This watch happens to be my first Seiko Kinetic and it took me over a year to decide whether I wanted to try one for curiosity’s sake. Coming from a long-running background of owning quartz and automatic Seikos, I had to do much research on Kinetic watches before contemplating this revolutionary hybrid movement.
Prior to my purchase of this timepiece, I wasn’t particularly convinced if a Kinetic would make a wise "investment". It was probably due advice from one of the watch dealers that I had spoken to, who said that he had heard of Kinetic owner complaints through his network of Seiko watch dealers. Due to this, he pointed out that he sold only quartz or automatic watches in his store, never Kinetics.
I had to find out why he wasn’t keen on selling Kinetics so I turned to the good old Internet for more information. It turned out that there were articles from dissatisfied Kinetic owners who highlighted the problems that plagued their watches.
Well, there was some truth in this as far as the early Kinetic watches were concerned. Seiko had since corrected their teething problems and their Kinetic models constitute their bread-and-butter, mid-priced watches.
I remember looking at a nice Pepsi bezeled, SKA051P Kinetic diver at a watch store at the Pertama Complex in Kuala Lumpur some years ago. It was about closing time and my friend and I asked to take a peek at the watch. At the time I wasn’t particularly convinced if Kinetics were my cup of tea but the persuasive sales assistant did throw in a one-time offer of RM500 (USD151) for the watch.
Well, the watch was soon forgotten and I focused on other models that interested me.
It wasn’t until sometime in July 2004 when I visited an upscale watch store called Emotus Time Culture in the prestigious Suria KLCC shopping mall and I saw the SKA051P and its black counterpart, the SKA013P. They were both NOS models and they were also barely ticking in the display case. Watch store owners usually don’t bother keeping their unsold Kinetic models running as it’s an arduous task to shake all the watches to recharge their internal storage unit.
I took a sudden interest in these two and spent an hour mulling over which model I should get. My colleague said the black SKA013P is both striking and sedate-looking at the same time (now how does that go?) and it would be a worthy timepiece to wear to the office and for leisure. The Pepsi bezeled SKA051P, well – it looked a bit flashier. 🙂
The SKA013P (left) and the SKA051P (right). Images from Wayne’s Watch World
In the meantime, I conducted my own research on the Internet and found some references to the SKA013P, particularly from the SCWF archives. A few owners had sold their SKA013Ps, citing the squarish lugs as their reasons for not liking the model. I thought they had a valid point as most Seiko divers has traditional rounded lugs instead of wedged ones.
Times have changed and so did Seiko’s watch styling. These days it’s not uncommon to find Seiko watches with square lugs, so it’s not a big deal now.
The SKA013P is based on the 5M62-0A10 Kinetic models, and the movement itself is a robust and reliable movement since its introduction. Seiko is pretty confident with the 5M62 caliber and continues to make new models with this caliber to this day.
In my course of research, I discovered that there were other models of varying colors other than the more common black SKA013P and the blue dialed SKA051P.
Stock photos of the complete lineup of the 5M62-0A10 models. Top row: SKA013P, SKA051P, SKA011P.
Bottom row: SKA014P and SKA009P
Of all the models listed above, the SKA013P and SKA015P are probably the most in abundance. The rarer ones were the discontinued SKA011P (with blue bezel), the SKA014P (blue with gold accent) and perhaps the rarest of all is the white dialed SKA009P.
The white SKA009P is so rare that a well known SCWF member, Thomas, actually posted numerous want ads in the Seiko & Citizen Trading Forum. He had run out of resources and all the known online sellers told him the SKA009P was no longer in stock. Thomas eventually got his wish fulfilled after several months of waiting but I’m not about to let in on how he managed to acquire one. 🙂
Above: A nice pair of SKA051P and SKA013P Kinetic divers. Photo by James Tan
Seiko’s naming convention is usually predictable but not always. For instance the black one is the SKA013P and going by this, the next model in line should logically be the SKA015P but it’s not. In fact, some sellers get confused and mistaken it as the SKA015P.
I don’t know why Seiko didn’t label the Pepsi-bezeled model as the SKA015P but instead, the SKA051P. Maybe someone in the Seiko marketing department made a typo and hence, it became the SKA051P instead. I wasn’t particularly convinced until I looked it up and sure enough, the correct reference number is SKA051P.
Of course, stock Seiko catalog photos are usually one-dimensional and unflattering. The actual watches look a lot prettier in actual photos and look best in real life. Here are nice some examples which I have mined from the forum:
Clockwise from top: SKA013P, SKA051P, SKA009P and SKA014P. Photographic images courtesy of SCWF members - James Tan, Badern and Thomas Haller
Look and feel
The SKA013P has a distinct classic and sporty aesthetics, with some design influences from the modern, classic Seiko divers such as the SKX173 automatic diver and perhaps, to a small extent – the grail of Seiko automatic divers – the SBDX001 Marine Master.
The dial itself is a sight to behold – it’s color is true jet black with a semi-iridescent finish, unlike the SKX007 diver, which is more accurately described as having a very dark charcoal grey dial. This one is really black and no doubt about it. The luminous rectangular index markers are metal-framed, which gives the SKA013P an extra touch of finesse.
The case has finely polished sides and is matte brushed on the topside of the lugs with an equally plain matte caseback. Nothing fancy with the caseback design though – no Seiko "wave" logo either.
In my photo below, you can see the reflection of the second hand on the dial.
This picture shows the semi-reflective nature of the wonderfully jet-black dial
I really like the the design of the watch hands – they match the rectangular markers and Seiko did a pretty good job choosing these gladiator sword-like hands. The jet black dial contrasts nicely with white hands and telling the time is effortless even in poor lighting. The center sweep hand is also lumed at the tip and in my watch, hits the index markers accurately about 97% across the dial.
The SKA013P is a comfortable to wear and the solid linked bracelet is an interesting combination of brushed pieces with a hint of polished strips flanking the center links. The bracelet is medium weighted and doesn’t snag on your wrist hair. One thing that’s sorely missed is the dual push-button clasp that many Seiko enthusiasts prefer. This one comes with a simple, single safety catch flip.
Side profile of the SKA013P. Note the framed index markers and the solid linked bracelet
The uni-directional turning bezel is a smooth action affair, with positive 120 clicks. The bezel is quite thick with vertically knurled edges for easy grip. I would have liked the bezel to be slightly stiffer but maybe it’s just my watch. The 12 o’clock marker is thankfully lumed as with traditional Seiko divers.
In the lume department, the SKA013P’s dial and hands’ luminosity is slightly above average. Obviously it won’t beat the Monster, Knight or the Sawtooth but telling the time in the dark isn’t too difficult and the lume lasts well into the night.
Above: A time exposure photograph of my SKA013P showing the luminous properties of the watch
The SKA013P is rated to 100m water resistance and is not an ISO certified diver. That should be fine for swimming pool excursions and shallow snorkeling activities. It’s more accurately described as a sports watch with diver-style looks, like the Seiko SKX031K Submariner. The non-locking crown is closely flanked by a pair of non-obtrusive crown guards. In case you’re wondering what the button at the 2 o’clock position is for, it’s the Power Reserve (PR) indicator button, which I’ll explain next.
The PR button is standard with all Seiko Kinetics with the 5M-series caliber. It’s not a very accurate means of gauging the reserve power of its internal rechargeable lithium ion cell (not to be confused with a capacitor). Seiko’s recommended procedure to check the remaining power is to wait for the second hand to point to 12 o’clock and push the PR button.
The reserve power is measured by the how far the watch’s second hand moves in an arc. Depending on the amount of remaining power, the second hand will swing to the 5, 10, 20 and 30 second mark. If the watch has between 75%-100% worth of power, the second will swing 180 degrees to the 30-second marker.
The second hand will freeze momentarily until the time catches up and the hand will resume its normal timekeeping. You can only press the PR button twice until second hand starts ticking
At full charge, the internal storage cell will power the SKA013P for six months. The diagram below clearly illustrates how to read the watch’s power reserve.
Battery type: Maxell TC920S rechargeable lithium ion
Calendar: Date only
Construction: Stainless steel
Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
Crown: Non-screw in type
Bezel: Unidirectional, 120-click graduations
W.R. rating: 100m
Luminous material: LumiBrite™
Movement Japan, cased in Singapore
The SKA013P makes a fine candidate as your first Kinetic watch if you happen to like the diver’s style look. What Seiko needs is an automatic counterpart to this fine looking watch, as what they have done to the SMY089P Black Knight (it’s offered in quartz version too).
This watch is likely to be discontinued in Asia but has recently appeared for the North American market under the SKA299 model designation. Both the SKA013P and the SKA299 are essentially similar watches.
Seiko USA usually gives a different number to distinguish the model from parallel imports from Asia. In addition, Seiko USA also has its own price structure (it’s usually higher than the rest of the world) but in return offers a 3-year limited warranty. As far as I know, only watches sold through Seiko USA’s authorized dealers (not parallel imports) are given a three-year warranty. For other parts of the world, you get only a 1-year guarantee.
What I liked:
High quality jet black dial with framed rectangular indices
Well finished, solid linked Oyster-like bracelet
Smooth action bezel with attractive pronounced 15-minute markings
Sporty and elegant styling, suitable for formal and casual wear
Easy-to-read date calendar
Kinetic 5M62 movement
What I didn’t care for:
Simple flick lock on bracelet clasp
Bezel could have been slightly stiffer
Lack of a screw-in crown
Kinetics need constant wearing to prevent depletion of charge