Hands-on Review-King Seiko KSK Re-creation (SJE083)

The Skinny

  • Diameter: 38.1 mm
  • Thickness: 11.4 mm
  • Accuracy: +15 to -10 seconds per day
  • Lug to Lug: 44.7 mm
  • Water Resistance: 50 M
  • Movement: Caliber 6L35 (automatic with 45 hour power reserve, hand winding, hacking seconds, date, 26 jewels, 28,800 vph)
  • Price: $3,300
  • Limited to: 3,000

As An Owner…

King Seiko needs no introduction here. David Flett has contributed original research to understand the familial relationship between Seiko’s Daini and Suwa factories, and therefore between the King Seiko and Grand Seiko. Contrary to the perception, in many cases (pun intended), Daini, creator of King Seiko, more closely adhered to Taro Tanaka’s Grammar of Design principles. In fact, the watch that is held up as the zenith of Grammer of Design is the 45GS which was derived from Daini’s 45KS. This is why the King Seiko reissue piqued my interest. At a lower price point you are arguably getting a more authentic Taro Tanaka experience, or at least more of a throwback to the original design intent. This watch is essentially a slightly enlarged version of the King Seiko 44-9990, also known as the KSK, made from 1964-1968.

Over the past year my initial concerns about COVID-19 led me to start wearing modern watches regularly due to the need for water resistance. I don’t believe it’s necessary anymore to regularly and thoroughly wash my watches due to lower prevalence of the virus in my area and what we now know about the low chance of contamination through surface contact. However, I have gotten used to the no fuss lifestyle of wearing modern watches, and I needed a daily wearer that was more of a business and dress watch compared to my Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue.

The Case

The case is where this watch’s Zaratsu polishing really shines (pun intended).

This watch wears larger than the listed 38 mm due to the thin bezel and wide lugs. The lugs are faceted on the anterior and superior and inferior surfaces which creates a jewel-like sparkle in combination with the highly reflective Zaratsu polishing but also makes them rather wide.

The overall case thus carries a cushion like effect so it seems bulkier than it actually is. Initially I was a bit put off by the case because it felt large on the strap and I wondered if I had made a mistake in purchasing it but through a fortuitous discovery on Instagram I found out that the Uncle Seiko bracelets for the Omega Seamaster Professional fit the King Seiko perfectly. Once I had it on the beads of rice bracelet the watch’s bulky feeling disappeared by draping straight downwards and being more evenly distributed by the clasp.

Another nice detail about the lugs is that they seem to be welded to the case and there is a slight lip which claws onto the bezel. I have not seen this amount of workmanship on a watch at this price point.

The crown is a good size for hand winding and has the Seiko logo and a “W” for water resistance. The “W” was historically used on King Seikos and Grand Seikos in the mid-1960’s when they switched from snap off to screwdown casebacks with the resultant improved water resistance. The “W” crown contains an internal gasket that presses against an extended crown tube. The caseback has a golden emblem with the original King Seiko shield logo with some other information such as the model number, water resistance, and limited edition number.

The Dial

The dial sits under a box sapphire crystal which is flat but is stepped at the edges which gives a slight distortion effect similar to its acrylic precursor. I would characterize the dial as austere but elegant. The dauphine hour and minute hands are perfectly made with polished edges and have a feeling of slicing sharpness to them.

The central seconds hand is perched perfectly and has an appropriately long counterweight. The markers are perfectly rectangular with faceted edges. The 12 o’clock marker is doubled and both faceted and textured. The date wheel has a polished metal border and there is a short marker lateral to it.

There is an applied Seiko logo at 12 and printed King Seiko Diashock 26 jewels at 6. The background is a beautiful silver sunburst dial. The remarkable finishing on the dial along with the case give a luxurious feeling to having this watch on the wrist.

The Movement

The Caliber 6L35 sits behind the solid caseback and is not available for inspection. I will note that despite the technical specifications of +15 to -11 seconds per day, my example runs at a consistent +3.5 seconds per day. The 6L35 is a successor to the 4L family of watch movements which were created as a high end thin movement to compete with the ETA 2892A2 and also was licensed to the Swiss manufacturer Soprod as the A10 series. In fact, the Seiko 6L35 has the same dimensions as the ETA 2892A2 and similar specifications. It has previously been used in the Presage line. Although generally the performance exceeds expectations, the 45 hour power reserve can seem a bit short if the watch is not worn every day and I give it a few winds in between wearing it. However, it does slightly exceed the ETA’s power reserve of 42 hours.

Conclusion

Overall I am very pleased with this watch. It has a genuine luxurious feeling when I look at it on my wrist. The many facets of the case and dial furniture make it sparkle like a gem in sunlight. The reflections coming from the dial are delightfully fun. I would strongly recommend the Uncle Seiko SMP beads of rice bracelet as it expunges the only real flaw of the watch. This is that the case feels a bit bulky on a strap. I wear this watch on my office days. It suits business attire perfectly and has that bit of “extra” that makes those days just a little more special.

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