For about a year and a half, basically since the launch of the 5 Sports Style GMT collection, it seems that the dual-time complication has become the main focus of Seiko, applying this convenient feature across most of its ranges. We’ve seen it in the SPB381, SPB383 and SPB385, the first mechanical GMT divers of the brand, later in the Presage Style 60’s GMT Collection, and recently, as the most natural combination possible with the GMT Alpinist watches. And now, the GMT complication comes in the Seiko 5 Sports Field series, resulting in a cool, accessible take on the explorer watch. Let’s take a look at the new SSK023 and SSK025.
With the 5 Sports Style GMT collection, Seiko introduced the concept of an accessible “crossover” watch, combining a diver’s look with a practical GMT complication. And, as I explained in this article, these are probably some of the best summer watches you can imagine (and the price has nothing to do with it). Now, applying the same formula yet with revised aesthetics and a different vocation, Seiko adds a GMT complication to its accessible field watch, creating what could well be a great, accessible explorer watch.
What are we looking at with the new 5 Sports Field GMT SSK023 and SSK025? In short, a dual-time take on an all-time classic, the Seiko 5 Sports Field SRPG27. In reality, there are a few more updates than just throwing a GMT hand on the dial, but the whole idea could be summarised like this. Released in two editions, one in steel and the other in black-coated steel, the 5 Sports Field GMT reutilises the same middle case as a time-and-day/date Field watch. Dimensions are almost identical, with a reasonable diameter of 39.4mm, a certain thickness (13.6mm) and a typical all-rounder length of 48mm. The 20mm lug width will also please the majority, making swapping the bracelet for a NATO or leather strap easy.
What changes compared to a classic Seiko 5 Sports Field? Externally, the main update concerns the bezel. Fixed and brushed with a cool radial effect, it is engraved with a 24-hour scale, later filled in black or grey, depending on the version – a classic look that will surely remind you of an iconic 1970s watch with a Coronet. This bezel frames a highly curved Hardlex crystal, and the rest of the case is brushed for an appropriate instrument look. Despite the crown being a classic push-pull, the water-resistance is 100m, sufficient for such an exploration-like watch. The back is screwed and equipped with a see-through crystal.
On the wrist, the all-steel SSK023 exudes a cool vintage, tool feeling while the blackened SSK025, which is worn on a NATO leather strap, has more boldness and presence while, at the same time, feeling more comfortable – 79 grams vs 147 grams for the steel version. The fit and finish are very decent, specifically when you consider the price of these watches (under 500 euros), and the overall proportions are a great combination of robustness and comfort. While looking familiar and in line with previous editions within the 5 Sports Field series dial, it shows some evolutions, most linked to the addition of a 24-hour GMT hand. Large raised Arabic numerals are linked to 3D-like hour markers filled with LumiBrite, a material also used on all hands – the hours and minutes hand have a generous size, ensuring legibility excellent day and night. The black dial has a discreet texture and a matte surface, avoiding light reflections. Finally, the GMT hand is picked up in bright red to quickly read either home time or abroad time (depending on how you use the complication) or the time of the day on a 24-hour scale if you use it as a day-night indicator.
A word on the GMT complication… Seiko uses a so-called office or caller function and not a traveller or flyer type. While I personally prefer a flyer-like function, the use of a caller one here is understandable, considering the price range. As a reminder, this office-caller GMT function allows you to independently set the 24-hour hand with the crown in one-hour increments, practical in the case of an exploration watch, less if you’re travelling and crossing borders. The function is powered by the calibre 4R34, an entry-level in-house automatic movement with a 3Hz frequency, a 41h power reserve and a stop-seconds mechanism.
The Seiko 5 Sports Field GMT SSK023 is worn on a new 5-link stainless steel bracelet with a brushed finish. It is priced at EUR 460. The Seiko 5 Sports Field GMT SSK025 is worn on a black NATO-style leather strap with black hardware, priced at EUR 430. Both are part of the permanent collection and will soon be available worldwide. For more details, please visit www.seikowatches.com.