If you’re looking for a unique, modestly priced automatic with a simple, military look, check out the Made in Japan/Japan market Seiko SNZG15J1. Normally not available in the U.S., the Japan-made SNZG15J1 features a 23 jewel automatic movement in a stainless steel housing with a brushed metallic finish.
Part of the Seiko 5 Series – the “5” denotes the watch’s five essential features, namely shock resistant, water resistant, automatic, and day and date display – the SNZG15J1 and its smaller brother, the SNK809 are readily available from a number of watch vendors in Asia; more on that in a bit. As you can see, the 12 hour markers are on the outer dial, with the 13 to 24 markers directly beneath, giving the watch a business like look. Seiko employs luminous material they call “Lumibrite,” and it’s quite bright and long lasting. This is a fairly large watch: the case is 45mm in diameter, and the lug width is 22mm; the case is 12mm thick.
The display back of course enables you to view the automatic movement. For the uninitiated, an automatic watch is a “self-winding” watch: a eccentric weight or rotor winds the watch as you move your arm and wrist during the day; over-winding is prevented by a slipping clutch on the mainspring. If this sounds complicated, it really isn’t: automatics have been around since the 18th century, and modern automatics are dependable and accurate.
The band is nylon, and in use has been very durable; the brushed metallic looked is carried over to the buckle:
A side view of the case:
A YouTube video which provides a good look at the watch in action:
It looks big on my smallish wrist, but I honestly don’t feel it’s that large a watch:
As mentioned earlier, the Seiko SNZG15J1 isn’t available in the U.S. You can, however, order it from a number of Asian watch sellers for prices ranging from $115 to $130.
I paid $119, which included FedEx shipping from Singapore; delivery required 4 business days. (The firm I ordered from is Creation Watches; you can find them on eBay if interested, or click on this link.)
Creation Watches sold out of the SNZG15J1 shortly after I linked to the site; here’s another online retailer who offers the watch for a slightly higher price: SkyWatches.com Note that I have not purchased from this particular seller; shipping is free to the US.
~$120 for a Japan manufactured automatic Seiko 5 Series is a good value, in my opinion. Oh – one last thing: it keeps “good time” – it’s accurate to within ~3-4 seconds per day.
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