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The single best thing about this watch: this Seiko is better than almost 50,000 other fan-submitted designs.
The backstory: Watch enthusiasts are a particular bunch. When new timepieces come out, they fret and obsess over minor details: lug proportion, the design of a seconds hand, a single millimeter added or subtracted to a case. They find plenty to praise, or to complain about. But it’s not like they could do any better, right? Late last year, Seiko said phooey to all that and let picky collectors take the wheel through a competition it called the Custom Watch Beatmaker. Fans were invited to mix and match various Seiko parts then submit their designs to the larger pool for fans to vote on. Between late 2020 and early this year, over 48,000 designs poured in. One watch separated itself from the fray massively. This gold-dialed Seiko received over 50% of the 16,000,000-plus votes. Can eight million collectors be wrong?
Fans are feeling nostalgic: On its own, the Seiko 5 Sports model is already one of the best deals in watches. Versions of the handsome timepiece with a mechanical movement consistently come in at under $300. The winning design applied to this base mixes and matches beloved elements from vintage watches. The two-tone red-and-blue bezel is an ode to the Pepsi-style GMT and the toasted-marshmallow deep gold dial is reminiscent of the cult-favorite “Pogue” Seiko, as Hodinkee notes. The price on this watch, $295, also feels like it’s from a different era.
Where and when to buy them: The Seiko 5 will be available in August.