Seiko 5 Sports Watches

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Average Ratings of all

Average Ratings of all4.8
65 average ratings

99% Stylish

97% Comfortable

98% Good value

Seiko 5 Overview

Many watch collectors trace the origin of their horological passion to the “entry-level automatic” Seiko 5 Sports. It debuted in 1968 as a sportier version of the Sportsmatic 5 released five years earlier. From the first models to the 2019 SRPD series revamp, the Seiko 5 Sports has consistently delivered dive-watch style and functionality at an affordable price point. 

Seiko 5 Sports History

Seiko introduced the Sportsmatic 5 in 1963. This popular Japanese domestic market (JDM) watch quickly gained a global audience after the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Described by Seiko as having a “novel, rational design,” the “Five” had a round case with dauphine hands and an applied logo known as the “5 Shield.” The original Five and subsequent releases of the Seiko 5 Sports were named for their five key attributes:

  • An automatic movement: Seiko used a variety of movements with 17 to 25 jewels in the 5 series, though none were exclusive to the range. Seiko’s Magic Lever winding system eliminated the need for hand winding.
  • Combined day-date window at 3 o’clock for legibility: In many JDM variants, the day is expressed using Kanji characters.   
  • Water resistance, which was originally described as “waterproof” on the dial. First-generation Sportsmatic watches were rated to 50 meters, second-gen 5 Sports increased to 70 meters, and the latest-generation SRPD is water resistant to 100 meters. 
  • Recessed crown at 4 o’clock: With no need for hand winding, Seiko was able to essentially hide the crown in a recessed pocket at 4 o’clock. The unique crown position on the Five signaled to the market that revolutionary technology was inside.
  • Durability: This was ensured by the unbreakable Diaflex mainspring, Diashock system and metal bracelet. 

In 1968, Seiko brought out the Seiko 5 Sports Diver Reference 6106-8120 with a cushion case design that foreshadowed the Seiko Turtle of the mid-1970s. The 5 Sports was designed for active, style-conscious buyers who wanted a reliable watch that could be worn for light diving and other water sports. It was heavily advertised in print and brochures and appeared on the cover of Seiko’s 1968 catalog. 

Seiko 5 Sports Design and Features

The first version of the 5 Sports was a steel 42mm watch with an automatic in-house 6106 23-jewel movement. It featured a Hardlex crystal, rotating 60-minute bezel and luminous hands and markers on a black dial. “Water Proof” appeared on the dials of late-60s models before Seiko updated to “Water Resistant” in later years. 

The 5 Sports line expanded quickly as Seiko introduced several variants, including the Speedtimer Reference 6139, Seiko’s first automatic chronograph. The Speedtimer launched in 1969 at roughly the same time as the Zenith El Primero, the world’s first automatic chronograph, and the Heuer Monaco. Other classic models produced in JDM and export variants from the earlier era of 5 Sports include:

  • The Sushi Roll Reference 6119-7163, so named for the distinctive makilike round hour markers
  • The 5126-8090 Kamen Rider, named because the hero in the series wore one when not in his superhero costume
  • The 6106 and 6119 UFO with its thick case, crown-controlled rotating inner bezel and filled outer bezel
  • The Rally Divers, which were produced between 1969 and 1972 and are easily identified by the checkered bezel

Over the decades leading up to the 2019 revamp of the 5 Sports, the design and features of the series evolved. Sometimes the changes did not resonate with collectors and fans. For example, Seiko moved the crown to the traditional 3 o’clock position to conform to a more modern style. It then reversed that move with the release of the 2019 SRPD Seiko 5 Sports collection.   

The SRPD Seiko 5 Sports Collection

In 2019, Seiko unveiled a 27-model collection that recaptured the look, feel and energy of the original 5 Sports watches. With the crown in its proper 4 o’clock position, Seiko grouped the SRPD releases into five categories: Sports, Suits, Specialist, Street and Sense. Each category is 40mm to 42.5mm in steel with design, color and strap options intended to appeal to select customer groups. All are powered by the highly accurate hacking 4R36 automatic movement, which can also be hand wound. They also feature water resistance to 100 meters, a Hardlex crystal, display caseback and rotating bezel, though none have the screw-down crown expected on true tool watches. Seiko reimagined the series logo as a sideways 5 that resembles a tilted Superman “S.” The case is clearly inspired by the SKX007, another Seiko classic that was recently discontinued. Highlights of the collection include the SRPD51 with its blue dial/bezel combo, the SRPD55 black on black and the SRPD53 blue dial and Pepsi bezel. The green dial/bezel SRPD63K1 5 Sports Hulk is another great example of the modern 5 Sports collection.  

Seiko 5 Sports Collectibility and Value

Since its introduction, the Seiko 5 Sports has been an affordable entry point into the world of automatic watches. Lasting about 20 years, the Five has been called “the cheapest high-end watch.” Since these watches were produced at massive scale, virtually any vintage example can be had for a few hundred dollars or much less. The easy price point makes these watches extremely popular among collectors — instead of spending thousands on a single watch, it is easy to build a collection without breaking the bank. Exceptions include some of the rare early models like a vintage Rally Reference 6119-7173 that sold for $650 in December 2020. Select Speedtimer examples include $5,428 NOS and $1,500 sales from February and January 2021, respectively. New watches in the SRPD 5 Sports collection carry a starting msrp of $295, and with heavy discounting, even the top-end models barely hit $350.