- Date acquired: August 21 2007
- Production date: June 2007
- Source: Hing’s Watch Store, Malaysia
- Price paid: MYR400 (USD121)
- Status: In production
I seldom buy watches on impulse. Usually I would conduct several weeks or months of research and mulling about before deciding to buy a particular watch. When my watchmaker took out the stunning looking timepiece out of his box (he hadn’t even had the time to display it in his watch glass case) my jaw simply dropped.
“Wow! What IS that Seiko?" I blurted out. It wasn’t a Seiko 5 and it was the largest 7s-caliber Seiko that I’ve ever laid eyes upon. It was even larger than the SKX007 and even the Monster diver! My watchmaker said he didn’t know, he had just taken delivery of a new batch of Seikos earlier that morning.
I looked at the hang tag and it said SNKF11K. I’m usually blasé towards new releases from Seiko (they’re usually a rehash of old models with minor design tweaks) but this one was a totally fresh design. I thought it was one of the very few models that Seiko got it right from the start.
He also brought out three other models - a white dialed SNKF09K with the same dial layout and two more variants, a dark blue SNKF05K and a black SNKF07K, both on stainless steel bracelet. These SNKF-series automatics had ultra-wide, 24mm lugs – something that I have not seen in a non-Tonneau cased Seiko before.
Just in case you didn’t know, Tonneau watches are those rectangular or barrel/tank-shaped timepieces with bulging sides. They usually come with lug widths as wide as 24mm or more.
The SNKF11K’s 24mm calf leather strap was soft and supple, which took me by surprise as most factory leather straps from Seiko are usually hard and uncomfortable. I tried it on and admired it on my wrist. Not two minutes later after checking the watch, I smiled to myself and announced to my watchmaker, “I’ll take it!". 🙂
With handsome looks like that, who could resist the SNKF11K? 🙂
While the SNKF11K isn’t exactly a new model, it was new to the Southeast Asian market in mid 2007. Some months earlier at least two SCWF members had been talking about a mysterious Seiko model that they had not seen before (it turned out to be the SNKF11K) and it turned out that it was debuted in the U.K and Europe.
All four variations are equally attractive and each has its own unique selling point and merits. Since pictures speak thousands of words, let’s take a look at the “Fab Four". And I don’t mean The Beatles.
Clockwise from top: SNKF11K, SNKF09K, SNKF07K and SNKF05K. Pics courtesy of Chronograph.com
I quite liked the fact that this was a large watch by normal Seiko standards (their dive watches don’t count). The jet black dial sported Arabic numerals which are fully lumed, had a regular styled lugs (which means aftermarket strap possibilities!) and a single protruding, nicely knurled crown.
The SNKF09K is the white sibling of the SNKF11K and it’s the only model with black framed hands and white background date calendar for legibility. Both dials are surrounded by a chapter ring with numbered minute markers. Some forum members opined that they liked the dial but the numbered chapter ring cluttered the dial’s look.
Well I guess both the SNKF11K and 09K were the sportier versions of the four and I didn’t really mind those extra digits. The bracelet-clad SNKF05K and 07K had a different dial layout, which had a much cleaner look. Both have extra-large split “12" and “6" hour markers and normal strips serving as markers for the other hours.
Because of their mammoth dimensions, the SNKF-series were nicknamed the “BFS" or “Big Freakin’ Seiko" since it was tricky to remember the model numbers. Fortunately the alias caught on and whenever anyone mentions the “"BFS", forum members recognize that it refers to the SNKF-series automatics.
“Big Freakin’ Seiko"….I couldn’t agree more to this moniker! 🙂
Look and feel
The SNKF11K is instantly recognized by savvy Seiko enthusiasts as being a homage to the limited edition, Seiko ANA watch (7s26-0620) which was co-designed by Japan’s All-Nippon Airways pilots. The Seiko ANA is a rare bird and is normally sold in-flight on board ANA’s domestic flights.
It’s quite difficult to find one and I’m not sure if the ANA is still available today or sold at watch stores in Japan. If you happen to fly All-Nippon Airways, you might want to check with the flight attendants if this watch is for sale. 🙂
The Seiko ANA was designed by Seiko with input and feedback from selected All-Nippon Airways pilots
You can see some striking resemblances between the SNKF11K and the Seiko ANA. The SNKF11K is the bigger of the two and share the same shaped hour and minute hands from the Seiko ANA. Of course, the Seiko ANA has a ridged bezel, a finely knurled crown at the 3:45 position, a slightly different Arabic numeral font, an orange hour hand, a custom second hand with an “S" symbol on the opposite end and upgraded anti-magnetic resistance (16,000 A/M).
Price-wise, you can bet that the Seiko ANA costs a lot more and harder to source than the SNKF11K.
As you can see, the SNKF11K is larger than the Seiko ANA watch. Photo courtesy of “Busdriver Mike"
I liked the SNKF11K a lot but couldn’t resist the dark blue dialed SNKF05K on the bracelet. In a temporary fit of insanity, I actually bought the latter from another store near my office during lunch time! What’s a BFS-smitten WIS to do? 😉
The SNKF11K is quite comfortable on the wrist. It’s expansive caseback real estate means an even weight distribution. It might be a large timepiece but it doesn’t remind you that you’re wearing something huge. Despite its looks, the watch is not that tall and can fit under long sleeves easily.
The calf leather band is perforated for that sporty appearance and comes with a signed buckle. Not bad, considering that this watch costs well under USD125.
Top: The Seiko signed buckle and the polished case side. Note the knurled bezel edges.
The case sides are highly polished to perfection (ok, maybe not up to Grand Seiko standards) and the surface of the lugs and bezel are matte finished. The bezel’s edges are knurled for aesthetic reasons and helps to break the monotony of an otherwise bland looking front.
As expected, this watch has a non-locking crown but is adequately compensated by the elegant looking crown. Its short, rounded wedge-shaped lugs also mean that the SNKF11K is strap-friendly and doesn’t leave an unsightly gap between the watch casing and the strap ends.
A closeup view of the crown (left) and the short, strap-friendly lugs (right)
The SNKF11K’s lume is not too shabby but it’s no diver’s watch. I would say the brightness is on the slightly above average side. No problems telling the time in the dark once the dial lume is fully charged.
Let’s check out a borrowed photo of the SNKF11K’s lume. It’s not too bad, really. 🙂
The SNKF11K’s lume (left) vs the Seiko ANA’s lume (right)
I measured my SNKF11K’s dimensions with a set of analog calipers.
- Diameter: 46 mm (w/o crown), 47.5 mm (w/crown)
- Bezel diameter: 43mm
- Lug-to-lug: 51 mm
- Thickness: 11.5 mm
- Lug width: 24 mm
Two more customary wrist shots on my 6.5" wrist. This is a sharp looking timepiece all right.
- Caliber: 7s26B, 21 jewels (7s26B from Oct 2006 onwards)
- Caseback type: 7s26-02Z0
- Movement: Automatic, non-hacking
- Beat rate: 21,600 bph (6 beats/sec)
- Loss/gain: Less than 40 sec/day
- Power reserve: About 42 hours
- Calendar: Day/date, dual language (Eng/Roman)
- Crown: Non-locking type
- Construction: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
- Bezel: Fixed
- W.R. rating: 100m
- Luminous material: LumiBrite™
- Movement Malaysia, cased in China
I’m giving top marks for this watch as it’s not often that I see a Seiko model that gives so much bang for the buck. In fact, for the low asking price it’s hard to find faults with this one.
My SNKF11K is no longer with me as I gave it away to my lifelong friend and schoolmate last year. He really appreciates the watch and had never seen this model before. It just blew him away when I told him that I was donating the watch to him! 🙂
What I liked:
- Sharp looking design with combined sporty appearance with a touch of elegance
- Fresh new design, bold styling
- Very good value for the money for a non-Seiko 5 automatic
- Comfortable factory leather strap with signed Seiko buckle
- 24mm regular lugs means aftermarket strap mods
- Large form factor without being too thick
- High quality finishing for this price point
- Lumed Arabic numerals and very legible dial
What I didn’t care for:
- Dial may look a bit busy for some people
- Lume is on the average side, could have been brighter
- Non-screw lock crown
- 100m W.R. rating (200m would have been nice)
|Value for money:|