“Sumo”, “Samurai”, “Monster”, “Turtle”: Seiko’s diving watches enjoy great popularity in some circles and these loyal fans have given the watches numerous nicknames over the years. But two absolute classics of the affordable diving line-up are so famous that they do not require a nickname, as everyone recognizes the reference immediately – the SKX007 in black and the SKX009 in Pepsi colors (blue-red). Today we will provide a closer look at these classics that have been running for over 20 years, and counting.
We have seen many new Seiko releases lately, especially when it comes to diving watches, and often in the high three to four-digit range. The two SKX models were released in 1996, at a time when Seiko would not be expected to do something like this.
The two watches are inexpensive workhorses and the built-in movement 7S26, which was first introduced in these watches, was not particularly groundbreaking at the time: You are unable to stop the second hand to set the watch perfectly, i.e. no hacking, and you can’t wind the watch yourself, only the rotor of the automatic mechanism does that for you. You would not be expected to adjust the watch perfectly anyway, as it can be off by up to 30 seconds per day on many models.
Of course, this doesn’t sound so inviting at first, but it has its reason: The movement was designed with the idea in mind that you can wear the watch for 10 or 20 years without any revision (cleaning and repairing the movement) and then replace it. Each component is therefore designed for maximum durability and the watch actually keeps this promise.
More convincing for many people is the design of the watch: 42mm diameter is a lot for an everyday watch, but for a diver’s watch (and with a 200m water resistance, it really does deserve this name) it seems quite appropriate, what with today’s fashion for larger watches anyway. The dial, which is excellent to read thanks to the generous use of luminous material, and the hands, which are equally coated with luminous material, together create a sober but very harmonious picture. Friends of the watch are not too keen on this basis, and there is a huge so-called modder community, who make all kinds of changes to the watch: Different bezel, different dial, even the change to the more modern 4R36 movement is possible. Even the replacement of the Hardlex mineral crystal with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal has its fanbase.
With street prices below € 400, this watch is an absolute bargain. Also, because it is not too expensive, it can be a rewarding basis for modifications. The only catch in 2020 is the availability: last year, after several years of wild rumours, the nightmare of many fans came true: the production of the movement and therefore of the watch was finally stopped. Although there are still new specimens available, this will certainly change soon. But since this watch is the gateway drug for many people, it is likely to be found on the second-hand market for a long time to come.
If you want to have a SKX007/9 now but can’t find one, you can also take a look at Seiko’s new sports series, which was announced almost simultaneously with the discontinuation of the SKX and promises a worthy replacement. The “only” 100m waterproofness is something most desk divers can certainly cope with.