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Seiko 5 GMT Review: Your Affordable Mechanical GMT in 2024?

  • Apr 21, 2024
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Seiko 5 GMT Review: Your Affordable Mechanical GMT in 2024?

The Seiko 5 GMT has been my favorite release from the last few years. When I heard rumors of Seiko making an affordable GMT in the Seiko 5 Sports line, I didn’t know what to expect. But when they officially announced the drop, I knew I had to get my hands on one.

Watch collectors are always on the hunt for the next great timepiece to add to their collection. When Seiko announced an affordable GMT watch in their Seiko 5 Sports line, it immediately caught my attention. After spending a month with the orange variant (the one that caught my eye the most), I’m confident in delivering this Seiko 5 GMT review to you and explaining why it has been one of my favorites.

Key Takeaways

  • The Seiko 5 GMT is an affordable mechanical GMT under $500 with a classic SKX-inspired case design.
  • The updated Jubilee bracelet is a pleasure to wear. It is reminiscent of a Strapcode bracelet and a significant improvement over the original SKX bracelet.
  • The unique split-finish bezel design sets the Seiko 5 GMT apart from other watches in Seiko’s lineup.
  • The friction-fitted bezel offers smooth, satisfying action without the alignment issues found in some of Seiko’s ratcheting divers.
  • If you’ve been considering a GMT watch, the Seiko 5 GMT might be the perfect option, especially if you appreciate the SKX case design and updated features.
  • After a month of wear, the Seiko 5 GMT has become a regular in my rotation. I often choose it over my Rolex Pepsi for its versatility and under-the-radar appeal.

Pros
  • Affordable mechanical GMT under $500
  • Classic SKX-inspired case design
  • Updated, comfortable jubilee bracelet
  • Unique split-finish bezel design
  • Smooth, friction-fitted bezel action
  • Versatile and doesn’t attract unwanted attention
Cons
  • Not a “true GMT” movement (traveler’s GMT)
  • Stamped clasp on the jubilee bracelet
  • May not be a necessary purchase if you already own an SKX or Seiko 5 Sports model

Comparison To The Classic SKX Case Design

When thinking about a classic case design from Seiko, the SKX comes to mind. It’s the watch that kicked off many people’s watch-collecting journeys. One quirky thing the SKX was known for was the jangly jubilee bracelet. While some didn’t like it, I loved that bracelet for its comfort and suitability for the watch.

Although the movement is a modified off-the-shelf caliber rather than a new one, making it a Caller GMT instead of a “true GMT,” this doesn’t bother me. Ultimately, it doesn’t detract from its appeal as an affordable mechanical GMT from a respected brand.

The Updated Jubilee Bracelet

I’ve always been a fan of the original SKX jubilee bracelet, so seeing it updated in the Seiko 5 GMT was a real treat. It’s still a rattly bracelet but not as flexible as the original SKX one. That’s something I can get behind as on the wrist, it feels almost like a Strapcode jubilee bracelet. The stamped clasp, seems to bother a lot of other enthusiasts but doesn’t bother me, as it keeps the costs low and gets the job done.

The Unique Bezel Detail

The Seiko 5 GMT’s bezel design caught my eye with its split black and mirror-like finish, something I haven’t seen on other Seiko watches. Something smart that I think Seiko did was have the bezel fitted on as a friction-fitted bezel. This allows you to turn it without alignment issues and offers a satisfying, smooth action, unlike ratcheting bezels you find on other dive watches. other watches on the market.

For any of you who are familiar with Vostok bezels and how they also have a friction-fitted bezel. However, this watch isn’t as janky and doesn’t have issues like weird hard stops or some odd noises you can get from turning the bezel. The Seiko 5 GMT bezel is very smooth, and once you get into place, it stays in place, and it doesn’t really get knocked around once it’s on your wrist

Should You Buy the Seiko 5 GMT?

For those who have been holding out on adding a mechanical GMT to their collection, the Seiko 5 GMT presents a seriously compelling option. Yes, a quartz JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) Seiko GMT may come in slightly cheaper, but having a mechanical movement from such a reputable brand at this price point is tough to pass up.

However, if GMT complications aren’t really your jam and you already own an SKX or Seiko 5 Sports model, this may not be an essential purchase. It’s ultimately the same watch you know and love, with the addition of a GMT hand and a new bezel. That said, I’d still highly recommend picking up the updated jubilee bracelet if Seiko makes it available separately.

Video Review 

Final Thoughts

After a month of wear, the Seiko 5 GMT has earned a regular place in my rotation. I often choose it over my Rolex Pepsi for its similar style and functionality without attracting unwanted attention.

If you’re in the market for an affordable mechanical GMT with charm and Seiko’s signature quirkiness, the Seiko 5 GMT is easy to recommend. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Seiko 5 GMT, and if you’re looking for an affordable mechanical GMT with a familiar case design and updated features, I highly recommend it.


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