Seiko Monster Review SKX779
On a nylon band for a change of pace
I wasn't originally going to write this review because it seemed to me that there was nothing much left to say about this excellent watch. However, after living with the Monster for a few weeks now, I just couldn't resist putting my own two cents in.
The Seiko Monster is one of those rare products that rightly seems like it should cost a lot more than it does. From its massive stainless steel case to its big solid-link bracelet everything about the Monster says first class. Its hard to explain it but this watch has that perfectly designed and assembled look about it that sometimes you don't see on watches that cost twice the Monster's price or more. Count on this big Seiko being noticed by anyone who appreciates nice watches. Its really that well done.
Externally, the Monster is 42mm in diameter (not including the crown), 12mm in thickness and has a 20mm band lug width (although the stock bracelet flares out to a width of 24mm thus making the lugs look much wider). The watch is equipped with a very large stainless steel unidirectional diver's bezel (with its own luminous marker embedded) and a screw-down crown. Water resistance is rated at 200 meters and the crystal is made of Seiko's proprietary Hardlex reinforced mineral glass (Hardlex sort of splits the difference between regular mineral glass, which scratches very easily, and sapphire, which is best at resisting scratches but is expensive and can shatter when knocked.) Additionally, it deserves noting that the bracelet on the Monster is exceptionally well done. It is a heavy, solid link design (including solid end-links thankfully) that frankly seems better made than any other watch bracelet that I have ever encountered, irrespective of price. The bracelet uses a double locking clasp and includes a diver's extension. Lastly, the Monster's lume is, far and away, the best light activated lume available anywhere. Expose this watch to light for a little while and it will remain visible in darkness for at least eight hours. It may last longer for all I know but that is as long as I have tested it. With the exception of tritium lume watches (and their lume does lose power over a number of years) the Monster is as good as it gets when it comes to visibility in the dark.
Internally, this Seiko is powered by a 7s26 21 jewel automatic movement. This is a very popular movement among Seiko models and is renowned for its durability and longevity. 7S26s have been known to run reliably for ten years or more with no maintenance and are reputed to be very resistant to abuse. It should be noted that the 7S26 will neither hack or handwind, if those features are important to you. To wind the watch, you just set it and give it a shake. The automatic winding mechanism takes over from there and your normal body motions throughout the day will provide a day or so worth of power at a time. Seiko's automatic winding mechanism is considered to be among the best in the industry. For a detailed explanation of its operation, check out this fine review by The Purists.
All told, it is my personal belief that you can't go wrong with this watch. Truthfully, if I could only own one watch (horrors!), the Monster would likely be it. It has no real weaknesses (the inability to hack or handwind might bother some folks but it has no practical effect on the use of the watch) and it possess loads of strengths. If you want a very high quality watch that will give trouble free service under all conditions for many years, look no further. Best of all, the Monster is a bargain. New examples regularly appear on ebay in the low to mid hundred dollar range, the PMWF Sales Corner seems to regularly have them in stock for very good prices (and Reto and Helen are a pleasure to deal with). I happened to get mine while vacationing in the Philippines at the Seiko store in the Glorietta Mall in Makati (Very nice folks there by the way. Great place to buy a watch.) I really can't sing this one's praises enough.