- Date acquired: Aug 27th 2003
- Production Date: June 2002
- Source: Style Watches Sdn Bhd, BB Plaza
- Price paid: MYR1,070 (USD319)
- Status: Discontinued
The SNJ001P was first Sportura model to use the analog digital H023 module. It’s not the first H023 caliber timepiece – that title truly belongs to the short lived Prospex Sky Professional series that debuted in 2001.
The H023 also happens to be Seiko’s last analog digital caliber with world time capability and a high precision, 1/1000sec stopwatch that times up to 100 hours. Its successor, the H024 caliber unfortunately lacks the world time function and a second hand.
This watch certainly has an interesting mix of a dress watch with useful, utilitarian functions. If you had to have just one multi-function watch, the Sportura SNJ001P would be a good candidate. 🙂
The SNJ001P was one of the love-at-first-sight watches for me. I first spotted this model at a watch store at the ground floor of the SOGO Department Store. I didn’t have time to check it out but I stored the looks and styling of the watch at the back of my mind.
I had just a fleeting glimpse of it but the description of the watch was permanently carved at the back of my mind. The dial was simply a breathtaking sight and contrasts nicely with the heavily chromed case. Its bezel was adorned with city prefixes on an anodized black bezel insert. The rectangular push buttons were symmetrical with the watch case.
And I knew I could identify this beauty if I saw it again. 🙂
When I got home from the office, I scoured the ‘net looking for that grail watch of mine. I didn’t know what model it was except that it was very shiny and had a jet black dial with a subdued inverse LCD display for the digital readout. Not too long after I managed to track down the watch. I found out the model was the Sportura SNJ001P.
Actually, I originally wanted to buy the Prospex Sky Professional, model when I first saw it at Wayne’s Watch World but at USD450 without shipping it was rather steep for me.
I saved a few photos of this watch but the one that really captured my imagination and ignited my deep interest was this particular photo which I got off the ‘net:
Top: A beautifully photographed Sportura SNJ001P
Look and feel
The Sportura has a very nice heft to it, with all around stainless steel bracelet with solid links. The case sides are satin brushed with the center links having a mirror-finish polish, which goes nicely with the equally polished . The highlight of the watch is its wonderfully smooth and flat sapphire crystal, the jet black dial and fluorescent red sweep second hand.
On my watch, the second hand aligns to the minute markers about 95% of the dial, in some places it’s a bit off and others spot on. The lume brightness is on the average side as the thin index markers and hands can’t accommodate more LumiBrite™ than I would have liked.
A major shortcoming of this watch (and all other H023 Seikos) is the lack of illumination. There’s no backlight therefore you can’t read the digital display in the dark. I don’t know why Seiko chose to omit the backlight – perhaps they couldn’t fit an electroluminescent light or they wanted to extract as much battery life possible. Frequent use of backlight will certainly shorten the battery life of a watch.
Here are some terrific photos (not mine though) of the SNJ001P taken from various angles:
The Sportura sits flatly on the wrist and the bracelet is certainly no hair puller. It’s a bit heavy but comfortable. The brushed clasp has a signed “SEIKO Sportura" inscription and twin push buttons to release the catch. It’s not of the tri-fold design and it lacks the safety catch found in many Seiko bracelets.
How big is the SNJ001P? I measured the watch’s dimensions as follows:
- Diameter: 42mm (w/o pusher), 46mm (w/ pusher)
- Lug-to-lug: 48mm
- Thickness: 12.5mm
- Lug width: 22mm, tapering to 18mm at clasp
The caseback has a unique layout with 18 dimples and six shallow, bullet shaped indentations. The text “Sapphire Glass" is indicated on the caseback. The first battery change was done at the Seiko Service Center (with a dry pressure test) and the technician did it without even marring the caseback. Obviously they had the proper tools for the Sportura’s unique caseback.
Unfortunately, my second battery change was disastrous! I sent the watch to my watchmaker and he didn’t have the proper tools to open the caseback and instead used a generic caseback opener. As a result, he accidentally made a few scratches and gouges on the stainless steel back. 🙁
The scratches had since been buffed by my watchmaker and I went home to further polish off any leftover traces. Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I resolve to send the watch back to the Seiko service center for my next battery change whether I like it or not.
Like all H023 watches (except the Sky Professional series) the SNJ001P has no crown but four push buttons. The upper left pusher is a multi-function “Adjust" button that sets the watch’s date and time. The lower left is the Mode button and it cycles through the following modes:
- Time display (12/24 hr format)
- World Time (28 cities, including GMT with Daylight Savings Time option)
- Chronograph (1/1000sec)
- Alarm time
This is the default mode which displays the current city, the digital time and calendar display. If you find the digital readout somewhat distracting, there’s an option to suppress the extraneous information except the day and date. I prefer this suppressed display as it keeps background clutter to a minimum. Despite the lack of backlight, the LCD display offers high contrast and is still legible in low light.
The watch beeps when you press a button but you can put it on silent mode if you like. Pressing any button will instantly display the digital time and city abbreviation. You can also have a 24-hour time format if you like. The calendar is fully automatic, keeping track of leap years and good up to the year 2043.
In the World Time Mode, you can view only one city time at any one time and choose the city that you desire by pressing the upper right button. Press and hold this button and the watch fast forwards through all the time zones. The second hand also serves as a pointer, it will indicate the current city on the bezel. There’s no provision for you to reverse, if you missed a city you’ll have to cycle through all cities.
A cool feature is the one-touch, instant local time setting. Seiko calls it the “transfer function". All you have to do is to push the Adjust button. A shrill beep is issued and the main time hands magically move to synchronize with the local time indicated in the LCD display.
The hands can move forwards or backwards to the local city time, whichever is the shortest route. If you’ve never seen the H023 in action, you’ll be impressed with the show. Frequent use of the transfer function can shorten battery life. I imagine the stepping motor uses considerable power to physically move the hands.
You’ll find the transfer function very handy if you travel across time zones. 🙂
The chronograph has a resolution of 1/100 sec which means it can measure to the nearest 0.001 second! The H023 caliber remained the only analog-digital Seiko watch capable of this fine resolution until the newer H024 caliber appeared sometime in 2006. As the stopwatch runs, a series of chevrons (">>>>") move from left to right on the topmost LCD display, indicating that the stopwatch is activated. It supports a single lap time measurement with no memory.
If you like timing long events, you’ll be pleased to know that the chronograph can time up to a maximum of 100 hours before resetting to zero. Perfect for timing long haul, international flights.
The alarm is a conventional affair, with a nice sounding two-tone trill that’s piercing enough to alert you in a convention center but not loud enough to wake heavy sleepers. You can set the alarm time to another time zone. It’s useful if you’re in New York and want to be reminded to make a phone call to Tokyo when it’s 10 a.m. over there.
Above: Some photos of my Sportura SNJ001P
- Caliber: H023, 5 jewels
- Caseback: H023-00A0
- Movement type: Quartz, 32kHz crystal
- Loss/gain: Less than 15 sec/mth
- Chronograph: 1/1000 sec, up to 100 hours
- Alarm: Single channel, 24 hours
- Calendar: Day/date
- Crown: None (push buttons)
- Construction: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Sapphire glass, flat
- W.R. Rating: 100m
- Luminous material: LumiBrite™
- Battery life: Approx 2 years
- Battery type: Seiko SR1130W, 1.55 volts
- Movement Japan, cased in Singapore
Top: Wrist shots of my SNJ001P, on my 6.5" wrist. The watch is rather blingy so it’s rather difficult to take photos of it with the least amount of reflection.
The SNJ001P makes a very nice sporty dress watch with multi-function features. I have actually worn this watch on a trip to Saudi Arabia and the world time capability keeps track of my home time. This model is discontinued but recently some units have reappeared on eBay. Would I buy this SNJ001P again? Maybe I would, if it weren’t so shiny.
The SNJ001P was also featured in one of Seiko’s notable ads for their 2001 Sportura lineup. I liked the slogan "It’s Your Watch" that I used it as my favorite personal signature in the Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum. 🙂
What I liked:
- Sapphire glass
- Clean looks, superb dial layout
- World time function
- 1/1000sec chronograph with 100-hour timing capability
What I didn’t care for:
- Blingy case and bracelet, a tad too shiny for my taste
- Relatively short battery life
- Integrated bracelet, which means you can’t change to an aftermarket bracelet or a strap without major modifications
Unusual caseback design. You’ll need a special Sportura case opener for this watch as the dimples are very shallow. A regular case opener may scratch the caseback. Your nearest Seiko repair center should have the correct case opener for Sportura models.
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