What makes a Seiko a Seiko

As you can probably tell, I am a big Seiko fan, however, I do own a Timex and a Fossil as well. Today I was wearing my Fossil Speedway chronograph, and I was wondering, are my Seiko’s really that much better? What makes a Seiko a Seiko? So, let’s compare 2 watches:

Fossil Speedway Red:

Seiko SNK615K1

Both watches have integrated bracelets, both have a metallic face. The original retail for the Fossil was $95, the Seiko about $125, but usually about $75 online. So, they are in the same price point.


The bracelets on both watches are folded links, the Fossil is a little more squeaky. The gaps are smaller on the Seiko and it tends to pinch less. The Seiko is brushed all around, the Fossil has a polished center. The Fossil does use round pins, which I like. The Seiko uses flat pins and is a little harder to adjust.


The clasp on the Fossil is friction lock and pushbutton, the Seiko is just a two pushbutton design. The being said, the Seiko deployant is smoothly polished and the edges rounded. This makes pinching much less probable. The Fossil is bead blasted with hard edges. The deployant on the Seiko always lines up perfectly. On the Fossil, it seems to get skewed when closing and a little fiddling is needed. Both clasps are signed. The Seiko has 3 fine adjustment holes (making it the width of one link. The Fossil only has two, spaced closely together. It is easy to get the Seiko to a perfect fit, no so much on the Fossil.

Head of the Watch:

This is the most important part, the actual watch. Both watches have a “Racer” design which tapers into the bracelet.

-Bezel The Seiko has a finely polished and machined bezel. It appears to be screw down and can be replaced. The Fossil does not have a bezel and makes the watch look a little less expensive. The crystal may only be accessed by removing the movement.

-Face and Hands. Both watches have similar hand designs, strait to a rounded taper on the Seiko and strait to a point on the Fossil. The Seiko has more luminous material and finer finishing on the hands. The second hand on the Seiko is tipped with luminous material and stands out well. The Fossil second hand ends in a triangular point, no luminous material. The printing on both watches is precise. The Seiko and 5 are applied markings, the Fossil Speedway is just printed. Both watches have starburst radiating machining. Seiko did a neat thing made a matte band to print on the minute markings. The Fossil has well defined sub dials and a two layer face. The hour markers are large and well defined on both watches, but, again the Seiko has more finishing. The center of the hour markers is filled with luminous material. The Fossil has a square section applied to the markers.

-Crystal Both use mineral glass. The Fossil is domed, the Seiko flat. The Fossil seems to smudge a lot, not sure why. Time will tell who has the stronger crystal.

-Crown and Stem Unsigned on both watches. The date quickset function is much sharper on the Seiko. Another odd thing about the Fossil, when the crown is turned to adjust the time, when you turn clockwise, the hands move counter clockwise. The Seiko clockwise=clockwise seems more intuitive. The Fossil’s crown is larger and easier to use. The Seiko’s crown is at 4 o’clock and recessed, making is much less likely to dig into your wrist.

-Case back Screw down on both. Fossil is stainless with simple markings. The Seiko is a ‘display’ back, stainless steel and hardlex glass. This is common on mechanical watches to display the movement.

-Case The Seiko really shines in this area. All of the edges are nicely polished and well machined. The are also many more curves and cuts on the Seiko. The Fossil has several hard edges which do tend to pinch.

-Movement Hard to compare these two. Not really a fair comparison. The Fossil is a battery operated quartz, the Seiko an automatically wound mechanical movement. The Fossil is more accurate, but will need a battery change every few years. Seiko is known for movements that last almost forever.


Both watches are a great value for the money. The overall finish of the Seiko seems better than the Fossil. Seiko also has over 100 years of watch making behind them as well. To be fair, I should compare a Seiko chronograph to this Fossil, but I honestly think the Fossil would fare poorly. Seiko chronographs have more features (alarm, dual time zone, 1/5 second tick or better) and are usually made in Japan. For what I picked up the Fossil for, it was a steal, and I really do enjoy the watch. The Fossil really has impressed me with the overall quality and value, The face design is unique and I am sure it will have good collectors value as well. All of my Seikos are a joy to wear. This particular watch is very comfortable to wear and keeps excellent time.  I can see why Seiko is one of the largest watch makers in the world.  For the money, they are almost impossible to beat.  Even at this price point, the Seiko is finished impeccably.  Every machined surface is perfectly cut and polished and makes ‘fashion’ watches look pretty cheap in comparison.

Feel free to let me know what your impressions are of Seiko and Fossil watches.

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2 Responses to What makes a Seiko a Seiko

  1. boby says:


    i own a SEIKO 5 AUTOMATIC with a white dial and stainless steel bracelet.Its very nice timepiece and i know about seiko heritage,but i Would like to know more about it if possible.Heres the data from the back: SEIKO WATER RESISTANT

    STAINLESS STEEL 7009-8980 A

    and I have heard that Seiko at least command some kind of respect from the people who know watches unlike Fossil.

    • admin says:

      Seiko’s do command a bit of respect in the watch industry, since they are a true manufacture, making all of their own movements, oils, lume, etc, produced the first quartz watch, and have more calibres than any other company in the world (I think they make 466 different movements right now!)
      Your watch is most likely made in September, 1984 or 1994, or, possibly 1974. The first digit in the serial number is the year, the second, the month. The7009 movement was replaced with the 7S26 in 1996, and had a very long production run, early 1970’s through 1996. The second number 8980 is the case style. It is a very common case for Seiko watches and still in production after 35 years! You can find quite a few modern 7S26-8980 watches out there at a very reasonable prices. Enjoy your Seiko, it is a everyday, workingman’s watch, but still a nice timepiece that can stand up to daily wear and tear.

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