- Date acquired: May 18th 2005
- Production Date: July 2004
- Source: Pokemonyu, eBay
- Price paid: USD147
- Status: Possibly discontinued
This nice looking watch actually fulfilled two of my personal watch collecting criteria. Firstly, I was looking for a military look Seiko and secondly, I decided to have a representative from the 7T62 alarm chronograph family. I was aware of the various military-styled Seiko 5 watches available, such as the SNK427K model and its cousins but they were non-chronograph watches.
It took some mulling about for several months before I decided to buy the SNA141P. This model wasn’t found at the local watch stores in Kuala Lumpur so I had to resort to buying from Pokemonyu on eBay. I knew that Seiko is notorious for discontinuing models that they feel are not their best-sellers (whether you really like the watch or not) so I made up my mind to get one before the SNA141P was pulled off the market.
The SNA141P is in fact, an evolutionary design rather than a revolutionary one. Prior to this, Seiko already had several military-styled chronograph models in the early 1980s, starting with their long discontinued 7T27-7A20 and 7A28-7120 quartz models, such as these fine examples below.
Two rare classic military style Seikos – the 7T27-7A20 (left) and the 7A28-7120 (right)
The 7T27 itself was a unique albeit short-lived caliber – it had a 30-minute register chronograph as well as a 24-hour subdial. In fact, the 7T27-7A20 model, pictured above was chosen by the British RAF (Royal Air Force) in the 1980s as a military-issue watch for its pilots. These RAF-issued watches are highly prized by Seiko collectors and they usually fetch a handsome sum on the used market.
The 7T27-7A20 was available in two variants – one with Promethium-147 lume (the one with the “P” symbol on the dial) and one without any luminous markings. I have no idea why the non-luminous version existed – if it had something to do with stealth or night vision impairment, the lume markings aren’t bright enough to be seen more than a few feet away.
By the late 1980s Seiko bade goodbye to both their 7T27 and 7A28 calibers and a (then) new chronograph caliber was introduced – the well-liked 7T32 alarm chronograph. Seiko did produce a few military-look 7T32s but none were selected as military issue timepieces. Not any that I know of anyway.
To my best knowledge Seiko made at least a few attractive and very desirable models based on the 7T32, pictured below. These two are also highly sought after by 7T32 collectors worldwide.
I later found out that the SNA141P was not the only military-look Seiko 7T62 chronograph model. In fact, there are four versions of this watch in stainless steel and three versions (including the SNA141P) in titanium.
Here’s the entire lineup of the 7T62 military styled models. I don’t know of any 7T32 models with similar styling though. The white and blue dialed models are probably the hardest to find.
Stainless steel models
Above: The stainless steel versions (SNA029P, SNA195P, SNA027P and SNA197P)
From left to right: SNA379P, SNA141P and SNA139P. Curiously, the blue dialed model was omitted from the titanium lineup. (Photos from Chronograph.com and other Internet sources)
Of the seven models, the SNA141P and SNA139P were the two models most commonly found on eBay. The black dialed SNA139P is usually sold on a titanium bracelet while the green SNA141P on nylon band.
The stainless steel models also have sandblasted finish and is easily differentiated from the absence of the “TITANIUM” text on the dials.
Look and feel
If there’s anything that I discovered about military style watches, I learned that they:
are usually small in diameter
are lightweight on the wrist
have Arabic numerals for positive time reading
- sometimes have 24-hour markings
- have optionally, a 24-hour indicator or GMT time zone
- have matte or sandblasted case finish
- are in drab olive green or black
- have luminous hand and markers for night viewing
- Non-metallic strap
The SNA141P has all the above attributes, except for the 24-hour markings. While it doesn’t have a 24-hour subdial, it does have the alarm subdial which could be independently set to another time zone, e.g. GMT.
I was initially disappointed by the diminutive size of this watch when I first received it. It sure looked larger in the pictures and expected it to be at least as large as my other 7T32 alarm-chronographs.
Later on I learned that military-issued watches are supposed to be small, non-shiny and drab looking for stealth and camouflage. I guess the last thing a Special Ops Ranger wants is a blingy, shiny and large watch on his wrist that could reflect light and give away his position under cover! 😉
There’s nothing blingy about the SNA141P – it’s factory sandblasted finish all-around!
The caseback is a rather plain and dull affair – no decorative markings except for the usual Seiko logo and the caliber/case text, serial number and the usual stuff.
The SNA141P wears super-light on the wrist. In fact, when I first strapped it on I could almost not feel it on my wrist! I’ve been used to heavy stainless steel divers and chronographs that the SNA141P almost felt like a plastic watch.
I had issues with the factory equipped 20mm nylon strap. It does look good but gives me a nagging itch when worn for several hours. I decided to swap the factory strap for a much more comfortable Morellato Cordura Lorica water-resistant band with a luxurious leather backing. The Morellato’s color is a lighter shade of green compared to the original nylon band’s deeper green tone.
Photos of my SNA141P on its original 20mm nylon band (left) and Cordura-Lorica strap (right)
The lume is however, not that great but passable. While this is definitely not a diver’s watch, I felt it could sure use with brighter lume. The Arabic numerals are lumed and so are the hands, including the second hand’s arrow tip. The dial doesn’t glow well into the night and it’s probably not the kind of watch that you want to wear in a dark movie theater.
The dial’s visibility is fortunately superb with its high contrast numerals against the olive green dial. Despite the watch’s small size, I have no trouble telling the time at arm’s length.
Above: A close-up lume of shot of my standard SNA141P.
Most SNA141P owners would leave their watches as they are but an adventurous watch collector and friend, Thian Wong in Japan actually did some enhancement to his watch. He got his SNA141P hands and dial relumed, which turned out to be pretty interesting.
You can see in the bottom photo that the hour and minute hands on Thian’s watch have extra lume. The entire length of second hand too as well as the tiny square markers at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. He had the watch relumed by a hobbyist and an acquaintance of his, Angelo who lives in Spain.
Above: Thian Wong’s modified SNA141P with nicely relumed dial and hands.
Here’s a comparison shot of the SNA141P’s lume (center) with my SKX007J diver (left) and Seiko 5 SNK807K (right)
I thought I’d briefly mention the history of the 7T62 caliber before explaining its functional features.
The 7T62 is the direct descendant of Seiko’s long-running 7T32 caliber, which had been in existence since 1988. The 7T32 had a distinctly recognizable layout with three push buttons and two crowns while the 7T62 dispensed with an extra crown and pusher.
I’m not sure why Seiko decided to make the 7T62 into a 2-push button and single crown design but I have a few plausible theories though:
Less push buttons and crown means cheaper production costs
Better water resistance reliability – more pushers mean more entrance points for water intrusion
To make the 7T62 look like the mainstream chronographs of current design, with two pushers and crown on the right side of the watch case
The SNA141P has the same smooth sweeping, center chronograph second hand as with the older 7T32 models. The chronograph’s stepping motor has a resolution of 1/5th of a second. The discrete steps are very difficult to distinguish with the naked eye therefore it’s easier (and more practical) to count the elapsed time in whole seconds rather than in 0.2 second increments.
If precision stopwatch timing is what you need, you’re better off with a Seiko 7T92 or 7T82 chronograph with 1/20sec and 1/100sec resolutions respectively.
A major revision in the 7T62 is its minute totalizer or register. Instead of calibrated to 30 minutes as with the older 7T32, the 7T62’s register is marked to 60 minutes. Measuring time in 60-minute increments is obviously more practical than 30-minute segments.
As with the 7T32, the SNA141P’s chronograph will continue to run for a full 6 hours before automatically resetting. This serves to conserve the battery in case you had inadvertently left the stopwatch running and stored the watch for a few days.
The SNA141P’s alarm is the 12-hour type, which means if you set it to go off at 7 a.m., it will also ring at 7 p.m. Which means, you cannot set it to ring once in 24-hours and you have to disable the alarm if you don’t want it to buzz you twelve hours later.
The piezoelectric buzzer emits a soft yet pleasant and piercing two-tone trill. The sound will easily be lost in noisy surroundings but is very audible in a moderately quiet office or in a board room. It’s not loud enough to awaken heavy sleepers. I prefer to use my Sony Ericsson K750i cellphone as an alarm clock as it’s almost impossible to ignore its very loud alerts. Besides, frequent use of the alarm will inevitably shorten the watch’s battery life.
Unlike the 7T32, the SNA141P’s 7T62’s alarm subdial could only be set via push button means. The procedure to set the alarm time (and alarm ring time) is a bit complicated. In fact, I can’t even remember how to set the alarm ring time without consulting the owner’s manual. 🙂
With the older 7T32, the alarm time is set mechanically via a crown and you can go clockwise or anti-clockwise. The SNA141P, which lacks a dedicated crown means that the alarm time can only be set forwards. Should you overshoot the intended time, you’ll have to make another complete revolution.
The SNA141P’s alarm subdial can be set to a different time zone. In my example above, the time indicated is GMT.
An undocumented feature of this caliber is its ability to use the alarm subdial as a second time zone. The alarm subdial is in fact, “a watch within a watch”, i.e. it operates independently of the main time. Since I never use the alarm function of my quartz watches, I would set its alarm subdial to indicate GMT, which makes it useful as a pseudo-GMT watch.
Personally I find having the alarm subdial also indicating the current time redundant, so I prefer the subdial to denote a different time zone. GMT (or UTC) is always my preferred 2nd time zone.
Here are the measurements of the Seiko SNA141P:
- Diameter: 40mm (without crown), 42.5mm (with crown)
- Lug-to-lug: 43mm
- Thickness: 12mm
- Lug width: 20mm
- Here are additional shots of my watch from various angles:
- Caliber: 7T62, 0 jewels
- Caseback type: 7T62-0B20
- Movement: Quartz
- Complications: Alarm, chronograph
- Chronograph resolution: 1/5sec (up to 60 mins)
- Loss/gain: Less than 15 sec/month
- Battery life: About 3 years
- Battery type: Seiko SR927W or equivalent
- Calendar: Date only
- Construction: Titanium
- Crystal: Hardlex glass, domed profile
- Crown: Screw-in type
- Bezel: Fixed, matte finish
- W.R. rating: 200m
- Luminous material: LumiBrite™
- Movement Japan, cased in Singapore
If you like small sized, military styled chronographs, look no further than the Seiko SNA141P. It’s a suitable watch to go for hiking and jungle treks – the titanium construction with the nylon band makes it very light and pleasant to wear.
Sometimes I’d forget to wear my SNA141P because of my present habit to wear large sized divers and chronographs but when I strap this one on, it’s a refreshing change. I wouldn’t sell this watch – it’s hard to find one nowadays as it’s most likely to have been discontinued.
What I liked:
- Lightweight titanium construction
- High contrast green dial with luminous Arabic numerals
- Domed profile crystal
- Screw-in crown
- Chronograph, alarm and dual-time zone feature
- 200m water resistance rating
- One of the very few military-styled Seiko chronographs available today
- Reasonable price
What I didn’t care for:
- Watch dimensions could have been slightly bigger
- Small minute chrono register a bit hard to read
- Scratch-prone titanium finish
- Fiddly small crown
- Average lume brightness and sensitivity
- Uncomfortable factory issued nylon strap