If you are a fan of Seiko, especially the affordable models, then no doubt you should be familiar with the Seiko Stargate Series. And if you are not, you should be. Seiko has a wide array of models, in different categories, from the ultra affordable like the Seiko 5 line, to the Grand Seiko and Credor lines.
One of the most popular Seiko Dive Watch models in the affordable category would undoubtedly be the Seiko Monster as it has been dubbed over the years. This is an extremely popular budget diver that is still being produced today. And while that watch has a lot to offer, in roughly the same price point is the Seiko Stargate. If going by model numbers the SRP493K1 I am reporting on, or its brother in black, the SRP495K1, has dare I say it even more to offer in both looks and finishing.
Now, of course those things I just mentioned are subjective, but the Stargate has more of classic case shape and traditional divers dial, as opposed to the large shark tooth markers on the Monster. The bracelet is nicer as well in my opinion, and overall I just think the Stargate is a classier model.
The Seiko Stargate measures in at 43mm wide, and 13mm thick, with a 22mm lug width. One thing to note here, is these are normal lugs, unlike some Seiko models that have a smaller lug area and the bracelet bows out underneath. These are standard 22mm lugs and bracelet, with the bracelet tapering to 20mm at the clasp. Speaking of the bracelet, it is well finishing, using both brushed and polished finishes, is hefty and solid, and a bracelet in my opinion that goes well above the price point. A standard Seiko flip lock dive clasp with diver’s extension allows you to open and close with ease and the links are held together using the pin and collar system. As I always say, if you are not familiar with sizing links with these type of pins, take it to a jeweler and save yourself a headache.
The dial of this variation is a nice deep blue, that changes somewhat depending on the light. The dial has applied markers outlined in steel and a day and date cutout at the 3 o’clock position. Above the dial is a hardlex crystal, and a date bubble magnifier. Being honest, I could do without the date cyclops, as I am not really a fan, but with all this watch offers, I can overlook it.
A black ion plated bezel rides atop the case and ratchets smooth and firm and has a rider tab where the lume pip is. Not only is the lume pip large and glows well in the dark, but it is nicely inset with the an outer metal ring. The rider tab also allows you to signify where you have the bezel set to even easier at a glance.
The case design reminds me of older style Omega 300, with its sleek curved and beveled lines, and in this case, and all high polished case. The crown is offset at the 4 o’clock position and has an orange rubber gasket around the screw down crown, matching the orange outlined minute and second hand on the dial.
When it comes to the caseback, you have a stamped case back with the wave logo in the middle, in high polish, while the rest of the back is satin brushed. I do a lot of reviews on micro brands, and think some should take note of how Seiko does a caseback. While I know Seiko has been around for way longer and has the money and tooling to do these, these casebacks on models such as this just come off better than some watches I have seen at triple the price
It is what is under the caseback that many find so appealing in this Stargate. This is the second variation of the Stargate series, and an upgraded one as well. One of those upgrades is the hacking and handwinding 4R36 caliber automatic movement. The original Stargate had a lower beat movement that did not hack or handwind, and not only does this movement do so, it is also much more accurate. The 4R36 has 24 jewels and as you can see, a day/date wheel. Its power reserve is roughly 36 hours, so just about a day and a half.
If you are Seiko fanatic, I am not sure lume even needs to be discussed. Seiko is known for amazing lume and the Stargate is no different. It is applied thick and evenly and glows insanely bright and lasts pretty much all through the night. Don’t believe me? Pick one up and check it out for yourself. You will be impressed.
My overall opinion of the Stargate is I love it. I like the styling of the case, the easy to read dial and the day and date application. If I am being honest, there are a few things I can pick on, one being the cyclops. The other would be the all high polished finish, I am more of a satin brushed kinda guy. The other would be hardlex crystal (I’m a sapphire guy). But that would also put it at a much higher price point.
The reason I love it as is, is because of the price point. The look, the finishing, the functions, the feel and how it looks and wears on the wrist for a price point of $257 is amazing. Seiko truly knows how to build a budget diver, but make it look and feel like you are not wearing a budget watch on the wrist. And because I forgot to mention it, for size reference I have a 7 ½ inch wrist, so you can help better gauge how it would look on yours.
The Seiko Stargate is a winner in my book.
Thank you for reading.
Don Evans – www.watchreport.com