Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review of Seiko Military Style Chronograph

Model # SNDA57P1

At a Glance:

Brand/Model:  Seiko
Movement:  Japanese quartz
Material:  stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications:  date display, chronograph timing to 12 hours in 1/20th second increments
Price:  approx. $150 USD street price



Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

This year for my birthday, I decided to ask my girlfriend for a specific model watch and zeroed in on this nifty Seiko Chronograph with the 7T92 quartz movement in it.  What attracted me to this chrono was its no-nonsense military-inspired look and the overall clean design.

This model has been out for a while now and can be fairly hard to find.  This one was ordered from Skywatches in Singapore and service was great; order came in about four days.  This model is available in the black dial reviewed here as well as an ivory colored dial and with the satin finish case as seen here or a semi brushed finish case on stainless steel bracelet.  I preferred the greyish satin finish case, so that’s what I got. 

For those on a budget, there are several Pulsar models that utilize this exact same movement and dial layout for about half the price.

The case is smooth satin finished all stainless steel with a brushed screwdown caseback.  The crown is unsigned and does not screw down.  Water resistance rating is 10 bar/100 meters.  The flat crystal is Seiko’s Hardlex and exhibits no distortion.

Case measures 43.2mm without the crown, 11.2mm thick and with 22mm lugs.  Despite its seemingly large dimensions, this watch doesn’t wear big, at least to me and my thinner wrist, so don’t be discouraged if you’re a ‘42mm or smaller’ buyer.

The dial is a perfect matte black with a nice white on black date wheel @ 4.  Date is of course quickset.  The hour and minute hands and the markers on the inner bezel/chapter ring are luminous, with Seiko’s superb Lumibrite material.  No problems with lume on this watch!  It would be awesome if the inner bezel ring rotated, but alas, it doesn’t.

Under an 8X loupe, the dial and hands show no noticeable defects or distractions, aside from a slight dot on the ‘6’ Arabic that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

The 7T92 chrono movement intrigued me because of the concentric totalizers in the subdial @ 6.  These totalizers tally the minutes (longer hand) and the hours (hand underneath the minute hand) up to 12 hours.  The subdial @ 12 is the 1/20th second totalizer, which spins mercilessly while the chrono is running up to 10 minutes, then stops and only reads the 1/20th second tally when the chrono is stopped.  This is done of course to conserve battery power.  The orange center second hand is the chrono second hand and the subdial @ 9 is the main watch seconds hand (in orange).  The chrono also does lap timing.

The white Arabics at the quarter hours are sufficiently sized but not too large, distorted or hacked off as seems so commonplace these days on many watch designs.  Again, they speak to the no-nonsense nature of this watch; it’s form following function here.

This model comes on a 22mm continuous width black nylon woven strap with matching signed satin finish buckle.  I’m not a big fan of nylon straps because they aren’t very comfortable for me, but this one is fairly well finished on the edges and doesn’t look too bad. 

I anticipated not liking the OEM strap and ordered a Hadley Roma black carbon look strap which didn’t work out for me (and the quality was disappointing for a name brand strap!) and switched to the softer, German-made leather strap with white contrast stitching as seen in the photos.

For some reason with this watch, I’m having trouble with the strap fitting either too tight or too loose, I think this leather strap will work, but I may still switch back to the factory strap.  Time will tell.

Accuracy of the quartz 7T92 movement has been as it should be, running currently at +1 second a week.  Battery life is rated at three years and the battery is the fairly common 395/399.  This movement also has an EOL (end of life) indicator, moving the watch seconds hand in two-second increments to signal that it’s time for a battery change.

Pricing on this watch varies a bit, depending on where purchased, but usually runs in the $135 to $150 USD range.  A fair price for a very nice, practical piece.

Pros:  all business dial layout, great look, unique chrono subdial @ 6, Seiko reputation, great lume

Cons:  subdials may be hard to read for some, fixed inner bezel, would be nice if a leather strap came from the factory

Verdict:  nice feature set for the price, quality fit and finish, good overall value in a military-inspired chronograph

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.

Excelsior!

-Marc

UPDATE!

I have owned this watch for almost five months now and it has quickly become my easy go-to watch for weekend wear or when I just can’t decide what to put on.  Super easy to read, the aftermarket leather strap has broken in nicely and fits great (and looks great, too!) with timekeeping now running about +2 seconds per week, still well within spec. and totally acceptable.

-MCV, 4-16-11

2 comments: