Vintage revival watches have had a good run in the last decade with brands like Tudor, Oris and Longines producing successful modern interpretations of past classics. And while the abovementioned watches breach the AED7,000-mark (Tudor is AED10,000+), there is a little gem from the time Seiko rode the revival wave that’s a good gateway drug for watch enthusiasts who don’t want to spend too much on a vintage-style watch.
That watch is the Seiko Recraft SNKNO1, a self-winding mechanical watch presented with a calf-leather strap that costs a little over AED600 (I bought mine for AED500 a couple of years ago). The Recraft series is a collection of affordable watches inspired by vintage Seiko models. The kind of timepiece you would spot in old family Polaroids, the Recraft SNKN01 embodies the spirit of 1970s timepieces, cue the large (44mm) satin-brushed cushion case with beveled and polished edges, and that striking gradient sunray finish dial.
An exhibition caseback reveals the business end of the watch, Seiko’s workhorse Caliber 7S26, a 21-jewel movement that has been around for nearly 25 years now. Seiko’s ability to scale up manufacturing efficiently enables it to mass produce quality in-house movements and keep costs low. While the Swiss fuss over finishing techniques, the 7S26 is Spartan movement and is bereft of any design flourishes. However, the stainless steel case with its brushed and polished surfaces is as good as anything you’ll see from entry-level Swiss brands.
Over the years, Seiko has steadily pushed its price points up and now that the brand has discontinued its popular SKX line of dive watches, it’s not easy to find a mechanical watch under AED1,000. A cursory search on the web reveals that you can still bag a Seiko Recraft for AED600 or thereabouts. So if you have been curious about these vintage-style watches, it would serve you well to take another look at the Seiko Recraft range.