5 of the best Seiko watches under $500

October 21, 2018

The global popularity of Seiko watches is steadily increasing year by year. Why shouldn’t it be? Seiko is known to churn out great models of automatic watches at an affordable price tag with superb build quality.

 

A lot of WIS (Watch Idiot Savant) would surely recommend anyone starting to get into the mechanical watch scene with a Seiko. We at Watch Daddy would do the same as well. But what would be the best entry-level Seiko mechanical watch out there?

 

Throughout the years into this affordable watch hobby, we have used and owned a lot of Seiko and can talk from our personal experience. See below the best 5 Seiko watches under $500 that anyone starting out with mechanical watches should own.  

1. Seiko Prospex PADI Turtle SRPA21

The Seiko Turtle is one of the quintessential dive watch models one can ever own from Seiko. The pillow cushion case, the bezel, and dial just works all together setting the 1970’s original model design into a timeless state even until today.

 

The watch model is just so popular from Seiko that they had to make reissues of the “Turtle” design (circa 2016 onwards) and come up with different variations and models. There are the rarer and more limited-edition models like the Zimbe Turtle (read our full review here) but there are also much affordable and desirable models like the Turtle PADI.

What works with the Seiko PADI Turtle SRPA21 is that it incorporates and retains the classic turtle case design and features, but it was enhanced and sprinkled with Pepsi fairy dust to give its owners the desirable red, white, and blue theme that is just so popular with dive watches.

 

Another great addition to the SRPA21 is the PADI name and logo stamped onto the dial which gives an authentic effect that its made by divers, for divers.

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Watch Daddy Picks

Seiko Prospex Turtle PADI - SRPA21

  • Seiko Cal. 4R36 Self-Winding Automatic Movement 

  • Stainless Steel Case and bracelet

  • LumiBrite Hands and Markers

  • Unidirectional rotating blue/red bezel

  • Case Size: 45 mm Diameter, 13.4 mm Thickness

  • Water Resistant - 200 M

2. Seiko Alpinist SARB017

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The Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is an unusually popular watch model from Seiko. Seiko is known for their dive watches but they have some other popular timepieces aside from diving as well. Take for an example this field watch from Seiko which is known to be the Alpinist.

 

For those who don’t know, the Alpinist history and heritage goes way back to the 1950’s where Seiko created the model specifically for Japanese mountain climbers and sportsmen.

Seiko fans from all over took great notice on the Alpinist lineup because of its unique and striking design cues. From the iconic Cathedral-style hour and minute hands, to the captivating green dial, the SARB017 Alpinist has taken centerstage with a lot of Seikoholics as it can literally be worn in any occasion and clothing.

 

If you still do not know or have this in your affordable watch collection, we greatly urge you to get one now while you still can.

Watch Daddy Picks

Seiko Alpinist SARB017

  • Cal. 6R15 Movement, 23 Jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour, Made in Japan

  • Self-winding, hacking, and hand winding

  • Power reserve: approximately 50 hours

  • 38 mm case diameter, 20mm lug width

  • 200M water resistance

3. Seiko Orange Monster SKX781 

I know what you would probably say, the first-generation Seiko Orange Monster SKX781 is not under $500 USD brand new. A quick check on the internet will most likely confirm that statement.

 

But to attest, the Seiko Orange Monster SKX781 was way under $500 USD for a long time before shooting its price off the roof quite recently.

Well, it wasn’t surprising that the first-generation Seiko Orange Monster escalated in price. Now a discontinued model, the overall watch design cues and uses made this one of Seiko’s best sellers and classics. Two of the best features for us is the stunning orange dial (perfect orange hue) and the easy-to-use rotating bezel.

 

It is also good to note that the Orange Monster’s bracelet is very comfortable on the wrist and has the diver’s extension clasp ready for action. Interested buyers can still find this orange beauty under $500 USD for pre-owned/mint units.

Watch Daddy Picks

Seiko Orange Monster SKX781

  • Cal. 7S26 Self-Winding Automatic. Day and Date Indicator

  • 42.5mm case diameter

  • Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet

  • 200M Water Resistance

  • Diver's Extension Clasp/Buckle

4. Seiko SARB035 

When it comes to straight-forward and no frills watch models for the Japanese watchmaker, the Seiko SARB035 is the top of the list from our experience.

 

The SARB035’s design and features may come typical (or even dull for some) but the simplicity and elegance of the watch has made the timepiece a real gem and necessity for anyone starting a collection of mechanical timepieces.

The biggest selling point for the Seiko SARB035 would probably be its cream white dial and 38mm watch diameter making it a perfect gentleman’s watch for its look and size. Its see-through back case provides it users a generous view of the 6R15 hacking and winding workhorse that powers the timepiece.

 

Great to note that the SARB035 comes with a very comfortable metal bracelet and a deployant clasp but a lot of owners would swap in a nice leather band for a much formal dress watch look.

Watch Daddy Picks

Seiko SARB035

  • Cal. 6R15Self-Winding Automatic (Hacking and Hand Winding)

  • 38mm case diameter

  • Stainless Steel Case and Bracelet

  • Hardlex See-through back

  • +25/-15 sec/day Accuracy

  • Water Resistant to 10 Bar

5. Seiko SKX007/SKX009

We have been talking a lot about popular and classic models from Seiko for Watch Daddy but we would like to save this model for last because it is truly the epitome of an icon! The SKX007/SKX009 is the face of Seiko when it comes to their affordable dive watch models.

 

It is a watch that is known throughout the whole circle of watch lovers regardless of their financial status and love for horology. Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe lovers give their two thumbs up for this entry-level dive watch from Seiko and that is not surprising.

How did this affordable marvel of a watch become so popular? Its functionality, design, and price tag is not seen elsewhere and is frequently copied by a lot of watch makers. You just simply get a lot back of what you paid for it.

 

Personally, we like the SKX watches mounted on a jubilee bracelet because it goes with a lot of clothing that way. But nothing is stopping its owners from revamping its design with the hundreds of available aftermarket parts for the popular SKX dive watch line.

 

Same principle behind cars, if a particular model has a lot of aftermarket parts and manufacturers so owners can mod them, then that would speak volumes about its popularity and demand.

 

If you don’t have or never owned and SKX007/SKX009 at this point in your life, you are indeed missing out.

Watch Daddy Picks

Seiko SKX007J1/ SKX009J1

  • Cal. 7S26 Self-Winding Automatic 

  • 42mm case diameter

  • Stainless Steel Case and Optional Stainless Steel Jubilee Bracelet

  • Water Resistant to 200M

  • 40 hours power reserve

  • Made in Japan

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