This is where it all began for so many of us—the Seiko 5 field watch. Looking back, I can’t even remember how many times I had recommended those old little SNKs to people seeking their first mechanical watch. And after getting into watches seriously, I must’ve read that old Worn & Wound review a million times. Oddly enough, Seiko quietly discontinued these a while ago along with watches like the popular 7S26-equipped SKX divers. And even though we got watches like the new Seiko 5 SBSA in 39mm, they just didn’t satisfy the way the older SNK 800 series did. Now, Seiko has revealed the new Seiko 5 Sports Midfield collection, which brings us back to the classic feel of those original starter watches. In 36mm, the look of these leaves me feeling nostalgic and I can’t wait for them to hit the USA market.
The new Seiko 5 Midfield collection basically takes the newer SBSA watches that came after the recent Seiko 5 revamp and shrinks them down to 36mm. There are five new models but for the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at the three field watch-looking models; the SRPJ81, SRPJ83, and SRPJ85. I’m mostly going this route because these three are available on nylon straps and there’s one model with a bracelet. And I think they’ll be the most popular versions. Even though they don’t technically have the same SNK-type dial, it looks like the feel is still there, especially with that fully bead blasted case. Also, I can’t wait to see how these wear at 36mm, since the older SNK versions came in at 37mm-ish.
Besides the 36mm measurement, the new Seiko 5 Midfield watches measure 44.4mm lug to lug and have a thickness of 12.5mm. You can rock these on 18mm straps, just like the old Seiko 5s. Lately, with all the screwing around I’ve been doing with smaller Timex watches and CWCs that just haven’t stuck, maybe I’ll find myself simply going back to my roots and grabbing one of these for that classic field watch slot in the collection. It’s probably a way nicer package overall, especially now that these have the 4R36 movement with hacking and hand-winding.
Seiko Midfield 36 SRPJ81, SRPJ83, and SRPJ85 Specs
- Case diameter: 36mm
- Case thickness: 12.5mm
- Lug-to-lug: 44.4mm
- Water resistance: 100m
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Movement: Seiko 4R36
- Crystal: Hardlex
- Bracelet: Nylon or matching steel bracelet
- Price: €270
While the Seiko 5 Midfield 36mm watches haven’t hit the USA market just yet, I’m already seeing international dealers selling them. Pretty soon they’ll be easy to scoop up and I’m hoping to see the pricing go down significantly. But still, I think the price isn’t too bad when you consider the newer movement. So what do you think? Is it time for us to dive into these new Seiko 5 field watches? Or should we start hoarding older SNK 800s while they’re still around?
Michael Peñate is an American writer, photographer, and podcaster based in Seattle, Washington. His work typically focuses on the passage of time and the tools we use to connect with that very journey. From aviation to music and travel, his interests span a multitude of disciplines that often intersect with the world of watches – and the obsessive culture behind collecting them.