It’s slightly embarrassing, but true. I have acquired and flipped the Seiko SKX007 exactly three times in the last few years. Nevertheless, my fourth SKX dive watch is in the mail and I can’t wait for it to arrive! Fourth time’s the charm, right?
After getting far deeper into this hobby than I ever intended, I have a new-found appreciation for this classic, affordable watch. What makes the Seiko SKX007 a truly great diver? I hope to address this topic from the perspective of someone who has come full-circle on the SKX; from owning it because it was the most recommended watch on the forums, to seeking higher-priced more exclusive offerings and pushing the SKX aside as an “entry-level” watch, to finally re-discovering the SKX as the most honest representation of a dive watch on the market today.
A single watch that fits any occasion is often called a GADA (Go Anywhere Do Anything) watch in the watch community. If I have learned anything from years of perusing watch forums, it is that every male watch enthusiast, deep down, has a peculiar obsession with a One-Watch-to-Rule-Them-All. A watch which he could theoretically wear every day for the rest of his life and imprint all his memories upon, to someday hand down to his heir, as a complete encapsulation of his essence as a human who has truly lived a life worth living.
Contrast that scenario with a guy who has a dozen watches and spends hours each week researching his next acquisition. Always searching, but never finding the romance that the proverbial “one-watch guy” effortlessly achieves. You can easily see why the idea of a GADA watch can be so seductive.
The quintessential GADA watch for most is a Rolex Submariner. For good reason, the Sub has earned its spot at the top of the GADA hierarchy. Its historic importance and provenance is unparalleled in the world of GADA watches. Why does it garner so much praise? It is comfortable, legible, reliable, serviceable, has a timeless design, and it comes from a company with an impeccable history. If you have an interest in horology and have the money to spend on a Sub, just go buy one and be done with the hunt.
You will have checked all the boxes and you may go along your way as the proverbial one-watch guy… you are complete!
When considered in light of what the Submariner offers, it has historically represented high value-for-money. Ostensibly, the Sub still represents value-for-money; but as prices continue to rise, the original intent of the Sub as a do-it-all dive watch starts to slip away. In the real-world most folks will be very careful with how they deploy an $8,000 USD watch. Even if the Sub is up to the task – which I believe it is – calling it a daily “beater” watch is perceived as lunacy to most folks. The risk of breaking the dang thing is just too high!
The Submariner moving up-market has left a vacuum in the world of watches that many brands have been eager to fill. Successful as many brands have been in this arena, there is something to be said for a watch that effortlessly meets the categorical needs while maintaining affordability at a level equal to the GADA tasks at hand. Cue the Seiko SKX007!
At around $200 – $300 USD, the Seiko SKX007 is a dive watch that you will not be afraid to wear for its intended purpose! It not only features everything a solid tool watch needs, but because of its historic provenance as a serious dive watch, it has become a classic in the watch-world. A real honest-to-goodness icon!
The Seiko SKX007 is comfortable to wear and can be sported handsomely with the stock bracelet or a nylon strap, or any other strap for that matter. At 42 millimeters in diameter and a reasonable lug-to-lug distance, the dimensions are spot on; falling within in the “Goldilocks” zone for wearability. As trends shift from larger to smaller watches, and back again, the SKX proportions will be sustainable as a long-term candidate for size and comfort.
Seiko is well known for their heavy-hitting lume. Couple that with legible markers and easily distinguishable hands, contrasted on the backdrop of a black dial with minimal text and distractions, and you have yourself one of the most legible dials in the business. Legibility plays an essential role in the diver capacity of the SKX, and easily translates into everyday life as a functional feature.
The basic 7S26 movement from Seiko has been proven for decades. Used in the Seiko 5 series, it has been demonstrated as among the most reliable movements in existence. The fact that it does not hand-wind or hack only lends to its reliability as a no-nonsense movement. Because so many Seiko watches have housed this movement in the past, the SKX is particularly affordable to service.
The most iconic features of the SKX hail from a historic pedigree dating back to 1977 with the Seiko 6309 (and perhaps further, as elements of it were present even in the first Seiko Diver from 1965). Starting life as a form-follows-function creation aimed at making a better dive watch, it evolved over the decades, and was purified with each iteration to cut out any superfluous features. What we have left is a non-derivative, thoroughly useful watch that screams Seiko’s design ethos in the best way possible. Every aspect of this watch has been thoroughly considered and time-proven.
Seiko as a brand is revered by many watch enthusiasts. What its products don’t offer in glamour, they make up for in sheer smiles per dollar. As one of the largest watch manufacturers globally, Seiko stands behind its products and continues to be relevant in the 21st century.
As a dedicated Swiss watch enthusiast, I appreciate how Seiko has constantly kept the Swiss establishment on their toes; challenging the status-quo and innovating at every price point. The rising ‘Seiko-tide’ has truly had the effect of lifting all boats in the world of horology. Seiko literally means “exquisite” or “success,” and they have certainly lived up to their name since the earliest days of their inception.
With all the driftwood floating around in the sea of watches, a truly great watch can be hard to find. But a great watch, priced appropriately for its intended use, which in the case of the Seiko SKX007, means every conceivable use-scenario? That, my friends, is rare! That is why I’m buying another SKX007. Even if I’m not the “one-watch-guy” this piece is intended for, I find joy and inspiration by wearing it in my rotation. I just need to be careful that it doesn’t accidentally take up all my wrist time, robbing my other pieces from a proper existence.