Seiko 5 is the budget line of Seiko watches. Despite its affordability, Seiko 5 is well-known for its reliability which has been well-loved by both new and experienced watch enthusiasts for many years. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger and the late Roger Moore rocked their Seiko watches at several films.

Since I have a limited budget and unable to carry a Swiss-made automatic watches to avoid street criminals such as holdapers (they rob you at either knife or gunpoint) and mandurokot (pickpockets), I started to look for a pair of a Japanese automatic watch with not more than $250 (at least P13,000 as of August 2018)  in value, a bezel not more than 40mm in diameter, and preferably with 20mm lug width.

Seiko SNKE87 specifications:

Model: SNKE87J1
Movement: Automatic
Caliber: 7S26
Jewels: 21
SRP: $200 (Merchant’s price: $87 or approx PHP4650 as of August 2018)
Purchased online at Creation Watches in August 2018

Unfortunately, the well-loved Seiko SARB033 and SARB035 are no longer in production since early 2018 and currently commands a higher price, while their popular budget diver SKX007 is a bit too casual for my daily activities such as meeting clients. I want something in-between dressy and casual.

On August 24, 2018, I was lucky enough to find a Japan-made SNKE87 model at Creation Watches online at a very low price. It is a 36mm men’s automatic dress watch with a stainless-steel case and a black analog dial protected by Hardlex crystal. According to Creation Watches, it retails at around US$200 but, I purchased it for only US$87.

After receiving it within the business days via DHL’s door-to-door delivery, I immediately went to a Seiko service center nearby and have it checked its authenticity and have the bracelet adjusted to my wrist size.

The watch has an entry-level caliber 7S26, an in-house self-winding mechanical movement that cannot be manually wound or hacked. This type of movement is convenient especially to people on-the-go. It ticks 6 times per second which gives the second hand a smoother movement than quartz watches which tick once per second. The watch runs for up to 43 hours when fully wound and will self-wind when moved.

The watch looks even prettier up close and personal. At first glance, it can be mistaken like its iconic cousin SARB033 unless, if you take a closer look at its Seiko 5 branding on its dial and different hands.

When I wore it, its 36mm wide (excluding the crown) by 11mm thick with 20mm feels right on my 6 1/8-inch wrist. It is water-resistant up to 30 meters although soaking the watch for baths, swimming or diving is not recommended. The stainless-steel bezel is fixed. It also has a glass back where we can see the jewels and its movement. The gap between the lugs is 20mm and the bracelet band can be adjusted to fit using a link removal tool or removed using a band removal tool to be replaced with another band.

AFTER ONE YEAR OF CONSTANT WEAR, my Seiko SNKE87 holds up pretty well. The bracelet still locks pretty tight contrary to its not-so-pleasing reputation to most horologists. So, I decided to keep the bracelet until I purchase a hypoallergenic chestnut brown leather strap and a 007-inspired Nato strap. The LumiBrite on the stick bar hour markers looks great at night. One thing I don’t like most though is the power reserve lasts for only 24-40 hours if not worn. Let’s see if it will still hold up to another year. So far, my money’s worth it!

Overall, Seiko 5 SNKE87 is a great buy for an entry-level automatic watch. It may be the best performing but, it is one of the most stylish and most practical in the Seiko 5 dress watch line. Because of its looks and reliability, it can serve as both your daily beater and special occasion watch at the same time. Regardless if you’re a college student or an established professional, I highly recommend any of their current models as your first automatic watch if you have an average budget of just $100.

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