Seiko SNA141P military chronograph review
- 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.
A Seiko SDWC39P (left) and a SDWC45P (right). Images courtesy of John N and Time2Fly.
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
|Value for money:|
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Thanks for your comments, appreciate it. Your SDWC39P is a 7T32 alarm chronograph that was made possibly between 1996 and 1998.
I happen to have three 7T32s myself and the discontinued 7T32s are more sought after by collectors than Seiko’s latest 7T62 models.
Normally sporty-looking stainless steel 7T32s will fetch higher prices than two-tone or gold plated models. It depends on the demand.
Your watch is a 7T32-7E50 with a military style look (like pictured in my review). If yours is in a pristine condition, you might be able to sell it (to the right buyer) for USD200 upwards.
I plan to post reviews of my 7T32 watches in the near future when I have the time. 🙂
I am looking for images of a Promathium watch at night for my free phyics textbook (see www.motionmountain.net). Can you tell me wether the Seiko watches you present on this page are Promethium ones? If that would be the case, could I use one of your night pictues in my physics text? It is free and a purely non-commercial activity (just have a look at the site) aimed at people who cannot afford books.
The “night pictures” that you mentioned are all LumiBrite-equipped watches, not Promethium. Only the 7T27 and 7A28 models I mentioned are coated with Pm147.
Promethium-147 as a luminous compound is nowhere as bright as Seiko’s LumiBrite, which is a 100% radioactive-free light source. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of Pm147-based lume shots. Anyway, most of Promethium coated Seiko from watches from the 1980s would have lost their “brightness” by today.
You can however, use my photos for non-commercial purposes.
The SNA141P and its cousins have a 40mm diameter and it is a small watch than (I would have liked it slightly bigger) nevertheless still acceptable by my standards. There is one thing you need to know about macro photography with consumer digital cameras – they tend to exaggerate the size of the subject at very close distances. The closer the distance between the lens and the subject, the more “distorted” the dimensional perspective would be (it appears much larger than it is) 🙂
That’s why you got the impression that the watch looks large. I have a 6.5″ wrist actually.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for the good words, Wayne. 🙂 Seiko makes a lot of models that it’s virtually impossible to track all of their watches ever produced. The fun part is in weeding through the plethora of models and picking out the “best” one of the bunch.
Although I’m a largely Seiko watch fan, there are many contemporary Seiko models that I would not buy. They’re either outright hideously designed or priced so ridiculously high – not commensurate with the level of fitment and refinement.
The SNA141P is one of the few 7T62 alarm-chronos from Seiko that I would recommend for military-look watch lovers. 🙂
I am wearing a 7T32 in military style, similar to the 7T62 shown above but with the older movement, 3 buttons & two crowns. it has a dark green/olive dial with lumbrite dots & hands, a small alarm sub-dial & a partial-numeral where the date window is. it came with a green fabric strap when I bought it in 1997, but now has a genuine seiko steel bracelet. I have several other 7T32 designs, but almost all of them are defective in some regard or another; only this military design has survived. let me know if you want a picture of it.
I just stumbled across your post and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed it. I am a big Seiko fan and have owned both the RN 7T27 and at the moment have the civvy version with the letter L under Seiko. This denoted Luminova. The civvy version was sold along side the military model for a number of years. I recently picked mine up from the UK for $335, not bad to say they are becoming hard to find.
THX Again for the wonderful post.
Thanks for your comments, appreciate it. 🙂 Seiko didn’t introduce their proprietary LumiBrite lume until the later part of the 1990s therefore it’s plausible that “L” stood for Luminova for the non-Promethium 7T27 chronographs. As I understand it, Seiko also used tritium paint lume (in solid form) before the non-radioactive LumiBrite compound was introduced.
7T27s largely remain a collector’s item, particular the RN-issued ones. Even civilian versions are extremely hard to find in used condition. 🙁
I have a SNA141P I think. At least it looks just like the one pictured with black dial and originally came with a bracelet band. I had the band switched prior to receiving it with a green nylon band. I bought the watch from Seiya san in Japan a couple years back. The watch is Ti of course, but my case back lettering is different than what you showed, and not sure why. I am thinking of getting it relumed to make it spectacular looking for night viewing. What I want to know is where can I get a green band like the one that is on your watch? I am also planning on getting my watches matte finish redone as there are is a shinny spot that was on the watch when I received it. Crystal also has a small chink in it so will replace it also. Any info is appreciated.
If you have the black dialed version, it’s the SNA139P. The green SNA141P was only available with the green nylon strap and there were no bracelet versions of the SNA141P issued. The green band on my watch is a water-resistant, Morellato Cordura Lorica. I have several watches on Morellato straps and I love ’em. 🙂
The Morellato brand is also widely sold in Japan.
Try to check eBay for Morellato straps.
Hi Quartzimodo, thanks for the correction to my earlier post. I think my 7T27 RAF Seiko is indeed painted with LumiBrite since it’s production date is JUN 2000. This may have been one of the latest pieces produced. On a side note, I have been reading that the UK MOD has just awarded a new contract to Seiko for a Seiko CHRONO. It will be issued to the RAF/RN pilots and aircrew, it would be great if it were SNA139P varient.
All the best
Thank you for your wonderful post. I am well impressed with your review of the Seiko SNA141P and is considering getting one. Is it still in issue? and if so, where can I get one of these?
Furthermore, any ideas where i can find vintage watches like the 7T27-7A20 and 7A28-7120 in Malaysia?
Thank you for your time!
I have never seen the SNA141P for sale in Malaysia and for that reason I had to buy it on eBay. If you’re asking whether it’s in production, I’m inclined to say no. Seiko didn’t release too many of these (SNA141P) military chronographs for reasons best known to them.
I can only speculate that they prefer to change their designs from time to time. Their most recent military style watches tend to be Seiko 5 Sports SNZG09K/J and SNZG07K/J models. I would say that Seiko’s classic mil-style design would be this one. The SNX425K is an early design and if you look closely, you’ll see the absence of the “5” logo. It wasn’t meant to be part of the Seiko 5 lineup. Find this watch quickly if you like it, as it could have been discontinued years ago.
I have no idea where to find 7A28s, let alone the even rarer 7A27s in Malaysia. You just have to get lucky finding one at pawn stores and flea markets. Or at some quaint old watch store in some unknown small town. Who said watch hunting would be that easy? 😉
Yes, both titanium and nylon bands are fully interchangeable as long as both are 20mm in width at the lugs.
The Seiko factory issued nylon strap is a cheap affair though. I could only wear them for a few hours before my wrist feels itchy and uncomfortable.
You might want to consider using a better quality 20mm NATO or Zulu band though.
Congratulations on getting hold of the SNA139P. 🙂 This is a rather hard to find model as Seiko probably didn’t make too many of those and discontinued it. There aren’t many 200m W.R. 7T62 alarm-chronograph models that were made and the SNA139P is one of them. It has a rather fiddly screw-in crown and I’d advise you to screw it in gently as not to strip the crown threads.
Nice catch! 🙂
Firstly, very nice review of the watch.
I myself am a user of the SNA139P.(looks exactly like yours but with a titanium bracelet) The main reason I chose this watch was that I was pretty amazed at how light it was after trying out my friends one. Its so far the lightest watch in my collection followed by a swatch irony aluminium.
I also noticed that there aren’t many 200m 7T62 watches. Even my friends seiko titanium (the one I mentioned earlier) was only 100m.
I guess this baby is a keeper then 😀
Hi Mr. Azad,
I’m not much of a fan of “normal or untreated” titanium watches as they tend to be scratch magnets, unless they’re one-of-a-kind, e.g. the SBDA003 and SBDA005 Ti Samurai divers and the SBDQ003 chronograph diver that I happen to own. Seiko does have surface treated titanium models like some Brightz and Prospex models (Seiko calls the scratch resistant process “DiaShield”, not unlike Citizen’s legendary Duratect finishing) but such models are quite expensive.
Your observations are spot on. Seiko made very few 200m quartz chronographs (non-divers). The ones that I can recall offhand are the SNA41xP series “Flightmasters” which are not only 200m W.R.but are endowed with screw-in crowns and locking pushers. The “Flightmasters” appeared sometime between 2003 and 2004 and may have since been discontinued.
Wear your SNA139P in good health! 😉
I have an SNA195P, and have always loved it, although I have beaten the crap out of it. I got it on eBay for $100. It was my only watch from about 2005 until recently. Never liked the metal band much, but wore it until it was ugly as sin from the scratches, etc. The metal bands are sort of cheap on these, I think.
I have dented and scratched the case, but I think that gives it character. I’ve replaced the crystal at least three times, and recently buffed out a nasty scratch to get another year or two out of the current crystal. I now wear another watch to work and for formal things.
However, I have kept the Seiko, which is now on a Maratac Zulu band (black). It really looks sharp for casual wear, and is tough as nails. The functions are intuitive. It’s easy to read under just about any conditions. My favorite watch of all time.
Thanks for the review. I have a SNA195P, which really love. It was my only watch from 2005 until recently. I have beaten the crap out of it, replaced the crystal three time, and buffed it out once to get more life out of it.
The steel bracelet was always kind of cheap, got so scuffed up that I finally replaced it with a Maratac NATO Zulu band, which is super comfortable. Even a little beat up, it looks great with the blue dial and the black band.
I have another watch that I wear to work and for formal occasions now, but I wear the SNA195P all the rest of the time.
It’s light, easy to read, features are intuitive to use, and nearly indestructable. I am hard on watches and this is a great watch for rough environments!
Greetings from Russia! 🙂
Exellent review, thanks to you I have found all the information about SNA141P in one article, great job! It’s several years that I am searching for this Seiko chronograph with no result, and I need them badly! Can you advise me how can I get the SNA141P or SNA139P? Not so many sellers are ready to ship smth to Russia
I apologize for getting back to you rather late due to personal matters.
As far as I know, both the SNA141P and the SNA139P have long been discontinued by Seiko. The last batch of these military-style watches was last seen around the year 2006; and that was seven years ago! You might want to look for second hand ones sold through watch forums or eBay. It’s a long shot, but you might want to check with Chronograph.com to see if they still have old stocks of the SNA141P.
thank you for the nice review of the SNA141P – i enjoyed a lot.
Do you know something more about the SDWC39P ? History, technical details, actual value, etc.
Its inposible to find information by “googeling”
Thank you !