Sunday, January 16, 2005

Seiko Diver Review SKX009k

Seiko Diver Review

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great review on a great watch. I own several Breitling and Omega watches as well as a Seiko diver and I wear the Seiko on my days off for working around the house. I have put the Seiko through much more torture compaired to the Breitlings and the Seiko hasn't missed a beat; They offer great watches at a great price. Thanks again for your review!
New Jersey, USA

11:28 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Hey, I'm glad you liked it. It really is a well made watch, especially for the price. Thanks for the kind words.


6:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review. I collect Seikos amongst other watches, but still don't have a classic Seiko diver. I am and have always been interested in the SKX009.

I do own several Seikos with Hardlex crystals and I have been very pleased with them. They do appear to be more durable than standard mineral crystal. Even my Breitling Colt Chrono mineral crystal has surface scratches where the Seikos (which I use in situations more likely to induce scratches) are largely free of scratches. As far as the use of Hardlex versus sapphire (Sapphlex in Seiko terms) in a true dive watch, that actually makes engineering sense. While Sapphire may be optically clearer, it can shatter. Hardlex, on the other hand, is more durable in this sense. Unlike some dive watches in this price class, the Seiko is true to its purpose and Hardlex seems to be the better choice of crystal.

I enjoyed your review as well as the rest of your reviews. Now you've got me wanting a Vostok which is just too well priced for the impulsive collector.


8:28 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Glad you liked the review. I agree about Hardlex, it is very tough and has, so far, withstood all sorts of punishment from me. As for a Vostok, you can't go wrong for the money. They are really nice watches but be prepared to replace the band. Be careful though, Russian watches are cheap enough to be addictive.

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I know how addictive the Russian watches can be. I have been collecting Poljots. It seems from the progression you've been on that one may also be in your future. I've always considered them to be the highest end of the Russian watches and I was initially attracted to them, as a Swiss watch fan, for their modification of older Swiss movements into something of their own. From my appreciation for Poljot, also an impulse collectible, and your review, my interest has been piqued for a Vostok.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Just got my first recently, a Sturmanskie Gagarin. Now I have a 3133 chrono on the way. Maybe I'll do a review soon.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a Sturmanskie with the 3133 and an Aviator, also with the 3133. They differ in build quality as the Aviator has a screwed back and some more durable construction, but both are nice enjoyable watches. A couple years later I got a Dolphin alarm watch and the overall build quality was noticeably improved. That watch is superbly accurate as well, but the 3133s are not far behind. Nevertheless the charm of the 3133 is commendable. They are fun watches and as a collector, they make an interesting contrast and comparison to the Japanese and Swiss watches.

11:39 AM  
Blogger JN said...

Hi Ed. I want to let you know that I've recently purchased an SKX007 (with a black instead of red/blue bezel) on the strenght of you recommendation.

I had looked at the various military imitators/ contractors with disappointing results. When I stumbled onto your blog, I was convinced that a Japanese company with a history of making fine watches can't really be beat.

You weren't kidding about the luminosity, and everything is as heavy as it should be.

And the watch looks better in person. Those polished case sides are particularly handsome.

Thanks again for the good work.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Glad you liked the review. It really is a fine watch. Amazing how much abuse it can take too.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tomc/worlok here. Same deal here. I have Breitlings, Doxa, Hamilton, used to have an Omega, and some private label boutique brand watches (Dreadnought, PRS20-LE), Citizen eco. The Seiko is the best bang for the buck (Citizen eco too) and they are also reputed to be able to go decades without servicing. My SKX009 was gotten from the MWR PX head only for $95 a few years ago. I use it on a 2 pc Rhino. Mine runs a bit fast, which is a bit annoying, but hey it's not like I paid a lot. I'm wearing mine now.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I gave my 009 to my brother in law. I'm still kicking myself :)

3:22 PM  
Anonymous galaxy said...

another review of SKX009....
thanks for your private reference. I also have it.

5:30 AM  
Blogger John said...

I've got three Seiko SKX divers, and only one of them has a bezel that lines up. I believe you can take the insert out and fix it but I haven't bothered. I've got a lot of Seiko divers, and in my experience, Seiko is nearly pathologically incapable of making a diver with a bezel that lines up. The exception are the frankenmonster models. They always line up.

6:41 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think that is great choice. But I personally prefer Seiko SKX007

1:21 PM  

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