I always liked watches, but it wasn’t until recently that I caught the bug and started my journey into
abject poverty collecting. Like most newcomers, my first step was to post sad, sad pictures of my quartz watches on Reddit. After the shame of rejection burned off, I started reading a lot. The horology mediasphere is a fascinating and contentious place. Grown men yell at each other over things like bezel action, lume, and what “water resistant” really means. A difference of one millimeter lug width can ruin friendships. Thankfully, I discovered that there is one universal, undeniable truth at the center of all opinions about dive watches. It is a shibboleth that cannot be questioned, only repeated. It is:
“The Seiko SKX007/009 is a great value-for-money diver with a jangly stock bracelet.”
That’s it. Anything other than that comment is open for heated debate that can potentially ostracize you from the #watchfam, forcing you to wander the streets alone with only the sad beeps of your G-Shock for company.
Despite that, for a long time I was uninterested in the SKX dive watch line. This is mainly because I live in Brooklyn and frequently wear a corduroy jacket, meaning most of my watch buys have been vintage, pretentious, and smaller than shirt buttons. Then my wife and I decided to take a long-postponed honeymoon to Bali, where, among other activities, we’d be Scuba diving. I don’t think I have to explain to the #watchfam why my first thought was not “that will be a fun and interesting way to observe marine life“ but rather “I need to buy a Seiko SKX007/9.” To show up with anything less than an ISO-certified, water resistant timepiece would surely invite scorn from our Balinese scuba instructors – a fate worse than death.
But to quote JRR Tolkien or Shakespeare (I forget which), “One does not simply BUY a watch.”
In my case, phase one of Operation Jangly Bracelet was to consume 2,000 hours of SKX-related online content, because that makes total sense for a dive watch that costs less than what Ben Clymer spends on brunch. To be clear, 2,000 hours is a mere drop in the 300-meter-deep ocean of SKX content on the web. YouTube alone has fifty eight years worth of SKX reviews–there you can see everyone from Soviet Bloc teens to pencil-mustached Brits waxing philosophical about the Pepsi bezel and the screw-down crown at 4 o’clock. Somehow though, hearing “great value-for-money water resistant dive watch with a jangly bracelet” fifty thousand times wasn’t enough, and I decided I had to see the thing in person.
Naturally, because I’m an idiot, I thought I could accomplish this by going to the Seiko boutique on Madison Avenue. I visited the shop on a blustery winter day and found myself suddenly in close quarters with an elegantly dressed saleswoman and a fancy guy buying an SBGA011 Snowflake (it’s beautiful in person, much more so than in photographs). After poking around the store hesitantly, I was intercepted by the saleswoman. I’ve edited down our conversation in the interest of brevity:
Me: Uh..do you guys have…uh…the SKX…uh…watch?
Saleswoman: I’m sorry sir?
Me: It’s uh…a great value-for-money diver with a jangly stock bracelet?
Saleswoman: Please leave
Me: K thx bye
After ritually lashing myself in shame, I decided to stop horsing around and just buy the thing on Amazon. Even Amazon, however, was a minefield. First of all, one would think that searching for something as specific as “Seiko SKX007/9,” would lead to one or two results. It returns 85, ranging from JDM variations to Orients to the SKX’s little brother, the SNZF or “Sea Urchin.” There’s a huge amount of work done just making sure you’re buying the right thing (I can’t be the only one to have lost 8% of my eyesight trying to zoom in on that little “Made in Malaysia” thing can I?), let alone making sure you actually want the damn thing. The SNZF in particular tripped me up. It’s $70 cheaper, has an oyster bracelet (preferred, in my book), and looks to be more or less the same watch. It was only after consuming 200 more hours of YouTube content that I learned the SNZF isn’t an ISO-certified diver, but more of a “diver-style” watch. Imagining the scornful, stinging laughter of the Balinese scuba instructors, I quietly closed the Sea Urchin browser tab and got back to the SKX.
Price was another hurdle. Sure, we all know the SKX is a $200 watch. But because Amazon is a cutthroat capitalist jungle, sellers are constantly undercutting each other in weird ways with all kinds of Seiko SKX Listings*, offering this iconic black dial dive watch for avant garde prices like $201.95 or $208.33. Thinking myself a clever gent, I dug around until I found the SKX at the Amazon-low price of $193.56 from a seller with the completely legitimate name “the_only_product.” I glossed through the shipping information, clicked “Buy” and returned to my normal life (scouring eBay for vintage watches the size of lima beans).
One week later, no SKX. I logged on to Amazon to check the tracking information, assuming it would arrive in a matter of days. Nope. Six more weeks. SIX WEEKS. How could it possibly take that long to get a watch to New York City? Was it coming from the literal Amazon rainforest? The international space station? Heaven/hell? What follows is an abridged diary of my wait:
Week 1: I’m not even going to think about that SKX. Who cares? It’s so far in the future.
Week 2: I wonder what my SKX is doing right now.
Week 3: I’m not even sure I want an SKX.
Week 4: Maybe what I really want is a Submariner. Why am I always settling for an ersatz version of the real thing? I should cancel the order and start saving money now so that I can afford to buy a Rolex on my deathbed.
Week 5: I hate the Seiko SKX and all it stands for. I hate Seiko divers. I hate watches in general, and I hate the world.
Week 6: I will die if I don’t get my SKX this week.
Thankfully, at the end of week six, I got a package notification at my desk at work. On weak legs, I stumbled down to the front desk and begged our doorman to place the package into my trembling hands. At long last, after no doubt traversing the Antarctic Ocean via wooden raft, my SKX007 had arrived. I ripped the package open with my teeth and burst into tears.
One week later, I can finally offer my opinion: it’s a great value-for-money diver. The one downside? A jangly stock bracelet (check my YouTube channel for a full review). Also, my wife and I decided to go to Morocco instead of Bali for our honeymoon. Good times.