This Might Be The Greatest-Worth Diving Watch Ever Made
To grasp simply how a Japanese watch model that populates a number of pages of each Argos catalogue manages to command the respect of the notoriously snobbish watch neighborhood, each Swiss CEO price their salt, and in flip manages to make the SKX007 in query right here for such a ridiculously low value level, we refer you to Seiko’s abiding motto: “One step forward of the remainder.”
Properly, the model actually was forward of the sport with the SKX007 diving watch – launched in 1996 – and it appears the remainder of the business continues to be taking part in catch up. It’s maybe one of the best worth computerized watch available on the market right now, and frequently challenges watches ten occasions its value by way of its performance, stylishly easy design and prime construct high quality. Should you’re in search of a rugged mechanical watch with actual pedigree that you could put on on daily basis, this might be all you want.
The product of over three many years of technological interbreeding, the SKX007 may very well be Seiko’s most spectacular waterbaby of all, due to, quite than regardless of it being one of many world’s most reasonably priced watches. For £349 (although on any given day, you’ll simply discover a new one for much less, e.g. right here, for instance) you get a bona fide, self-winding mechanical diving watch that greater than meets this horological style’s essentially strict necessities.
In different phrases: 200-metre water resistance; extremely legible dial luminosity; a screw-down crown protected by ‘shoulders’ and offset to 4 o’clock to release wrist motion; plus the all-important unidirectional timing bezel, which, should you by chance knock it, solely turns anticlockwise to dictate much less remaining dive time quite than (doubtlessly lethally) extra. And that’s assuming you’re somebody who really spends extended durations of time underwater, in fact.
Seiko 6217 Diver, 1965
It’s as pure a package deal as any self-respecting diver would need, or anybody with a vaguely bodily way of life for that matter, who values robustness and peace of thoughts ought to any water-based exercise or phenomenon confront them. A day on the seashore for instance, or as mad-keen members of the Seiko diving-watch cult will respect, a jungle monsoon. The reference. 6105, in any case, was notably well-known for being worn by Captain Benjamin L. Willard – aka Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now.
The dial itself is pure, purposeful minimalism, picked out in Seiko’s proprietary, famously torch-bright luminous paint. Some will take situation with the black-on-white day/date indication (pedants like date rings to match their dials, thanks very a lot) however we favor it – it balances-out the lume at 9 o’clock. As for ‘DIVER’S 200m’ in crimson? Properly, that’s as racy because it will get, including a touch of retro aptitude to in any other case sober proceedings.
Should you go for the metal bracelet over the increasing ‘concertina’ rubber strap choice, that’ll add a contact extra classic cool, but it surely’s a bit clicky-clacky for our liking. Follow the rubber – it’s the skilled selection and immediately adjustable, or, swap out the band for a NATO watch strap for full on navy type.
The Construct High quality
It’s the only of watches we’re celebrating right here – simplicity usually being the toughest trick to drag off with wristwatches. The much less that’s occurring, the tougher the remaining parts should work, particularly given the lifelong lifespan of a well-made watch. And goodness is the SKX007 well-made.
On-wrist and hands-on, the very first thing you respect is the sheer heft of the stainless steel case – there’s plenty of useful ballast right here, machined and polished with exceptional finesse, from the mild curve of its 4 lugs or ‘claws’, to the 2 scalloped shoulders rising to protect both facet of the crown.
The gnurl of the bezel is definitely gripped carrying gloves, however not jagged as to appear aggressive or overly ‘techy’. And if you do twizzle it, a shock: the bezel clicks crisply in half-minute notches, not entire minutes as you’d forgive any mechanical diver beneath £350. That’s Seiko to an obsessive tee.
The Story Of The Seiko SKX007
It’s a sluggish however regular spirit of innovation that has seen Seiko develop into the titan of watchmaking it’s right now – a model boasting huge manufacturing amenities dotted all through Japan’s mountains. Every week-long Bullet Practice tour is required to understand the sheer extent of those capabilities, and Seiko’s complete self-reliance even stretches to synthesising its personal quartz crystals, rising huge lozenges from ‘seed crystal’ in 14m-high autoclaves – a facility resembling the engine room of the Starship Enterprise.
Elsewhere, nestled within the snowy woods of Morioka within the north, you’ll discover the appropriately named Grand Seiko, the place you’d be forgiven for considering you’d been wormholed to a Swiss watch atelier within the Jura Mountains. Proper all the way down to its 20
Unrivalled quartz pedigree, exquisitely crafted horological masterworks… after which there are the diving watches.
Only one 12 months after the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, whereas Seiko was shrinking its quartz know-how to wrist dimension, the seed of a mighty subaquatic lineage was sown: the reference 6217. The watch face that launched a thousand rigid-hull inflatable dive boats, should you like. It was Seiko’s first diving watch, and with it the model hit a homerun.
Borrowing loads of stylistic cues from Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, whose super-legible luminous monochrome dial and unidirectional rotating bezel set the SCUBA-worthy normal way back to 1953, 6217 was water resistant to a extremely respectable 150 metres down, and was naturally pushed by a homegrown Seiko mechanical motion.
The SKX007 is a direct descendant of this basic debut, albeit by way of a panoply of variants, evolutions and sub-collections. So good was the 6217, and but so frenzied has its iterative lineage develop into, that the SKX007, in manufacturing since 1996, is immediately comprehensible but nearly unattainable to genetically pinpoint.
The SKX007’s Diving Pedigree
There’s but extra skilled clout to SKX007’s genetic make-up, which happened remarkably early-on in Seiko’s life aquatic. Ten years after the discharge of its first, and after seven years of analysis, Seiko got here up with one other milestone: the world’s first diver’s watch with a titanium case – its super-tough, light-weight metallic parts engineered to water resistant tolerances good to depths as much as 600 metres. It was an unprecedented use of the fabric on the time and would mark Seiko out as massive gamers within the diving watch world.
Seiko Prospex Tuna Photo voltaic Diver’s
Seiko could also be averse to precise names for its particular person fashions, quite than strings of letters and numbers, however you may depend on their followers to repair this, and all the time with good humour. Therefore, this 1975 skilled diver is now fondly often known as the ‘Tuna’ – so nicknamed for its flat cylindrical case profile, resembling a can of fish.
This hockey-puck form has been adopted throughout a lot of Seiko’s diving vary ever since, together with the cult ‘Orange Monster’ and ‘Black Monster’ Computerized Diver’s 200m launched in 2000. And since 2014 they’ve lastly been out there within the UK beneath the brilliantly revamped Prospex banner – an abbreviation of ‘skilled specs’, which suggests in addition to divers, the vary additionally boasts analogue devices for pilots, drivers and sailors alike.
Seiko Orange Monster Computerized Diver’s
Certainly, exhibiting their very own good humour, one of many items within the goodie luggage from Seiko’s current Knightsbridge boutique opening was a cleansing fabric contained by a tin resembling a tuna can.
From 1975 onwards, Seiko was additionally the primary to place a quartz motion in knowledgeable dive watch, the primary to make use of a tricky ceramic shroud for deep-sea diving, the primary to make use of a hybrid analog-digital watch with an alarm, and so forth and so forth.
Beneath the bonnet of the SKX007, you actually do get a correct Seiko-made self-winding mechanical. The 7S26 is, admittedly, the Japanese model’s most simple calibre, machined, completed and hand-assembled at Seiko Devices’ Malaysian plant in Johor, close to the border with Singapore.
Nevertheless it’s stable as a rock, very similar to the remainder of the SKX007. It ticks at a gradual 21,600 vibrations per hour, winds extremely effectively due to Seiko’s ‘Magic Lever’ system (two ‘pawl’ levers both push or pull across the winding barrel’s ratchet wheel, whichever course the rotor swings) and is extremely straightforward and low-cost to service (it even contains plastic parts for issues just like the day and date switch-over mechanism).
The one downsides to the 7S26 are that it’s non-hand-windable (not a lot an issue due to aforementioned Magic Lever, immediately ticking issues over from a chilly begin) and it’s non-hacking, i.e. the arms don’t cease if you pull out the crown to set the time precisely. However the latter is moot anyway, given the 7S26’s comparatively poor precision.
Are you actually frightened about dropping as much as 20 seconds or gaining as much as 40 seconds a day for this pricepoint? You’ll solely be out by a couple of minutes every week, and you’ll nonetheless depend on the bezel to time your dive should you’re solely submerged for 45 minutes or so.
A Diving Watch Of The Highest Order
Coincidentally, in addition to being SKX007’s beginning 12 months, 1996 was additionally the 12 months Geneva’s Worldwide Group for Standardization signed, sealed and delivered its personal verdict on what standards a contemporary diver’s watch ought to adhere to – the ISO 6425 normal.
It’s a now infamous measuring stick for the varied takes, errors, misinterpretations and misunderstandings the chattering watch courses like to speak about, and solely watches stressed within the pursuit of perfection are granted it. Reliability, susceptibility to condensation, 100m minimal water resistance, thermal shock resistance, legibility, a sign issues are working in complete darkness (a luminous sweeping seconds arms, because you ask) – they’re all components that have to be abided by.
ISO 6425 has all of it coated and its stamp of approval is eagerly sought-after. And guess what? Our humble Seiko handed the take a look at. However better of all, for lower than £349 it may be all yours.