Review of the Seiko SNZH57K1 (Fifty Fathoms)

I purchased this watch in May 2016 after the purchase of my Tudor Pelagos 25600TB.

brand_new_seiko_automatic_sports_snzh57k1_snzh57k_snzh57_mens_watch_with_international_warranty_and__1447076821_fef300b0

I was always looking forward to purchase a cheap Seiko which looked like the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms at a fraction of the cost. To me, the gold and black colour scheme was appealing. To be honest, this was a fairly impulsive buy as it was just a month after my Tudor purchase. The SNZH57K1 (45mm case and is 14mm thick) uses the Seiko 7S36 movement. Many of my friends have praised the watch for its resemblance with the Blancpain FF. It can also be highly modded by shops like Yobokies and strapcode. The watch is a simple time only watch with a second hand. I purchased this from a seller on Carousell. The watch is part of the cheaper Seiko 5 range, as compared to the Presage, Prospex line etc. Seiko is a renowned brand which needs no introduction whatsoever.

5015-1130-52_front

Seiko movements are reliable and are made in-house. The Seiko 7S36 mechanical movements has been around for ages and keep good time and chronometry. In addition, because they are Japanese movements, they are a lot more affordable. In fact, the 4R36s, 6R15s are comparable to Miyota movements or even Swiss ETAs. There is minimal lume on the SNZH57K1. Seiko watches are good value-for-money and aesthetically pleasing and for good reason. In terms of price point, Seiko 5’s are very affordable and presents excellent value for those who are new to mechanical watches.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the colour scheme and hardlex crystal. My reasons are listed below:

The SNZH57K1 comes in a stainless steel case (about 49mm lug-to-lug) and a generic Seiko dive bracelet. The watch is quite substantial on the wrist. The bracelet is of standard fair and is common across many of Seiko’s other watches, like the Seiko Sumo. However, it is sturdy and durable. I have also paired it with an olive green nato, giving it a sporty feel.

The watch, has great reviews online. This is due to the overall appearance of the watch. Many are attracted to the vintage inspired look of the dial, reminiscent of the Blancpain FF which retails for more than $10,000. The dial is largely symmetrical, other than the day-date indication at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and minute markers are shaped like broad arrows. The dial is black, with gold fonts and markers. One thing I love is that the background of the date window matches the dial colour. Way to go, Seiko!

The SNZH57K1 is a dive watch with 100 meters water resistance. This watch can certainly be used for sports and for daily use. It will pair well with formal attire, like a suit/blazer or even t-shirts and jeans. I have worn this piece numerous times to work and I have had no trouble with it. Being 14mm tall, it might not slide under most shirt-cuffs. I would say that the watch is not very stealthy in nature due to the unique colour on the dial. The watch does not get as much wrist time as my Ball or Tudor watches as it also costs much less. The uni-directional bezel is also coated with the Hardlex crystal and is easy to turn.

13256459_10156881948540332_6619121379669028464_n

The watch uses the Seiko 7S36 automatic movement, which is non-hand winding and non-hacking. This a certainly a workhorse movement that is widely used in other Seikos like the famous SKX range. The movement comes with a 42 hour power reserve when fully charged. However, I am not used to watches which can’t wind and have to be powered via wrist movements. I guess at this price point, I have no right to complain. The movement is also sparsely decorated as can be seen from the display caseback. The rotor is also very quiet and barely audible. The watch seems to be fairly accurate based on the brief period which I had it with me.

brand_new_seiko_automatic_sports_snzh57k1_snzh57k_snzh57_mens_watch_with_international_warranty_and__1447076822_fb87c77d

SNZH57K1 has Seiko’s renowned proprietary Hardlex crystal. It gives the watch greater presence and texture, evoking a vintage feel while claiming to be harder than hesalite crystal. Although not as superior to sapphire crystal in terms of scratch resistance properties, it is durable and decent enough.

13466061_10156980720695332_4934148443678945785_n

Overall, after owning it for only 3 months (I sold it to a friend subsequently), I am still impressed by how the watch looks and might consider buying it back in future. My main gripe was not that it could not hand-wind unlike my other watches and hence, I could not accurately judge its power reserve.  The Seiko SNZH57K1 is a fun entry level dive watch which has vintage aesthetics. It is something that is highly recommended. The watch retails for SGD 250+ and is readily available. I sold it only because I wanted to upgrade to Swiss timepieces. If you are considering an entry level dive watch, this watch might just be the one for you.

13254365_10156879810840332_7751960904524853088_n

Advertisements

Review of the Tudor Pelagos 25600TB (Blue dial)

Do visit NUS Horology Club’s site here for excellent information on horology in general and also new watch releases.

I purchased this watch on Friday, 11 March 2016. I surprised myself actually, given how I just purchased the JeanRichard Aeroscope Arsenal F.C. limited edition (only 250 pieces worldwide) 2 months ago. Think I really need to cut back on my watch spending. Sigh, it’s so difficult to resist the watch bug. The new Tudor Pelagos (42mm case and is 14.1mm high), released in BaselWorld 2015, really caught my eye and I have been following reviews/ video reviews on Ablogtowatch (link) and Hodinkee (link).

The Tudor Black Bay and Pelagos all draw inspiration from the vintage Tudor Submariners from the 1970s. They are modern interpretations of vintage models. I simply love the snowflake hands and diamond hour markers that is reminiscent of the past. It’s just like how Rolex submariners are known for their Mercedes hour hand. Tudor certainly has a rich heritage and is Rolex’s sister brand. In terms of quality and finish, Tudor has access to Rolex’s watch-making innovations and their technical mastery is second to none. Tudor is also a younger brand and appeals to the younger crowd. Most importantly for people with budget constraints, their price range is more accessible than Rolex.

The main reason why I found it so attractive was the technical components that came with the watch. My reasons are listed below:

The Tudor Pelagos comes in a full titanium case and bracelet and is much lighter than the Seiko Sumo SBDC001 I own (it had a stainless steel case and bracelet). It is 60% of the weight of a Sumo. Weight is an important factor as I didn’t want the watch to weigh my arm now and feel uncomfortable. The titanium is also well-brushed and has a beautiful matt finishing.

IMG_7189

The watch doesn’t draw attraction from others, which I like. Unlike the Rolex submariner which has a polished bezel, the Pelagos has a matt ceramic bezel. Ceramic bezels are scratch-resistant and do not develop patina over time. Hence, the Pelagos can certainly last a long time. I like how discreet the Pelagos is.

IMG_7186

The Tudor Pelagos is an unabashed tool watch which you can wear daily without having to worry about it one bit. Back in the day, people wore dive watches and not dive computers and the Tudor certainly serves that function. It does what it does best, which is to be reliable and a tool which you can bang around.

IMG_7192

Tudor used its first in-house movement in the Pelagos, the MT5612. The same movement can also be found in the Tudor North Flag, also released in BaselWorld 2015. It is great to see Tudor moving in-house and developing their own movements. That will certainly enhance their brand value in the near future. In addition, the MT5612 movement has an outstanding 70 hour power reserve, even more than the calibre 3135 on the current Rolex submariners. An ETA movement is good (found in the 2013 Pelagos model) but an in-house movement brings the watch a notch up.

The blue dial on the Pelagos 25600TB is highly attractive. The watch is also available on the black dial, but I prefer blue as it is more playful. It is generally difficult to get the hue of blue right but Tudor has aced it. Although it is not a sunburst dial and doesn’t have varied contrast under sunlight, the blue shade still looks different under natural/artificial lighting. This certainly provides texture and makes the watch feel ‘alive’.

IMG_7195

The Pelagos has an amazing 500 meters water resistance, which is really an overkill as recreational divers can’t usually dive beyond 40 meters. However, this is a hallmark of luxury, which is to have something you don’t necessarily need but is good to have. It also has a helium escape valve, which allows for helium to escape at deep depths in order to prevent the sapphire crystal from cracking. This is reminiscent of the expensive Rolex divers like the Rolex Sea Dweller.

IMG_7188

The Pelagos has an outstanding bracelet with clasp. It has both micro-adjust and a dive suit extension. In addition, the Pelagos also comes with a rubber strap, which makes it even more value-for-money. The micro-adjust is certainly comparable to the glide-lock on the Rolex Oyster bracelet. The clasp shuts well and is extremely comfortable on the wrist. A new feature on the bracelet is that it is spring-loaded, allowing for expansion of your wrist even in warm weather. As it is light, sometimes, you won’t even realize the watch is on you.

IMG_7193

The Tudor Pelagos has incredible lume. It’s like nothing I ever seen before. Seiko Lumi-brite is outstanding, but the whole bezel on the Pelagos lights up like a torch. It is an engineering feat to be able to insert Super-Luminova into the tiny crevices of the matt ceramic bezel. It is such a beauty to look at night especially after charging it under sunlight. Not even Rolex has made their bezel light up yet. I look at my Pelagos every night and am still amazed by the lume. Let’s hope that it will stay that way for many years to come.

IMG_7206

Overall, the Tudor Pelagos is an outstanding value-for-money tool watch with many technical features. Do consider getting it. It retails in SG for about 6k before discount. You can buy a pre-owned for maybe around 5k at the moment. It’s certainly huge bang-for-buck and you will not regret getting it.

IMG_7219