Time and time again, I've heard the saying "You can't go wrong with a Seiko watch". Even if I love Seiko, I must say this isn't true at all. There's a lot of ways to go wrong when buying a Seiko.
For example, you might buy one that's too big for your wrist, one that misses a key feature you want, etc.. The secret to buying the best Seiko for your needs is to do as much research as possible.
Thanks to the internet, some people like me are paid to do all this research for you and package it in a nice article. Here, you will learn everything you need to know about the Seiko Recraft (SNKP23/SNKP25/SNKP27).
Considering the unusual shape of the Seiko Recraft, it is almost impossible to determine exactly the dimensions of the case. Different sources state the case diameter to be between 39.5 to 41mm.
From my measurements, the case diameter stands at 40mm, with a 45.5mm lug-to-lug length. The 13mm thickness of the case is a bit thinner than what you would expect by seeing the SNKP in pictures.
Finally, the 22mm lug width is pretty standard, so finding a replacement strap is no big deal. Considering the dimensions stated above, I can't recommend the Recraft for anyone with 6.25" or less wrists.
Since there's so much to talk about on this watch, I will start by its core, the 7S26C caliber. If you're a Seiko fan, you definitely heard of this prized movement before.
Even if the 7s26 is a workhorse caliber that can run for decades without servicing, some collectors are a bit disappointed that Seiko used it for the Recraft. This is because the SNKP is in an awkward price range above Seiko 5s but under SKXs. It's a bit too cheap to get the more advanced 4R36 movement, but a bit expensive for a barebones movement like the 7S26.
Nonetheless, the 7S26 is very good and it will do the job for most collectors. The 21 jewels movement beats at a 21,600 bph frequency and has a 41 hours power reserve. Unfortunately, the caliber is only automatic, so there's no hand-winding, and even no hacking.
Fortunately, what it lacks in features is made up in reliability and sturdiness. Also, the -15 to 25 seconds per day precision can be improved with a few simple tweaks.
Like almost any affordable watches, the Seiko SNKP uses a 316l stainless steel case. Where the Recraft separates itself from the lot is with the polished/brushed finish combination.
The big square bezel is vertically brushed on top, while the sides of the case are polished. Until now, nothing too special. What's great is the bottom of the case sides, which are also brushed, giving a sense of unity with the bezel. (as seen on the picture above).
On top of the dial is found the usual Hardlex crystal. On the Recraft, the crystal protrudes (just a little bit) so it can be quite easy to scratch it, so don't expect it to stay flawless too long.
Even if it uses a push-pull crown, the Seiko SNKP is a bit more water-resistant then other entry-level Seikos. The 50m water-resistance of this model allows for short periods of recreational swimming, but I don't recommend it just to be safe.
The models presented in this article are either equipped with a calf leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. I've only had first-hand experience with the calf band and I must say it's good, not great.
It is "ok" in the comfort department, but the design lacks a bit of a vintage feeling to it. The lacquered leather is hard to get worn-out, so you won't get the "used" look that you want for a vintage watch.
Design / Styling
Since the specs are nothing out of the ordinary, the only reason to spend over 130$ on the Seiko Recraft is if you love the design.
Considering the vintage styling, some might think this is a re-release of an old Seiko model. In reality, the Seiko Recraft is a new model from the 21st century. What Seiko did is use inspirations from different vintage models from the past. The result is a beautiful timepiece with a sturdy design.
The dial of the Recraft is separated in two sections. In the center, you get a circle with an iridescent finish, giving a "faux-sunburst" effect. This circle has a chapter ring with minutes mark at the extremities and white dots below the indices.
These white dots are often mistaken for lume pips (rightfully so), but they're actually just aesthetic features since the SNKP has absolutely no lume on the dial. I'm perfectly fine with this since it is more of a dress watch than it is a sports watch.
The usual day-date display is situated at the 3 0'clock mark, and it has a really cool frame. The contour of the frame has a curvy shape with a polished finish, and it nicely bevels down around the date.
Quirks / Features
The Seiko SNKP's dial has plenty of quirks that make it very easy to either love or hate. For instance, the stainless steel indices go "through" the case, as if they had their own garages.
Another cool part of the Recraft is the push-pull crown situated at the 3 0'clock position. Like most Seikos, the crown is unsigned, but this one has a cool dented pattern and it's more robust/bulky than what I'm used to from Seiko.
On the back of the SNKP, you get a beveled screw-down case back, which features a Hardlex crystal to let you see the automatic caliber hard at work.
The SNKP23 features a gorgeous deep blue inner ring, with a navy blue (which looks almost grey) outer ring. On this model, everything from the indices to the minutes/hours hands and day-date frame is stainless steel-plated to match the case.
This is the only SNKP presented in this article that comes from the factory with a steel bracelet. Also, the SNKP23 is the only one to use an orange seconds hand, which adds a bit of life to the dial.
The SNKP25's brown dial really goes well with the whole vintage styling of the Recraft. The center ring has some red hues under lighting, so it has more of an auburn color. The outer ring's dark brown color can almost look black under bad lighting.
The gold shades of the indices and day-date frame are also in line with the vintage design of the Recraft, and it looks great. The SNKP25 is equipped with the aforementioned calf leather band in a black color.
The SNKP27 is my favorite of the Recraft Series, and it's also the most popular according to sales numbers. On this one, the gold shades help the green color pop out of the dial in a fantastic manner. It is one of those watches that look that much better in person.
Also, it is quite rare to see a timepiece with gold indices/hands equipped with a silver-colored case, but I must say the SNKP pulls it off.
Since the SNKP23 usually comes with a bracelet, some owners prefer a leather band to give it the classy look it deserves. In the left picture below, this collector equipped his SNKP23 with a brown "crocodile" leather strap.
As you can see in the right picture, some SNKP25/27 owners still swap their original calf leather strap for a higher-quality leather band. The brown crocodile strap seems to be a fan's favorite as there are plenty of pictures online.
Since only the SNKP23 is currently available from the factory with a bracelet, SNKP25/27 owners need to go the after-market route to fill their needs.
The SNKP25 owner in the left picture equipped his timepiece with a sturdy "engineer" bracelet with solid end links. In the right picture, the collector equipped his SNKP27 with a mesh bracelet, giving a more casual vibe to the piece.
Considering it has a very bulky case with a square shape, a Nato strap can be a bit out of place on the SNKP. Also, the vintage styling is often associated with a leather band or metal bracelet rather than a nylon strap.
Above is the only picture I could find online of a SNKP on a nylon strap. This collector used a Fossil-branded strap with a chocolatey design. I think this might be the only layout that looks great, as most other Natos will look weird.
The Seiko Recraft SNKP is a superb timepiece if you're looking for something sturdy with a vintage styling and automatic movement. The dial has beautiful colors and the rectangle case makes it very unique.
The pros and cons list below will help you decide once and for all if the SNKP is the right watch for you.
This Post Has 6 Comments
SNKP25 on a Fossil brand NATO:
Thanks for the link Ron! I will add this to the article right away.
Just purchased this great watch. For myself, I’m having an issue of it not keeping time very well. I’ve owned it for one month now and it falls hours behind over night. After readjusted for correct time it falls behind an hour or so.
I’ll be taking it to a Seiko dealer for warranty today and hope the issue is corrected.
Hey Daniel, I’m sorry to hear that. Usually, Seiko has pretty good quality control, but they can’t be perfect. Please keep us updated about your experience with Seiko’s customer service!
Thanks for the interesting, in- depth reviews. I got the blue dial Recraft just before X-Mas 2020. So far, out of all the watches I wear (about a dozen in rotation) that one gets the most comments, and most comments are something like “That watch looks like $1000 bucks!”
So… I agree with you that for the money it should have an upgraded movement, although hand winding/ hacking isn’t a deal breaker for me. This is why we buy self- winding watches, right? Besides, I think winding an automatic watch should be just a few twists to get it running. Even so, they Recraft seems to wind down after 20 hours if I haven’t been wearing it or forgot to put it in a watchwinder.
Bottom line? Again, I agree with you about price vs. looks. I thought it was worth what I paid. The watch is gorgeous and really harkens back to 70’s Brutalist design cues. Reminds me of a big square Bulova my dad had in the 70’s (except his was 14K gold and had a “nugget” style bracelet).
This watch is worth the price of admission if you love the looks. Solid, well made and with Seiko dependability and ease of repair.
Thanks for your comment John!