It’s one of the classic designs from the Japanese Brand: the Seiko SNK809 is their take on the classic field watch.

Seiko SNK809 Review

Seiko produce a series of watches that are popular with collectors: from the Orange Monster to the SKX007 diver. The Seiko SNK809 field watch is another of their popular timepieces.

At a glance

Seiko SNK809

Circa £150
Case size
Water Resistance
Seiko 7s26

Most modern Seikos seem to come in the same standard packaging: a two-part white cardboard box within a white sleeve. The Seiko SNK809 is no different. It’s both functional and adequate at the price – though there is hardly any wow factor when you open it up to see the watch rattling around on the small, soft cushion!

Case and Movement

The Seiko 7s26 is a classic movement. It’s low-beat, non-hacking and non-hand-winding but it has powered Seiko 5 watches for generations and is renowned as being pretty much bulletproof. It’s a bit dated now, though, with most entry-level Seiko-powered watches using the NH3x series which has hacking and hand winding – and is equally as reliable. Despite its lack of finishing touches, the movement is often found behind a display case back – and this is the case here, unusually for a watch that’s intended to see a bit of rough and tumble.

The Seiko SNK809 has a small (by modern standards) 37mm case, but it wears well, especially on a NATO strap as the bulk of the strap is counteracted by its smaller dimensions. The finishing of the case is to Seiko’s usual standards – that is, it’s better than you’d expect at the price with no rough edges. The crystal is made of Seiko’s proprietary Hardlex, which is supposedly better at resisting cracks and scratches than a standard mineral crystal.

Dial and Hands

Instead of 1-12 / 13-24 in concentric circles around the dial, the Seiko SNK809 instead has a minute counter on the outside and hours of the day in the middle. It’s an interesting choice that is out-of-the-ordinary if not particularly intuitive. Seiko’s usual superb lume lights up the hands and dots at each hour position. The silver sword hands are easy to read against the black dial. Like all Seiko 5 watches, you get a day as well as a date display. A bit of a faff when setting the watch out of the watch box, but always nice to have!

Personally, I find that even though I don’t really need numbers to tell the time, the minutes being on the outer edge manages to confuse me and this watch always needs two glances to tell the time!

Bracelet and Clasp

The Seiko SNK809 comes on a very rattly folded link bracelet with hollow end links. It’s nicely bead blasted, but it feels very cheap, and most buyers will immediately switch to another strap. NATO straps look good on field watches, although the 18mm lug width limits your options somewhat.

The clasp is the usual Seiko 5 fare – thin pressed steel that closes but never feels particularly secure despite its secondary pin that requires a squeeze to open.

Seiko SNK809 – Video Review

At a glance…

  • Classic Seiko design
  • Excellent lume
  • Very cheap to buy and own
  • Very cheap, rattly bracelet
  • Perhaps too small for modern tastes
  • 7s26 movement is dated

Seiko SNK809 – The WRUK Verdict

The Seiko SNK809 is a cheap watch – and you can see where some of the corners have been cut in its production. I can’t help but feel that if Seiko took this watch, stuck it in a 40mm case with an NH36 and a proper bracelet they’d be onto a winner. As it is, although case sizes are coming down, the SNK809 just feels a touch too small for me. If that’s what you want, though, everyone needs at least one Seiko in their collection!

Buy a Seiko SNK809

YOur best bet for picking up a cheap Seiko SNK809 is to scour eBay.

By Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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