Seiko continues to refresh its affordable Seiko 5 sports lineup with the affordable Seiko 5 SRPG35 field watch. The Seiko 5 Sports SRPG35 builds on elements from previous Seiko 5 lineups, namely the SNZG and SNK series, in a new and refreshing way. With upgrades like a more refined bead-blasted finish, a larger 49.4mm case diameter, and a 4R36 movement with hacking and hand winding, the SRPG35 makes a fantastic entry-level field watch that puts a vintage-inspired Seiko spin on the traditional field watch design.
I’ve chosen to add the SRPG35 model to my collection, from the wide variety of SRPG models available. I prefer this variant in particular for its tasteful faux patina that makes the watch look a bit aged, without being overly done. This gives a naturally aged appearance while giving a distinct divergence from other black, vintage-inspired field watches on the market. In this SRPG35 review, we’ll take a look at the watch and its specs, alternatives, strap choices, and value to help you determine if this is the right watch for you at the $275 price point.
Seiko 5 Sports SRPG35 Specifications
- Movement Caliber: 4R36
- Movement Type: Automatic with manual winding
- Power Reserve: Approx. 41 hours
- Crystal: Curved hardlex
- LumiBrite: Lumibrite on hands and indexes
- Band Material: Nylon
- Water Resistance: 10 bar (100m)
- Diameter: 39.4㎜
- Thickness: 13.2mm
- Lug-to-lug: 48.1mm
- Lug width: 20mm
- Weight: 77.0 g
- Other Specifications
- Screw case back
- See-through case back
- Other Features
- 24 jewels
- Day/Date display
- Hacking and hand-winding
- See Price on Amazon
Beadblasted Field Watch Case
The bead-blasted case of the SRPG35 is one of its major standout features. With a smooth, well-executed finish that is consistent thought, the watch immediately has a distinct field watch look. Traditionally, a bead blasted (or sandblasted) finish was done to reduce reflections on military field watches, lowering the chances of being spotted. In practical, everyday usage, it has the added benefit of hiding wear and tear, and even after months of use, any scratches and scuffs on my SRPG are well-hidden.
The shape of the case is rather straightforward with just a single, distinct edge separating the top and sides. It’s machined rather well, and is smoothed off only enough so as to not be sharp to the touch, while still being precise. On top of the case is a smooth bezel, which contains the curved Seiko hardlex crystal. I really appreciate the addition of a domed crystal here, as the distortions really add a unique element that, while not typical of a field watch, it does add some visual interest and demonstrates that the watch is intended to be a bit more for civilian usage. In practical usage, Seiko’s hardlex crystals are not as scratch-resistant as sapphire, though tend to be much more resistant than that of mineral or acrylic, and more than suffice for day-to-day usage. I’ve owned at least a dozen Seiko watches with hardlex and have only ever scratched one when squeezing my hand (and Seiko 5 SNXS79) between my car seat and center console.
At 3:00, we have a crown that sits rather small and close to the case, yet another feature that diverges slightly from typical field watches. Often, field watches will have oversized crowns for easy operation while wearing gloves. Seiko decided to forego this traditional design element in exchange for a slightly less bulky appearance overall. In practical usage, I do wish the crown was just a hair larger, as I do find it can be a tad on the small side when setting the time or day/date, but not too small so as to make it completely unusable.
Finally, the lugs on either side have drilled lug holes, allowing for quick and simple strap changes, a very welcome addition and an improvement over the previous iterations of the Seiko 5 Sports field models.
Dial & Hands
The dial on the SRPG35 is a black matte dial with a texture so subtle, it almost looks to have the same ‘sandblasted’ appearance as the case itself. The black isn’t a deep black, rather it barely treads the line between black and charcoal, akin to a ‘faded black’ look that pairs itself perfectly with the faux patina on the hour markers and handset
Around the dial, there are multiple sets of different hour markers, each for a different purpose, which really helps tie into the field watch aesthetic, one that is traditionally designed to be extremely legible at a quick glance. The outermost set of hour markers alternates between applied geometric-shaped markers, every hour, with painted minute marker ticks in between. Inside the outermost hour marker set are large and bold applied arabic numerals raised ever so slightly above those on the outer ring. Inside the dial, toward the center, is a military-time set of hour markers from 13-24, allowing you to quickly determine the military-time equivalent of the current time. These are painted in grey, and a bit smaller than the rest.
The varied heights of these different applied markers, paired with painted elements, really helps add some visual depth to the watch in a way that many field watches, that have exclusively painted markers, fail to deliver. I find watch’s high contrast of the cream hour markers and dark dial allow one to read the time with little effort.
Finally, At 12:00 we have the new, controversial Seiko 5 Sports logo, applied in silver, and at 6:00, ‘Automatic’ in a script font that I don’t believe is appropriate for a tool watch, a minor personal gripe about the dial design. Finally, at 3:00, we have a day/date wheel in a black that is one or two shades darker than the faded black dial itself.
Seiko 4R36 Movement
One of the major upgrades in the new Seiko 5 Sports models over previous iterations is the movement used. No longer does this watch run on Seiko’s basic, entry-level 7S26 workhorse movement. The movement housed inside of the SRPG35 is the in-house caliber Seiko 4R36 movement, an automatic movement with 24 jewels, hacking and manual hand winding.
The 4R36 movement features a 41-hour power reserve, and a 21,600 beat rate. With an accuracy of +45 / -35 seconds per day, it’s certainly not the most accurate movement on the block. With that said, even the most affordable Seiko movements are known for their long-term reliability and durability. They are often reported to go years without needing a service, and are relatively affordable to replace, when the time comes. The 4R36 is a welcome addition previously released in some slightly more expensive Prospex and Presage watches. I’m glad to see Seiko now offer it in their more affordable Seiko 5 sports as well.
Dimensions, Strap & Wearability
The Seiko 5 Sports SRPG35 has a diameter of 39.4mm, thickness of 13.2mm, and a lug to lug measurement of 48.1mm. The watch is conservatively sized and will fit a large variety of wrists thanks to its sub 40mm diameter.
Some may expect a field watch to run a bit slimmer, and closer to the wrist, however, the 13.2mm thickness, paired with the additional thickness of the NATO strap, sits the SRPG35 a bit taller on the wrist than some may prefer. The domed crystal is only slightly curved, and just barely adds a hair or two to the overall thickness. With that said, I find the added height of the NATO allows for a bit more flexibility and movement of the wrist.
The watch has a 20mm lug width, perfectly proportioned to the nearly 40mm case, hitting that sweet, golden 1:2 strap-to-case-size ratio.
The included 20mm khaki NATO strap is a traditional nylon style NATO that feels thicker and more substantial than those included on previous Seiko 5s. The hardware, including the ‘Seiko’ signed clasp, has a satin finish that matches that of the watch’s case perfectly, and doesn’t have any noticeable sharp edges.
Overall, the feeling of wearing this watch on the stock strap is balanced and comfortable. The satin/sandblasted finish of the watch is very smooth when it touches the skin, and the compact crown ensures the watch doesn’t dig into the wrist. The watch feels and looks very balanced on my 7″ wrists, if not just a tad chunky when envisioning the traditional military, field watch aesthetic, but not too chunky by contemporary watch sizing standards.
The geometric pointed hour markers and the handset are lumed with Seiko’s Lumi Brite and performs well, largely thanks to the boldness of the handset, but also a result of Seiko’s quality lume used also. Unfortunately, the lume of the hour markers are a bit small, and that may be a turn-off for some, but this is a typical field watch style of lume that exactly mirrors the lume application used in watches like the Hamilton Khaki Field mechanical, one of the most highly praised military field watches.
Seiko SRPG35 Strap Suggestions
Thanks to the rather neutral palette of the SRPG35, this watch would look amazing on a wide variety of straps, so long as they are 20mm to match the watch’s lug width. This watch looks at home on straps that have a military or vintage aesthetic; straps that would be suitable in the field for a special operations unit soldier, or simply one that would distress well over time to add to the aged look of the watch itself. Here are some examples of some straps to consider:
Brown Leather NATO Strap
Thanks to the vintage charm of the watch, a brown leather NATO that will distress over time will pair perfectly. A rich brown will complement the cream elements of the dial and hands, and a quality leather strap will break in overtime to mold to your wrist.
Olive Canvas NATO Strap
An olive NATO strap will up the military-looking aesthetic of this piece while cooling down the color palette just a touch. A NATO strap also helps to make a watch look a little more casual, pairing perfectly with jeans and a t-shirt.
Black or Brown Two-Stitch Vintage Leather Strap
Again, tying into the vintage and aged aesthetic of the SRPG35, a two-stitch, vintage-inspired leather strap would look right at home.
Khaki Canvas Strap
Fan of the khaki colored strap the watch comes on, but not a fan of the thickness a NATO adds? Consider a khaki canvas strap to reduce the visual and functional height, while still giving you the rugged and tough military aesthetic and durability that a canvas strap will provide.
While the SRPG35 doesn’t come with a stainless steel bracelet, the similar-looking SRPG27 from the same SRPG lineup does. The SRPG27 does have a slightly different aesthetic, however, and it’s still possible to pair a bracelet with the SRPG35, if you so choose. Specifically, consider any 20mm bracelet with a satin finish. A brushed or polished finish might contrast a bit too much and disrupt the look of the piece.
There are many types of metal watch bracelets out there, but personally I feel a satin oyster or milanese mesh bracelet would pair well with the vintage field watch look the SRPG35 provides.
Other Affordable Field Watches to Consider
Seiko 5 Sports SNZG Series (SNZG09, SNZG11, SNZG13, SNZG15)
The new Seiko 5 Sports reviewed in this article is a clear evolution to older Seiko 5 Sports SNZG models (SNZG09, SNZG11, SNZG13, SNZG15). The SNZG line is starting to show its age thanks to its lesser, entry-level 7S26 movement that lacks hacking and handwinding, and looks less refined in just about every way. With that said, the SNZG series is a bit more affordable than the SRPG series, coming in around $150, depending on the particular model. I suggest saving a few extra bucks to splurge for the SRPG series instead.
Seiko 5 Sports SNK Series (SNK803, SNK805, SNK807, SNK809)
The Seiko 5 Sports SNK series (SNK803, SNK805, SNK807, SNK809) is an older, military-inspired pilot watch series that shares a similar satin finish to the SRPG35. The Seiko 5 SNK809 has been a long-standing member of my personal collection for quite some time. Those who are seeking a smaller model may find the 37mm SNK series exactly what they’re looking for. Best of all, they can often be found for around $100.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is one of the most legendary field watches in existance, and likely one of the biggest beadblasted field-watch competitors to the SRPG35. For a no-frills, honest-looking field-watch that is function over form, the Khaki Field outperforms in many ways, including its top-notch sandblasted finish. The Khaki field also features a swiss-based Hamilton H-50 movement, an arguable step up in overall quality and accuracy over the Seiko’s lower level 4R36.
It does have some polarizing features, however, as it wears a bit smaller, coming in at 38mm, has only painted hour markers, and its mechanical movement is only hand-wound, not automatic. Ultimately, I think the SRPG35 is a better everyday watch, as its applied indices allow it to wear a bit more casually and versatile, but the Hamilton Khaki Field will forever be the favorite field watch of many.
The Seiko 5 SRPG35 is a welcome edition to the newly refreshed Seiko 5 Sports lineup. It’s difficult to find a field watch that manages to look both vintage and modern at the same time, without looking like it’s trying too hard, but the SRPG35 nails this perfectly. With a new 39.4mm case diameter that is nearly ubiquitously wearable on a variety of wrists, a smooth sandblasted finish that is getting rarer to find on entry-level watches, and an upgrade to a 4R36 movement with hacking and hand winding, the SRPG35 is a complete package, and an excellent value at $275 MSRP. While I’m not sure if it will outsell the tried and true Hamilton Khaki, the SRPG35 does offer enough of a spin that I don’t think you’d be hard pressed to find yourself owning both in your collection like I do.