Seiko (Japanese for ‘exquisite or ‘success’) has had a rich horological legacy since the company’s inception in 1881. Their range of dive watches can be traced back as far as 1965 with model 6217.
The SKX series (007 black dial or 009 pepsi dial) only started life in 1996, featuring the workhorse Seiko calibre 7S26 with a 21 jewel automatic movement and a 40 hour power reserve, but how has it managed to achieve iconic status in such a short space of time, especially in horological terms?
It starts with the build quality – a smooth cushion design with brushed and polished stainless steel construction, with inspiration drawn from Katsushika Hokusa’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa engraved into the case back.
Then there’s the screw down crown uniquely positioned at 4 o’clock giving the watch character and individuality, the 120 uni-directional easy grip bezel, a day/date complication, outstanding lume (Seiko’s proprietary Lumi Brite) and a water resistance of 200m.
This is a genuine dive watch ISO 6425 certified. Not something all brands go to the trouble of aquiring for similar priced divers. But what does ISO certified mean? It’s a long list of very specific requirements laid down in 1996 by the International Organisation for Standardisation and tests the watch’s endurance in water, specifically at depth (a full list of these can be found here) and so only enforces the appeal of this watch.
Though the SKX only comes with Seiko’s propreitary flat Hardlex mineral crystal it still holds up very well and is easily able to withstand the usual knocks and bumps one might expect from everyday use in and out of the water.
Finally it’s affordability. For a watch that delivers on so many levels it’s impressive that Seiko have been able to deliver it to market at such a low price point (around the £200 mark). It’s easy to see why so many consider it the best entry level diver.
These are just some of the features which make this 42mm dive watch a favourite amongst watch enthusiasts and divers, even those who count high-end luxury timepieces in their collection.
It’s not just collectors and seasoned divers who favour this watch. Take a look at the acclaimed movie All is Lost (Universal Pictures) and you’ll see none other than screen legend Robert Redford wearing one on a dark blue NATO strap whilst battling the elements aboard his yacht in the Indian Ocean.
Speaking of NATO straps (a term coined from the Ministry of Defence’s need for a robust, waterproof and secure strap for infantry), the SKX looks at its best on one and matches its rugged look perfectly. NATO straps are also easy to change out and so it makes the possibilities of customisation endless.
If you are looking for a watch with character and durability that’s also reasonably priced then this may just be the answer.
Footnote: Both the SKX 009 and SKX 007 come in two versions, one built in Malaysia (model number ending in K) and the other in Japan (model ending in J).