The Seiko SKX007: A Dive Watch that Doesn’t Sink Your Bank Account - ITS Tactical

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The Seiko SKX007: A Dive Watch that Doesn’t Sink Your Bank Account

By Rob Henderson

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Over the past couple years, I’ve found myself obsessed with watches. The world of timepieces has exploded in popularity, particularly those with automatic movements. Today I’ll be discussing how my journey through the world of timepieces landed a Seiko SKX007 on my wrist and why it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

A One Watch Guy

Growing up, I always had “a watch.” Having a collection of watches never crossed my mind, as my watch could do everything I needed. While I owned multiple watches throughout the years, I was always replacing one that had broken or been lost. At a certain point, I picked up a G-Shock and I was hooked. Camping trip? G-Shock. Friend’s Wedding? G-Shock. No matter what I did or where I went, my G-Shock was with me. After all, I could set an alarm, time a race and keep up with different timezones. It was like having a Swiss Army Knife on my wrist.

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Things changed though when I received my first automatic watch as a Christmas gift one year. The thought of a watch that didn’t require a battery and charged from the movement of your wrist really intrigued me. I scoured watch forums and other sites to see just how they worked and learning about automatic movements gave me an appreciation for the engineering and mechanical prowess it took to create them.

My appreciation quickly developed into a full blown hobby and before I knew it, my watch collection had grown from two to ten in a matter of months. It was during this buying spree that I picked up the Seiko SKX007, a watch known for its simplicity and timeless design. It wasn’t a cheap by any means, but at around $200 it didn’t break the bank.

It’s one of Seiko’s most popular models and has been a favorite of the watch community for years. While the mention of 007 is sure to bring about thoughts of the suave British Secret Service Agent, but for Seiko it’s just a coincidental model number designation. It’s also regarded by many as the best budget dive watch available and offers some of the best features you’ll find out of any watch at its price point. (Even more than some watches priced well above it.) 

The Case

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A recent trend in the watch industry has seen case sizes on Men’s watches growing larger and larger. While men’s watches of the 50’s and 60’s ranged from around 36-38 millimeters wide, watches today are being introduced at 45 and even 47 millimeters wide. I’ve never been a fan of the large watch face trend and consider the maximum for my wrist to be about 42-43mm.

The SKX007’s case measures in at 42mm wide and 12mm thick. It’s a large watch that wears like it, but it’s not obnoxiously large and passes the “under the cuff” test. (fitting underneath the cuff of a dress shirt without snagging.)

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Something that really helps the fit of the watch is the crown being located at the four o’clock position rather than the three. This prevents the watch from digging into the back of your hand if, like me, you tend to wear your watch farther up on your wrist.

The screw down crown provides a tight seal, preventing water and dust from entering the movement. The coin edge of the crown provides a great purchase area and unscrews with ease.

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The strap width on the 007 is fairly common at 22mm and allows a multitude of different straps and bracelets. Something great about this watch is that it sits as comfortably on a steel bracelet as it does on a rugged NATO strap. The term NATO strap comes from the shortening of the term NATO Stock Number (NSN) and the straps are also referred to as a G10 strap. NATO straps have been a favorite of military members and civilians alike, adding a heavy duty, utilitarian feel to a watch. In a future article, we’ll expound more on different NATO straps and their history.

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One of my favorite features of the 007 is the 120 click dive bezel, each click of which is pronounced and firm. True to its dive watch functionality, the bezel is unidirectional with a lume pip at the twelve o’clock position so even in the deep, dark ocean, time can still be monitored. The bezel’s coin edge also provides a great grip even when wet or with gloves on.

The Dial

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The simplicity of the 007’s dial is really what makes it stand out. I’m really not a fan of text on the dials of my watches, as I find it very busy and cluttered. With only three lines of text, this dial is clean and clear. It’s well balanced and the contrast of the white lume pips on the black dial make it extremely easy to read. 

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The lume is Seiko’s Lumibrite and is an alternative to the older Tritium illumination paint, which was radioactive. The lume on this watch is evenly applied, very bright and lasts for 7-8 hours, allowing you to read it through all the way through a night time activity.

The raised section between the edge of the dial and the case, also known as the chapter ring, continues the minute markings of the bezel and really draws your eye in to the face. Additionally, it makes timing an activity much easier and allows for more precise calculations of time.

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Rather than a three o’clock lume pip, the 007 features a day/date window that I find extremely useful. While many people don’t like both the day and date feature, I find myself constantly checking it throughout the day.

There’s a lot of right with this watch, but one of my larger critiques lies with its hand set. Each of the three hands for hour, minute and second is completely different, which is great for checking time in the dark. However, the lume pip on the second hand is located on the rear of the second hand. This makes timing something in the dark a bit difficult, as the only light on the second hand is on the rear. This isn’t really a large issue but it’s something that I wanted to bring up.

The Movement

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The SKX007 features a 21,600 bph (beats per hour) movement, offering a 50-hour power reserve and keeps very decent time for an automatic. I timed it as losing about 5 seconds a day, which is only one second shy of COSC specifications. (COSC stands for Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètre, an organization that certifies Swiss watch movements for accuracy.)

Unfortunately, the movement is non-hacking so the second hand doesn’t stop when the crown is pulled out. This a minor pet peeve of mine, as I like to be fairly precise when setting my watches. If I could change only one thing about this watch, it would be adding the ability to stop the second hand.

The Bracelet

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From the factory, the bracelet options for the SKX007 are a little lacking. It can be purchased either with a rubber dive strap or a jubilee bracelet. I’m not a fan of the rubber strap and chose the jubilee bracelet, which I found to be rather unappealing. Jangly and light, it didn’t really scream “dive watch” to me, so I sought out a replacement and landed on the Strapcode Oyster Bracelet. It’s a solid link bracelet that I would highly recommend pairing with this watch. The added weight of the solid links not only offers better durability, but really helps balance the watch out.

Overall, I would consider the Seiko SKX007 to be one of the best options for someone looking for a durable, automatic dive watch. It’s a budget watch that wears like a much more expensive timepiece and offers some great features others in its price range don’t.

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Discussion

  • ajd26A

    ITStactical Jhess5534 That watch is on my short list!!

  • Collin Tang

    And there have been murmurs in the various Seiko enthusiast groups that this model is nearing EOL since two years ago.

    • Dec1968

      That’s why I bought three…….007K, 009K, 007J

  • vrsanches

    ITStactical Henderson, your review was awesome. How about the glass? Is that mineral hardlex crystal resistant enough? Did you scratch it?

    • ITStactical

      vrsanches Thanks! I’ve had some good dings on it & no permanent marks as of yet. The bezel being a bit higher than the crystal helps. ^RH

    • vrsanches

      ITStactical Right now I’m thinking of getting the Skx009k2, which is the “pepsi version”. The review helped me convince myself to buy 🙂

    • hutchnate

      vrsanches ITStactical I have the skx009k2. i love it. since it’s an automatic i wear it every other day and every time i weightlift to keep it wound. It looks classy and the blue face helps it stand out. The large end to the second hand that the author says prevents precise second timing at night though is true to me it’s awesome because it is so visible. I workout at night on the patio in the dark and it allows me to always know when to begin the next set after 1 minute break.  The crown at 4 as stated to me is now a must have it’s so much more comfortable. And to those about hacking non-hacking if accuracy to a second is so important you should use a quartz movement as they don’t loose or gain 5 seconds a day.

  • munkeeboi83

    Do any of you guys at ITS Tac SCUBA dive? Since this is a dive watch, any plans on taking this watch diving? Awesome review =)

  • M95C

    As an owner of numerous watches ranging from 20.00 to 4 figures and several Seikos, I have to say that the SKX series are the most reliable, best bang-for-the-buck, automatic dive watches on the market. Great review and something to add, if you are in the mood to individualize your watch a bit further, the SKX 007 is the king of modding. Plenty of aftermarket support to replace bezels, dials,chapter rings and bracelets.

  • Chasseur

    Only problem I have had with Seiko automatic watches is their inability to perform a time hack. This is problematic in some operational uses.

    • steanson

      @Chasseur Some Seiko with newer movements do hack.

    • Dec1968

      @Chasseur There are modders out there who will sell and install a Seiko hacking movement. I’m doing that to mine soon. I have three (007K, 009K, 007J).

  • Matthew N Sharp

    Well done, Rob Henderson! Now I need another damn watch.

  • BRASSLOAD

    MGAattraction 95% of folks with dive watch don’t know what it’s for or how to use it. Give me a watch with useful functions instead.

    • Strych9

      BRASSLOAD MGAattraction Those of us that dive wear them for a reason. Those of us that are professional divers wear them as a backup to our computer. 

      Just sayin’.

  • I purchased mine in the mid 70’s when I was a young kid after working and saving all summer long pulling weeds and mowing lawns. Snapped the original rubber dive band sometime in the 80’s and now with a few bumps and scratches and 41 years later, it’s still my go to watch. It has never been serviced and still works fantastic!

    • Dec1968

      RavenAZ THAT is awesome!!!!

  • TomJackson1

    I’ve got an SKX171 (http://www.amazon.com/Seiko-SKX171-Black-Diver-Watch/dp/B003NU993I/ref=sr_1_26?ie=UTF8&qid=1452621438&sr=8-26&keywords=seiko+dive+watch), and can time hack.  I suspect that the action is the same in your watch.  This last Christmas made three years that I’ve had it, and I’ve probably only taken it off a half dozen times.
    Pull the crown all the way out and set your watch to the next minute ahead relative to the time you’re matching.  If you then put pressure on the crown backwards, as if to turn the hands counter-clockwise, but stop turning the crown before the minute hand actually starts to move, you’ll see the second hand stops.  It’s a tiny amount of pressure on the crown, but once you do it the first time you’ll get the feel for it.  The with second hand frozen, let your matching time catch up, then let go of the crown to start time.
    I noticed mine throwing time about a year ago, and had a local jewelry/watch repair place regulate it for me.  I last set it about a month ago, and I’m only 5 seconds off from NIST time right now.  Great watch.

  • John D McCann

    Great article Bryan.  I have had my Seiko Automatic Dive Watch for over twenty years and it works like the day I bought it. And it never needs batteries! 🙂

  • mcdonugh

    Good review Rob/Bryan, in the Seiko world I own an Orange Monster, Sarb17 Alpinist, Baby Tuna and a new Kinetic Diver always skirting around the 007.  The 007 was always the standard tool watch with a solid look and robust construction. You may have talked me into one of the last on my bucket list of Seiko watches!  And for Chasseur below, 3 of the other 4 I mentioned above “hack” if you need that feature as well as the Seiko SKX173 (which looks the same, but with less appeal for some reason?).

    thanks again.

  • SG

    I’m a recent convert, and picked up the SKX007 from a colleague and then had to race out and get the SKX009. I’m not delicate with my watches, so they need to keep up with whatever I’m doing. The one thing I haven’t done yet is shoot while wearing it because I’m afraid the impulse is going to jack up the movement. Any experience with that so far, especially over the long term?

    • LouisCQ

      @SG   They work fine, don’t worry about shooting while wearing it or anything else. I’ve framed houses, shot over 200 rounds a week wearing mine for the last ten years. No Worries.

    • Dec1968

      @SG None. I shoot with mine.

  • steanson

    Yes, Pepsi Can is upside down. 🙂

  • Dec1968

    Great writeup. I too agree on the hacking and handwinding being lacking, but that’s about it. Anothet think could be to add a touch of lume to the tip of the second hand, not to change the look, but to make it lume at the tip only.

  • Seikoman

    I just recently purchased a Seiko SKX 009K2 and I would like to tell you that I don’t need to pull out the crown to adjust my watch.
    I am lucky that my watch loses time, in normal use about 5 seconds a day.
    Now if I take the watch off and give it a minute or two vigorous shaking in the plane of the dial, the watch will gain 5+ seconds in that short space of time.
    Then my watch is running slightly fast and will start to lose time at 5 seconds a day.
    I check my watch against my phone and shake the watch when needed. The result is that my watch is always in the range + or – 5 seconds of the right time.
    Try it!
    So I will only have to unscrew the crown 5 times a year, when I have to adjust the date for months with less than 31 days in them.
    Incidentally, you can hack the watch and even make the second hand tick backwards, by unscrewing the crown, pulling it out and then applying back-pressure and nudging it clockwise or anticlockwise.
    Try that too!
    So, as far as my watch is concerned, complaints about its hacking limitations are irrelevant.
    My work round makes the watch a perfect timepiece for an automatic.
    Have fun.

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