Seiko SNK803: Best Budget Automatic Field Watch under $150?

Seiko SNK803, the beige/cream version of the famous Seiko SNK809 – is one of the popular models within the Seiko 5 line for its awesome field watch design for under $100, few years back. But due to its popularity, the price has increased slightly. Obviously, there are many more watches with newer movements & calibers. This article hopes to provide all the information you need so that you can make an informed purchase decision.


The Seiko SNK is one of the popular choices in the Seiko 5 line. Seiko 5 isn’t just one watch. It is a watch line, a group of watches that adhere to the 5 attributes of a watch. The “5” in Seiko 5 is a reference to the features of  

  • 1. An automatic movement
  • 2. Day/Date display
  • 3. Water resistance
  • 4. Recessed crown at 4 o clock
  • 5. Durable case

Although Seiko 5 is known for its affordable good-quality watches like the SNXS & SNKL models, It has divers too like the newer Seiko SRPD line.


But today we will take a look at a field/pilot-style watch from Seiko 5 – The Seiko SNK, specifically the SNK803. Here are the specifications

  • Case Size: 37mm
  • Thickness: 11m
  • Movement: Automatic Seiko Cal. 7s26
  • Lug to lug: 43mm
  • Lug width: 18mm
  • Crystal: Seiko’s Hardlex
  • Water Resistance: 30m

The Seiko SNK has few colors / variants :

Seiko SNK803, SNK809, SNK805, SNK807
From left: Cream (SNK803), Black (SNK809), Green (SNK805), Blue (SNK807)
Credit: Long Island Watch

There’s also one with a bracelet of the same sand-blasted matte finish as the case – Seiko SNK809K1. In my opinion, if you’re looking to buy the black dial version, this is the model you should buy. Reason? – The canvas strap sucks. Thus, you will find this metal bracelet to be more useful and if you don’t like it, you can always change the straps.

Seiko SNK809K1 Bracelet Version
Seiko SNK809K1 (with metal bracelet)
Credit: OLX


From the get-go, you can see that this dial is inspired by field or pilot watch design. It is pretty legible with a type B pilot watch design. Meaning the minutes are primary, while the hour is secondary. This adds to the military aesthetic feel to the watch, I must say.

At the 12’ o clock, you have this black triangle, which adds to the ruggedness of the dial design. As with other Seiko 5, this too features an applied Seiko 5 logo, with the words automatic 21 jewels at the bottom.

Seiko SNK803 - Cream Beige Dial Ashley Tee
Military Aesthetic

This particular variant features this interesting cream color. Personally, this is a perfect watch for my collection because most of my watches are in monochrome colors, thus this helps to diversify my collection. This color is unique yet versatile enough to pair it with your clothes.

Admittedly, this color is slightly less mainstream than the famous black version – making it suitable for those who doesn’t like mainstream watches. Although this watch has lume, but it is pretty weak and nothing to be shouted upon.

Seiko SNK809
Credit: Watchient


This watch features a sword hour and minute hands while the lollipop second hand move smoothly with a dash of red at the end of the tip. Making the watch a piece to enjoy especially on Sunday appearing as red on the day / date window.

Macro Shot Seiko SNK803 Day Date with Red Second Hand


The case – for me, this is the highlight of the watch. The sand blasted matte finish reminds me of the iconic Hamilton Khaki Field.

Hamilton Khaki Field vs Seiko SNK
Left: Hamilton Khaki Field; Right: Seiko SNK803
Credit: 12&60

I fancy this type of finishing because it can hold against scratches better. Of course, you can still scratches, but it is not that obvious compared to your polished case watches. finishing because it looks like as if it can withstand scratches.

Also, I’m happy that Seiko did the same finishing for the buckle rather than leaving it polished to save costs.

Seiko SNK803 Bracelet Buckle
same sand blast finishing on the buckle

However, they did cut their cost by leaving the case back, and between the lugs as polished. But then I don’t really mind it. I would rather they have the same finishing on the buckle, than the case back.

Only 37mm Case Diameter!

If you’re like me, wanting a rugged style watch, but can only find those above 40mm, this makes a perfect choice. The case size of 37mm makes it perfect choice for those of smaller wrist. As you can see here. I have a small wrist of only 150mm.

Ashley Tee YouTube Video, wristshot of Seiko SNK803, small wrist size of 150mm


One last thing that I want to point out about the case is that it has transparent case back, meaning you get to see the movement inside –making it an exciting choice first-time watch owners out there.

Transparent Case Back Seiko SNK803


Ah, the strap – it is straight up disappointing. I like that it’s made out of canvas, and has reinforcements around those pin holes, but there are 2 reasons why I dislike this watch strap.

leather reinforcements on watch strap holes seiko snk803
Leather reinforcements for the holes

1. The strap is too big for my wrist size.

wristshot of seiko803, too long of watch strap
5 minutes later after I wore this watch

2. Uncomfortable, rough, and it itches


Without any shame, I admit this is my 3rd watch in my collection of the same movement: 7s26. It is not because I love the movement that much until I get 3 watches of the same internal mechanism. But because most of my watches are within affordable category, and Seiko uses this movement for most of their budget watches.

However, the newer Seikos no longer use this 7s26, but then again, they are also a teeny tiny more expensive. Honestly, having this non-hackable, non-handwinding movement doesn’t really bother me as much. As long as I don’t pay fortune for it.

For those who are new to the 7s26 movement, it’s a very famous in house movement by Seiko created in 1996 and often used in Seiko’s affordable line of watches. For example, all if not most of the older Seiko 5 models use this movement.

Question: What is non-hacking?

Answer: the second hand will not stop when you pull out the crown to set the time/date. Aka, you can’t be absolutely accurate with your watch.

Question: What is non-handwinding?

Answer: to get the watch moving, you need to do the famous shake (as seen in my video)

Water Resistance

30m of water resistance – Disappointing to say the least– because it looks rugged and feels tough but yet, can only handle splashes of water. Anything more than that, this watch will suffer.

This Watch Is Suitable For:

Guys out there looking for gifts for their female loved ones, because again, you can wear it too. #win
Featuring my husband’s wrist of 160mm
Non-OCD person who doesn’t mind if their watch is running a few seconds early or late.
First-Time Watch Owners

If you’re looking for a good reputable watch that will not fail on you and don’t want to spend too much on a timepiece, this is for you. But I will say this goes the same as for other Seiko 5 models. I have a few affiliate links below for other Seiko 5 models, feel free to check them out.

These links will not incur any extra charges on you, but instead, it will help support this blog if you purchase using my links.

Final Thoughts

I’ve had this for 1 year and I’m happy with it, and it will always be in my collection. However, I don’t wear it as often. But that is solely because I like my other watches more, like my Seiko SNXS79.

Affiliate Links

Ah yes, time to put in my obligatory list of affiliate links, because one needs to eat bread.
Jokes aside, appreciate it if you are buying these watches from my affiliate links. It truly helps, thank you!


One last favor I need from you if you read this whole post. Please visit my YouTube channel, and hit the subscribe button. Thanks!

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