Even if it has been discontinued for several years, the Seiko SNZH seems to gather more attention now than it ever did. Thanks to the tons of mods available for this platform, the SNZH has a very strong presence in forums and message boards such as Reddit.
There's nothing more frustrating than looking all over the internet for information about a discontinued watch. This is where I step in: this article will give every bit of information you could ever need about the Seiko SNZH and all its variations.
The 42mm case diameter might scare a few people with slender wrists at first. Unless you have sub-6" wrists, the size really shouldn't bother you, considering the lugs are curved, making the SNZH wear much smaller than you would think.
This is reflected in the lug-to-lug length, which comes in at a very modest 47.5mm. What adds a bit more bulk to the SNZH is the 14mm thickness cause by the slightly curved crystal. Also, the 22mm lug width adds some bulk, but the bracelet tapers to around 20mm.
100m / 10 bar
The SNZH series is equipped with Seiko's in-house 7s36 caliber. This is an automatic movement that is used in mid-range Seiko 5s. It is marketed as an upgraded version of the entry-level 7s26, but in reality, the only difference is 2 additional non-working jewels.
This "upgrade" bumps the number of jewels from 21 to 23, but there is no gain in accuracy nor reliability. The 21,600 vph frequency, 40 hours power reserve and Diashock system are all the same as the 7s26.
In my experience, you can expect this movement to keep time in a range from -10 to +10 seconds per day. Unfortunately, the 7s36 doesn't allow for hand-winding nor hacking.
Per usual, Seiko used their proprietary Hardlex (mineral) crystal. Of course, this material won't be as scratch resistant as sapphire would be, but I think it is a bit more resistant than the average mineral crystal.
Usually, most Hardlex crystals are flat, but this is not the case here. I wouldn't call the SNZH's crystal domed, but there is definitely a slight curve, as you can see above.
This is a great feature that distinguishes the SNZH from other standard Seiko 5s, but it contributes to the bulkier feel of this model (14mm thickness).
Since the SNZH is part of the "Seiko 5 Sports" collection, it benefits from upgraded water resistance. The WR is bumped up to 100m, compared to 30m on normal Seiko 5s.
This added leakage protection allows you to take your SNZH for a swim, and even for recreational snorkeling. This is quite impressive considering Seiko doesn't use a screw-down crown for the SNZH. Instead, the gaskets & seals are upgraded.
Even if it's not a proper diving watch, Seiko still put a lot of effort into the lume of the SNZH series. First, the large hands are applied with a very thick layer of Seiko's own Lumi-Brite application. As you can see in the picture below, the hands shine very brightly and the lume will last a good amount of time.
Also, there are small lume pips at the inner extremity of every hour mark. Such lume pips are quite common, but it is kind of rare to see them in the inner circle of the dial. Those pips are functional but are much less noticeable than the hands.
60 Minutes Rotating
The dial of the Seiko SNZH is simple yet elegant. The two colors offered are black or blue, and they both have a lacquered finish.
This gives a very shiny aspect to the SNZH, so it will be perfect for you if you like glossy watches.
Even if the dial isn't that cluttered, there is still a large number of scripts such as the "Seiko 5 Sports" or "Automatic 23 Jewels 100M" writings.
The last point worth mentioning is the day-date display situated at the 3 o'clock mark, which is framed in a stainless steel rectangle.
Once again, the hour marks of the SNZH are nothing out of the ordinary, but they still look very good.
You get simple baton hands for every hour except for the 6/9/12 marks. These have a special "3 faces" design, which reflects a lot of light. The nice finish of these indices shows Seiko's great attention to detail, even for affordable watches.
The 60 minutes bezel contributes greatly to the SNZH's diver styling. This is a bit contradictory with the specs, considering a diver's watch needs at least 200m of water resistance.
The bezel itself is made from stainless steel, whereas the insert is made from painted Hardlex. This makes for a nice glossy finish, which also reflects a lot of light. The downside is how easily the bezel will get scratched.
The 60-minutes bezel uses a unidirectional mechanism. It's also important to note that the bezel has a cogwheel pattern, which is very peculiar, but I absolutely love it.
Usually, cases are nothing to write home about, but the one used for the SNZH is quite special. First, the sides are a bit curved, which goes very well with the curved lugs as well as the slightly bent crystal.
Secondly, the finish is very pleasant: you get polished case sides as well as a polished crown, whereas the top of the lugs is brushed. It's nice that the brushing of the lugs matches perfectly the brushing of the bracelet.
As you flip the watch around, you can see the polished screw-down case back with an exhibition window in the center. This allows you to peak through the 7s36, which is a bit prettier than the 7s26 considering the 2 novelty jewels.
As is the case with most affordable Seiko watches, the bracelet is a bit underwhelming. There are two positive aspects to the bracelet: it is comfortable and the finish is nice (mix of brushing and polish).
Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to this bracelet. It is extremely rattly/noisy, and the lightness caused by the folded links as well as the hollow end-links make the bracelet feel very cheap.
At least, the clasp is pretty crisp and you also get three micro-adjustments.
The Seiko SNZH53 is perfect if you want something colorful but not too flashy. Both the dial and the bezel feature a superb dark blue color, and it looks much better in person than it does in pictures.
Every other aspect of the SNZH53 is covered in silver color, which gives it a great versatility when it comes to the types of straps you can equip it with. Also, the blue color is very easy to pair with almost any kind of clothing.
In my opinion, the Seiko SNZH55 is the most subtle timepiece of the lineup. The black dial/bezel combination makes it very easy to dress up or down, but it can be a bit harder to find good-looking straps compared to the SNZH53.
Once again, every other part of the dial is silver-colored, which contributes to the understated look of the SNZH55. In short, it is a great-looking watch that can be worn in casual or formal situations, but it won't get noticed too much.
The Seiko SNZH57 starts to wander a bit into a flashier territory. On this model, the dial and bezel have the same black color as he SNZH55, but the trims are covered in bright gold paint. This adds a lot more bling to this watch, and people will definitely notice it.
Even though I never personally owned an SNZH57, almost every single Amazon review says that people gave them tons of compliments for this timepiece. Also, a recurrent comment is that this watch looks much better in person.
The Seiko SNZH60 has the most bling of the whole lineup. Like the SNZH57, it has a black dial and bezel insert, as well as gold-tone trims all around. Additionally, the bezel, crown, lugs and whole bracelet are also covered in gold color.
There's no way around it, the SNZH60 is eye-catching and it will undoubtedly bring a lot of attention to your wrist. If this is what you're looking for, do yourself a favor and get it right away, but steer clear from the SNZH60 if you want something subtle.
Even if the SNZH is part of the Seiko 5 sports collection, it can still be dressed up if you choose the right strap. The most popular model to be equipped with a leather band is the SNZH53.
As you can see above, the blue configuration of the SNZH53 makes it perfect for leather. The most common combination is the brown leather band, which is a timeless look when paired with a blue dial.
Also, a few collectors will opt for a blue leather band to go all out with the blue color. I'm not a fan of this layout, but if you choose to do so, I would recommend getting a textured strap to add a bit of depth to your watch.
Since the SNZH is branded as a sports watch, a lot of collectors think the steel bracelet is inappropriate.
During physical activities, the bracelet can be a health hazard both for you or for other participants. On the other hand, a nylon strap is super comfortable and much less dangerous.
Additionally, a nylon strap gives a great rugged look to the SNZH and it contributes to the sporty styling of the watch. Above, I've put two great examples of nylon straps, both being monochromatic in color.
Some of you might ask: isn't the SNZH already equipped with a metal bracelet? The answer is yes, but it can be improved greatly by spending a few bucks.
In the left picture above, this SNZH53 owner loved the OEM look of his watch, but he quickly got tired of the rattly bracelet. To solve his problem, he bought a Strap Code Super Oyster bracelet. This doesn't change the look of the watch at all, but it is much more comfortable and high-quality.
In the right picture, this SNZH57 owner decided to change things up a bit by implementing a mesh bracelet. Like a nylon strap, this modification will add comfort and a sportier styling to your SNZH.
Fifty Five Fathoms
If you're a watch enthusiast, you've certainly heard of the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms before. This timepiece, which is often referred to as the "first modern diver's watch", is a pillar in watchmaking history.
The Seiko SNZH is already loosely based on the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and it could be called an homage. To some collectors, the resemblance is not strong enough, and they need to take it up a notch.
This is where the Fifty Five Fathoms mod comes into play. Depending on your level of commitment, there are a few modifications possible. The most common one is to swap the dial to get the correct indices as well as the "Fifty Five Fathoms" script.
Other people will go all out and change the bezel, hands, case back, and even the movement to get as close as possible to the original FF. The FFF mod is the reason why the SNZH made it onto my "Best Seiko Watches for Mods" article.
Omega Spectre Homage
The SNZH FFF mod is the most ubiquitous, but the Spectre homage is a great mod if you want something out of the ordinary.
In short, this mod consists of swapping the hands, bezel insert, and dial of your SNZH to pay tribute to Omega's Spectre model.
In my opinion, the best way to do this mod is to get Yobokies parts, as you can see in the picture above.
I hope you enjoyed today's article on the Seiko SNZH. Feel free to comment below if you think I missed out on some important facts about this timepiece.
This Post Has 2 Comments
You forgot the white dial/black bezel SNZH51…
Also, I bet the guy that put the mesh bracelet on his SNZH57 up there is the kind of guy that women want and men want to be.