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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My criteria for reviewing a watch depends on how much exposure a watch has received. No need to post another review if there is plenty of information already out there. In that vein, I acquired a Seiko SRP263 (J1) after looking at it from afar for almost a year.

I know what you're thinking, why wait that long? Very good question. Like many obscure Seikos, the listed specs vary wildly depending on the source. This model is not seen very often (read never) and there aren't many reviews about it online (I found exactly one from a German watch forum). The smallest I saw the case was 38mm, the largest as 43mm, that's a 5mm swing! Pretty huge and it was enough to keep me away for the longest time. I even spoke to a few Japanese ADs and they told me it was a model produced for export (probably for the Asian and/or Middle Eastern market) and not intended for domestic Japanese distribution. Thus, they couldn't get accurate information on the watch.

Eventually, I took the plunge after finding a short review on a German watch blog and deciding to buy myself an fun inexpensive sporty watch after being persuaded to not blow a windfall.
https://www.watchuseek.com/f71/talk-me-down-buying-spree-982932.html

Before we get into the meat of the review, I admit that I can get a bit wordy. Especially when my flight is delayed and I have nothing to do but write, like right now. So instead of reading the whole section, I'm going to borrow a writing technique from my legal training. The first sentence in a section will be a concise statement of the section. That way, if it's too long, read the first sentence and skip the rest.


Why should you buy it?
Simple. The Seiko SRP263 is an incredible value (I paid $110 using online coupons combined with a sale but it normally goes for ~$150) that marries a robust and reliable movement with highly versatile and sporty design.


I. Specs
The SRP263 is a mid-sized sports watch at 39.33mm (without crown) by 46.5mm (lug-to-lug), 11.58mm thick, and sporting a handwind and hackable 4r36 movement.

Let's tackle the thorny issue of widely varying specs. After getting my hands on the actual watch and with the help of my digital calipers, the measurements are as follows:
Diameter without crown: 39.33mm
Diameter with crown: 42mm
Case thickness: 11.58mm thick
Lug-to-lug measurement: 46.5mm
Dial size/diameter: 33mm
Water Resist: 100 meters
Crown: Non-screw down
Weight on strap: 73 grams /2.6 oz.
Drilled lugs!
20mm strap length

I honestly don't know why there isn't consistent information available for this watch (or any obscure Japanese watch for that matter) since an official spec sheet from Seiko would resolve this issue. Perhaps there are just so many different Seiko models they don't bother or if they do, it gets quickly buried in some digital internet grave.

As for the movement, I'm sure we're all familiar with Seiko's 4r36 movement. If you're not, in brief it's a day-date, 24-jewel movement, ticking away at 21,600 bph, with a 40 hour power reserve (not great but the hand wind function helps to keep things topped off). It's the same movement that is in the 2nd gen Monsters. A robust update to the 7s26 movement. If you're a movement nut, this is a great read on various low to middle end Seiko movements.
Seiko 4R36 -The Family In Brief - Watch Reviews, Info and Musings

Out of the box, my watch consistently loses 1.5 second a day. I'm happy with that. The 4r36's listed accuracy performance is between -35 to +45 seconds per day. However, the consensus around the various online watch forums seem to be the 4r36 is decently accurate and the wide variance is to help Seiko cover their ass. In any event, while it's pure luck as to what kind of performance a Seiko 5 will get (the movement is easily regulated, if accuracy is must), however, my watch's performance isn't uncommon.


II. Styling Cues
Relaxed styling that shares many common features with the Tag Heuer Aquaracer yet it possess enough individual design elements to retain its own identity.

It seems like black or dark dials are more popular, however, I love the clean look of white. Also, IMO a white dial is able to take a greater variety of straps. When I first saw the watch, it looked vaguely familiar. I pondered it for a few minutes and suddenly I remembered why it looked so familiar. See this watch.

Now compare.

If anyone wanted an Aquaracer inspired design, then the SRP263 has many similar elements while still retaining a distinctive individuality. The hands and indices are quite similar but the Tag's case shape, striped guilloche dial elements, dive-bezel, and crown guards set the two apart.


III. Fit and Finish
Overall finishing is slightly better than expected for the price falling below the SARB series but above the non-diver SNK series.

Alternating areas of polished surfaces (bezel ring and case sides) and brushed surfaces (top of the lugs), along with applied indices and polished hands makes the watch look more expensive that it's actual price, which makes up for the not so great bracelet.







As a bracelet guy I'm much more tolerate of hollow end link bracelets and folded links that the typical WUS member. So long as a bracelet works well and is sturdy, I can forgive a "lower end" construction. The SRP263's bracelet is comparable to the Seiko Solar diver (SNE107). Hollow end and regular link construction. The only difference is the regular push button clasp on SRP263 whereas the SNE107 has a fold-over clasp with divers extension. As bracelets go it's very serviceable. However, with only two micro-adjust settings a good fit can be hit or miss.



However, this is one of the few watches I prefer on the strap. The stark look of white combined with the coldness of steel made the watch too clinical IMO. Straps are where it's at.

I found the underside lug edge to be a bit sharp. In the middle range SARB line the edges are polished to remove traces of sharpness. It doesn't have a knife edge like ultra affordable Chinese or HMT cases. The sharpness is comparable to the SNK809. In everyday wear it's not very noticeable. It's never left a mark on wrist. However, I see where Seiko had to make some manufacturing sacrifices in order to bring this watch in at the $120 to $150 price range.


The indices are applied and the hands are polished but not enough to catch the light in low light situations. I find that at certain angles the hands can disappear on the dial. Same with the indices. Yes they're applied (which adds needed depth and dimension) and polished on the sides but it's not a high gloss polish. It doesn't reflect light like a SARB033's indices for example. Like the hands, under certain lighting conditions (usually on overcast days) the dial can look "wash out". This isn't a deal breaker but it shows the area where the watch accurately reflects it's affordable pricepoint.


IV. Wearablity
The SRP263 fits both thin and large wrists as the classic dimensions ensures a light and comfortable wearablity yet straight lugs increases the wrist presence for those with larger wrists.

The specs should make the watch very comfortable. I'm happy to report that actual use confirms that assumption. It's extremely comfortable and light (when on a strap). There are times when I forget that I have it on. For those of you who love the feeling of a heavy watch, you'll be disappointed. Even on the bracelet it's light. If a heavier watch is what you like, then a solid endlink bracelet with solid links would with the added weight will be a better choice instead of a strap or the stock bracelet. However, for the price of such a bracelet it would be more cost effective to buy a Monster if you want that beefy look.

As usual, I loaned the watch to a friend with 8.25 inch wrists. He felt it was too small for him. A different buddy with 7.25 inch wrists reported it as acceptable in size but felt it was at the lower limit of size wearability for him. Usually, I provide pics but the days they had free happened to be rainy without good natural lighting. I'm not a good enough photographer to recreate ideal lighting conditions indoors so no pics. Perhaps, I'll update this section when I find time and if the weather cooperates.


V. Versatility
From formal to casual the SRP263's white dial and 20mm lug width makes it a chameleon as adding a different strap changes the character to suit any occasion.

Like many of you, I've got a large strap collection. I know the whole issue of whether a strap looks good on a watch is highly subjective, so come with me on the following visual journey as I try to prove my point.

Let's say you need a watch for a casual event. Wine tasting, a football game, perhaps a leisurely al fresco lunch? Why don't you tell me if these straps work well with the watch in such an environment.









Are you going to a GTG and want to rep some f71 street cred? Then put it on this NATO and be content that someone with your exact brand of mental dysfunction will recognize your styling choices.


Actually, any NATO looks good. White goes with anything.

Say you've got a business meeting that requires a suit. How well does this watch dress up? Well, throw a dressy strap on like a black Teju lizard and see for yourself.

Business meeting done. Went well, did it. Good.
What's that?
You're going out to celebrate and hit up the club. The other straps were too casual and the black Teju too formal. I understand. Something flashy yet classy. Let's toss the watch on a honey Teju. Conservative dress styling with "look at me" flair.

Wow, was that a night out or what?! Did you wake up in a strange hotel room wearing mismatched shoes and someone else's underwear? Yeah, that happens to the best of us. Let's meet by the pool for some bloody marys and quick dip to get over that hangover. But wait, who wants wet leather? Nobody, right. How about a rubber tropic strap instead?



After that slideshow, I'll leave the reader to make their own decision as to how versatile the watch is.


VI. Lume
The SRP263 has Seiko's usual bright lume material, however, the smaller surface area on the hands and indices means there is enough lume to tell the time but it's by no means a nightlight.

It's Seiko lume. It's freaking bright and last a long time. However, as you can see from the shape of the indices and hands, there isn't a whole lotta real estate to apply all that lovely lumibrite. This isn't a diver, don't expect Monster lume.

Expect this.

Not bad right? It gets the job done. The lume last a majority of the night. I was able to still read the time at 5 am after going to bed 6 hours earlier without "charging" the lume before going to bed.


VII. Overall Summary

As a casual non-dive bezel sports watch that boasts better than expected finishing it fits the role of a versatile everyday watch perfectly. Although it isn't without its faults the SRP263's confluence of stylistic versatility, wearablity, and cost makes it deserving of more attention by watch enthusiasts.



And with my impeccable timing, I've arrived at the end as the first boarding call for my flight is announced. Good thing the flight from LA to SF is only an hour because I can't wait to get home. Enjoy the read f71.
 

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Thanks for the excellent and thoughtful review, Hugh! I have yet to get a close look at the 4R36 movement. I am curious to see how it holds up to the others. Seiko has a knack for excellent QPR. I hope your flight goes smooth, see you soon.
 

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Setting it on a bracelet really lightened up the appearance vs. all of the other straps.
 

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NightOwl, Wow! That was a great review with a lot good info and some great pictures. It sounds like your quite knowledgeable on Seikos. I was wondering if your familiar with their SARY line? It sounds like it's in between their Seiko 5 and SARB lines. I'm waiting for my money to transfer between my bank and PayPal to purchase a SARY001 from seiyajapan.com. But after reading your review and seeing your pictures, I'm wondering if this model might be a better value. The specs are very similar and it has the 4r35 instead of the 4r36. Your model here is half the price of the SARY001. Do you think I would be getting a $150 "better" watch? Is there a similar style Seiko that my $300 would be better spent on?

SARY Features:

Sapphire Glass
100m Water resistant
41 Hour power reserve
Movement: 4r35 23 Jewels
Case diameter : 40 mm (without crown)
Case thickness: 10.7mm
Weight : 150g

SARY001_zps4cabef0c.jpg sary001-b_zps661cc79a.jpg sary001-b1_zps24fa3cc0.jpg sary001-a_zpsc2c93671.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6
NightOwl, Wow! That was a great review with a lot good info and some great pictures. It sounds like your quite knowledgeable on Seikos. I was wondering if your familiar with their SARY line? It sounds like it's in between their Seiko 5 and SARB lines. I'm waiting for my money to transfer between my bank and PayPal to purchase a SARY001 from seiyajapan.com. But after reading your review and seeing your pictures, I'm wondering if this model might be a better value. The specs are very similar and it has the 4r35 instead of the 4r36. Your model here is half the price of the SARY001. Do you think I would be getting a $150 "better" watch? Is there a similar style Seiko that my $300 would be better spent on?

SARY Features:

Sapphire Glass
100m Water resistant
41 Hour power reserve
Movement: 4r35 23 Jewels
Case diameter : 40 mm (without crown)
Case thickness: 10.7mm
Weight : 150g
Actually, I do have experience with the SARY line. I bought the SARY003 about a year ago for my brother-in-law.


I agree the SRP does seem to be in between the SNK (non-diver) line and the SARY. The only difference between the 4r36 and the 4r35 is the day function. Aside from that, it's the same movement. I found the SARY line to be better in case finishing, polishing, dial detail, and (the big one) a far superior bracelet. Solid end-links. The regular links have alternating areas of brush and polished surfaces. In person it shines and gleams in the light and can be a bit blingy (not for blingy for regular folks, just by watch enthusiast standards).

Whether the extra money is worth it to you depends on whether or not you're a bracelet guy. If you're going to wear it on steel and know it's staying that way then in my opinion the extra price is worth it. The guilloche on the dial is also mesmerizing. If you're a strap guy, save your money and get the SRP263.
 

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Great review and pics!

I'm looking for a white dialed affordable with similar specs. I'd prefer something with a larger case but I need the 20mm strap size... very good to see this review. Thanks!
 

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Great review and excellent pictures! Thanks for sharing.

It didn't dawn on me until section III that I could have helped with the dimensions of the case as this model seems to share the case with my SRP273:
1269542d1383394020-sotc-look-back-sorts-lots-pics-srp273.jpg

I posted some measurements here: https://www.watchuseek.com/f71/new-arrival-seiko-srp273-831952.html but the pictures were lost in that server reset.. Like you, I find the case size/shape versatile and just right.

Hopefully this will satisfy enough for you to save up for your grail! :)
 

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Great review and pictures...don't see this in shops here

Sent from my PadFone Infinity using Tapatalk
 

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Thanks for posting the review N.O. Looking at those pics made me think that I really must get a decent camera and learn to take good photos with it.
 

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Great review Hugh! I also agree with your opinions of the SARY line. I had a SARY015, and other than the movement, I thought the build quality was easily on par with the SARB015 I used to own.

Sent from my SGH-I757M using Tapatalk
 

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V. Versatility
From formal to casual the SRP263's white dial and 20mm lug width makes it a chameleon as adding a different strap changes the character to suit any occasion.
You didn't miss anything. I thought I included it but didn't. It's 20mm and I've updated the original post.

Actually you did include it, just not in the specs section. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Up until a few weeks ago they were plenty of retailers on eBay who offered the watch. I got mine from mywatcheshub.com, a retailer from Singapore with a good reputation, directly from their website. I see they have currently out of stock as they must have sold a lot of watches when they put it on sale. It's still available from a different Singapore retailer Seiko Men 5 Automatic Watch SRP263 SRP263K SRP263K1 - Seiko They only have the K1 version whereas mine is a J1. Only difference appears to be the secondary day language. Mine is Arabic whereas the K1 is Spanish.
 

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Very thorough review, Hugh! And very crisp pics. Well done!
 

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Great review and pics. You covered everything very well and the watch looks good on the variety of straps you chose. However, your pics remind me I need a get a Saddleback. I love their briefcases and backpacks...uggghh I need to take the plunge on one...so nice.
 
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