Seiko SRPD81 Black Street Watch NATO Strap (1) (1)

Within the Seiko 5 Sports Street subcollection, there are (as of this writing) three blackout-themed watches. In the following review, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the blue-on-black version, the SRPD81.

While the SRPD81 is not the only black-coated watch within the 5 Sports line, it does have a differentiating characteristic – a “flat” black PVD finish. Other black-coated Seiko 5 Sports watches possess a glossy black luster, one much more reminiscent of a traditional PVD finish.

After spending some months with the SRPD81, I found the unique case finish not only very appealing but also very fitting for a Street-inspired watch. There are also other design aspects that make this watch not only easy to wear but also easy to pair (in many casual outfits). I explore these and more via the following categories:

  1. SRPD81 Tech Specifications
  2. Case & Bezel
  3. Dial
  4. Strap
  5. Movement
  6. On-The-Wrist Review

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Seiko 5 Sports SRPD81 Specs & Price

  • Style: Street
  • Case Diameter: 42.5mm
  • Case Material: Flat Black PVD on Steel (Hard Coating)
  • Crystal: Seiko Hardlex
  • Water Resistance: 100M / 330ft
  • Dial: Flat Black, Lumed (LumiBrite)
  • Strap: Black NATO
  • Movement: Seiko 4R36, Automatic
    • 41-Hour Power Reserve
    • Day & Date
    • Hacking/Stop Seconds Function
    • Wind via Crown
  • Retail Price: $335
Seiko SRPD81 Black Street Watch NATO Strap

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The Seiko SRPD81’s Case

As I alluded to in the introduction, what first struck me about the Seiko SRPD81’s case was its coating. I was already familiar with the surface coatings (“hard coating”) that Seiko had been employing throughout the 5 Sports collection. Yet, the coating on this SRPD81 was markedly different.

Most noticeably, the black coating is matte with hardly any luster at all. This is in stark contrast to other black-coated Seiko 5 Sports models, for instance the SRPD65, which is also entirely coated in black but with a glossy finish.

Also absent on the case of this SRPD81 are the brushed and high-polish finishes encountered on most Seiko 5 Sports models, as well as the SKX from whom they inherited the case design. These trademark finishes are generally present, even when the case of the watch isn’t bare steel.

Seiko-5-Sports-SRPD81-Matte-Black-Case-Coating

I find the flat black tone of the case and bezel very fitting for a watch belonging to the more casual Street subcollection. It also looks great with the contrasting blue accents encountered throughout the face of the watch.

Bezel Details

Like the case, the bezel is also steel with a matte black coating.

On its outside edge, the 120-click diver’s bezel is textured/knurled to improve grip. This feature also adds a bit of texture contrast to an otherwise smooth case profile. Lastly, inside the bezel rests a black insert with a metallic blue diver’s scale.; there are numerals in intervals of 10 and individual minute markings from 1 through 20.

5 Sports SRPD81 Dial Details

Seiko-SRPD81-Blue-Lume-Lumibrite-DialThe Seiko SRPD81’s dial further extends the matte black color scheme, though the hour indices applied on its surface are black with a polished finish. Each index is filled with Blue LumiBrite that not only looks blue in the daylight but also shines blue in dark conditions. This is worthy of note seeing as how LumiBrite tends to have a green hue rather than a blue one.

At the center axis are the hour and minute hands; these possess a brushed finish with a dark coating. The coating isn’t completely black, in fact it’s closer to a dark gray, which certainly helps with legibility. They also have blue luminous fills.

Lastly, there is a calendar window at 3 o’clock that display the day and date wheels, presented here as white text on a black background.

OEM Black NATO Strap

Seiko-5-Sports-SRPD81-Black-PVD-NATO-Strap-BuckleThe SRPD81 is sold on an OEM black NATO strap that has matching metal keepers that are also coated in matte black. The tang buckle is equally finished and boasts a large Seiko marquee.

While I think the SRPD81 looks great on its native strap, the lug holes on the case make it extremely easy to change the strap. This is particularly important when dealing with coated steel as even an experienced user can slip up and leave a permanent scratch on their timepiece.

SRPD81 Self-Winding Movement

Powering the SRPD81 is Seiko’s 4R36 automatic (self-winding) movement. It boasts the following technical specifications:

  • 41 hours power reserve
  • 24 jewels
  • Visible through the see-through case back
  • Accuracy +45s/-35s per day

In addition to the above, the Seiko 4R36 caliber also imparts a couple of key functions to the watch that are worth expanding on. First, there is the “quick date” function, which means that the day and date can be easily changed through the crown. Next, it also has hacking seconds (stop-seconds); this allows one to set the time down to the second against a reference time zone.

Seiko-SRPD81-Movement-See-Through-Back-4R36

Lastly, the movement may also be hand-wound directly through the crown when the crown is at “position 0,” or the position when the crown is closest to the case. On the other hand, this means that the crown does not screw into the case and therefore the watch isn’t as waterproof as it could be. As all Seiko 5 Sports watches, the SRPD81 is rated to 100m (330ft) whereas its predecessor could survive as far down as 200m.

Seiko SRPD81 Review: On-The-Wrist

Before spending some time with this SRPD81, I had previously reviewed other Seiko 5 Sports watches and was familiar with how they wore. This SRPD81 was no different – the watch is very comfortable, especially on this NATO strap.

Seiko-SRPD81-Black-PVD-Watch-Wristshot

The watch’s dimensions are slightly larger than I generally prefer, but the proportions are ideal so I can wear the SRPD81 without feeling like the watch has taken over my wrist.  Yet, what I found the most appealing about the SRPD81 is its color scheme. The bright fluorescent blue accents contrasted with black are both “stealthy” and loud at the same time.

Seiko 5 Sports Street Blackout Watches SRPD79 SRPD83

While wearing it, I received tons of compliments. There is just something about a black watch that draws a lot of attention, even more so with the brash accents that this SRPD81 carries.

If you’re in the market for a similar “murdered out” look on a sturdy automatic watch, I can definitely recommend this SRPD81. There are two other matte black watches accompanying the SRPD81 in the Street subcollection, but as it stands, this one is definitely my favorite.

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"One of the coolest and sleekest models that the renewed Seiko 5 Sports collection has to offer."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★★

Further Reading

What did you think of this review? Would you pick the SRPD81 over the other “murdered out” watches in the Seiko 5 Sports collection? Let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, check out some of our other wristwatch reviews and guides:

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