Monday, June 07, 2010

The Poor Man's Marinemaster aka SKX007 w/WJean Super Oyster Bracelet

Welcome to the latest episode of the Recession Watch. While we all hoped this would be titled the Recovery Watch, lets face it, we're not there yet. So, the real Marinemaster will have to wait a while longer. That being said though, I really love the look and feel of a high end Seiko diver. Fortunately for us wallet challenged folks, there is a solution these days. The short answer is to get a Seiko SKX007 (or 009 if the Pepsi bezel is more your thing) and do a bracelet transplant. Now before I continue, Seiko does sell these models on stainless steel bracelets. I even reviewed one about five years ago . I wound up gifting that 009 to my brother-in-law because I just didn't like the bracelet. Don't get me wrong, the stock bracelet is ok. It is a solid link design with hollow end links. It worked just fine but it felt too light to balance the heavy 009 on my wrist comfortably. Thanks to developments in aftermarket bracelets, this issue has been addressed to my liking.

If you sniff around at the Seiko Citizen Watch Forum or on the Watchuseek Seiko Citizen forum, you will find many mentions of a "Super Oyster" bracelet for Seiko diver watches. The bracelet you see pictured above is one of them. WJean btw is short for ebay seller wjean28, from whom I got this one. As to what makes the super oyster bracelet such an improvement, here's the deal. The whole thing is much more heavily built than the stock model and the end links are thankfully solid. The bracelet employs thick screw pins (instead of split pins) and a flip lock clasp. The net result is a much beefier and less tinny package. Additionally, those solid end links will not warp over time as the hollow models I had on my 009 eventually did. WJean even included a set of extra thick spring bars (If you have seen the Seiko spring bars that the Monster or the Tuna come with, the replacements are like them). It should be noted that there are super oyster bracelets with hollow end links out there too. I believe that WJean sells them as well. I think that the links are still better than the stock bracelet but the end links are substantially the same. They cost less than the solid end link models though so that is something to consider too.

For what seems like a small cosmetic change, the super oyster bracelet really changes the character of the SKX007. What started out looking and feeling like a mid-range diver now feels like a much more expensive piece altogether. The new bracelet even includes a Seiko signed clasp although there is no diver's extension (not that I ever used the ones I have on other models).

The SKX007 itself is a terrific watch incidentally, super oyster or no. It's stainless steel case meassures 42mm in width (not including the 4 o'clock crown), 13mm in height, 47mm lug to lug and has a 22mm band lug width. Internally it is powered by Seiko's durable 7s26 automatic movement. The watch does not hack or hand wind if that matters to you (hey it has to be different from a Marinemaster somewhere, right). That being said, a quick shake will power the watch up immediately and the power reserve after a day's wear seems to be at least 35-40 hours. The crown screws down and the water resistance is rated at 200 meters. Seiko's lume is generally very good and the 007 is no exception. It isn't quite in a Monster's league but it's no slouch either. The bezel is counter-rotating with a firm action and it includes an embedded luminous marker of it's own. The crystal is made of Seiko's proprietary Hardlex, a hardened glass that sort off splits the difference in scratch resistance between sapphire (great) and conventional glass (eh). As sports watches go, the 007 is well designed to handle the abuse that diving/water sports dish out and looks terrific to my eye as well.

The bottom line (and that is the whole point of this review) is that for about $230, I now have a Seiko automatic diver that looks and feels like a watch that costs at least double that price. It's so good in fact that I personally think that Seiko should really consider doing its customers a favor and either contract with folks like WJean to offer this option or just release it themselves. Until that happens though, head over to the global tag sale and ring up a super oyster of your own for a 007/009. Frankly, even if you are flush with cash, it's still worth doing. P.S. I picked up this 007 here on a rubber strap in contemplation of getting this bracelet for it. I couldn't be more pleased with the result.


Anonymous Ørjan said...

Great review, the 007 is a super watch! I also have one, I have not just tried WJean's SO bracelet, but also Yobokie's, which tapers a bit more at the clasp, but unfortunately does not take the fat springbars. I prefer the latter for the more elegant look, bot the former for the fat springbars and closer integration between the case and the endpieces.

I also have to say - you called this the poor mans Marinemaster. That is a name I have often heard used about another Seiko, the SBCD001, or Seiko Sumo. That is a great watch, which in contrast to the 007 winds and hacks. Would love to see you review that one some day!

3:42 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

You are correct and I probably should have said "very" poor man's marinemaster. The Sumo is a terrific watch indeed. One day...

6:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I know there is no hand-winding capability in a Monster or in a Sumo... Am I wrong?


3:23 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

The Monster cannot handwind. It has the same 7s26 movement as the 007/009. The Sumo uses the 6r15 movement. It can hand wind and hack.

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Understood. Thank you.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Jeremy Z said...

Great blog. I've always been curious about the 007. Never seen one in the flesh. I have an 031K2 myself, the midsize one modeled after the Submariner. The 007s seems a lot taller but also with a bezel that's easier to grip. One day...

-Jeremy (Smaug)

10:46 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

The 007 is a terrific piece in all respects. For the price, it is very hard to beat.

1:30 PM  
Blogger Speedmaster said...

Ed, thanks very much for the heads-up on your review! I'm looking for a solid oyster bracelet for my SKX-173 and this might be the one.

What do these go for?

Thanks again!

7:37 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I think I paid $60 for it. Not cheap but very well made.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ed. Good review.

SKX007 is really a good watch. Solid feel, robust and rugged. there is a comparison being made between the Explorer and the Diver's movement here:

As you can see after 3 days the Explorer tend to go ahead 1 sec faster than the Diver's.

I would say a well tuned Diver's 7s76 is accurate as good as Rolex cal 3130 or perhaps 3135 on Sub.

Have a good day Ed.


1:50 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

That is a terrific video there. I never thought the 7S26 could be regulated to that level of accuracy.

Good site too. The Explorer 1 is far and away my favorite Rolex. A real classic of design. One day...

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review. If the recession gets stronger you can get this feeling even cheaper if you buy yourself a Seiko 7002-7000. It is the precedessor of the skx007 that looks just similar besides the rectangular marker indexes on the dial and date only.
You get them really cheap overhauled at the bay and with a nice super oyster bracelet they are stunning if you grap a good one.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

Beautiful watches I want to get a very fine watch specially when I go to elegant parties.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Chicago SEO Specialist said...

Nice review! I just picked up the skx007k with the rubber strap, and ordered the super jubilee bracelet from wjean immediately after purchasing the watch. Very excited!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

I think you'll be very happy with the result :)

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Ed
cool review many tks. Just one question I have is - once the super oyster ii is on, is there any way to get it off without breaking the spring bars (just to put on a nato band for example), or is it just too hard to get off with no drilled lugs. tks.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

No big deal really. There are notches in the endlinks for a spring bar tool to reach in. Seemed pretty easy to do.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I've gone for the SO2, and just now seen a super oyster evo s fm yobokie's which seems to fit to perfection. Oh well, can u recommend a spring bar tool as all I have are the v fine screwdrivers just now. How is the paylak on Amazon? Tks N

2:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well I've gone for the SO2 and just now seen a super oyster evo s fm yobokie's which seems to fit to perfection. Oh well, what spring bar tool can u recmmend as all I have at present are fine screwdrivers. is the paylak fm Amazon ok? tks N

2:41 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I use one of these but any narrow tipped model will do

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well the tool I ordered arrived and after abt 2hrs managed to get the rubber strap off and the super oyster on and it is a great fit. But I dont think I'll be taking it off any time soon as I just dont think I can!... the drilled lugs of the monster or solar sne107 are so much easier to handle. For me it is THE drawback with the 007, non-drilled lugs.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous MiKo said...

Actually, the fat Seiko lugs can be changed easily if you use a thin Xacto knife blade. Just slip it into the gap and use a bit of leverage.
Proceed with caution, not to damage your fingers and/or the rubber strap :-)

4:35 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

First of all, nice review. Secondly, what I like the most in Seiko SKX007 you have all the possibilities of modifications

1:10 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, This is very amazed product really like to see this collection you have and i love these. Great review for superb watch! good stuff! thanks a lot for shearing. rubber wristband

1:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good to read this article and i like rubber bracelets cheap thank you !!

8:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a really good read for me, Must admit that you are one of the best bloggers I ever saw.Thanks for posting this informative article.
Seiko Watch Bands

2:23 PM  
Blogger BondJamesBond said...

Guess I bought a Classic back in O2. Cool.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous smashterminator said...

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5:27 AM  

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