Paul Rothbart, Author at Exquisite Timepieces
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seiko ssk001 review

In the world of watches, most true aficionados have a diver or two in their collections. Although they have been replaced by dive computers and most dive watches never see any water other than in a thunderstorm, their style, reliability, and rugged history make them appealing. 

I have never been more than one meter below the surface, yet, I own four divers. They are among the favorites in my collection. I feel like an adventurer on dry land, even sitting at my desk when I wear a dive watch. That includes the Seiko SSK001.

About The Seiko SSK001

The Seiko SSK001 is part of the Seiko Sport 5 GMT collection. It’s an automatic diver with a GMT complication that looks fantastic with casual, smart casual, or business attire. Released in the spring of 2022, The Seiko Sport 5 SSK01 is a durable, reliable, and beautiful GMT timepiece. Best of all, you can get it for less than $500. That’s not a typo.. Let’s take a closer look. 

History of Seiko GMT Watches

Seiko has a long and proud history that began in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori began selling and repairing clocks and watches at a shop in Tokyo. Under the brand name Seikosha, Hattori began making clocks in 1892 and pocket watches in 1895.

Hattori created his first wristwatch, the Laurel in 1913 and in 1924, changed his company’s name to Seiko, thus beginning a tradition that continues to this day. The Seiko brand kept improving and releasing new and innovative watches. By the 1960s, the brand was producing chronographs and dive watches.

In 1967, Seiko announced its arrival in the world of elite horology, taking second and third place in the final Neufchatel Observatory and Geneva Observatory Competition. Seiko made quite a splash in 2014 when the SBGJ005 Hi-beat 3600 GMT won the Petite Aiguille Award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve. The long journey led to the 2022 release of the incredible and affordable Seiko SSK001. Timepieces of this caliber don’t appear overnight, folks. 

Seiko SSK001: In-Depth Review

There’s a lot to like about the Seiko SSK001, especially if you are a traveler or like to track multiple time zones and have a tight budget.


The SSK001 features a 42.5 mm stainless steel brushed case with polished sides to make it stand out. This size suits many wrist sizes. Mine is an average 7.25 inches, and the SSK001 is right in the wheelhouse of my preferred case size. With a lug-to-lug width of 46 mm and a thickness of 13.6 mm, this watch wears well on smaller wrists.

If you’re a watch nerd like me, you’ll appreciate the exhibition case back, which allows you to get a good look at the movement. The crown is not screw-in, making this timepiece more of a desk diver. It sits at four o’clock rather than at three. Some people have trouble with the asymmetry, but I feel it adds character and unique charm to this timepiece.


Seiko SSK001

As a proper GMT watch, the SSK001 has a 24-hour bezel. The black and gray two-tone insert indicates day and night and it turns unidirectionally with 120 clicks for a smooth motion that feels nice. Arabic numerals are set at the even numbers with dots at the odd and a large inverted triangle at 12 o’clock. 


Seiko uses high-quality materials in the SSK001. The case and bracelet are made from surgical-grade stainless steel. The bezel is aluminum and polished to a nice finish. The same quality stainless steel is used for the hands. 


Seiko SSK001

The dial is a black sunray burst beauty. I prefer neutral colors. They go with anything and provide a classic and timeless style. The sunray pattern gives the dial a bit of pop, especially in bright light. The Seiko name and logo are applied at the 12 o’clock position with the date function at three.

Pill-shaped indices sit at six and nine o’clock, with an inverted triangle at 12. Dots are set at the five-minute markers in between. All the indices are applied and filled with Lumibrite, such as the minute, hour, and GMT hands. You won’t have any trouble seeing the time at night.

The minute hand is a broad arrow, and the hour hand has the classic sword shape. The second hand is a needle, and the GMT hand is a large, red arrow that stands out nicely. The dial is covered by a Hardlex crystal. Would I have liked to see sapphire here? Absolutely. But we all know Seiko loves to cut corners, and the crystal is always one of its first priorities.

At three o’clock above the date complication sits a Cyclops magnifier. This is a feature that tends to divide watch enthusiasts. Some love it, some could live without it. Personally, I like the way it makes the date much easier for my aging eyes to read. A bonus is that it’s pill-shaped and adds a nice symmetry to the indices at six and nine.


Seiko SSK001

The Caliber 4R34 automatic movement is reliable and durable. It has 24 jewels and operates at 21,6000 bph. For a watch at this price point, the accuracy of +45/-35 seconds per day is respectable, and the movement has a 41-hour power reserve. This is more than enough if you wear it every day. I keep mine on a watch winder, so it’s always ready to go. 

The Seiko SSK001 is a caller-type GMT, meaning you can’t set the hour hand separately. Pulling the crown out to the first position allows setting the GMT hand by turning clockwise. Counterclockwise changes the date. The second position sets the time by turning in either direction.


Holding the watch on your wrist is a stainless steel, five-link jubilee bracelet. The polished surfaces shine nicely. Seiko has improved on its earlier jubilee bracelet which tended to be jangly. This version feels more solid and wraps neatly around the wrist. The bracelet tapers to a trifold, two-button clasp that feels secure. Solid end links add to the look and feel.

Should You Buy A Seiko SSK001?

Is the Seiko SSK001 right for you? If you travel or do business with people in other time zones, you could benefit from a GMT. People with a sense of adventure will enjoy the dive-watch nature of this timepiece.

The neutral colorway is perfect if your style is classic and timeless. It’s a versatile watch that can be your GADA. If you are looking for a stylish, well-made, and reliable watch but don’t have the budget for a four, five, or (gasp) six-figure price tag, this may be the ideal choice. You get plenty of bang for your buck.

Seiko SSK001 Pricing & Availability

If you are ready to pull the trigger, the Seiko SSK001 is readily available at a Seiko store or from their website. You can also buy one at Seiko authorized dealers, like Exquisite Timepieces. You can always stop into our boutique in Naples, Florida, to try one on or purchase it online. There is also the option of purchasing one of these beauties new or preowned on the secondary market.

The MSRP of the Seiko SSK001 is just $475. If you shop around or have a good relationship with an AD, you might get one for a bit less and can also save by going preowned. Depending on the condition, you can pick a used one up for between $250 and $350. 

Seiko SSK001 Alternatives

If you like the Seiko SSK001 but would prefer different colors or strap options, there are several other models. They are all powered by the same movement and offer the reliability of the Seiko 5 Sports GMT watches with varying features and styles. With the exception of the Yuto Horigome model, they are priced the same as the SSK001.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK003

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK003

The Seiko GMT SSK003  is identical to the SSK001 except for its color. It features a stunning blue sunray dial and a two-tone black and blue bezel. It is a bit bolder than its black-dialed cousin but retains a classy and subtle look. It’s a nice addition to any collection. 

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK005

Maybe you want a watch that really pops. The Seiko GMT SSK005 has a bright orange dial that will stand out. Along with its orange minute and hour hands and gray GMT hand, this timepiece makes a statement. The black and gray two-tone bezel offers a nice contrast to the dial. You get the same movement, bracelet, and reliability in a watch that suits a flashier sense of style.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK021 Grey Two-Tone

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK021 Grey Two-Tone

For the same subtle, timeless style with just a touch of bling, check out the Seiko GMT SSK021. The classy gray dial and matching minute and hour hands blend well with the two-tone black and gray bezel. The outer edge of the bezel is a shiny gold color that matches the GMT hand. It adds a touch of boldness without being in your face. The movement and bracelet are the same as the SSK001. 

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK019 Black

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK019 Black

Perhaps you love the bracelet and elegance of the SSK001 but want just a little bit of color. The Seiko GMT SSK019 may be the perfect watch for you. It has the same black sunray dial, black and gray bezel, and red GMT hand but with an added twist. The outer edge of the dial is two-tone red and blue. It makes the dial stand out but is not ostentatious. 

Seiko 5 Sports SSK027 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition

For exclusivity and a look that stands out in a completely different way, you may love the Seiko SSK027 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition. A tribute to the first-ever gold medalist in Olympic skateboarding, Seiko only made 2700 of these pieces, so you may have to track down a pre-owned watch. The brand-new models have an MSRP of $525, just slightly higher than the others in the collection.

The stainless steel case and bracelet are the same style and quality but coated in black. The black dial is surrounded by a black and purple two-tone bezel. It’s a unique look for the Seiko 5 GMT collection, and you will have a conversation starter that you won’t see on the wrists of many other people.


Diver GMT watches are among the most popular with watch enthusiasts. They do tend to be pricey and outside the range of many people’s budgets. Seiko has come to the rescue with the Seiko SSK001 and the other models in the Sports 5 GMT collection.

A stylish, reliable, and well-made GMT diver can be yours for less than half a grand. Imagine that. One final bit of advice. The Seiko Sports 5 GMT watches have a 100-meter water resistance. Go ahead and swim in them, but if you’re snorkeling around a reef or have a diving adventure, leave your Seiko on dry land.

Seiko 5 GMT Review

Watches with complications tend to be among the most popular with collectors. Moon phases, power reserve indicators, days, dates, and tourbillons are useful as well as fun and stylish. Even though I have a calendar app on my smartphone, I need to see the date displayed on my watch.

Complications require more intricate movements and dials and are, thus, more expensive than standard three-hand models. For newbies to the world of watch collecting or veterans on a budget, it can be hard to find an affordable timepiece with the desired complication. This is especially true of GMT watches.

This is a complication that is extremely helpful to travelers or those who do business with people in other timezones. Sure, you can do the math, but it’s so much easier and way cooler to track more than one timezone on your watch.

GMT watches tend to be very expensive. A simple Google search will bear that out. However, the folks at Seiko have a collection of GMT watches that retail for less than $500. You read that right. You can own a beautiful Seiko 5 GMT at a price that won’t blow up your budget. Let’s take a closer look at these marvelous bargain-priced timepieces.

About The Seiko 5 GMT

The summer of 2022 saw the release of the Seiko 5 GMT collection. This event was not only huge for Seiko and its many fans; it knocked the world of horology on its butt. All of those budget-conscious watch lovers who couldn’t afford a GMT now finally had one to add to their collections.

Part of the Seiko 5 Sports Line, the SSK GMTs share many design features with their older cousins of the SKX Series. Available in a number of dial and bezel colors on bracelets or straps, these watches are clearly Seikos but have a unique charm of their own.

History of Seiko 5 Watches

The Seiko 5 collection has a long history. The first of the series, the Seiko 5 Sportsmatic 5, was released in 1963 and was a groundbreaking timepiece for the brand. The Sportmatic was the first automatic day-date for not only Seiko but also any Japanese brand.

The “5” in the model name represented five key attributes: the automatic movement, the day-date complication, 100-meter water resistance, the recessed crown at four o’clock, and the durable case and bracelet. The number was also used to name the Caliber 5 automatic movement. The watch was such a hit in the world of horology that Seiko earned a Good Design Award in early 1964.

Over the past six decades, the collection has evolved to include many types of sports watches. The SKX series of dive watches was released in 1996 and proved enormously popular. Unfortunately, Seiko discontinued it in 2019. The Prospex is still available and is an excellent diver, but that’s another story for another day.

The Seiko 5 collection continued to evolve to include casual and field watches, which are still available. This leads us to the glorious summer of 2022. Seiko entered the world of GMT watches with an affordable timepiece of this type that checks many of the boxes for GMT fans. In my opinion, it is the best in this class.

Seiko 5 GMT: In-Depth Review

The Seiko 5 GMT watches live up to the brand’s tradition of quality and aesthetics. With the number of colorways, case sizes, and strap options available in the line, there is something to please nearly every GMT lover out there.

Case Sizes & Materials

With the exception of the SSK027 Yuri Horigome Limited Edition and the SSK025, which have black-coated steel cases, all of the Seiko 5 GMTs feature stainless steel cases. These are durable and beautiful, with brushed surfaces on the top of the case and polished on the sides.

There are two case sizes available: 39.4mm and 42.5mm. This puts them dead center in the range that looks good on most wrist sizes. My average-sized 7.25” wrist is nicely covered by cases in this range. For people with smaller wrists, the 46mm lug-to-lug measurement makes the larger case wear more like a 40mm. Either size should suit you well.

The thickness of the case is 13.6mm, which is not bad for a GMT movement. The crystal is flat and gives the illusion of a slimmer watch. It’s a fairly hefty watch at 148g, but despite its solid feel, it doesn’t look chunky on the wrist.


The bezels on the Seiko 5 GMT watches are of the 24-hour variety, as you would expect. The top of the bezel at the 24 marker has the large, upside triangle typical of GMT bezels with numerals at the even numbers and round indices at the odd. The bezel is two-colored to indicate day and night. The colors coordinate with the hue of the dial.

The bezel is unidirectional, making it easy to set. When you move it, you will notice a difference from the typical bezel. Rather than a 48-point click, the Seiko 5 GMT bezels turn with a friction feel. It can be a bit disconcerting if, like me, you enjoy the feel of a dive watch bezel. It functions well, however, and it can be set in half-hour increments to accommodate odd time zones such as Indian Standard Time (GMT +5:30).

A nice feature of these bezels is that the inserts are covered with a layer of Hardlex. This gives them the look of a ceramic bezel you would find on a much more expensive timepiece. You have to get pretty close to notice that it’s not ceramic.

With the 24-hour scale on the rehaut, the modders out there could fit an elapsed-time bezel from a Seiko diver to have a GMT dive watch. Be warned that this would be a desk diver. The crown is not a screw-down, and with the 100-meter water resistance, you don’t want to be playing Jacques Cousteau with this watch.


The dials are available in several colors and clearly designate the watches as Seiko with the brand’s well-known layout. The Seiko name and logo are applied at 12 o’clock, while at 6 o’clock, the word “automatic” is applied along with “GMT” in a color that contrasts the dial and matches the GMT hand.

The Seiko 5 GMT dials are designed to be easy to read. A large upside-down triangle indicates 12, with pill-shaped indices at six and nine and round indices at the five-minute marks in between. The three o’clock position is where the date window sits. For better legibility, it is covered with a cyclops lens in the Hardlex crystal.

This feature is somewhat divisive in the watch community. Many people love a cyclops, others not so much. In the case of Seiko 5 GMT, the cyclops does a nice job of magnifying the date. People who regularly travel across timezones will appreciate the feature. A secondary benefit is that the magnified date nicely matches the pills at six and nine. So, kids, if you’re like me and you prefer symmetry, the cyclops is for you.

The handset is classic Seiko with the large arrow minute hand, Roman sword hour hand, and needle second hand with a lollipop on the back end. The GMT hand is a generously sized arrow. On most models, it’s a bright red. On the SSK005 orange dial model, it is a high-contrast gray. The handset stands out against the dial, making it easy to read, whether you are on the go, or tracking time zones from your desk.

The dial and hands are covered with LumiBrite, typical of a Seiko timepiece. It provides a long-lasting brightness that allows you to read the dial in the darkest conditions.


The movement is the latest version of Seiko’s 4R line, the 4R34. It’s a reliable automatic movement running at 21,600 bph that features hand winding and hacking and has a 41-hour power reserve.

The Seiko 5 GMT is a caller-type watch. In other words, the hour hand can’t be set independently like in a traveler style. Pulling the crown out to the first position allows you to set the date by turning it counterclockwise. A clockwise turn sets the GMT hand. By pulling the crown out to the second position, you can set the time.

The Seiko 5 GMT watches have exhibition case backs covered with Hardlex. The finish on the 4R34 is nothing particularly special, but a true watch lover enjoys seeing the works of the timepiece. You can also show your horologically challenged friends how your watch winds itself.

Strap Options

Most of the Seiko 5 GMT models come with a stainless steel five-link jubilee bracelet. Seiko has improved it from its earlier jubilees, which tended to feel jangly. The current bracelet forms nicely around the wrist and has a more solid feel. This is helped by the solid end links.

The bracelet tapers down to a folding, two-button clasp with the Seiko name stamped on it. Overall, the jubilee pairs nicely with the case and bezel for a bold and classy look. The SSK027 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition comes with a jubilee bracelet in black-coated steel to match the case. The SSK025 is a field watch with a calfskin leather strap in black.

Most Popular Seiko 5 GMT Models

There are a number of Seiko 5 GMT models from which to choose. They all feature the same careful construction, solid materials, and reliability. You get to choose the one that best matches your aesthetic and, of course, your wrist. Here are the five most popular Seiko 5 GMT watches.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK001

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK001

Perhaps the most popular of the collection, the Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK001, is a great choice if you like a less bold and more classy watch. It has a 42.5mm case and a matte black dial with a very subtle texture to it. The sliver minute, hour, and second hands, along with the red GMT, set up a contrast that looks as good as it is easy to read.

The bezel is bicolored in black and gray. In lower light conditions, the gray half can look black, but the bezel coordinates nicely with the dial.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023

Next, we have the Seiko 5 Sports SSK023. The case is the smaller 39.4mm size. With its black dial sporting numerals rather than indices and a silver stainless steel bezel, it has a sophisticated look for the fashion-conscious traveler.

Gray hour and minute hands, along with the red-arrow-tipped second hand and bold red GMT, make it a snap to read at a glance. Unlike most of the Seiko 5 GMT models, the crown sits at three o’clock rather than four, and there are no crown guards, which gives this timepiece a lean look.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK005

If you like a watch that makes a bold statement and pops on the wrist, check out the Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK005. The 42.5mm case with a bright orange dial is sure to make a statement, especially when paired with the black and gray bezel with orange numbers.

The hour and minute hands are lume-filled and outlined in a lighter orange, while the second hand is light orange at the top and dark gray at the bottom. The dark gray GMT hand is super easy to read against the dial. This is a playful GMT model for fun-loving collectors.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK027 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition

For collectors who enjoy a special timepiece, the Seiko Sports SSK027 Yuto Horigome Limited Edition fits the bill. Only 2700 of these beauties were made. This watch is a tribute to the first-ever Olympic gold medalist in skateboarding.

The 42.5mm case is black-coated stainless steel and looks chic with the black dial and bicolor blue and purple bezel. The silver minute and hour hands, silver and black second hand, and red GMT hand provide easy legibility as well as style. The matching black stainless steel jubilee bracelet pulls it all together.

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK003

Seiko 5 Sports GMT SSK003

If you want something a bit bolder than black but not quite as bright as orange, you may love the Seiko Sports GMT SSK003. It has a 42.5mm case with a blue sunburst dial set against a black and blue bezel. Silver minute and hour hands, a silver and black second hand, and a red GMT arrow contrast the dial for a great look and ease of reading. You’ll see this model on the wrists of many discerning watch lovers. Maybe it belongs on yours.

Should You Buy A Seiko 5 GMT?

Now that you’ve learned about the collection, is a Seiko 5 GMT right for you? First, is a GMT a type of watch you need and/or want? For frequent travelers, those who do business with folks around the world, or who have family or friends in different time zones, a GMT watch can be enormously helpful.

Serious collectors who want watches of each kind in their collection will consider a GMT a must-have. If you have a large income and plenty of disposable cash, you will probably seek out a GMT from a high-end luxury brand with a hefty price tag. If you’re on a tighter budget, a Seiko 5 GMT is an excellent option. It makes a great first GMT or even a first watch for a newbie collector.

Seiko 5 GMT Pricing & Availability

The Seiko 5 GMT is a popular watch, and you shouldn’t have trouble finding one. You can find them at Seiko’s online store or a Seiko authorized dealer, either brick-and-mortar or online. You can also purchase one from an online dealer on the secondary market. The Seiko 5 GMT is the most affordable watch of its kind out there.

With the exception of the SSK027, which you can pick for $525 (it’s a limited edition, so it costs a bit more) Seiko 5 GMTs sell for less than $500. These models range from $415-$475. If you search around for sales, there are some generous discounts out there. If you decide to go pre-owned, you can pick up a well-cared-for Seiko 5 GMT that looks great for between $300 and $350.


In the world of watches, GMTs are popular, useful, and often priced above what many people can afford. Every serious collector should have a GMT. Thanks to Seiko, you can own a beautiful and reliable GMT timepiece without taking out a second mortgage. In my humble opinion, the Seiko Sports 5 GMT watches are the best option for anyone looking for a low-cost GMT.

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