Perusing Seiko’s vintage-inspired Recraft series makes for an entertaining venture to long-gone periods of watch design. While not all of the timepieces there have a strong old-fashioned feel, the Recraft SNKM97 looks like it was pulled directly out of a 1970s smoking lounge. Something about the way the emerald green and gold play with each other sends me right back to that bygone era. Read on as we explore this piece in more detail below.
Hulk Green Dial
Well, as you can probably tell from looking at it, there is a lot to say about this dial. Even on such an interesting design, though, the star has to be the emerald-green color on the dial. Like a desert mirage, this green color shimmers and transitions between colors (light green to dark green to black) as you look at it. This retro-feeling color really makes the Recraft SNKM97 shine.
A flat Hardlex crystal covers the bold dial. Minutes are displayed in increments of 5 around the outside of the dial, while the chapter ring itself sits at a very shallow angle, meaning it takes up quite a bit of real estate on the watch. This creates an interesting aesthetic where the area covered by the hands is quite a bit smaller than the total area of the dial. The orange second hand creates a nice relief from the gold and green overload on the rest of the dial.
No luminescence on the dial means no nighttime viewing, unless you pull out your phone to illuminate the dial. I don’t know about you, but one of the reasons I love watches is not having to rely on my phone quite as much, so this is a bit annoying, but at least it is in keeping with the retro theme. The skeletonized effect on the gold-toned hands is repeated on the gold markers, which each have a black rectangle in the center.
Notice how the 12, 6, and 9 o’clock markers have that nice white box? Look closer and you will see that the day and date window is situated inside of a white box at the 3 o’clock position, making for a very cohesive integration of the date display. Inside that white box, a gold outline rings the day and date displays, which are shown black on white. The more you wear and study the watch, the more details like this pop out at you and increase your appreciation for the watch.
Vintage Square Case
The large case is, no surprise here, a vintage cushion shape. With a brushed stainless-steel finish, the case measures in at 44 mm in diameter and 11 mm thick. Especially with the squared off corners surrounding the dial, this watch wears large on your wrist.
Water resistant to 50 meters or 165 feet, the SNKM97 can handle some brief recreational swimming but diving and snorkeling are out of the question. A non-screwed down crown extends off of the 3 o’clock position. A circular window on the screw down caseback provides a glimpse of the automatic movement, with product details printed in black around the edge of the crystal for a decidedly un-vintage look.
The stainless-steel bracelet uses brushed outer links and polished center links. With solid links, the bracelet measures 24 mm wide and has a fold-over clasp with a double button release. This is overall a nice bracelet, its design looks great with the dial and case, and its generous width complements the large case very well. I think a brown leather band would look exceptional on this particular watch, but the metal bracelet was probably the right choice for keeping with the vintage aesthetic.
Seiko’s well respected 7S26 automatic movement was called for duty in the SNKM97. With a day and date complication and a 41-hour power reserve, it is known for being a workhorse of a movement; solid and reliable but nothing flashy.
21,600 vibrations per hour makes for a decent, but not quite buttery-smooth seconds hand movement. This movement is also used in the wildly successful and respected Seiko 5 line, so you can be confident that Seiko has put in the work on this one.
While Seiko suggests a retail price of $235, plenty of retailers currently have the Recraft SNKM97 on offer for under $150, an outstanding value in my book. While the strong style might push some people away, it’s hard to deny that the quality components combined with the unique style all for well under $200 makes for a heck of a bargain. The SNKM97 would make a perfect fun, occasional use watch, or, with the exceptional build quality and reliability, it could be a great daily wearer as well as long as you don’t need to check the time in the dark very often.