Most everybody agrees by now that the Seiko 5 line features some of the best affordable mechanical watches.
They feature smaller, classic dimensions that will likely never go out of style.
Their movement is a robust in-house Seiko movement that runs for years and years without needing a service.
Plus, they have a variety of simple designs that are still interesting enough to have you looking at your wrist again and again.
There are hundreds of Seiko 5s to choose from, but lately, one model, in particular, has really piqued my interest.
I was looking for a watch with a silver dial and haven’t had much luck finding any affordable options (if you find any others, let me know in the comments).
Until I came across this watch, the Seiko SNK355.
It features interesting case dimensions that make it wear quite differently from other Seiko 5 models I’ve tried and a stunning silver dial that I’ve not seen executed as well in watches that cost hundreds of dollars more.
All about that and more in this Seiko 5 SNK355 review.
Seiko 5 SNK355 Unboxing Experience
I typically don’t care much about the unboxing experience and packaging aesthetics whenever I buy an affordable watch. I really just want the watch.
Any expense they can spare in packaging design is fine with me, if it means they can lower the price, without sacrificing the quality of the watch.
But because a Seiko 5 is the first mechanical watch of many, I’m really glad they don’t completely skimp out.
The SNK355, like most Seiko 5s, come in a decent looking blue box with golden Seiko branded text on the top and front.
Upon opening the box, you’re greeted by your watch sitting on a relatively decent quality watch pillow.
Not that it’s a huge deal, but this watch pillow feels more quality than the ones that come in a bunch of watch boxes I’ve owned. Impressive.
Again, for someone who is getting a mechanical watch for the first time, I’m glad they’re presented by the unboxing experience that Seiko provides, even in their entry level watches.
It just adds to the fun of getting a cool new watch.
Seiko 5 SNK355 Review
Upon opening the box, I was immediately greeted by the beautiful shimmer of the silver, sunburst-ish dial of the SNK355.
To the unknowing, it just looks like a regular silver dial.
But upon close inspection, you’ll notice something a little… Unusual.
The SNK355 dial is covered in ever so subtly engraved little Seiko 5 logos, just like that of the logo embossed underneath the 12:00 position.
For years I’ve been considering the black dial variant of this watch, the SNK361, but the engraved logos always put me off.
They’re a lot more subtle in person and not something you notice, unless under specific lighting and at very specific angles. And you have to be pretty close to notice them at all.
In fact, I think they add a subtle touch of ‘bling’ that doesn’t just jot at you. It’s very tastefully done.
Logos aside, I’d describe the color of the dial as a milky silver. It’s lighter than the grey of most stainless steel, brushed or polished, and it has a bit of a sunburst effect that helps it to look dynamically different, depending on how the light hits it. In certain lights, it darkens a bit and looks almost like steel with a satin or light brushed finish, though not all the time.
Minimalist Dial Design
The watch has completely polished and applied hour markers at all but the 3 o clock position, where a day-date wheel sits.
Each hour markers has 2 different angled pieces of steel, both polished and create a dynamic glimmer as you change the angle of your wrist and the light hits each surface differently.
It also has what looks like black painted markers for the minutes between the hours. Not the biggest fan of those, as they’re just painted on and look boring to me, and just don’t add much to the watch, in my opinion.
Though it’s possible without them the watch would look too simple and plain.
Either way, for the price, I’m being really nit-picky about such a small design queue that likely most anybody else would never consider. I’m such a geek.
Style and Aesthetics
Anyway, the entire watch is done very tastefully and has an extremely minimalist aesthetic, with an ever so slightly ‘industrial’ appeal.
The silver dial definitely contributes to that industrial feel a bit, as it can sometimes look like a piece of steel in some lights, and when wearing it on a bracelet, or a mesh band, in my case, it sometimes looks like just one extended piece of metal.
Though a classy one.
This watch definitely wouldn’t look out of place in either a dressy or casual situation, though I’d say it leans more toward slightly dressy.
Of course, the included metal bracelet, as well as the aftermarket mesh band I’ve put it on both, contribute to that ‘dressier’ look.
You can make this watch more casual by switching out the bracelet for more casual straps. More about that later.
Case Polishing and Finishing
Another thing that sets the SNK355 apart from other models in the Seiko 5 line is both the shape of the case, as well as the variety of polished and brushed surfaces.
The entire watch is almost completely polished. The bezel is rounded but large and bold, almost reminiscent of a more expensive SARB033 or 035.
The sides of the case are angular and contrast extremely beautifully with the brushed lugs. This creates a case that is VERY dynamic and interesting to look at.
The brushed and polished finishing isn’t impeccable, definitely not up to snuff with the Seiko SARB line, but it’s also a fraction of the price.
It’s also finished way better than most other watches in the price range and I think that’s certainly one of the largest contributing factors to what makes this watch look much more expensive.
Seiko SNK355 Dimensions
The dimensions for the SNK355 are as follows:
- Diameter: 37mm
- Lug width: 18mm
- Lug to lug: 40mm
- Thickness: 11mm
The 37mm diameter is consistent through most Seiko 5 models. Combined with the heavily condensed lug to lug of 40mm, this watch wears almost like a cushion case, great for smaller, or really any size wrist.
It’s a very compact watch, and you could almost imagine a perfect square around it when wearing it on your wrist.
The bulk and thickness of the included bracelet help to offset the ‘rectangular’ nature of the case shape, a bit.
The 11mm thickness of the watch actually isn’t thick at all. And it makes it wear VERY sleek for a watch of this size.
It’s rare you’ll find automatic watches this thin and such a low price point. Sure, when compared to a mechanical hand winding, or some quartz watches, this may not be a huge feat, but for a watch with a robust movement with an automatic winding rotor, that’s pretty impressive.
Any watch with a lug to lug size this compact will make the watch wear well on literally almost anybody’s wrist.
Like most Seiko 5s, It wears a little smaller than I’m usually used to, as I tend to favor sportier, thicker dive watches, but it offers an excellent dressier option for when I want something sleek.
On my 7 inch wrists, I think it wears extremely well for a ‘dressier’ watch.
The 4:00 crown makes it wear (and look) a little different than most other watches. Some find it “quirky”, but it also makes the watch wear VERY comfortably, as the crown never interferes when on your wrist.
The crown on this Seiko 5 in particular is a little thicker and more pronounced than other models in the line, I’ve noticed. This makes it easier to pull out and set the time. Speaking of which…
The bracelets on Seiko 5s are usually a huge flop.
Thin, cheap bracelets with folded links, folded end links, a terribly milled clasp and overall very poor construction.
It’s difficult and time consuming to size the folded link bracelet. So much so, I made an entire tutorial here.
Some say the Seiko 5 is like getting a $300 watch on a $3 bracelet, and I completely agree with that sentiment.
The bracelet that comes with the SNK355 is more or less about the same. It has folded links and overall, feels pretty cheap.
With that said, it’s a bit heavier than other Seiko 5 bracelets I’ve tried and not as thin or rattly.
The jubilee-esque style isn’t terribly ugly, either. I think the mostly brushed finished, with slightly polished small center links adds an additional layer of elegance to the watch.
Though when it comes to Seiko 5s, I almost always opt to switch out the included bracelet for some different straps or bracelets of my own.
SNK355 Strap and Bracelet Swap Options
The 18mm lug width of the SNK355 is a little bit of a nuisance, as there’s a bit of a lack of watch strap options at this size. however, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
My go-to strap of choice for the SNK355 has been a polished mesh bracelet that’s about 2mm thick and I think it looks amazing.
It’s much thinner than the watch and has a slightly retro charm, but is a great dressier option. It’s very light and breathable, great for warmer weather as well.
You can wear this with just about any outfit, barring the most casual sweats and hoodie combo, and it will almost always look great.
Another option is a grainy leather strap. A thicker, grey leather strap with white stitching. I think the grey and white compliments the monochromatic look of this piece and does it well.
Finally, for an extra dressy option, you can throw this on an 18mm black or dark brown crocodile strap and I think it would look amazing, though I don’t own any in this size.
In-House Seiko 7S26 Movement
The movement is the rugged and tough, long-lasting Seiko 7S26 movement.
It doesn’t have any fancy features like hacking or hand winding, but it keeps decent time (mine’s running at +5s/day) and is durable as heck.
The see through case back is a nice touch, even on a cheaper watch.
While it’s not the most well decorated or prettiest movement, you’re buying an automatic watch, likely for the fascination about the mechanical aspect. It’s nice to see the inner workings.
The water resistance in the SNK355 is consistent with most other non-diver Seiko 5 models.
It has 30 meters of water resistance, suitable for washing your hands and getting caught in the rain. Basically, just light splashes.
I wouldn’t ever take this watch swimming.
I’ve got dive watches for that.
Seiko 5s Similar to the SNK355 to Consider
One of the best things about the line of Seiko 5s is the sheer variety. There are hundreds of different models, so you’re bound to find one you like.
When buying the SNK355, there were a bunch of other very similar, yet slightly different models, that each has a slightly different flair and appeal.
The SNKL41 is very similar in the case used and dimensions, but it has more of a white dial, with slightly different applied hour markers as well as sword hands.
The SNXS79 has a darker, charcoal sunburst grey dial and a slightly thicker case. Check out the SNXS79 review here.
There are also two different variants of the 355. The SNK355K1 is a Malaysian version with a Spanish day wheel, and the SNK355J1 is the Japanese version with Kanji date wheel.
No matter which one you decide to go with, it’s hard to go wrong. But the 355 was my favorite of these lighter dialed variants by far, and I have absolutely no regrets.
The Seiko 5 SNK355 offers a slightly unique case shape with compact, wearable dimensions, combined with a gorgeous sunburst silver dial.
I think it’s amazing this watch isn’t as popular as some of the other Seiko 5 counterparts, but at least the lack of popularity is helping to keep the cost of the SNK355 down on Amazon.
Let me know what you think about the SNK355 below! Have any questions? Feel free to ask! I respond to every single comment.– Anthony
Last update on 2021-07-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API