Sunday, July 6, 2014

Review Seiko Sumo SBDC005

Seiko Sumo models SBDC001 black, SBDC003 blue, SBDC005 orange. Released in 2006 and still remains a fantastic option for a commercially manufactured larger cased ISO diver. Doubtful there is any better bang for your buck model out there. The TL;DR summary is that the Seiko Sumo case finishing is on a level of its own, but overall at the expense of other attributes of the watch. Also the large size of the case is beyond the limit of many potential wearers.

This orange Sumo was sent to me on loan by my friend John and his generosity is much appreciated, as always.

The out of the box impression of the Sumo is the size. This is a large watch. Larger than any other Seiko diver I’ve owned before. Often times, Seiko plays games with perspective to make watches look and wear larger than they really are. This is not the case with the Sumo.

The second impression is the fantastic finishing of the case. Easily on par if not superior to the SARB021.The facets are sharp and even. The polishing is clean and the brushing is even. Incredible that you can get this level of finishing on a mass produced watch costing less than $1,000.

Unfortunately this is where my positive impressions of the Sumo ends. I found the overall design of the case and dial to be disproportional. The lugs are too large and heavy for the elegant design of the case. The bracelet is too anemic with a 20mm lug width and generally cheap construction overall and craptastic clasp, none of which is not matched in quality to the case. I found the bezel insert font to be cartoonishly large and there’s too much open real estate on the dial which makes things seem stark and disproportionate.  On top of this, there's been considerable quality issues with chapter ring alignments on new models over the past year or so to the point where I would hesitate buying sight unseen from Japan on a new model.  This example looked find, there's plenty of examples on the shared on the internet. Shame really, as there's no excuse for this drop in quality.

The movement used is Seiko’s 6R15. Its been in production for at least 8 years now and counting. There’s been plenty written about the 6R15 by now. Think of it as Seiko’s ETA 2824. Hacking and handwinding. 6 beats per second. Special adjustable hairspring. Special alloys used in the hairspring and mainspring. As far as mechanical movements go its impressive, especially considering Seiko’s history of using lesser movements. Unfortunately the fascination of mechanical movements have lost their allure with me so I don’t get too excited about them anymore.

Overall, the Sumo is a great option especially if you are looking for a larger cased diver from Seiko. Just be aware its not a perfect watch and does have its foibles. These may not matter to you or you’re willing to accept them at the benefit of the top of class case construction and finishing.

Crystal Diameter 30.5mm
Bezel Diameter 42.5mm
Case Diameter 45mm
Case Diameter with crown 49mm
Lug Width 20mm
Lug Height 52mm
Thickness 13.5mm
Weight 171g

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