They say you never forget your first; and that’s true even with watches. My first mechanical watch was an impulse buy. It was an open heart, dressy Orient that looked great for the price it was offered. But we’re not going to talk about that today. Instead, the watch that I consider my first real watch purchase as a watch enthusiast, the first watch I actually did research before pulling the trigger – the Seiko SNZG15.
It would make complete sense to buy a first mechanical watch that is in the ‘affordable’ category of watches. This way you don’t end up spending too much to indulge a new hobby and yet, especially in the case of the SNZG15, you get enough watchmaking provenance that will pique the curiosity of your inner watch geek. The Seiko 5 collection from Seiko has existed since 1963 with the launch of the first Sportsmatic 5. The 5 in the name signified five key characteristics of this collection from Seiko: automatic winding, day/date displayed in a single window, water resistance, recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position, and a durable case and bracelet. Not much has changed over the years, well maybe the crown for the SNZG15 is at the 3 o’clock but the rest of the values still holds.
I did not know this at the time of purchase but the Seiko SNZG15 is what is commonly known as a field watch. The design harks back to the military style watches of the past offering outstanding legibility and a more robust case construction. This watch has both of these elements but refined for the modern, casual wearer. For instance instead of the normal flat dial of the field watch, the dial of the SNZG15 has a raised outer ring with printed indices (the numerals are printed too) that adds a nice visual effect to the watch.
For the price you are paying – which varies from MYR500 to MYR800 – you get an outstanding amount of watch. The hands are clean and well manufactured, and even the Seiko 5 insignia on the dial is immensely impressive. There are two variations of the SNZG15, J1 and K1. The former means the watch was made in Japan while the K1 uses movements that, and I haven’t been able to officially confirm this, were made in the Seiko Epson factories somewhere in Malaysia.
The 42mm stainless steel case is matte finished except on the back of the watch, where it is polished and you get a hardlex crystal caseback to see the movement beating within. This is an important point, I feel, for the SNZG15. Because where most ‘affordable’ watches usually cover up their movements, due to the fact they are not decorated, this watch shows it off. And although the movement has very basic finishing it is nice to be able to see exactly what makes a mechanical piece so special.
The movement in question is the 7s26 automatic winding movement that offers a day date indication. It does not hack, it does not hand-wind; but for the price, I can be convinced to overlook that. Furthermore, this movement is the same movement used in Seiko’s legendary SKX007 dive watch, which has been praised the world over for its durability.
The watch is offered in either a nylon 2-piece strap or a very interesting matte-finished steel bracelet; but if like me this is your first watch purchase, you’ll soon find yourself experimenting with other strap options.
The Seiko SNZG15 is a fantastic timepiece as an everyday beater or I would say it’s also an affordable ‘buy in’ into the world of horology. Even at its low price point, it brings with it the weight of a respected Japanese watchmaker – Seiko – and all the knowhow and history that comes with its centuries of existence.
Case size: 42mm
Lug width: 22mm
Movement: Seiko 7s26, automatic, day-date indication, non-hacking, non-handwinding
Water Resistance: 100m
Price: MYR500 – MYR800