Even a person who knows nothing about watches has heard the name – Seiko. This Japanese watchmaking giant revolutionized the watch industry since the inception of the brand.
And, Seiko Series 5 is the most popular and the highest-selling collection of the brand. There are some strong reasons behind the success of this collection. Seiko uses automatic movement and offers ultra-durability in every single piece.
There are so many watches in the Series 5 collection that it’s hard to keep track of all of them. But the specific model that I’m talking about today is quite special, especially, if you’re into modding your watches.
Now, let’s dive into the watch’s details in Seiko SNZH55 review and discuss why this watch is so popular among the modders.
Things to Consider Before Buying A Watch for Modding
Why do we mod a watch?
Basically, we want to replace all the “common” parts of a generic-looking watch and give it a unique look. In some other cases, we take a cheap watch and replace all the mediocre parts with more premium ones.
In short, we take an ordinary watch and turn it into an extraordinary watch.
Well, that reason stands strong for any kind of modding.
Now, let’s focus on the main question here – why is Seiko SNZH55 so good for modding?
First comes the issue of price as a proper mod-friendly watch has to be budget-friendly. Otherwise, there’s no point in giving it a premium upgrade.
Then, SNZH55 is not “just another cheap quality” watch. In fact, Seiko deserves a massive shutout for the impressive material choice. There are only a handful of watches in the market that comes with automatic movement.
That means, Seiko SNZH55 already is a decent enough watch that can only get better with proper modding.
So, how can you upgrade you, Seiko SNZH55?
First of all, I would change the link bracelet. It’s the most basic form of modding. Being a sports watch, nylon straps perfectly complement the rugged and adventurous looks and design.
You can even choose a leather strap. The choice is up to you and your taste.
Then, I would replace the proprietary Hardlex crystal. Yes, it’s good and offers somewhat good scratch resistance, but it doesn’t stand against the sapphire crystal’s superior quality.
Finally, you can change the dial. This is where you can showcase your creativity. The black and silver dial that comes with the stock SNZH55 might feel too generic.
Also, some modders change the brushed stainless steel case. A brushed finish suits perfectly with the sporty looks but if you want to turn it into a formal watch, you should opt for a polished finish.
Features & Benefits of Seiko SNZH55
Not everyone buys the watch to show off their modding skills. The stock design also deserves praise.
Let’s take a comprehensive look at the Seiko SNZH55 so that you can perform proper modding or you could just rock the classic stock design.
Whenever I talk about a watch, I give the highest level of priority to movement choice. After all, movement is the element that drives the watch.
As you know already, Seiko SNZH55 is an automatic watch. What does it mean? There are small mechanical parts called jewels inside the case that moves intricately to tell time.
Seiko uses their in-house 7S36 caliber. You can see many Seiko automatic watches with this caliber, mostly in the entry-level Series 5 watches.
In 1996, Seiko launched the 7SXX series watches. Due to the cheaper manufacturing cost, the caliber soon took place in many automatic watches.
Technically, the 7S36 is an upgraded version of the 7S26 caliber. It has two extra jewels in 7S36.
But in the real-life scenarios, both of the calibers perform identically with ±10 seconds/day accuracy.
One of the best things about this caliber is the 21,600 bph vibration rate and the Diashock protection. Even the 41+ hours of reserve power compared to the average 38 hours deserves compliment.
More: Seiko SNZH53 Review: The Best Entry-level Automatic Watch?
However, I know a lot of modders who change the caliber in favor of the higher-grade ETA movements or Seiko 4RXX series.
Because the 7S36 caliber doesn’t have hacking and manual hand winding feature. During the ’90s, these two features weren’t that popular. Barely anyone used them.
But nowadays, watch enthusiasts heavily favor these two features.
Overall, 7S36 is an average quality caliber that gets the job done but there’s nothing desirable about it.
Here, take a look at the summary –
Specification of 7S36 Caliber
- Basic Type: Automatic
- Caliber Model: 7S36
- Jewel Count: 23
- Caliber Size (Diameter): 27mm
- Vibration Rate: 21,600 bph
- Power Reserve: 41+ hours
- Shock Prevention: Diashock
- Hand-winding: No
- Hacking: No
At first glance, you might feel that SNZH55 and SNZF17 have the same case. But no, there’re a lot of differences between these two cases.
Compared to the brushed finished in the SNZF17, SNZH55 has a polished finish both in the bezel and crown. But the top of the lugs is brushed.
The shiny polish and the brushed lugs make the case very premium and complement the formal style.
More: Seiko Recraft Review: Rocking the Retro Design
Also, if you look closely, you’d see that sides and the lugs are slightly curved. Even the Hardlex crystal has a hint of bending.
These subtle changes make Seiko SNZH55 stand apart from the crowd.
Finally, let’s talk about the beautiful case back. Just like most other Series 5 watches, the case back has an exhibition-style skeleton cover. The transparent back allows you to witness the intricate beauty of the mechanical parts moving inside.
The 7S36 locks better than the 7S26 due to the extra 2 jewels.
You can find the biggest difference between SNZF17 and SNZH55 at the side of the bezel. SNZF17 follows the design of the Rolex Submariner that protects the crown from external damage.
But SNZH55 is heavily inspired by Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Some even call SNZH55 to be a homage to the Fifty Fathoms.
The dial is quite straightforward here. It has a black dial with batons marking the hourly markers.
The black-silver combo seems classic and boring at the same time. Seiko used their proprietary lumibrite luminous agent on the hourly markers and hands. It’s quite rare to find such power illumination in the entry-level watches.
Like most other Series 5 watches, you’ll see the day-date display at the 3 o’clock marker.
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Do you feel a bit disappointed?
It’s quite normal actually. In fact, the modders work this particular model to change the boring design of the dial.
Otherwise, everything else about the watch is A-OK!
As Seiko has gone for the classic silver and black color combination, they used the stainless steel link bracelet as the strap.
The link bracelet offers decent quality durability and doesn’t feel clunky like many other Seiko watches. You’ll see the classic push-button fold-over/deployant clasp at the end of the bracelet.
However, you could do some experiments with the bracelet here. For example, I would say this is the perfect watch to use a nylon strap. Nylon strap would match perfectly with the sporty looks and the somewhat ideal form factor.
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Product Specification and What to Expect
|Feature Type||Seiko SNZH55||What to Expect?|
|Movement||Automatic||Premium movement option, more accurate than mechanical or quartz movement|
|Caliber||Seiko 7S36||Seiko is using its in-house caliber, which tends to remain very accurate|
|Country of Manufacture||Japan/Malaysia||The Japan-made variants tend to perform better as users have complained against the Malaysian plant’s QC process|
|Case and Bezel Material||Stainless Steel||Very sturdy, can withstand the toll of regular usage|
|Case Diameter||42mm||Suits both thinner and thicker wrists|
|Water-Resistance||100m.(330 Feet)||Suitable for both swimming and snorkeling but not good enough for dives|
|Dial Protection||Hardlex||Decent quality, will protect the dial against scratches|
|Weight (Approx.)||170g.(6oz.)||Has a moderate weight. You’d feel the watch in your wrist but it shouldn’t bother you.|
|Luminosity||Lumibrite||Great visibility in the dark|
|Strap||Modified Oyster Link Bracelet||Feels a bit clanky and rattles often. You can replace it with NATO or ZULU straps|
|Clasp||Double Push Button Fold-over with Safety||Sturdy and reliable|
Social Proof: What Other Customer Says?
People just love the Series 5 from Seiko. It might have a boring design but there’s no complaint regarding the build quality or the choice of components in this watch.
Is Seiko SNZH55 good watch?
YES! Of course!
You don’t have to believe my words. Check out these reviews from the actual buyers all over the world.
As the design feels a bit generic you can find a number of great alternatives to Seiko SNZH55.
For example, any other SNZH model from the same collection can be a great alternate option. If you don’t like the typical black-silver color combination, you can choose either of the SNZH53, SNZH57, or SNZH60.
There are four different watches in this collection and color choice of the dial is the only differentiating factor among them.
Here, take a look –
- Seiko SNZH53 – Blue dial
- Seiko SNZH55 – Black dial
- Seiko SNZH57 – Black dial with golden markers and font color
- Seiko SNZH60 – Complete golden finish with a black dial
Just pick any of these options for color variation.
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Apart from that, here are two of the best alternates in my opinion –
Alternate #1: Seiko SNZF17 Sea Urchin
Seiko SNZF17 is another blockbuster hit from Seiko’s Series 5. This Rolex Submariner homage is the on top of the list for a lot of watch lovers.
Also, the similarities between the two watches are uncanny. Both of them have the same 7S36 caliber, similar bezel, same link bracelet, and case back design.
For the same reasons, SNZF17 is also another great option for modding.
Here’s the specification comparison between the two models –
|Parameter||Seiko SNZF17||Seiko SNZH55|
|Case Design||Rolex Submariner Homage||Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Homage|
|Case Finish||Brushed SS||Polished SS|
Alternate #2: Orient Ray II
The next alternative is the Orient Ray II. If you’re into the watch industry, you should know that Seiko is the Orient’s parent company.
While Orient Ray II is a Submariner style dive watch, SNZH55 stands apart. I would call it a good thing as the Rolex homages are too common and people look down upon that design these days.
However, Orient’s F6922 caliber offers a bit more!
It comes with hacking and hand-winding abilities that our SNZH55 lacks. Also, it offers 200m water resistance.
So, is it a superior option?
Orient Ray II offers -15 to +25 seconds accuracy. Where Seiko SNZH55 offers ±10 seconds accuracy.
If you have a lower budget, Orient Ray II is a beast of an option!
More: Check our guide to Best NATO Watch Strap Here
So, I’m almost done with today’s Seiko SNZH55 watch review. Considering all the factors, I would place this watch in a good spot. It’s a good entry-level automatic watch that offers great value for the price.
Also, it’s not another Rolex homage. At this point, I think the Rolex homage market is almost saturated. We really need some breath of fresh air now. And you can get that from the SNZH55.
If you feel that the design seems too boring, you can pick out the same SNZH collection’s color variants. Otherwise, you could your DIY skills to mod the watch, turning it into something else entirely.
So, I would say that Seiko SNZH55 offers you a lot of options so that you can make watch truly yours!
Ask me anything regarding the watch in the comment section below!
Have a great day!