The ULTIMATE Seiko 5 GMT Review (Read BEFORE Buying!) - Exquisite Timepieces
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Seiko 5 GMT Review

The ULTIMATE Seiko 5 GMT Review (Read BEFORE Buying!)

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.

About Exquisite Timepieces

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