An Overview of Seiko's Affordable GMT Collection (Every Reference)

An Overview of Seiko's Affordable GMT Collection (Every Reference)

Last year, Seiko changed the game with their caliber 4R34: an affordable automatic caller GMT movement. They introduced it by way of the beloved Seiko 5 Sports line with the SSK001, SSK003, and SSK005. These dive-inspired GMTs are some of, if not the best budget-friendly options in the automatic GMT space. Not only did Seiko shift the landscape with these watches, they did so with an unbranded version of the 4R34 movement: the NH34. This movement spurred an entire subgenre of ~$500 automatic GMTs, but we’ll save those for future articles (perhaps some hands-on reviews). Today, we’re looking at every 4R34-equipped Seiko 5 Sports watch.

Initial Seiko 5 GMT Launch

All Seiko 5 Sports GMTs are identical in their function, materials, and general design, differing only in their colors. The watches are direct descendents of Seiko’s most iconic watch: the SKX007. Featuring the same indices, handset, five-link bracelet, and case design as the legendary diver, the SSK line certainly knows where it came from. Originally launched in 2022 with three references (SSK001, SSK003, and SSK005), the collection recently saw a refresh of three additional references (SSK017, SSK019, and SSK021). Let’s take a look at what makes each one unique.

SSK001 - Black Dial, Black and Grey Bezel

Seiko 5 GMT SSK001

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Included in the original 2022 launch, the SSK001 is the most straightforward of the bunch. With a black dial, black/gray bi-color bezel, and white indices, the red GMT hand is the star of the show. Red “GMT” text at 6 o’clock ties this color scheme together: a nice touch for the subdued model.

SSK003 - Blue Dial, Black and Blue Bezel

Seiko SSK003

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The blue-dialed SSK003 features a black and blue bezel: a motif made popular by Rolex with their BLNR “Batman” GMT-Master IIs. The dial’s blue coloration continues on to the rehaut, providing nice visual continuity while reading the second time zone. Like the SSK001, the SSK003’s color scheme is a perfect backdrop for the striking red GMT hand. Legibility is king here: as it should be for a dive-inspired watch. 

SSK005 - Orange Dial, Dark Gray and Light Gray Bezel

Seiko SSK005

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Now we’re getting into the fun stuff. The vibrant SSK005 features a bright orange dial and rehaut, as well as orange numerals on the black/gray bezel. Seiko calls this bezel “dark gray and light gray”, despite it looking very similar to the “black and gray” bezel of the SSK001. Maybe it’s different – I haven’t seen this one in person. Unlike the first two references, the SSK005 features a black GMT hand: definitely the right choice for this color scheme. It’s also the only reference in the collection to feature black “GMT” text.

New Seiko 5 GMT References (August 2023)

Seiko quietly released three new references into their SSK lineup. From what I understand, this took place sometime in late August. 

SSK017 - Yellow Dial, Black and Gray Bezel

Seiko SSK017

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The SSK017 has a bright yellow dial and rehaut. In tandem with the red GMT hand, this color combo brings one thing to mind: McDonald’s. I can't unsee this and I apologize if I just ruined this watch for you. The SSK017 features the same gray and black bezel as the SSK001.

SSK019 - Charcoal Dial, Pepsi Rehaut, Black and Grey Bezel

Seiko SSK019

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The SSK019 is sneakily (in my opinion) the coolest reference of the bunch. Again sporting the black and gray bezel of the SSK001, the SSK019 opts for a charcoal dial and a red and blue “Pepsi” rehaut. Originally made popular by Rolex, this “Pepsi” motif was embraced by Seiko in the 1990’s with their SKX009 and smaller SKX015: the model family that inspired these GMTs. I love this subtle implementation of color.

SSK021 - Grey Dial, Black and Gray Bezel, Gold Accents

 Seiko SSK021

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The SSK021 brings a touch of gold to the lineup. Amongst yet another sea of black and gray, the SSK021 features gold PVD-coating on the bezel knurling and GMT hand. There’s another splash of gold with the “GMT” text at 6 o’clock. I would have loved to see the two-tone theme continue onto the bracelet, but I’m sure there are (or will be) aftermarket solutions along those lines.

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