Seiko SRPE53 review

Seiko SRPE53 aka. Dress SKX Review: A Classic Beautiful Starburst Blue Face

Seiko’s newly released line offers many watches with different dial colors and iterations. One of those is Seiko SRPE53, a ‘solid boy.’ In this article, we will present you with an in-depth review of the Seiko 5 dress watch. As we go through the article, we will be making some comparisons to the SKX model as they share some similarities but are not the same. Let’s check it out.

The Seiko 5 line was introduced in the 1960s with five attributes: resistance to water, a recessed crown, a self-winding automatic movement, a day-date in a single window, and a durable case. When it stepped into the scene, it was revolutionary. Even today, 50 years later, it is still a favorite for those looking for the perfect combination of style, reliability, and price. It is also a very handsome watch if subjective appreciation of the editor has any merit here.

Some of us were thrilled when Seiko announced the newest additions to the Seiko 5 Sports line without a rotating bezel – Seiko SRPE53. It replaced the appreciated and iconic SKX line that was discontinued. These new releases are relatively similar in design to the SKX. Still, they are immensely improved in terms of reliability, finish, and overall quality. Now we have a line of sporty everyday watches with a dive-watch-inspired design, thus making SRPE more versatile, elegant, and less sporty.



Seiko SRPE53 Specs

Movement Automatic 4R36, self-winding and hand wind
Crystal Hardlex
Display type Analog
Case material Stainless steel
Case diameter 40 millimeters
Case thickness 11.5 millimeters
Band width 20 millimeters
Item weight 10.58 ounces
Calendar Day-date
Water-resistance depth 100 meters
Clasp Three-fold clasp with push-button release
Crown Push/pull
Lug width 20 millimeters
Power reserve 40+ hours (fully wound)

Seiko SRPE53 on the Wrist

Seiko SRPE53 on the Wrist

Simply said, when you unbox your SPRE53, it is not just Seiko 5 Sports dial put in the SKX case. The case is 40 mm, slimmed down from its predecessor, mostly due to the lack of a diving bezel. When put together, it has a nice wrist presence and should look proportional on most wrists. All these elements make Seiko 5 dresskx a great-fitting watch in a package that does not feel bulky. The lack of a rotating bezel gives it a more subtle look, almost like a field watch. With polished sides of the case and the brushed top, it keeps any unnecessary glare and gleam down. A sports watch paired with a flash can sometimes look weird, so glistening and glinting should not be in this combination.

Fortunately, Seiko decided to give the dress KX 100 meters of water resistance, which is very fine for a sports-style watch, so there are no issues getting it wet or submerged in the water.



Seiko SRPE53 Dial Details

Seiko SRPE53 Dial Details
image source: watchuseek.com

When it comes to the dial, Seiko achieved that all the elements in the dial fit perfectly together. It features a lovely blue dial with a sunburst finish that ensures the watch is always interesting and beautiful to look at. The dial’s many applied features give the depth, making it stand out attractively. A Seiko applied logo has always been one of the favorites for many watch enthusiasts. It is in the shape of the old Seiko badge that used to occupy the same space but is now clearly modern-looking. Those five letters and the offset Seiko 5, for whatever reason, look wonderful when applied to a dial.

At 12, 6, and 9, we have simple yet slightly decorative applied markers. Those familiar with the Seiko watches will recognize the shape of the SKX immediately. A triangle with an elongated point at 12 and two elongated circles at 6 and 9 allow for instant orientation add a touch of originality and stylishness to the dial.

Day/date display is present at the 3 o’clock cutout, as this would be an iconic trait of the Seiko 5 watches. Although the hour and second hand have been carried over from the SKX (a cathedral-style with a pointy tip), Seiko changed the minute hand. It appears to be slightly longer and reaches out toward the end of the dial. It also has a somewhat different head crowned by a slimmer arrow. The cathedral hour hand and minute hand are obviously different but play well together. What is interesting is a small circle counter-balance on the seconds hand that looks great while it spins on the blue sunburst dial. The hands and markers are filled with Seiko’s Lumibrite lume and glow amazingly as any other Seiko you may have encountered and will last for hours. It will ensure legibility even in the dark.

The Seiko logo is traditionally applied at 12 o’clock. Slightly below it, we also have a new Seiko 5 logo. Beneath the center of the hands, we have imprinted the text ‘Automatic,’ which is well-balanced and thought out. Admiring the radiant blue dial, the balance and grace cannot go unnoticed.

Seiko SRPE53 Case

The Seiko stainless steel case has a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 11.5 mm. It was slimmed down because of a slimmer profile that cuts in seems even more dramatic. As far as lug-to-lug measure is concerned, it is 44 mm. The lugs have a brushed satin finish on the top, while the case sides have been polished. What is really convenient, the case has drilled lugholes allowing you to change the bracelet wherever you want.

It does not have a rotating bezel, so it feels much smaller on the wrist. The polished bezel can also slide under a cuff more easily and gives Seiko 5 SRPE a refined and sleek look. The bezel has a large chamfer around the edge, and while the entire thing is polished, the top of the bezel appears brushed at times. The conspicuous polished bezel gives way to gently brushed lugs, so a highly polished bottom crown guard flows from the bottom right lug. It offers a touch of elegance to an otherwise utilitarian piece while at the same time catching the light very nicely. Because the bezel is somewhat narrower than the case, the transition from the bezel to the case has a lot of depth. Seiko has done an excellent job of mixing polished and brushed parts, which adds to the watch’s overall quality and demonstrates the company’s attention to detail. At the same time, it represents the perfect balance between sporty and not-too-elegant style.

The crown of the SERPE53 Seiko is put at the iconic 4 o’clock position. The crown sits protected between two crown guards, which rule out from the case. As a very nice touch, crown guards are polished on the top. The bottom crown guard has a little swoop to it that adds some flair. The main benefit of the crown position at 4 o’clock is that it cannot dig into the wrist when you wear it.

Seiko SRPE53 Case
image source: watchpatrol.net

The crown is a push/pull instead of the screw-down, which can be a downside as push/pull does not provide the same water resistance as the screw-down. Regarding that, the water resistance is 100 meters/330 feet/10 bar, which is sufficient for swimming but not for diving. Considering the fact that Seiko dresskx is made an everyday watch, this is sufficient for most people. If you want a watch for serious diving, Seiko has plenty of models.

Seiko has opted for its proprietary Hardlex crystal, which is proven to be more resistant to scratches than regular mineral glass. It is a step up in hardness from polycarbonate crystal and is equivalent to mineral crystals in terms of scratch resistance, but not as scratch resistant and hard as Sapphire crystals. Hardlex tends to crack first upon a very hard impact and then shatter into small shards. For this reason, many of Seiko’s models come with Hardlex mineral glass. In addition, it provides a good balance between quality and cost.

Seiko SRPE53 Movement

Seiko SRPE53 Movement

An exhibition case back is also a nice surprise, as it allows you to see the movement inside. We notice that the see-through case back is not decorated and does not have any fancy finish. Still, the industrialized-looking movement of this sporty tool watch is perfectly blended with the rest of the design.

Seiko designs and develops its own movements using leading-edge technology, so Seiko 5 40mm is equipped with the automatic mechanical 4R36 caliber powered by a rotor and has both hacking seconds and manual winding functions. Featuring great movement and precision, it is basically a reincarnation of the 7S36 eight years before its time. The addition of the date/day calendar has improved compared to the other calibers like 4R35, which only have a date calendar.

It is a great addition to the richness of Seiko’s caliber releases. Being a vital part of every watch system, it captured a lot of attention from many watch collectors. As we mentioned above, it is an automatic movement with 24 jewels that beats at 21,600 beats per second (6 times per second). It ensures over 40 hours of power reserve. It has a clockwise winding direction and includes a Seiko Diashock anti-shock system that protects the movement from shock and provides greater durability.

As far as accuracy is concerned, the expected fallout of the caliber is between +45 / -35 seconds per day. However, some users reported that it offers much better accuracy, which is certainly good news. It is important to note that this estimate is based on normal daily wear of the fully wound watch in temperatures from 5oC to 35oC.

Caliber 4R36 is mostly found in lower and middle-priced Seiko watches, as well as in Seiko Prospex pieces. Some of them are:

 

  • Seiko New Turtle Prospex Special Edition PADI SRPA21 200m
  • Seiko New Turtle Prospex SRP777K1
  • Seiko New Turtle Prospex SRPB01K1 Limited Edition
  • Seiko New Turtle Prospex SRPB11 Blue Lagoon
  • Seiko Prospex Deep Blue Batman New Turtle SRPC25K1
  • Seiko Prospex Save the Ocean Special Edition New Turtle SRPC91K1
  • Seiko Prospex SRPC95K1 Limited Edition New Turtle 200m
  • Seiko Japan Edition SBDY004 Prospex Black Turtle Automatic Gold Ring
  • Seiko Prospex Gold Fin Baby Tuna Limited Edition
  • Seiko Prospex Turtle Special Edition SRPD46K1
  • Seiko Prospex PADI Tuna SRPA83
  • Seiko Baby Tuna Prospex Divers Automatic Men’s Watch SRPA82K1
  • Seiko Superior Limited Edition Stargate II SRP510 Diver
  • Seiko SRPC series
  • Seiko Blue Monster SRP455 Limited Edition 500 pcs
  • Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD27

As you can see from the list above, the 4R36 caliber is present in many limited edition models. Although it is a relatively new caliber, we can be sure that it has everything one needs from a watch movement – it is a proven workhorse that will continue to tick for years to come.



Seiko SRPE53 Bracelet

Seiko SRPE53 Bracelet

A stainless steel bracelet that fits inside a 20mm lug is nothing special, but nothing bad either. The bracelet features solid links, while the end links are hollow. It is a solid bracelet and really does the job – the only thing it bothers is that it has a little bit of a sound (we can say it is a bit rattly), but nothing seriously bad. The adjustment of the bracelet is a snap as the sizing links are secured with simple split pins.

The clasp is a basic threefold pressed clasp to keep the watch secure on the wrist. The standard Seiko flip-lock clasp features only two micro-adjustments, effectively allowing half sizes of each link but half the number available on the Seiko divers. It is also one of the reminders that this watch is built for comfort, not for speed or diving.

The design is similar to the iconic Rolex Oyster bracelet. It looks sporty and blends well with the rest of the design. It is completely satin-finished except for the sides of the links.

The new Seiko’s have lug holes of a standard thickness, which means an easier strap change. Seiko 5 srpe53 will work on just about any kind of strap, from dressy leather to rugged NATO. If you want to change the appearance of your Seiko 5 Sport SRPE53 to adapt your timepiece to the dressing occasion or need more out of a bracelet, here are some recommendations to ‘dress’ your watch how and when you want it – there is no limit on creativity or rules:

Best Leather Strap for Seiko SRPE – Ritche Quick Release Black

This hand-made genuine leather strap with a great vintage-looking finish features quick-release spring bars and a solid tang 316L stainless steel buckle. It fits most wrists, with an approximal total length of 8” when not attached to the watch. Your Seiko will look like a blue alpinist and overall great with this strap.

The front is made of the crazy horse genuine leather, while the back is made of cowhide leather, with stitches on the tail that echo the unique shape. It feels very soft and flexible, with a great variety of pleasing colors. The installation is very simple, with the quick-change spring bars. However, if it contracted anything liquid-wise, it could get soaked. In that case, we recommend you use leather oil before use – treat it, let it sit for a couple of days, and then treat it again. You are now good to go.

Best Rubber for Seiko SRPE – BARTON Elite Silicone Watch Bands

Best Rubber for Seiko SRPE - BARTON Elite Silicone Watch Bands

Durable silicone is the best option if you want to wear your timepiece to the gym or the workplace. Each Barton band comes standard with two different lengths of the ‘long side’ of the strap, ensuring a perfect fit for any wrist – it fits wrists from 5″ to 8″ in circumference. Barton’s proprietary locking feature assures that the free end of the strap stays securely in place.

It also features quick-release spring bars and a solid tang 316L stainless steel buckle. Being totally waterproof, it is very soft and pliable but can feel sweaty because it does not breathe. However, it cleans up very easily. The buckle is smooth and has a sheen without being super shiny. We are really impressed with how flexible yet sturdy the Barton bands feel. Try it, and you will not want any other manufacturer.

Best Stainless for Steel – BINLUN Silver

Binlun watch band is made of high-quality 316L stainless steel that never gets rusty; it is easy to install and remove. What is equally important, it offers better breathability and is safe for sensitive skin. The length of the band is 180 mm (not including the case), and the thickness is 3.1 mm. You can adjust the size according to the circumference of your wrist; it can be shortened or extended with the attached link-removal tool to fit your wrist perfectly. The package includes stainless steel watchband, two curved ends, a link remover, a spring bar tool, four spring bars, and a cleaning cloth. If you are concerned that the bracelet will have a too ‘heavy look,’ it will not; it looks perfect and very well finished.

Seiko SRPE Color Variations

Seiko SRPE Color Variations

We can see large color variations available right from the launch of the Seiko 5, so different colors and options remain a big selling point. Here are some of the selection of colors to suit all manner of wrists:

  • Seiko SRPE25 – Black dial with a stainless steel case with black ion finish and black silicone strap
  • Seiko SRPE51 – Gray sunray dial
  • Seiko SRPE55 – Black sunray dial
  • Seiko SRPE57 – Black sunray dial with gold accents
  • Seiko SRPE58 – Black sunray dial with rose gold two-tone stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Seiko SRPE60 – Black sunray dial with two-tone stainless steel case and bracelet
  • Seiko SRPE63 – Blue sunray dial with nylon strap
  • Seiko SRPE67 – Black sunray dial with nylon strap
  • Seiko SRPE72 – Metallic rose gold-tone dial
  • Seiko SRPE74 – Metallic gold-tone dial
  • Seiko SRPE75 – Light champagne sunray dial with pattern and mesh bracelet
  • Seiko SRPE77 – Light blue sunray dial with pattern and mesh bracelet
  • Seiko SRPE79 – Light blue/gray patterned dial with a stainless steel case with dark gray ion finish and black combination leather/silicone strap.

Seiko SRPE53 Pros

Although we already mentioned many positives about this Seko watch, here are some of them:

  • Lovely shade of blue that catches the light very nicely
  • The size on the wrist is just right – not too bulky nor small
  • Simple and elegant dial with not too much text on it
  • 4R36 movement that is reliable and smooth
  • A see-through case is always a nice addition and also fascinating to look at
  • 100 m water resistance is great for the non-diver watch
  • Excellent versatility – you can wear it while swimming on the beach or in a conference room
  • Fantastic value for money watch
  • Great feel on the wrist
  • Not too heavy or bothersome
  • Looks sleek and more expensive than it is priced
  • Drilled lugholes make the strap changes easier
  • Looks great on a bunch of different straps
  • Love the way the light catches on the finishing on the case
  • Good accuracy
  • The watch looks very professional and smart at the same time
  • Crystal has an anti-reflective treatment
  • Very readable and clear dial and day/date display – just need a quick glance that shows all
  • The link strap compliments the watch body and is well made
  • Amazing power reserve
  • Bilingual day/date display



Seiko SRPE53 Cons

The list of the negative sides is not large, but there are some things that could be better:

  • Bracelet is not so great, it is a little stiff and squeaky
  • The clasp is also a huge money-saver for the manufacturer and offers nothing special
  • Bracelet has only two positions for the micro-adjustments
  • Hardlex crystal can be scratched easily
  • Crown can sometimes be hard to reach, and wind it
  • No Seiko logo on the crown

Seiko SRPE53 vs Seiko SKX007

Seiko SRPE53 vs Seiko SKX007

Both of those models are famous for their clean, timeless, and simple designs. However, we cannot ignore some fundamental differences. Let’s start with looking back at SKX, a predecessor of the Sports 5 line.

SKX was a ‘killer’ in the $300 price range and ISO 6425 certification, which includes many rigorous tests:

  • Condensation test
  • Pressure test
  • Shock resistance test
  • Saline water resistance test
  • Magnetic resistance test

Its impressive 200 m depth rating earned an army of fans as it was a popular choice among avid divers. It was a reliable unit, but with much room for improvements.

SRPE53 vs SKX007 : Movement Upgrades

The movement on the new Dresskx Seiko is upgraded to a modern caliber. The SKX features a 7S26 caliber, one of Seiko’s entry-level movements. Although it is a workhorse, extremely reliable, and bulletproof, it is not known for its accuracy, hacking or hand-winding features. The accuracy of the movement is quite large, rated at approximately + 40 / – 20 seconds per day. It features a quickset day/date display, 21 jewels, a beat rate of 21,600 BPH, and automatic bi-directional winding (via Seiko’s patented Magic Lever System).

The longevity of the 7S26 movement is unparalleled though, as it is known for trucking on for ten or more years without even needing a watch service. Despite all its positive sides, it is dated and needs refreshment.

The refreshment came in the form of the 4R36, which gave Seiko fans the long-awaited hacking and hand-winding features. Hacking is the ability to stop the seconds hand to set the time more accurately. Hand-winding means that you can power up the movement by rotating the crown with your hand. This may seem frivolous and silly and not a big deal for non-watch people, but many fans have longed for such improvements for years.

However, for the upgrade of your SKX watch, an NH36 movement is available. It is similar to the 4R36, so you can add hacking and hand-winding features to your SKX by replacing the movement.

SRPE53 vs SKX007 : Water Resistance

For the water resistance, Seiko 5s have only 100 m resistance. They can be used during swimming sessions, but cannot tolerate dives deeper than 100 m. It is a bit of a downside compared to the SKX, which has a 200 m water resistance. As previously explained, SKX is ISO certified. It means that this watch hits the mark in terms of some qualities that include legibility, shock resistance, magnetic resistance, and much more. ISO certification also means that this watch is suitable to wear as a professional diving watch.

Seiko SRPE53k1 is not ISO certified, and although this line is only a dive-style watch and not a dive watch, it will not be as rugged and tough as the SKX is.

SRPE53 vs SKX007 : Dimensions

SKX has a diameter of 42.5 mm, and if you include the crown, it is 45.5 mm wide. The lug width is 22 mm, and the lug-to-lug length is reasonably 46 mm, so it should be comfortable to wear on a wide range of wrists. The thickness is 13.25 mm, so it is a bit of a thick watch, a common trait of most Seiko divers. However, it does not sit too high off the wrist and wear quite well. The crown is at the convenient 4 o’clock position.

SRPE53, on the other hand, is much smaller in size. Its dimensions are 40 mm in diameter, 44 mm lug-to-lug, and a thickness of 11.5 mm. Lug width is 20 mm, while the crown placement is the same at 4 o’clock.

SRPE53 vs SKX007 : Crown

A screw-down crown of the SKX is a better solution than the push/pull one in the SRPE53. The screw-down crown prevents the water from breaching the case, making the watch hard-wearing and sturdier. The design of the crown also prevents the crown from being actuated in the case of any impacts of hard drops. Lacking the screw-down crown of SRPE53 is one of the reasons why its water resistance rating is being halved.

SRPE53 vs SKX007 : Bezel

SKX features a 120-click bezel. Its well-executed two-tiered groove pattern allows a sure grip, so the bezel action is truly impeccable. It is very smooth, with sure clicks and without any significant play. It feels like a bezel of the much more expensive watch.

On the other hand, the Seiko dresskx features a smooth bezel. Seiko attached a polished and fixed bezel in the place of the oft-misaligned one. It actually complements the rest of the case polishing. So this is the obvious signal to the buyer that this is not a divers watch. Thanks to the lack of a fixed bezel, the dial looks airy and open, like it can finally breathe.

Variety of Design

With SKX, Seiko did not play much as far as design is concerned. The SKX007 is a stainless steel watch with a black dial and a black bezel insert. The SKX009 is the only other variant and is also a stainless steel watch but with a dark blue dial and blue and red insert. There is not much of choice here.

As for the SRPE line, they have a lot of different variants, so Seiko divided it into five different categories: Sports, Suits, Specialist, and Sense. These styles are designed to cater to different tastes, demographics, and preferences. Seiko ensured that the new line has something for everyone, and they did a fantastic job.

We also need to mention Seiko’s collaborations with popular brands from different sectors where the company uses this line. SRPE line definitely wins in this category.

Seiko Design
image source: seikousa.com

Watch Moddability

If you like the SRPE53 case, but hate the bezel? No problem. If you do not want to buy a brand new watch just to have a new bezel, you can start with modding. People are still experimenting with SPRE modding, so there are not so many suppliers that offer parts.

But when you want to compare the SKX and SRPE mod parts, they are not cross-compatible for most details. However, it is still possible to swap out hands, movement, and dial with mod parts made for the SKX, but aside from that, nothing else. So that is why the SPRE mod parts are released in their own separate category from SKX parts.

The only outlier from the SRPE family is SRPE83K1, which parts are actually compatible with SKX ones.

Top 2 Seiko SRPE Competitors

Orient Maestro Automatic – Best Elegant

Orient Maestro Automatic – Best Elegant

This curated blend of design and function is ultimately wearable and versatile, no matter if it is day or night. It features an in-house Japanese Orient f6722 caliber with automatic, hand winding, and hacking movement. The case diameter without a crown is 40 mm, while the case thickness is 11.9 mm. The bezel is stationary and made entirely of stainless steel. Orient Maestro has a glass back cover that lets you see through the marvelous movements of gears.

The more you wear it, the more you will be amazed by the simplicity of the design. It does not have chronograph features like tachymeters, but it cuts off all the unnecessary clutter and elements of the dial and makes it very clean and organized. The metallic silver hands set on the black dial look very nice and sleek. The available dial colors include blue, white, brown, black, and green.

The lug width is 20 mm, while the strap has three options: stainless steel link bracelet with double push button safety clasp, stainless steel mesh bracelet with pull clasp, and blue leather with buckle.

It also has a 100 m water resistance, so you can wear it while swimming.

Timex Marlin – Best Retro

Timex Marlin – Best Retro

The Timex Marlin is a hand-wound mechanical watch with 32mm width and 7.5″ band length. It fits up to 7.5″ wrist size. It features a silver dial and a black leather strap, with a 10 mm thick case made of stainless steel. The display is analog with manual movement. The watch offers a water resistance of 100 feet. As far as the accuracy is concerned, it is 1 minute per day, so it is pretty good for the wind-up. It ricks at 8 ticks per second, so it has a more accurate type of mechanical movement. The fun fact is that this is the first mechanical watch Timex released since 1982.

This gorgeous retro beauty has a face that is elegant in its simplicity. Its timeless design offers a vintage feel that you cannot beat. The embossed leather strap is stamped to look like a lizard. Being like a time capsule, this whimsical and stylish design is available in several colors. Timex stayed true to the original size, with a thin bezel and slender, almost delicate lugs.

Final Thoughts

When the Seiko 5 line stepped onto the scene back in 1963, it was revolutionary. It is still revolutionary. The cult classic SKX heavily inspires a new collection, and you can see which similarities they share and what the differences are. This is certainly a watch of huge value and will certainly satisfy all your expectations. It could become an excellent only watch for a one-watch person. And the price is beyond decent.

The new line is surely made for the masses, so if you are a newcomer to watches and wondering if Seiko 5 should be your first mechanical watch, we proudly say: Yes!

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