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With the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition, the popular model series from Seiko celebrates its birthday. Fans were able to submit their own designs in advance. The four most popular among them have now been published. And the best: I was allowed to test two of them…
55 Years of Seiko 5 Sports
The popular 5 Sports series of the Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko celebrates its 55th anniversary. Unimaginable, but over half a century the popular tool watches in the entry-level segment already exist. First introduced in 1968, the wristwatches became famous thanks to so-called “5 key features” with which Seiko wanted to ensure reliability, performance and durability of its models. Even a mechanical movement is still part of every Seiko 5 Sports to this day. In the entry-level segment – and we’re talking about current prices just over 300 euros – that’s not something that can be taken for granted.
Others would have celebrated the 50th anniversary of a collection on a grand scale. In keeping with the name, it naturally makes sense for Seiko to celebrate the 55th anniversary in a big way. Initial preparations for this were already made last year. Loyal fans of the series were brought on board. They were allowed to imagine their “dream Seiko” and submit designs. The “Customize Your Watch” concept is like a car configurator. Individual components are fixed. Everyone was free to choose the color of the bezel and dial or the strap of their dream watch.
Designs from fans for fans
Seiko has now presented the winning designs from all the suggestions submitted. They received the most support from the community. The result will be marketed under the sonorous name “Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition”. To give my opinion right off the bat: I think it’s great to involve fans, customers and other long-time supporters in the design process of a special model. Thanks to interactivity in the Internet age, designs that at best please their creator are a thing of the past. Brands are more focused on the customer and his or her needs – and that’s a good thing!
But can the customer also design a wearable wristwatch? Yes, but on the condition that he is given carefully selected components to choose from beforehand. The four final references definitely look fresh and unspent. Likewise, they cover many different tastes. From the safe SRPK05 with a black dial and bezel to the rose gold Bird of Paradise (SRPK08), there’s a lot to choose from. At the same time, the watches are based on the latest generation of the Seiko 5 Sports, which the watch manufacturer has only recently brought up to date and equipped with a fresh design.
When Seiko gave me the opportunity to test two pieces for the release of the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition, I was quick to decide which references to go with. The black SRPK05 is a must have and is reminiscent of many classics. The SRPK07, on the other hand, I’m sure will divide minds. Either you love the orange dial, or – exactly – you hate it.
The perennial favorite in two designs that couldn’t be more different: the perfect starting point for a watch review. After all, for me it’s also about getting to know the new generation of the 5 Sports.
My last encounter with a model from the 5 Sports family was a year ago. Back then, I was allowed to wear the special model Seiko 5 Sports One Piece “Luffy” on my wrist for a few days. By the way: I was not able to take a closer look at the packaging of the series models.
The Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition on the wrist
Let’s take a look at the spec sheet. Diameter: 42.50 millimeters, a height of 13.40 millimeters, weight: 167 grams. But even more important than the diameter, in my opinion, is the look at the length between the lugs. Lug to lug, this is 46 millimeters. This makes the watch wearable for narrower wrists.
What the five key features are all about….
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: the case. Three of the five key features that give the Seiko 5 Sports its name can be found here. First, there’s the rugged case, which the manufacturer claims is particularly durable. The case has always been made of durable and scratch-resistant stainless steel. This has not changed much with the introduction of the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition. Seiko has always stood and continues to stand for excellent value for money. The 5 Sports collection is no exception. Large satin-finished surfaces make a good quality impression and can take a beating if you want to get active with the watch and play sports, for example.
Then the crown protector helps prevent the crown from being damaged if you accidentally touch sharp objects or edges. It is the second key feature and was redesigned when the current 5 Sports generation was introduced.
Mud, rain or wind cannot harm the Seiko 5 Sports. Seiko designed the case for maximum water resistance up to 3 bar when it was introduced in 1968. Over the last 55 years, this value has been increased to (currently) 10 bar – key feature number three. Nevertheless, I would not recommend diving with it. In that case, it’s better to go for the professional Prospex models.
Generally – the more expensive, the higher the probability to wear a Seiko with sapphire crystal. Since the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition is also known for being easy on the wallet, the manufacturer installs in-house Hardlex glass, which is even more resistant than conventional mineral glass.
Behind the watch crystal: the movement
In my opinion, the back of the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition is particularly successful. A large circular viewing window was incorporated into the six-fold screwed case back. Impressively, the movement can be seen behind it, key feature number four. Since the beginning, Seiko 5 Sports watches are equipped with automatic movements. The 4R36 used here is a manufacture caliber, which Seiko often uses in this price range. Most of you might know it under the name NH35. 41 hours of power reserve is a good value.
On the sight glass, a lettering was printed, which marks the anniversary – very nice!
Dial and bracelet in detail
In the beginning, you have to go for the adventure. No, the SRPK05 is a safe bet visually and exudes vintage charm. I’m talking about the SRPK07, whose orange dial is an eye-catcher, but also takes some getting used to for many. However, the orange color is not a new marketing invention, but has a tradition at Seiko. This also applies to the black bezel with a two-tone imprint. The idea behind the bezel marking was taken from the archives and given new life on the Seiko 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition. The red was revisited with the second hand. If you had asked me a few weeks ago if red and orange were good colors to combine, I would have said no. After wearing the SRPK07, I disagree.
Styled like a classic diver’s watch, the minimalist dial is particularly easy to read. Hands and indices are covered with LumiBrite luminous material, so you can read the time even under adverse visibility conditions or in the dark. Not to be missed is the dual date display with day of the week, key feature number five.
For all four models, Seiko has chosen to install a robust stainless steel bracelet. Thanks to its triple folding clasp with safety pusher, it sits particularly securely.
My conclusion about the Seiko 5 Sports 55th SRPK07 and SRPK07
The Seiko 5 Sports presents itself on its 55th birthday in top shape. It has never looked fresher, which is mainly thanks to the timeless design and the fresh new color tones. Technically, the bestseller remains true to itself. I would recommend the 5 Sports primarily to those who want to buy a first wristwatch and/or save money. Where else can you get such a good quality with an automatic movement at a price of 320.00 euros?
There’s also the matter of the limitation. Of each of the four references, 1968 copies were produced, matching the founding year. Since this March, the watches are available in stores.
As always, all other links to the watches can be found below.
More about Seiko, the SRPK05 and SRPK07 and the 5 Sports 55th Anniversary Customize Campaign Limited Edition
Here you can find the SRPK05 (black) in the store
The reference SRPK07 (orange) in the Seiko store
Even more Seiko watch reviews in my blog