Sunday, January 16, 2005
Seiko Diver Review SKX009k
I am starting to believe that Seiko makes just about the best watches that can be had at any price. Everything they seem to build, be it an entry level Seiko 5 or a top of the line Grand Seiko (boy I'd like one of those) looks and feels superbly engineered. The subject of this review, the SKX009K Diver couldn't better illustrate the point. The watch uses Seiko's excellent 7S26 twenty-one jewel automatic movement. It has a big, unidirectional bezel, Seiko's trademark Hardlex crystal and a solid link jubilee style bracelet. It is a real diver watch as well with an easily gripped screw-down crown and a two-hundred meter depth rating.
This list of features alone would make this watch a terrific deal when you consider that they are all over ebay and other places for less than two hundred dollars, and sometimes even below one hundred. What really seals it though is Seiko's detail execution. The lume, for instance, is a good example. Most watches these days have some sort of glow in the dark paint applied to the hands and face. Unfortunately, it usually doesn't glow for very long or very brightly. Not so the Seiko Diver. The lume is very bright and long lasting. In my experience, it will remain visible for at least eight to ten hours in a dark room. Similarly fine detail execution can be seen in the bezel. There is no play at all and its markers exactly line up with those on the dial. I know it sounds like that should be no big deal but many other watches can 't manage it.
Most buyers of diver watches rarely, if ever, take them into water. For these folks, the rugged looks of a diver watch are usually the big draw. The Seiko Diver doesn't disappoint in this area. It just flatly looks terrific. The watch face appears deeply recessed below the height of the bezel and the hands are large and very wide. The effect makes the watch look very thick and solid. Then there is the red and blue bezel. The bezel has its own bright lume dot and the colors have led to this model being nicknamed the "pepsi" for obvious reasons. It isn't easy to describe but the overall effect is very attractive.
No watch is completely perfect and the Seiko Diver has a few minor issues. First off, the stock jubilee bracelet doesn't have a divers expansion link. That could make it tricky to fit over a wet suit' and for serious diving, the bracelet would either need to be adjusted or replaced. [ Update-A member of the Equation of Time Dive Watch Forum suggested that I add that a NATO or Rhino band can be easily used in place of the stock bracelet for diving. This is a great idea and these bands can be had all over the place for very little money. (WestCoastTime has a great selection of Rhino's and Nilsen's has about every NATO band I've ever heard of) They look great too.] Its not an issue if no wet suit is used however. Additionally, the 7S26 movement can't be hacked or handwound. I personally don't consider that a big deal but some people might. In its defense, the 7S26 movement has a reputation for being very tough and I consider that to be more important in a sport watch other features. Lastly, Seiko Hardlex crystal, while tougher than regular glass or acrylic, isn't as scratch resistant as the sapphire crystals found in high end watches. Then again, this watch doesn't carry a high end price tag so there is no cause to complain. Realistically, Hardlex is quite strong and just fine for most people.
To sum up, for the money, you can't go wrong with a Seiko Diver. It is very well made, looks great and should last for many years of hard use.