The reference SBSA005, with a black dial, black diver’s bezel, and full stainless steel bracelet, is perhaps the foundation of the entire Seiko 5 Sports watch collection. However, just because its styling is relatively standard does not make it boring.
In this review, I’ll be taking a close look at this affordable and robust Seiko dive watch via the following categories:
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Seiko SBSA005 (SRPD55K1) Specs & Price
- Style: Sports
- Case Diameter: 42.5mm
- Case Material: Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Seiko Hardlex
- Water Resistance: 100M / 330ft
- Dial: Flat Black, Lumed (Green LumiBrite)
- Bracelet: Full Stainless Steel
- Movement: Seiko 4R36 Self-Winding Caliber
- 41-Hour Power Reserve
- Day & Date
- Hacking/Stop Seconds Function
- Wind via Crown
- Retail Price: $295
Note: The model used for this review, the Seiko SBSA005, possesses a specific reference number that denotes it as a Made in Japan iteration. This same style is available under a different reference SRPD55K1 when it is not made in Japan. The differences between a Japanese market version of this model and the international market version are minimal and only cosmetic. Throughout this review, I’ll note when there is an aspect unique to this Made in Japan model.
SBSA005/SRPD55K1 Steel Case
The Seiko SBSA005 and SRPD55K1 possess a stainless steel case with crown and crown guards at 4 o’clock as is traditional for many Seiko dive watch. Yet again, as has been common for many past Seiko divers like the SKX and many others within the 5 Sports line, the subject of this review boasts a dual-finish case.
What this means is that the top side of the case and lugs are brushed steel while the sides or flanks of the case and lugs are in a high polish finish. Where these two contrasting finished meet is a delicate bevel or edge that softens what would otherwise be a stark angle.
Lastly, the lugs possess lugs holes that make it a breeze to change the bracelet or strap. In fact, I was able to change the bracelet on this SBSA005 with just a paperclip. Changing the length of the bracelet, i.e. removing links, is a whole different story (more on this later.)
Sitting atop the case is a unidirectional steel bezel that is textured on its outer perimeter to aid in rotating the bezel. Inside, the bezel cradles a black metallic insert with silver minute marking. Over top of the case and protecting the face of the watch is a Seiko Hardlex crystal that is scratch-resistant and shatterproof.
Seiko 5 Sports SBSA005 Black Dial
Matching the black diver’s bezel of this SBSA005 is the black dial. The dial is surrounded by a raised minuted track that also has silver minute markings on a black background.
Applied onto the dial are high-polish hour indices with luminous fills. In this case, the luminous material is green Seiko LumiBrite that shines very brightly even after only spending a few minutes in direct sunlight.
Matching the finish of the hour indices are the center hands which themselves are quite large and therefore make it very easy to read the time. They also bring an attractive symmetry to the dial as the hour indices are also oversized. Indeed with Seiko dive watches legibility has never been an issue and this SBSA005 is no different.
Additional details of note on the dial are the new Seiko 5 Sports logo at 12 and the italicized Automatic text at 6, both of which are in silver.
This being the Made in Japan model, there is some small print below the 6 o’clock index that denotes this. Additionally, these Japanese-market models will have English and Japanese as the two languages for the day. In non-MiJ models, the secondary language is usually Spanish. In either version, Saturday and Sunday are in blue and red font, respectively.
Stainless Steel Bracelet With Folding Clasp
This SBSA005 (and the SRPD55K1) comes equipped with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. Like the case, the bracelet also has a brushed finish on its top side and high polish on the sides of the bracelet.
Ensuring that this watch stays strapped to your wrist is a very secure double-button release folding clasp. While it’s stamped steel and perhaps a bit “jangly”, the clasp will not open unless the two buttons are depressed so there are no concerns of this watch flying off your wrist if you’re engaging in some sort of extreme activity.
The full bracelet is quite long so it’s likely that you’ll have to size it down to fit your wrist properly. Unfortunately, if you’ve never adjusted a pin bracelet before, perhaps it’s best to take it to a local watchmaker or jeweler to have it done for you for a small fee.
You can always look for videos online on how to size a Seiko 5 Sports bracelet but it does take some skill and tools. That being said, perhaps this relatively affordable Seiko is not a bad watch to practice on and learn how to do it yourself.
The Seiko 4R36 Movement
Powering the SBSA005, and visible through the crystal caseback, is a self-winding Seiko 4R36 caliber. This movement has been around for more or less 10 years and is quite robust and reliable.
I’m not sure if it’s the same for other model lines with this movement, but in the Seiko 5 Sports, the 4R36 boasts an attractive level of finishing that can be admired via the caseback. One can see that the bridges have a detailed brushed finish and other components, including geartrain wheels, have been polished. I am glad that Seiko took the time to do this given that the movement are clearly visible.
The mechanical specifications of the Seiko 4R36 include a 41-hour power reserve, self-winding, winding via the crown, hacking/stop-seconds function, and +45/-35 secs/day accuracy. While this is no chronometer, the movement is reliable enough for a sports watch and certainly more than can be expected at this price point.
I’d argue that, when devising the 5 Sports collection, Seiko began with a subtly-colored piece such as this SBSA005 and then expanded into other bracelets, dial/bezel colors, case coatings and more. Considering this, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that this watch is the epitome of the Seiko 5 Sports collection.
It definitely encompasses everything that Seiko wants this collection to be: sporty in design, robust in construction, extremely legible, reliable in its timekeeping, and flexible in its formality. Without a doubt, the SBSA005 ticks all of these boxes. Moreover, I found that watch to wear very comfortably once I had the bracelet sized properly. The full bracelet does a great job of balancing the watch head, not only in weight but in proportion, so that it does not wear like a 42mm+ timepiece.
As a first watch, the SBSA005 is likely the top choice within this price bracket. As a brother to Seiko dive watches already in your collection, I also think it’s a great choice. And lastly, as a project watch that you may use to learn how to customize (“mod”) Seiko sports models, the SBSA005 is also irreplaceable.
"Quite possibly the foundational watch in the entire 5 Sports collection, the Seiko SRPD55K1 (SBSA005) is a value-packed timepiece that will not disappoint."
Let me know in the comments below what you think of this Seiko SBSA005 or the 5 Sports collection as a whole. Otherwise, check out some of our other watch pages:
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