Normally, our contributor Gerard talks about one of his watches in this 52Mondayz feature. Whilst he is enjoying a deserved holiday, I decided to do this week’s write-up for 52Mondayz. It took a while before I decided which watch I wanted to cover, but going through my modest collection I stumbled upon my trusty Seiko SKX007.
Without further ado, here’s the Seiko SKX007.
I don’t want to go into the details of the history of the Seiko SKX007. It succeeded the Seiko 7002 in 1996 and looks quite similar at first sight. The 7002 was the successor in the 1980s of the famous and very collectible 6309. If you want to read more about those, you might enjoy this article.
The Seiko SKX007 is part of the 7S26 series, which refers to the movement. In fact, Seiko categorizes them as 5S series. Anyway, the Seiko SKX007 is there for over 20 years and is still very popular today. Why? That’s easy. It is a great watch for a very interesting (low) price. It is a watch that can easily be your daily rocker for over a decade, without much hassle. It comes on a rubber strap or jubilee-type bracelet (for €20 extra). I bought mine without special reason to be honest, I found everyone to be so incredibly positive about the Seiko SKX007 that I wanted to know what the buzz was about. So I bought two, one for my dad and one for myself. My dad has been wearing this watch every day since and apart from a scratch on the crystal, it is like new.
Mine has an easier life, as I have more watches to choose from. With a Seiko Marinemaster 300 on the side, it is difficult for this Seiko SKX007 to get some wrist time. That is one of the best watches I’ve come across in my watch life to be honest, but it has a price tag that is almost 7 times as high (retail prices).
A Bargain Watch
The Seiko SKX007 has an official retail price of €340 Euro, but I don’t have to explain you that Google does wonders to that. It makes it even a better watch at a discounted price. To be honest, there are no watches that come even close to the Seiko SKX007 in this price range. Sure, it has some flaws and things you can criticize, but for this money it sounds hardly fair to do. Or is it? If I could think of one flaw that Seiko is known for on this watch, and a couple of other references, it is the bezel alignment. Not only on the Seiko SKX007, but I also came across this on the Seiko Monster, Seiko Sumo and some SRP (Turtle) models.
I also understand why it is difficult, as the watch has a couple of alignments to depend on for the bezel. The movement to the case, the case to the bezel teeth, the bezel to the insert and of course the dial to the movement. The slightest intolerance will result in a misaligned bezel. That’s where the huge differences lies with their high-end watches (Marinemaster) or watches from other high-end brands, the tolerances get smaller (and it is way more expensive to work with smaller tolerances). So in the end, you either have to find peace in these misaligned bezels or should save up to purchase one of the watches that is considered to be more high-end. The cost price of the Seiko SKX007 is probably quite low, and only so much time and effort can be spend on these details. Sounds fair to me.
The stainless steel case measures 42.5mm and has 22mm lugs. As you can see, the crown is located at 4 o’clock, so no silly ‘crown marks’ on your hands here. The crown has not been signed (neither is the crown on my Marinemaster), is easy to unscrew and set the time, date and day. The finish on the case is beyond expectation in this price level, it is nicely done and no sharp edges. There is little information on the dial, just how I like it. The brand name, the fact that it is an automatic winding watch and a day and date. Of course, there’s the “Diver’s 200m” indication in red, at 6 o’clock. It makes the otherwise monochrome dial a bit more vivid. The day and date indicators are white discs with black printing. You might have preferred it the other way ’round, but as my eyes are getting older, I like this contrast. It is this thing where functionality wins it from aesthetics.
7S26 Automatic Movement
As written above, the Seiko 7S26 movement was introduced in 1996 to replace the 7002. The caliber 7S26 ticks at 21600vph, has 21 jewels and a day and date complication. It has a few revisions (7S26A, 7S26B and 7S26C) and the movement has also been the starting point for Seiko to develop their caliber 6R15. The 6R has a SPRON 510 mainspring (different material) and does hack and manual wind, where the 7S26 always keeps running and can’t be wound manually. As you can see, my SKX007 has the last revision of the movement (7S26C) that was introduced in 2011. The movement has a power reserve of 40 hours and winds in both directions.
The Seiko Caliber 7S26 is a very simple yet robust movement. It uses Seiko’s Magic Lever winding system, that uses only four moving parts. The rotor, the ‘Magic Lever’ and two wheels. The Magic Lever winding system is an invention from 1959 and has been ‘updated’ through the years. The video below shows how this winding system works.
In the end, it is a very cost efficient movement that does what it should do. As you can see, the finish is almost non-existent but the movement isn’t visible anyway and it would add serious damage to the price of this Seiko SKX007. Would it change much for you anyway? The Seiko SKX007 and its 7S26 movement is a work-horse.
The Great Wave or Tsunami
As shown above and below, the case back of the Seiko SKX007 shows the ‘Tsunami’. Although I used some images of Hokusai’s Great Wave drawing, there is no official connection between the Tsunami logo and Hokusai’s Great Wave drawing(s). The logo on the Seiko case back has been used for decades (mid-1960s, on the Seiko Silverwave), but never was claimed by Seiko to be a copy of the Great Wave. It might have been an inspiration though, although Hokusai’s work mainly focused on the mount Fuji. The wave itself is also slightly different and where Seiko talks about ‘Tsunami’, Hokusai’s work is an Okinami. An interesting and in-depth analysis has been written on Watchuseek in 2009, click here.
Besides the Tsunami, the case back shows some information about the movement, material and its serial number. As you can see, mine starts with 49xxxx. This means mine is produced in 2014, 9th month (September).
Get the Seiko SKX007, now!
Really, there is no reason not to buy this watch. Whether you are looking for that perfect ever day mechanical watch, a holiday beater or just to add a significant watch to your collection, you can’t miss the Seiko SKX007. It is a simple diver’s watch that is able to do the job right, without anything fancy going on. Perhaps this is even the best mechanical watch money can buy, I will leave that up to you. Even if you have your Rolex, Omega, IWC or Panerai diver’s watches, for the price of a rubber strap for some of them, you can add this Seiko SKX007 to your collection as well, and it will not disappoint. It surely isn’t perfect, but neither should you compare it to a Marinemaster, Seamaster, Submariner, Luminor or Aquatimer. I have both the rubber strap and jubilee-style bracelet, although the jubilee looks quite cool on this watch, I do prefer the rubber harmonica strap. You can also put it on NATO or any other strap you wish of course.
Official price for the Seiko SKX007K1 (rubber) is €340, the SKX007K2 (stainless steel bracelet) is €360. These are the retail prices within the EU, including sales tax.