Seiko 5 SNZF17 (Seiko Sea Urchin) Watch Review

Seiko 5 SNZF17 is the popular Seiko model in diver line-up, known as Seiko Sea Urchin. Seiko makes affordable automatic watches and the Seiko Sea Urchin have everything you may ask for from an automatic watch at this price range as they come from Seiko 5 sub-brand. The number “5” stands for five main features of the watch. They are:

  1. Automatic winding
  2. Day and date window
  3. Water-resistance
  4. Shock resistance
  5. Unbreakable spring

In this article, you will have a closer look at the Seiko Sea Urchin/ SNZF17.

Closer Look at Seiko Sea Urchin/ SNZF17

Face Design

The face of the watch instantly reveals its dive personality. It offers good readability for its large hour markers and hands which create a great contrast against the black dial. A day-date window is placed at 3 o’clock. In fact, the background of the day-date window is black allows it to fit in more seamlessly into the watch’s dial. Though most of the watches available on market have a white background on the day-date wheel.

At 12 o’clock you will see an applied Seiko 5 logo, “Sports” emblem on the dial, which indicates that this model fits into Seiko’s value – activity line. The dial is also crowded with other specifications printed on it, depth rating of 100 meters, automatic, and 23 jewels, so it is not marketed towards minimalist watch fans. The dial also has 60 individual second/minute markers around the dial for easy reading of the time.

Seiko Sea Urchin Face

Plenty of lume is applied on broad spear-shaped hour & minute hands, counterweight dot of straight second hand, and round & rectangular hour markers. It gives the watch great legibility in low-lit conditions, even in depth.

Hardlex crystal is used in Seiko Sea Urchin watch, which is a proprietary of Seiko.  Hardlex provides the highest resistance level to shock and scratches. A 120-click unidirectional rotating black bezel is surrounded by this Herdlex crystal. 

Movement

The Seiko Sea Urchin/SNZF17 is powered by Japanese automatic 7S36 movement. It’s a 23-jewel mechanical movement that provides the watch highest precision level. A standard quartz watch gives 1 tick per second where a 23-jewel movement watch gives 6 ticks per second, makes this watch six times more precise than any quartz watch. The movement is all viewable through a caseback (see-through) window.

Though it doesn’t have self-winding or hacking like other expensive models from Seiko, but it’s a great movement for such a low cost watch. 

Seiko Sea Urchin Back

Bracelet

The Seiko Sea Urchin is fitted with a sporty and robust three-link stainless steel bracelet and triple locking fold-over clasp with spring-loaded security release buttons, that Seiko is known to construct well. It has removable end links to help you fit it to your wrist.

Seiko has saved some money by using fold-over (hollow) links instead of solid ones, which is something all watches at this level have.

Size and Weight

Case Dimension:  42 mm diameter and 13 mm thickness, it won’t be perfect for a dress watch unless you have a bigger wrist. 

Band Dimension: SNZF17 comes with 22 mm width stainless steel bracelet. 

Weight: 150 gram (5.29 Ounces) in weight, which is heavier than other traditional watches. And you can feel weight immediately after picking up the watch. So if prefer something lighter that doesn’t feel on the wrist, it is recommended to check other options as well.

Water Resistance

Seiko Sea Urchin is 100m/10 bar water-resistant. It means you can dive with Seiko 5 as deep as you want.

Warranty

Seiko Sea Urchin comes with 2 years warranty. During the warranty period, you can have free repair/adjustment service against any defects on the watch head (movement and case) and metallic band, provided that the watch was used as directed in the instruction manual.

Price Range

With such high demand and limited supply, the Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF17 is still available in a range between $180 to $240. I have also seen some people getting this watch just under $150. So the price varies time to time.

Pros

  1. Good looking watch 
  2. Very affordable for an automatic watch
  3. Full lume on its hands and markers
  4. Day date display
  5. 100 m water resistance

Cons

  1. No screw down crown
  2. Non-hacking and no manual winding

Customer Reviews

Scott purchased this watch while he was looking towards purchasing a Rolex. He said this watch works great as daily wear. Time keeps excellent, though he hasn’t done any weekly or monthly measurement but checks it against his phone and is usually spot on. It looks and feels great, he says it is one of his favorite watches! He has received compliments from people thinking it was a Rolex. But he always told them what it was. He hopes to make this an heirloom piece for his children/grandchildren like his grandfather did with his watch.

Read more reviews here

Seiko 5 SNZF17 Specifications

  • Case size: 42 mm Diameter, 13 mm Thickness
  • Case material: Stainless steel 
  • Dial: Analogue with day/ date window
  • Movement: Japanese automatic 7S36 with 23 jewels
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Band: 22 mm width 
  • Weight: 150 gram
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters/10 bar

Quick Video on Seiko Sea Urchin

Buyers Guide 

If you are looking for a real diver’s watch, you should skip this Seiko SNZF17. Even though it has a fully functioning unidirectional rotating bezel and lume, but that’s as much as it gets in terms of a diver’s watch.

The 100 m water resistance rating is not bad too, but the lack of screw down crown is what makes me feel it’s not a good watch for diving.

If you don’t like stainless steel bracelet, leather band is a great way to make the Seiko SNZF look a bit classier. But of course, it won’t bring it to dress watch level, but I think it has its place in a business-casual outfit. 

Because it’s a sports watch, the Seiko SNZF goes hand in hand with a nylon strap as well. This change will make your SNZF much more comfortable during physical activities and it will increase the sportiness of the watch.

Watches From SNZF Series

Seiko SNZF11

The Seiko SNZF11 has a simple black & white pattern that makes great use of the contrast between the two shades. Though it strictly uses sober colors, the SNZF11 has a way of being attention-grabbing and elegant at the same time.

Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF11

Seiko SNZF13

The Seiko SNZF13 is completely opposite of the SNZF11 in the sense that the former is super colorful and the later is sober. The SNZF13 has a fully blue color palette, there is a slightly different hue between the bezel and the dial. But the blue color of the dial makes the white hands & indices pop-out in a gorgeous way. 

Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF13

Seiko SNZF15

If you love the black dial of SNZF17 but need some color in the bezel, SNZF15 will be the one.  The famous Red-Blue Pepsi bezel is often seen on dive watches and this watch is aimed at old-school dive watch lovers that don’t care too much about water resistance. 

Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF15

Seiko SNZF15J1

Ok, you have seen the famous Red-Blue Pepsi bezel. You loved it, but what if you prefer a blue dial over a black dial? You grab a SNZF15J1. And the good news is it won’t have any color difference between the bezel and dial like SNZF13. 

Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF15J1

Seiko SNZF19

The black bezel with orange dial combination gives a Halloween vibe to the SNZF19 which explains why the SNZF19 sold out so quickly.  This watch is obviously not as easy to pair with clothing as the SNZF17, but it is a great conversation piece.

Seiko Sea Urchin SNZF19

FAQs on Seiko 5 SNZF17 Sea Urchin

1. Why the SNZF17 called Sea Urchin?

Sea urchins are called the porcupines of the sea for their long spines to deter hungry predators from making them a snack. Though Seiko SNZF17 doesn’t look like a porcupine and doesn’t have spines like a sea urchin, to some people the white markers on the black dial and bezel watch somewhat look like a black sea urchin under the water.

Why Seiko Sea Urchin

But remember it’s not an official name of this watch. It’s given by the fans only. 

2. Where Can We Buy The SNZF17 Sea Urchin?

As I told you before, it has high demand and limited supply. So you might not get it in any store near you. Also, some models of SNZF series are not available on market. 

Luckily there are few watches available online. So if you think you need one of these, I suggest you act quickly.

3. Who Is This Seiko SNZF17 For?

If you fancy a Rolex Submariner but don’t have the cash or don’t feel spending a lot on a watch? Then this Seiko Sea Urchin/ SNZF17 is definitely for you. 

Rolex Vs Seiko

It is not like other watches that imitate closely a Rolex Submariner but it has the elements with some styling unique to Seiko 5 Sports, making it a watch on its own.

4. How deep can go with Seiko SNZF17?

The Seiko SNZF17 is 100m water resistant. 100 meters is equal to 330 feet or 10 ATM. So you can you up to 330 feet or 10 ATM. 

The term water resistant can be misleading because it relates to pressure (ATM) and not physical depth. A watch used for water sports and swimming should have at least 100m (10bar) water resistance and Seiko SNZF17 has that feature. 

Final Thought

In conclusion, I think Seiko Sea Urchin/ SNZF17 is a sporty and stylish timepiece that offers great value for money. It is robust, durable, and timeless in design. Though it’s a dive watch, it is surprisingly versatile which makes it a perfect everyday watch.

People call it Seiko Sea Urchin, but I call it an Underwater Treasure that is worth buying.

It has an impressive build-quality, has a sturdy and reliable movement, is well-finished, and will last for a long time.

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