Is the new Seiko 5 Sports a fitting replacement to the SKX007?

We take a closer look at the SRPD73.

When I first saw the new Seiko 5 Sports collection late last year, it was evident that the watch was meant to be a spiritual successor to the famed Seiko SKX007. And with the project being helmed by many of the younger members of Seiko, it was clear that they wanted the watch to appeal to the next generation of consumers. Thus the new Seiko 5 Sports collection came in five different ‘styles’ and had 16 different references in Malaysia. Recently I managed to get my hands on the new SRPD73, and after having it on the wrist for some time, I can finally answer the question: is it better than the SKX007?

The Seiko 5 Sports SRPD73 is part of the ‘suits’ style in the collection, and as the name suggests, is supposed to be a more elegant version of the sports watch. It comes with a flashy Milanese style bracelet without an end link and the dial offers a swanky sunburst finish.

So, what has changed with the new Seiko 5 Sports? One of the upgrades compared to the original is the new applied indices instead of printed ones. And this combined with the sunburst effect makes the dial of the SRPD73 amazing to look at as it catches the light in different ways. Also, the LumiBrite on the hands and indices have been given a beige colour to give it a vintage feel. I would have liked to see this luminescent material extend to the bezel as well but unfortunately you won’t get any lume here. Another thing I really appreciate on the watch is the addition of drilled lugs. If you’ve ever changed out a strap or bracelet on a watch, you would know how incredibly useful these things are.

One of the biggest improvements that come with the new Seiko 5 Sports collection is the upgrade from the 7S26 movement to the Caliber 4R36. What this means is that now you will get a hacking function and the watch can also be hand-wound. To show off this new movement, Seiko has also decided to go with a clear caseback for the Seiko 5 Sports watches. Unfortunately, however, this means that they had to reduce the water-resistance to 100m compared to the 200m of the SKX007. And with a lower water resistance rating, Seiko decided to do away with the screw-down crown altogether.

The bits that remain the same with the original include the unique hands, the day-date function and the Hardlex crystal on the front. I was hoping for a sapphire crystal considering they increased the price but, no luck there. The case is made from stainless steel and even though it measures in about 42.5mm in diameter it was very comfortable to wear, perhaps because of its shorter lug-to-lug size of 46mm. On the other hand, because of how the bezel sits on the case, it does wear a bit tall, measuring in at 13.4mm thick.

So, is the Seiko 5 Sports better than the SKX007? After spending enough time with the SRPD73 the answer is that even though they look the same, they are very different watches. Although the Seiko 5 Sports watches still feel robust and well built, they are no longer the no-nonsense, utilitarian tool that the SKX007 was. And if you are just looking for a tool watch to knock about, the higher water resistance and cheaper price of the 007 should push you in that direction.

However, if you’re looking for that value-driven starter watch, I feel that the new version does a much better job than its predecessor. It simply has a lot more of what will entice the wearer to delve deeper into the rabbit hole that is, watches. The clear caseback offers a fascinating glimpse into the mechanical movement, the applied indices are beautiful to look at and with so many dial colours and strap options, finding something to suit your personal tastes won’t be too difficult.

With all the upgrades that come with the new Seiko 5 Sports collection, the price has inevitably increased as well. The SRPD73 will have a recommended retail price of MYR 1,390 and this sits at the high end of the collection’s price band. If you go for the watches in the Sports style category, the price is closer to MYR 1,100. There is a lot to love with this new collection and even though the prices may have gone up slightly, these watches arguably still remain one of the best options when it comes to affordable watches.

Case: Stainless steel
Case size: 42.5mm
Crystal: Hardlex
Thickness: 13.4mm
lug-to-lug: 46mm
Movement: Caliber 4R36
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: MYR 1,390

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