Today I’m wearing a more recent watch for “Watch A Day“. This Seiko SSA005 has a great “tool watch” look with a Navitimer-esque slide rule bezel and funky 24-hour subdial at 12:00. It’s extremely well-built and was pretty affordable too!
The SSA005 is a large, modern watch with upscale looks and real utility. Let’s start with the most obvious feature, the slide rule bezel. The outer portion of the bezel rotates, allowing unit conversion and various measurements, including distance (nautical and statutory miles, feet, kilometers), volume (fuel pounds, oil pounds, imperial gallons, US gallons, liters), and weight (kilograms, pounds). Of course I’ve tried all this and of course it does work. It’s just not really useful in this age of smartphones. But then again, neither is a mechanical watch!
The dial has a lovely waffle pattern that really catches the light – check it out in the photos above and below! The dial always looks black, but sometimes the texture disappears and it just looks deeper than deep. The markers are applied, polished on the sides and generously lumed on top. I’m usually not a fan of date windows anywhere but 12 or 3, but this one is aligned almost at 4 and works surprisingly well, especially with the polished frame.
The baton-shaped hour and minute hands are unusual in that they are exactly identical in size apart from their length. And once again, they are generously lumed. The seconds hand is most unusual, being black for about half its length, then red with a lumed red arrow half way, leaving a long red stick point. Many watches have an arrow-shaped seconds hand and some have a bit of a stick, but none I know of is shaped like this!
A 24 hour subdial rounds out the design, placed at 12:00. This is an unusual location for the only subdial on a watch, but it calls attention to itself in a pleasing way, given the aviation design. But this is not a dual timezone watch: The subdial shows the same time as the hour hand. And the location of this subdial necessitated rotating the crown past 4:00, an unfortunate “feature” of the 4R37 movement.
Now let’s dive inside. The 4R37 is a modern update of the mainstream Seiko 7S movement family. It adds features from the 6R15, including hacking and hand-winding, but still beats at just 21,600 A/h and lacks the high-tech Spron 510 mainspring of upscale Seiko movements. This was a brand-new development at the time and is a solid choice, but isn’t really much to write home about. The only really novel feature of the 4R37 (and similar 4R39) is that 24 hour subdial, confusingly placed off-axis from the crown.
The case is large yet comfortable, with rounded edges revealing its low-cost production. At 42 mm across, this is one of the larger watches in my collection and perhaps the heaviest as well. It sits solidly on the wrist, with every twitch creating a noticeable torque and clatter of the bracelet. Happily, that bracelet is extremely comfortable as well, with a multilink design. And the clasp is belts-and-suspenders secure: There’s a bushbutton single deployant with a friction clasp to hold it closed. Although the bracelet is heavy and solid, it’s obviously cheaper than many in my collection and the clasp is simple folded metal.
My watch is specifically the SSA005K1. With modern Seiko watches, that “K” means it was made outside Japan (Malaysia, I believe) as opposed to the “J” domestic models. And the band is marked as having been made in China. All this diminishes the “Superior” designation placed on this watch by Seiko, though I feel that the construction is decent. It’s no high-end watch, but it’s not priced like one either!
I purchased this one at a Seiko Company Store here in the USA. A few times a year they have a “watch box” sale: Buy 3 or more watches at 70% off. Seriously. So this ended up being a spectacular bargain to boot!