Looking to get into watches? Introducing your new watch, the Seiko 5 SNKL23 Review...

For most of us, we all have that one watch that started it all. The one watch that kick-started this seemingly endless hobby. Traditionally these watches are more affordable than some of the grails we share but one thing remains universal. These pieces are always remembered as number one, the first watch.

Although there are so many watches that can be chosen as the starting point, one specific Seiko seems to crop up again and again as the one many people own and treasure as being ‘the beginning’.

The Seiko SARB033 vs the 5 SNKL23, pretty similar right? - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Seiko is a very popular choice for people’s first watches and although it wasn’t my first watch (that spot is reserved for a watch I had when I was about 7), the Seiko SARB033 was my first mechanical watch. This watch here, the Seiko 5 SNKL23 is infamous at the sub £100 mark.

So before we take a first look at this little Seiko 5 we should probably start with the price. You can pick one of these Seiko 5s up for right around £80 brand new. I’d recommend keeping that in mind as we run through this watches stats…

To start with, the SNKL23 is 38mm wide with a thickness around 10.6mm and lug to lug distance of 45.5mm. The case design itself is pretty modest and elegant, the only distinctively unique aspect is probably the crown position at 4 o'clock, everything else is stylish, smart and clean. So far, you’re getting a lot for £80

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Flipping the watch over and we see (yes, this watch has a display caseback) the Seiko in-house calibre 7S26 comes with 21 jewels which sits in an almost endless amount of Seiko divers, most noticeably the SKX, which is priced at £250. The 7s26 comes with 21 jewels,

The display caseback of the Seiko 5 SNKL23 - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Sure it doesn’t have hacking or hand winding but I’m not sure how much of a deal-breaker this is for something that costs less than most official straps from the Swiss giants. Back to the front of the watch, we see dauphine hands with touches of lume, a day and date function and black dial in a pin-striped tuxedo style.

For £80, the dial on the Seiko 5 SNKL23 is pretty attractive - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Design-wise this is a hard watch to fault. It’s not offensive or out there in any way with the most abstract feature being the crown at 4 and that dial change up. Everything else is modest and executed well.

How does it wear?

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 fitted to Kington Dress Strap in Camel - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

So, how does this wear on the wirst? Well, This is a very classy looking watch on the wrist. Much like the SARB033 or pieces from the Grand Seiko line up, it’s versatility is it’s selling point. The first thing that jumps out is how symmetrical the case is. That hidden crown at 4 has quite a large impact on this watches aesthetics.

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 fitted to Liverpool Croc Strap in Black - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

It’s such a compact tidy package that genuinely punches well above its price point. When you consider that this is an entry-level watch with pretty attractive looks, solid stats, a respectable size and is made from a well known brand, it's very hard to fault.

Watch Straps for the Seiko 5 SNKL23

The lug width on the SNKL23 comes in at 18mm which traditionally could be a little tricky, however, in this case, it has two bonuses. Firstly, 18mm on a 38mm wide watch is a great transition to keep the footprint of the watch down, contributing to the overall package of the watch. And secondly our recently growing range of 18mm straps can really transform this watch, Let’s take a look now.

Geckota Kington Dress Leather Strap in Camel

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 fitted to Kington Dress Strap in Camel - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

This Kington Vintage Dress strap is ideal for the SNKL23 as it combines a reasonable amount of padding for that day in day out comfort, a generous taper down to the buckle which takes into account for the watches smaller size, a great pull up leather really lifts the whole dial and makes it feel pretty premium and finally we see quick release springbars which if you’re looking at this watch as a first one for your collection is ideal.

Liverpool Crocodile Grain Leather in Black

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 fitted to Liverpool Croc Strap in Black - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Next up we thought we dress this little Seiko up with a solid crocodile grain leather strap. The Liverpool strap in black is a go-to option if you want something traditionally dressy that will fit in perfectly for more smarter occasions.

Classic Style Milanese Mesh Strap in Polished

The Seiko 5 SNKL23 fitted to Classic Mesh in Polished - Image Credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

For our final choice, we have something a little different. Here we’ve gone for the Classic Milanese Mesh strap to really make the watch pop on the wrist. If you didn’t think this watch punched above its weight beforehand, then this combo is sure to change your mind.

Final thoughts on the Seiko SNKL23

Well, it's a perfect gateway piece to ensure people who are looking to get into the hobby end up with a watch that can inform them about the extensive nature and passionate work that goes into horology. Sure, it doesn't have cutting edge technology but what would you expect for a watch priced around £80? Well, I'm pretty sure you'd expect a lot less than what the SNKL23 offers.

If you’re starting to get interested in watches and you’re looking for your first purchase, this one here packs the right amount of punch, has a decent amount of features at a fantastic price point and will look great while it does it. All while getting a respectable nod from the rest of the watch community.

We’ll be comparing this watch to other more expensive offerings from Seiko in the future so stay tuned to that. We also have a lot more reviews of watches planned for the rest of the year, so keep your eyes open for lot more of those in the coming weeks. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @watchgeckomag for exclusive early previews of articles!