Seiko has a stellar reputation in the watch industry. They have managed to combine excellent style, robust durability, accurate timekeeping, and innovative features in their timepieces, and they’ve done this while keeping the price reasonable. At least, for some of their watches.
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The Seiko Sports 5 SNZG15 with its black dial and nylon band is a case in point. It’s an entry level Seiko inspired by the military field watches made during the WWII era, which means it’s very tough, but it’s also stylish enough that you can wear it to work. If you think that the Seiko SNK series isn’t big enough for you, then the Seiko 5 SNZG15 can be an excellent alternative. You can also choose other variations, such as the SNZG07 (beige dial), SNZG09 (green), SNZG11 (blue), and the SNZG13 (black dial with metal bracelet).
The Seiko Sports 5 SNZG Series
|Seiko SNZG15||Seiko SNZG09||Seiko SNZG13|
The Case and Crystal
For SNK fans who wish those watch cases were bigger, the wait is finally over. The SNZG15 measures a robust 42 mm and is 12 mm thick. That means its dimensions are bigger than the old-style men’s watches, but is noticeably smaller than the outrageously huge watches you commonly see today.
The top case comes with a brushed finish, as well as polished finish on the sides. The crystal is Seiko’s own hardlex crystal, which is extremely scratch resistant. It’s also water resistant up to 100 meters.
The dial design seems a bit busy, although it does have a rather nice arrangement that makes everything still readable. The outer ring shows the prominent numbered markings, while an inner ring provides military time. The day and date info is featured at the 3 o’clock position.
The hour and minute hands are substantial with a pointy end, while the second hand is just a nice sliver. The black dial offsets the hands and markers nicely. The lume is excellent, as it glows brightly for up to 7 or 8 hours.
The automatic mechanical 7S36 watch movement is accurate and reliable, with variances ranging from -20 seconds to +40 seconds a day. That doesn’t quite compare with the best Swiss and Japanese automatic movements, but for an entry level watch it’s more than sufficient.
It offers a beat rate of 21600 BPH, so you don’t get the distinct ticking from a quartz watch that can be annoying at night when everything’s quiet. You’ve got a 40-hour power reserve so you can take it off at night without having to worry that it will stop working.
This is perhaps the weakest link in the Seiko 5 SNZG15, and it’s the reason why the SNZG15 is a few dollars cheaper than the Seiko 5 SNZG13. The 22 mm nylon strap can feel a bit too hard at first, and you’ll need some time to break it in. It will do the job well enough eventually though.
For some, the nylon looks quite cheap so it doesn’t match the quiet appeal of the Seiko 5 SNZG15. But with NATO or leather straps you can easily buy in stores and online, it will look much better.
Pros & Cons
Basically, what we have here is an entry level military field watch, and it’s rugged functionality and design are excellent.
The dial provides info readily, and even at night there’s no problem telling the time. The hands are brightly luminous in the dark, and it doesn’t fade for many hours.
The accuracy is good enough for most people.
The “provenance” (history), is nice, as it goes back to an earlier era when watches such as these were worn on the field of battle.
The size of the case is perfect for those with bigger wrists, but even for ordinary wrists it doesn’t really look too large.
As for the nylon strap drawback, for some it’s actually nice enough to wear as is. But for the most part, people don’t buy the Seiko 5 SNZG15 for the strap. You can easily change the strap to NATO or leather and that should improve its look even more.
And you get all these features at a very reasonable price. If you’re looking for an entry-level automatic mechanical watch, the Seiko 5 SNZG15 is a great choice.