New Seiko 5 Sports: Has Seiko Lost Its Mind?

“The new Seiko 5 Sports draws its inspiration from the five decades of Seiko 5 Sports’ success,” seikowatches.com proclaims, “its design is based on one of Seiko’s most loved sports watches.” And there it is, above. And here it is now . . .

Wait, you say. It’s a dive watch (launched in 27 flavors no less). Not unlike every other Seiko dive watch. And you’re right. Attaching a metal bracelet does nothing to change that impression, and a lot to make Seiko 5 fans go WTF. Here’s another shot of one of the new 5’s:

Does that remind you of anything, other than just about everything? Why it’s the Seiko SRPA21 Prospex!

In terms of diving, the Prospex is rated to 200 meters. The Seiko 5 is good to 100 meters. The Prospex has a screw-down crown. The 5 does not.

Never mind that. Why in the world would Seiko turn to the Seiko SKX007/Prospex line for its design inspiration? Because the Prospex costs $550 and Seiko figured consumers would flock to a roughly $200 cheaper, sightly less capable version of the same thing?

Maybe so, but the new Seiko 5 Sports obliterates the design language that made the 5 its own thing. Here’s another “old” 5 that show you the style language, indeed the genius of the previous gen Seiko designers:

In announcing the new 5, Seiko ignores the model’s established aesthetics to trumpet the new 5. Like this:

The first ever Seiko 5 watch, Seiko Sportmatic 5, was born in 1963. It was Seiko’s and Japan’s first ever automatic day-date watch. ‘’5’’ represented the promise that every Seiko 5 watch would have five key attributes; an automatic movement, a day-date display at the three o’clock position, water resistance, a recessed crown at the four o’clock position and a case and bracelet built for durability.

Hello? The Prospex ticks all the same boxes. As does the new Seiko 5. What the 5 doesn’t do — and did do until the new line — is be a Seiko 5. Here’s the last gen Seiko 5 I bought just before they disappeared from the market:

That friends, is not a dive watch. It’s a way cool, hugely legible, entirely practical, well-built watch in its own right. (Another example without a recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position BTW). It looks — looked — like nothing else Seiko made. Makes.

Again, money. The new Seiko Sports 5 will generate big bucks for the brand, even though it’s bound to cannibalize sales from the Prospex line. Again: brand annihilation. This is not what a Seiko 5 was, nor an aesthetically imaginative or appropriate evolution. Long term, that’s a mistake. Unless you collect old 5’s.

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2 Responses to New Seiko 5 Sports: Has Seiko Lost Its Mind?

  1. Luke Ibis says:

    I tried on about a half dozen of the new 5’s yesterday afternoon. Even at 25% off plus another 20% “instant coupon” they were all non-starters. The quality feel is completely gone. They feel like Mainland China microbrand junk now. Interestingly enough, though, the included straps are all pretty decent.

    Unfortunately the various discounts did not apply to the Urushi enamel-dial Presage in the next case over.

  2. Pingback: Seiko 5 Sports SRPD95 Review - The Truth About WatchesThe Truth About Watches

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