK41 is the perfect watch if you want something versatile that can either be dressed up or down.
The Seiko SNKK43 shares the same white and grey dial as the SNKK41, but this time the indices, hands, and crown are covered with gold paint.
In theory, this is a good color combination that looks great. In reality, the Seiko SNKK43's gold elements are way too dark, giving them a weird color under most lightings.
This is the main reason why the SNKK43 is the least successful watch of the lineup. To this day, the SNKK43 can still be had for a reasonable price (compared to other SNKKs) because of its unpopularity amongst collectors.
Contrarily to the SNKK43, the Seiko SNKK45 is highly sought-after by watch enthusiasts around the globe. This model's alluring blue dial gives it a "je ne sais quoi" that can't be replicated.
Not only is the SNKK45 beautiful from the factory, but it's also the most polyvalent of the bunch when it comes to third-party straps/bracelets.
Along with the SNKK45, the Seiko SNKK47 is by far the most popular timepiece of the collection. When paired with a silver bracelet, the black dial version of a watch is almost always the most popular.
This explains why the SNKK47 is pretty much impossible to find on the pre-owned market. If you happen to stumble upon one, you will certainly have to pay a big premium to acquire it.
At first, I didn't even plan to include the SNKK52 on my list. Not only is the model number starting with a 5, the SNKK52's success is nowhere near any of the other timepieces in the SNKK4X collection.
Seiko kind of went overboard with the gold-tone on this model and collectors don't dig it. Indeed, no Patek Nautilus was ever covered in gold like the SNKK52 tries to portray.
This explains why some retailers still stock brand-new examples of this watch, as they simply can't get rid of it.
Considering the low quality of the bracelet used on the SNKK4X, it is quite common to swap it for a leather band.
Leather is a great way to give a dressier look to an otherwise sportier watch.
In the left picture above, this SNKK41 owner used a light brown leather strap to give a formal look to his piece.
In the right picture, the SNKK47 owner equipped his watch with a black leather band. The red stitching is a great way to add a bit of life to the monochrome look of the SNKK47.
If for a reason or another you think the Seiko SNKK4X isn't a good fit for you, there are other options on the market.
If you're looking for a Nautilus homage, but you don't have hundreds of dollars laying around, the Steel Bagelsport is perfect.
You can buy this piece for well under $100, and the components are quite amazing for the cheap price. Like the Seiko, you get an automatic movement, a mineral crystal, stainless steel case, and the same 30m water resistance.
To conclude this article, I must say that the Seiko SNKK4X is the perfect watch if you want something similar to the Patek Nautilus for a fraction of the price.
Albeit, you shouldn't expect to get high-end components even if you pay upwards of $300 for it. You must know that the large majority of the price tag goes toward the "collectible premium", and you will still get entry-level parts.