The Seiko 5 SNKL23 is a sleek-looking stainless steel men’s watch with a surprisingly affordable price tag. The Seiko 5 is manufactured by the Seiki Holdings Corporation, which is located in Tokyo, Japan. Seiki Holdings was incorporated in 1881, over 138 years ago. According to the company, they “operate watches, electronic devices, and system solutions across the globe.”
History of the Seiko 5 SNKL23
Seiko was founded by a business mogul named Kintaro Hattori. Hattori founded Seiko in 1881. By 1913, he began the production of Japan’s first wristwatch. Several years later, he released Grand Seiko, which was the first wristwatch in a long line of wearable timepieces. Hattori’s watches were very revered in Japan. In fact, by 1964, they were the official timepiece of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Seiko is well-known in the watch community, as they were the first company to develop a quartz watch. The company released this innovative watch movement in 1969. In fact, they began producing wall clocks as early as the 1890s. With that said, their innovations did not stop there. They went on to produce the first talking clock in 1983, Japan’s first wireless card payment system in 1999, and the world’s first GPS solar watch in 2012.
In fact, the aforementioned innovations only represent a small portion of Seiko’s groundbreaking products. The company even has an entire section on their webpage dedicated to their “world’s firsts.” These include a quartz metronome, a satellite wave-controlled clock, and a watch designed for use in outer space. While there is no telling what Seiko will introduce in the future, it is clear that the company has no intention of halting its progress.
With a reputation for excellence and innovation, Seiko has found its way into the hands of the rich and famous. In fact, many Hollywood starlets can’t get enough of this prominent Japanese watch company. Famous Seiko wearers include John Candy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brian May, and Kristen Stewart. Seiko watches have also had their 5 minutes of fame in several big budget films.
In fact, Seiko wristwatches can be seen in the movies like Alien, The Abyss, Apocalypse Now, Predator, All is Lost, as well as many more.
A History of Seiko Watches
While Seiko’s first watch was actually a pocket watch, it debuted the Laurel wristwatch in 1913. This was Japan’s first wristwatch and the beginning of a long line of wearable timepieces. In 1960, the company released the Grand Seiko, a premium wristwatch with refined movements and a sleek, durable design. In 1969, they produced the CAL 6139, a wristwatch with an automatic chronograph, vertical clutch, and column wheel. Then came the Seiko Quartz Astron CAL 3500, the world’s first quartz watch.
By 1973, the company began producing wristwatches with six-digit the LCD screens and quartz movements. A few years later, they produced a multifunctional wristwatch with a digital quartz movement and built-in chronograph. Then came the Diver’s 600M, a wristwatch with a titanium case that could withstand high water pressure while providing incredibly accurate time. After that, Seiko released an analog quartz chronograph watch.
A Variety of Models
Miles ahead of Apple, Seiko released a computerized watch in 1984. The watch allowed users to store phone numbers, calendar reminders, and addresses. A few years later, they released a solar-powered watch that utilized a wearer’s movement to power up the internal mechanisms. With that said, the list goes on and on, with one technological innovation after another. Leaving no question to their revolutionary substance, Seiko continues to pour out some of the most innovative timepieces of modern times.
Seiko 5 SNKL23 Features
Dimensions: 38 by 10.5 millimeters
Material: Brushed Stainless Steel
Durability: Water Resistant at 30 meters or 100 feet
Face: Black with Stainless Steel Markers
Luminosity: Circular Lumes at Hour Markers
Hands: Sharp Tapered Hour, Minute, and Second
Crystal: Scratch-Resistant Hardlex
Bezel: Fixed Stainless Steel
Crown: Recessed at 4 O’clock Hour Marker
Back: Screw-In Skeletal Back
Hands: Sharp Tapered Hour, Minute, and Second
Markers: “SEIKO” at 12 O’clock, “AUTOMATIC 21 JEWELS” at 6 O’clock
Basic Watch Parameters
- Brand: Seiko
- Series: Seiko 5
- Model: SNKL23
- Movement: Seiko 21-Jewel Automatic
- Gender: Men’s
- Markers: Hand, Hours, Minutes
- Additional Windows: Day and Date
- Back: Screw-In Exhibition Back
Material: Stainless Steel Bracelet
Width: 17 millimeters
Clasp: Fold-Over Deployant with Safety
Design, Materials, and Movement Type
The Seiko 5 SNKL23 is a luxury men’s wristwatch with a bargain-rate price that can’t be beat. Its durable stainless steel case and band give it a high-class look that’s suitable for business meetings and evening soirees. Yet, its water- and scratch-resistant case define it as a workhorse that can last a lifetime. Read along to learn more about the Seiko 5 SNKL23’s ingenious design, materials, and movement. While small in stature, these Japanese timepieces pack a big punch.
It’s difficult to look past the Seiko’s refined black and silver design. With a thick stainless steel case and matching wrist band, this watch looks simply refined. While unbeknown to admirers, the case features a smooth skeletal frame with a removable movement viewing panel. The face of the watch also features a clean stainless steel bezel with no markings to interrupt the sheen of the pure metal façade.
The Face’s Look
The face itself features a jet black inlay with a raised stainless steel stick dial. The markers consist of thin, oblong rectangles stationed by the hour and minute hands. With no Arabic or Roman numerals to interrupt the space, the watch has the clean look of a universal timepiece. The minute and hour hands are shaped like oblong diamonds, leaving a small triangular overlap in the center of the watch’s face. There are small luminescent circles located at the very outer edge of the space near the ends of the hour markers. It enables users to get a good reading in low-light conditions.
The Hands and Windows Shape
The hands are also made of stainless steel and have sharp tapered triangular bodies. The hour hand is the largest, followed by the minute hand and the second hand. They are layered so that the smallest is on the top. In addition to the markers located along the circumference of the face, the watch also features a small month and day indicator window. The month/day indicator window features a three-letter all-caps abbreviation of the day of the week, followed by the day of the month in Arabic numbers. The text is silvery-white and easy to read. The window features a small rounded frame with a white inner border and a silver, or gray, outer border.
What’s more, the case features a scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal window that offers optimal long-lasting clarity. Hardlex is a standard choice for high-end watch manufacturers, including Seiko, Pulsar, and Lorus. It is a synthetic material that holds up well to regular knocks and scrapes.
The Exhibition Back
Another cool feature of the Seiko 5 head is its exhibition back. Simply turn this metallic watch over to view its constantly cranking automatic watch movement. The Seiko Caliber 7S26, which is written in fine print on the face of the watch, is a refined yet simple watch movement that will mesmerize nearly any timepiece enthusiast. Peeping through the façade of stainless steel gears, you’ll see the pinkish purple tone of the 21 jewels.
The Linked Band
The top and bottom of the watch feature sharply tapered lugs that create a clean connection with the band. The band, which is also made from scratch-resistant stainless steel, features a clean link pattern. The band features five rows of cubic stainless steel links. The outer and center links are wider than the middle left and right links. They are moderately thick and hollow.
It is not uncommon for Seiko owners to remove and replace the original stainless steel band. While the original doesn’t get a bad rap, many prefer to switch it out for a more versatile leather or fabric alternative. With that said, the beauty and technique of the Seiko 5 SNKL23 case are enough to stand on their own.
Safe and Complete
Literally sealing the deal, the Seiko 5 SNKLl23 has a deployment clasp and safety. This enables users to safely loosen and remove their watch without risking it sliding off their wrists. The clasp can be pushed closed with a simple one-handed maneuver.
Some of the strong points about the Seiko 5 SNLK23 are the high-quality materials used to create it. The watch’s primary construction material is stainless steel. This makes up the band, clasp, case, bezel, hands, dial, and gears. Not only is the stainless steel sleek, durable, and time-tested, but it can be easily cleaned and refinished for a low cost.
The addition of a Hardlex crystal face and expedition window give this watch a refined look that’s guaranteed to stay free from scratches for some time. Hardlex is Seiko’s a signature crystal choice. What’s more, it has a great reputation among customers.
The Seiko also has 21 synthetic jewels that help refine its mechanical movements. The watch is self-winding, water-resistant, all-together durable, and long-lasting. In addition to being scratch-resistant, the watch can be submerged up to 30 meters.
The Seiko 21-Jewel Automatic Movement is a self-winding masterpiece that keeps super accurate time. The 7S26 movement was introduced in 1996. It automatically winds, with no option to hand-wind. It also includes a quickset day feature that’s easy to use. It’s well-known for its “magic lever,” which supports the watch’s bidirectional winding.
Easy Installation and Great Resistance
The 7S26 offers accurate readings of the hour, minute, and seconds. In addition, you can set the day and date yourself. There is no subdial. With a 21,600 vibrations an hour and a Seiko Diashock shock system, this watch is undeniably reliable and accurate. The movement is 4.8 millimeters thick with a 27-millimeter diameter.
The watch also has a magnetic resistance of around 4,800 A/m. It has a power reserve of about 41 hours. Its optimal performance temperature is between -10 and 60 degrees Celsius. Most customers have reported that the Seiko 5 holds time well for an extended period of time. What’s more, it does not require frequent servicing.
It’s important to note that automatic watches like the Seiko 5 are hand-wound. As such, the movement of a wearer’s wrist is what provides it with the power to keep on ticking. A wearer’s wrist is what spins the rotor. With approximately 41 hours of potential power stores, this watch needs to be worn consistently in order to provide accurate and uninterrupted time.
We recommend adding this watch to your arsenal of regularly worn timepieces. You’ll need to commit to wearing it several days per week in order to keep it up and running. Since you are not able to manually wind this watch, you’ll need to commit to a continuous loop of watch wearing if you intend to get accurate readings on the fly.
When in doubt, just unscrew exhibition window and watch as the movements literally pass the time with refined consistency.
Size and Weight
The Seiko 5 SNKL23 has a 38-millimeter round case with a 10-millimeter thickness. Meanwhile, its band is 20 millimeters thick. The entire watch, case and band included, weighs 3.68 ounces. While there’s no standard size for men’s wristwatches, the Seiko is below average in size and weight when compared to common stainless steel timepieces.
Keep in mind that the small stature of the Seiko 5 SNKL23 is not preferred, but it has plenty of advantages. Just give yourself a little time to adjust to it if you typically wear clunky pieces.
What’s more, the Seiko 5 SNKL23’s lugs are 20 millimeters. The watch has a 38-millimeter diameter and a 45-millimeter lug-to-lug distance. The band can be replaced with a Seiko or aftermarket band of your choice. The Seiko boasts easy-to-remove links. They can be added and removed to accurately size the timepiece for any wrist. You only need a few small tools to complete the process.
Some Wearing Drawbacks
The watch is lightweight and, therefore, puts very little stress on the wrist. Still, the links have the potential to snag wrist hairs and cause discomfort. What’s more, the metal can be a bit rough for extended wear. As such, we recommend wearing the watch loosely.
The watch’s clasp has a built-in safety feature that prevents the two separate bands from coming apart. Still, you can easily remove the safety pin to remove and/or add links. As you can see here, sizing the Seiko’s band is not extraordinarily difficult, though the links are rather tight.
Keep in mind that the Seiko has four removable links. With that said, you need to remove three of the push pins just to disconnect a single link. Compared to other manufacturers’ watches, this is quite a process. Still, it is well worth it when you consider how affordable and easy-to-use this watch is.
This lightweight wristwatch has a great finish and stunning overall look. It’s definitely a good piece for nine-to-fivers looking for a professional timepiece. The time is super accurate, and the hands move flawlessly. With nearly six ticks per second, this watch provides an incredibly accurate reading. While some customers have mentioned that the ticks are rough, we would disagree.
The stainless steel has a beautiful sheen. While the case and bezel are polished to perfection, every other band link is brushed. This creates a refined look with a lot of character. What’s more, it helps the Seiko to stand out amongst other run-of-the-mill stainless steel wristwatches.
What’s more, the Seiko’s high contrast black face and white numerals give it extra readability and character. The combination of applied Seiko logos helps improve its aesthetes. The bracelet also features an engraved Seiko logo, which helps pull the watch’s look together.
Final Impression and Alternatives
Now that we’ve given you a thorough breakdown of the Seiko 5 SNKL23, it’s time for us to share our final impression and some viable alternatives. Read along for a detailed overview of this amazing Japanese timepiece.
For one, the Seiko 5 SNKK71 is a similar watch with an equally stylish black dial. The SNKK71 is an all stainless steel automatic wristwatch with a black stick dial and accurate self-winding movement. Like the SNKL23, it is typically sold for just over $75. Of course, the SNKK71 is slightly less durable than its predecessor. As a matter of fact, it can only withstand light splashes and brief water immersion, as opposed to the SNKL123’s 30-meter depth limit.
If you’ve got deeper pockets and are looking for an even more accurate timekeeper, the Seiko SSB031 is an accurate stainless steel Chronograph watch for men. It has a detailed Tachymeter bezel. Not to mention, it is resistant to water as deep as 330 feet. A great choice for divers and water-enthusiasts, this beastly watch sells for a mere $125 or so. Alternatively, it utilizes a kinetic direct drive.
Looking for a colorful alternative to the Seiko 5? If so, the Seiko SNK805 and SNK807 offer navy and hunter green faces with matching canvas straps. With many of the same reliable technologies, these watches are a wearable change for the somewhat showy SNKL23.
Things We Loved
We love the chic look of this stainless steel watch. The dial, hands, and face are attractive, clean, and modern. It has a timeless design that is well-suited for business professionals. Not to mention, its color-neutral black and silver look that goes with nearly any outfit.
In terms of readability, the Seiko 5 has a nearly universal interface. Its clean dial design and day/date window are arranged perfectly in an easy-to-read clutter-free interface. What’s more, we love the Seiko 5’s luminous hour markers and hands, which offer readable times in low-light conditions.
We also love that the Seiko has a slightly recessed crown, which does not easily catch on clothing or other items. We are also big fans of the Seiko 5’s screw-on exhibition window. While the Seiko’s movements don’t offer much to look at, it’s neat to see the timekeeping mechanisms in motion.
Things We Could Do Without
While we love the Seiko 5 SNKL23’s automatic timekeeping movement, it’s a little frustrating that there is no manual winding option. Because the Seiko 5 SNKL23 depends on a wearer’s movement for power, we only recommend this wristwatch to those who can commit to wearing it regularly. If a fancy stainless steel band doesn’t fit your daily style, you can always switch out the bands for something more versatile and/or comfortable. Keep in mind that the lugs are 20 millimeters wide, making them a great choice for most after-market watch bands.
We’re also somewhat iffy about the smooth stainless steel bezel. While the clear design is favorable, we are also down with more in-depth meters and optional time zone displays. If you’re looking for a watch that’s more functional than fussy, the Seiko 5 SNKL23 is probably not for you. The Seiko 5 SNKL23 bezel is simply aesthetic. Therefore, it lacks count-ups, countdowns, and other useful means of measurement.
Our last complaint concerns the Seiko’s band links. Many customers struggle to remove and add the links, which feature tight pins. While it’s worth noting that you will probably only need to size your band once, this watch is definitely not for those who are frustrated easily.
Of course, you can always purchase a decent aftermarket band and skip the process altogether. If you go this route, we recommend purchasing an affordable leather strap. Not only do leather straps look great with the Seiko’s boldface and case, but they’re super durable. Not to mention, they won’t snag your wrist hair like the stainless steel band does.
If you’re looking for a durable men’s wristwatch the Seiko 5 SNKL23 is definitely a great option. Not only is this watch made by one of the most revered watchmakers in the country, but it contains a pretty incredible automatic watch movement. While the aesthetics aren’t over-the-top, they are professional, clean, and timeless. What’s more, the watch is made of a selection of highly durable materials, including Hardlex crystal and stainless steel. As such, you can be sure that this timekeeper will last for years to come.