Sometimes, I kick myself for having ignored Seiko for so long. Not that I didn’t respect the brand, but my focus up until very recently was almost solely on Swiss and German watchmaking. My last few visits to Seiko at Baselworld, but especially the addition of vintage watch collector Michael Stockton to the Fratello Watches team a few years ago, have made me realize that there are so many nice Seiko watches to explore — new and vintage.
We at Fratellowatches have covered Seiko numerous times in the meantime, and here I finally run down my Top 5 favorite Seiko watches. They comprise a combination of new and vintage Seiko models that are definitely worth checking out if you love watches. Each of them are on this list for a particular reason, from offering great value to simply being stunning.
Without further ado, here are my Top 5 Seiko watches:
1. Seiko Marinemaster 300 SBDX001
The Marinemaster 300 is a serious divers’ watch from the Seiko Prospex (Professional Specification) collection, using a movement (Caliber 8L35) that was used as a base for the Grand Seiko 9S55 caliber. It doesn’t come cheaply (around the $2,000 mark) but the monobloc case, 8L35 movement and attractive appearance still gives you lots of bang for the buck. It can handle its competition from Switzerland and Germany in a higher price range very easily. The only downside to me is the stainless steel bracelet (which comes with most Seiko models), but this watch also comes with a “tropical” lookalike rubber strap (pictured below). We did an in-depth review on the Seiko Marinemaster 300 SBDX001 here.
To me, no “Top 5 Seiko Watches” listing is complete (or even valid) if this piece is missing. It was the very first professional dive watch made by Seiko. The Seiko 62MAS is highly sought after by collectors and first marketed in 1965. It is the mother of all current professional Seiko watches, but also considered the early predecessor of the immensely popular Seiko SKX007 watch (more on which later). We did a review on the Seiko 62MAS here, with a full explanation on its history.
3. Grand Seiko SBGW047
In 2013, Seiko produced a limited run of 700 pieces of this katana-cased stainless-steel Grand Seiko, Ref. SBGW047. It is an exact visual copy of the 1967 Grand Seiko 44GS, but (of course) now contains a state-of-the-art Grand Seiko 9S64 hand-wound movement. The knife-like design of the case is just stunning and distinguishes Seiko’s Grand Seiko collection from all other high-end watch brands. However, you have to handle it yourself to be able give it the proper appreciation that it deserves. This watch is now out of production, but once in a while it pops up for sale on the well-known online platforms. However, because it is quite rare, prices are all over the place. We did an in-depth review on the Grand Seiko SBGW047 here.
4. Seiko Tuna
The Seiko Tuna (Reference SBDX011), or Grandfather Tuna (Reference 6159-7010 for the vintage model), are big, odd-looking watches, but you will immediately identify them as special. Both are professional divers’ watches, available in a wide variety of executions (mechanical or quartz movements, various case materials). Personally, I love the Tuna and don’t care much whether it is the Grandfather Tuna from the old days or the brand-new SBDX011 or one of its variations. I would even settle for the high-precision quartz-movement version if I had to. The question is, can your wrist handle this watch? We did a comparison review of the original reference 6159-7010 and the current SBDX011 model here.
Part of the Seiko 5 family (because of its Caliber 7S26 movement, according to Seiko), this well-known Seiko SKX007 is also available with a “Pepsi bezel” configuration, known as Reference SKX009. With a retail price of approximately $300 (though it can be found for much less on the market), it is probably one of the best buys one can expect for a watch under a $1,000. The watch has a water resistance of 200 meters, a day-and-date feature and comes on either a rubber strap or a jubilee-type bracelet. This model was introduced in 1996 and is still one of the best-selling mechanical Seiko watches and not without a reason. I bought one myself and love it, so I also bought one for my father, who wears his on a daily basis. It keeps great time and is very sturdy. This particular model has a long history, with the References 7002, 6309, and 6105, and the aforementioned 62MAS as standouts; any of those could have been included here as well, but I decided to use the current model). Click here for a comparison review we did on the Seiko SKX007 and Citizen NY0040.