Imagine a watch that your grandfather, great-grandfather or even great-great-grandfather might have worn during the last century. A watch that would accompany him to work, to social events, to the pub, and then home again each evening. Something classic but striking, a bit out of the ordinary that stood apart from the countless round silver, white, or black timepieces of the day.
Perhaps your forebearer never owned such a watch, or at least never passed it down to you. That’s where I imagine the Seiko Recraft SNKP27 steps in. It’s a different sort of watch, offering the flair of yesteryear, crafted with modern parts, at a modern size. The Recraft gives you a sense of a connection to the past. And it should earn you plenty of compliments in the present.
The Seiko Recraft Series
The Seiko Recraft Series is Seiko’s modern line of affordable watches with vintage styling. The watches aren’t reissues of any specific past models. Instead, they have a vintage-inspired design language, making them reminiscent of watches from previous generations. And not just any watches. The Seiko Recraft series offers a unique, even quirky look that sets them apart from most watches available today. Particularly watches from mass-market brands.
Seiko Recraft SNKP27 dimensions
Let’s start with the overall case size of the watch. The Seiko Recraft SNKP27 features a 40mm wide case, 12.2mm thick, with a lug-to-lug length of 46mm. It has a lug width of 22mm. Not a huge watch, but not a small one either. With an essentially rectangular case shape, it will wear a bit larger than the measurements suggest.
The shining emerald dial
The case shape of this watch is unlike most of what’s on the market these days. More on that below. But the standout feature of the Seiko Recraft SNKP27 is the shining green and gold-colored dial. Even at this lower price tier, Seiko’s dial making skills are fully on display.
The dial is eye-catching. Some might even say that it’s stunning. That’s not often how the dials on sub-$300 watches are described, but in this case, it really is.
Fine sunray brushing on the emerald green surface shimmers and shines in the light. The center of the dial steps inward, forming a recessed circle containing the sweep of the hands. A white dot at each hour brings the time track into that inner circle, and the white day-date window, trimmed in gold-toned metal, fills the three o’clock position.
Outside of the center circle, the dial steps up to a raised shelf that makes up the outer region of the dial. Here, gold-tone metal bar indices mark each hour, with a double bar at 12 o’clock. Each marker is brushed on top, with a thin polished bevel running along the edge. This contrast in surface finishes adds to the glint and gleam as they catch the light. And the markers are inset into the rehaut along the edge of the dial—a nice extra touch of style. Polished gold-tone hands and a gold-tone applied Seiko logo complete the look.
One thing to note is that the Seiko Recraft SNKP27 doesn’t have any lume on the dial. The white dots on the dial and white strips down the center of the hands appear to be lume. But they aren’t: they are just white paint. This might have been a cost-saving measure on Seiko’s part, perhaps. But if they were going to use paint on the dial, it seems like it would have been worthwhile to use lume.
No ordinary case
Beyond the dial, the SNKP27 case is a large part of what sets this watch apart from so many others. And part of what makes it so appealing. Or perhaps unappealing, to those who just don’t connect with the watch’s unique aesthetic.
This is a fairly chunky watch, particularly for a rectangular one. Though the case is only around 12mm thick, the watch itself looks and feels thicker than that, because of the tall, straight, polished sides. On the face of the watch a flat, brushed bezel surrounds a flat, inset Hardlex crystal, meaning that the height of the watch is all case. And on the wrist, it actually wears quite well.
The overall shape is a sort of hybrid between rectangular and tonneau. The case is rectangular, but a rectangle that bows outward along the top, bottom, and side edges. And while the case sides on the left and right are closer to vertical, the top and bottom ends slope outward, away from the bezel and toward the lugs. All of which adds up to a case design that’s as interesting as it is polarizing.
One interesting detail is the brushed lower edge of the case. Perhaps Seiko brushed the bottom third just to provide a bit more visual interest and make it feel more “finished”. Or maybe it was to make the tall, polished sides seem shorter.
A smallish, slightly recessed crown is the only feature that interrupts the smooth sides of the case above the lower brushed edge. The push-pull crown is easy to use and turns smoothly to set the time, day, and date. With a water resistance rating of 5 ATM (50 meters) and the push-pull crown, you’ll probably be fine getting the watch wet with splashes, but avoid anything more than that.
The (relatively) modern movement
The Seiko SNKP27 runs on the old-reliable Seiko 7s26 automatic movement. This is the same movement found in the Seiko SKX series and the previous generation of Seiko 5 watches. It’s basic, but it works, capable of keeping accurate time. However, it lacks the standard, modern conveniences of hacking seconds or hand winding capabilities. The movement provides a quick set date and a day of the week display, which is nice. Using the 7s26 has allowed Seiko to keep the Recraft series watches quite affordable—some of the most affordable automatic watches in the brand’s current lineup.
The case back provides a display window that allows you to see the movement when you turn the watch over. It’s a rather plain-looking automatic movement, but any watch movement is fun to look at, so an exhibition case back is a welcomed touch.
Though it’s a solid, workhorse movement, it would have been nice for Seiko to have discontinued the 7s26 entirely and use a 4R16 movement in the Recraft series instead. Seconds hacking and hand winding would have been nice additions to the watch, and are essentially standard features in modern timepieces. This probably would have added a bit to the overall price tag, but it’s another upgrade, like the lume, that would probably have been worth it. However, the lack of these features adds to the vintage feel of the watch, so I suppose if you look at it like that, it adds to the Recraft’s charm.
The nicely done Seiko leather strap
The genuine calf hide leather strap is thick, sturdy and well made. The top surface of the strap is textured, and the underside is soft and smooth. It’s supple and comfortable, conforming to your wrist right away. And the thickness makes it feel substantial while also complementing the chunkier nature of the case. A polished buckle stamped with the Seiko logo completes it.
Seiko Recraft vs Seiko 5
Affordable price, display caseback, and a 7s26 movement. Is the Recraft really a Seiko 5 in disguise? The Recraft is pretty similar in a lot of ways to the previous generation of Seiko 5 watches, but a few key differences separate the two. One of the five core Seiko 5 attributes is a recessed crown at the 4 o’clock position. While slightly recessed, the crown of the Recraft SNKP27 is at the more typical 3 o’clock position.
Perhaps less obviously, but equally important, the Recraft series is a re-crafting of vintage design aesthetics into a modern watch. The Seiko 5 watches seem to feel much more directly connected to the modern era. Yes, there may be some vintage, classic or retro design cues on display in many Seiko 5 models. But overall, the Seiko 5 brand (or is it a collection? Or sub-brand?) reflects more contemporary styling.
Conclusions on the green Seiko Recraft SNKP27
When I first saw pictures of the SNKP27, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. Honestly, “old man’s watch” was the first thing that came to mind. But after handling the watch and having it in my possession for several weeks, the idea of the emerald green dialed, vintage-inspired Recraft has grown on me. There is a certain charm about it that could appeal to specific tastes, but also be appreciated and enjoyed by a range of watch wearers. And at $275, the look of the finishing is actually fairly remarkable for a watch of this price.
Recommendations and who it’s for
The green dial Seiko Recraft SNKP27 is an interesting watch to look at and a fun watch to wear. At first thought, I wasn’t sure who this watch was for. But thinking about it a little more, I think that essentially, this Seiko Recraft is for those who just want something different. It’s probably not going to be someone’s one and only watch, or their first mechanical watch—unless they really want something that is out of the ordinary, that looks very different from what nearly everyone else is wearing. Then yes, this could be that watch.
But most are probably looking for that affordable standout piece in their collection, unlike anything else that they have. It will appeal to those who want vintage style and the look of craftsmanship from a past era. And it should appeal to people with the confidence to wear such an out of the ordinary watch, particularly in a time of featureless aluminum and glass slabs gracing so many wrists. The Seiko Recraft SNKP27 will stand out—and you will get noticed for wearing it.
And finally, here’s another thought: if you want a seasonal watch, something that feels right at home is the golden light of autumn or beneath the twinkling lights of the holidays, then this could be an excellent companion for the holiday season. It’s like a Christmas tree on the wrist. At under $300, it might not be a crazy idea to pick one up just to complement holiday attire, if you so choose.
Seiko Recraft SNKP27 alternatives
If you are intrigued by this Seiko Recraft SNKP27 review, but would prefer a similar green and gold dial color-way in a more standard case shape, check out our review of the Seiko Presage SRPE45 / SARY167, the “mojito”, part of the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time series.