Seiko SKX011J Diver’s 200m review

SKX011J_small (Small)

Watch History

  • Date acquired: Oct 30 2005
  • Production date: Jun 2004
  • Source: Pokemonyu, eBay
  • Price paid: USD140 (w/o shipping)
  • Status: Possibly discontinued

 

Background

The SKX011J is the orange dialed 7s26-0020 diver from Seiko. It was first released in the mid 90s as the SKX011K, which was mostly probably targeted at the SE Asian market. The SKX011K has since been discontinued, while it’s unclear as to why Seiko stopped making the "K" version, it may be possible that the model wasn’t retailing too well.

 

 

I don’t know when exactly Seiko decided to pull the plug on the original SKX011K but I would guess it was sometime in the late 90s. Neither do I have any empirical data to ascertain whether Seiko produced both the "K" and "J" versions of the SKX011 simultaneously or released the SKX011J later.

What is certain is that only the SKX011J version remains for sale today from limited sources and probably in limited quantities. Like other 7s-caliber Seiko watches with the "J" suffix, the SKX011J is mainly sold to the Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, etc where the population is mostly Arabic speaking. This is reflected in the use of English/Arabic language for the day calendar. However, some batches of the SKX011Js not meant for the Middle East export market can be found with the English/Roman language.

Original SKX011Ks are difficult to find. In case you’re wondering, here’s a rare photo of the "K" variant by its owner, Steve G.

 

Steve G's SKX007K

 

The obvious cosmetic differences between the SKX011K and its "J" counterpart are the lack of the "21 Jewels" and "Made In Japan" text on the dial. Seiko experts also point out that the original SKX011Ks had a lighter shade of orange compared to the present-day SKX011Js. I cannot verify this for myself as I have never handled a SKX011K before. Sometimes orange dials can appear darker or lighter depending on the lighting conditions, camera color settings or post-production image enhancing with software like the Adobe Photoshop.

 

My SKX011J on Oyster bracelet

 

Now I wasn’t exactly a fan of orange dialed watches, other than the SKX781K Orange Monster that I had. At the time I already owned two black dialed SKX007J divers and wondered if I would really like this orange version.

I always like to say that some watches that I bought were love-at-first-sight basis, while others were of acquired taste. I didn’t fancy this carrot-colored diver when I first looked at photos of it. It took me several months of pondering before I decided to get the orange 7s26-0020 watch. OK, I admit that it was an acquired taste for me. 😉

Popularity-wise, the SKX011J doesn’t go down too well with casual Seiko diver buyers. Black has always been the safest color to choose and followed by the "Pepsi" (red and blue)bezel, SKX009 model which had a deep blue dial. Orange is not everyone’s favorite color in a watch as its dial contrast is somewhat reduced in dim lighting conditions.

Some diver watch collectors would readily point out that DOXA was the pioneer of orange colored dive watches and the use of orange color enhances visibility in the dark depths of the sea. Well, I’m no recreational diver so I guess I’ll never get to test this theory myself. 🙂

 

Doxa Sub 600T

The DOXA Sub 600-T (borrowed pic)

 

Like the SKX007J, it took some time for me to to fall in love with the SKX011J. I had a collection of SKX011J photos and this particular one below, which was beautifully photographed by Mike B.D, influenced me to get one for myself. I liked this particular photo a lot and as a wallpaper it graced my PC’s desktop for a few months.

 

SKX007K (left) and SKX011J (right)

Mike B.D’s beautiful photo influenced me to buy the SKX001J. 🙂

 

Customizing the SKX011J

As you can see, the unique highlights SKX011J besides the orange dial is the gold trim used on the hands and bezel markers. Not every owner of this watch responds positively to the gold accented bezel, so they would usually replace it with the one from the standard SKX007.

Well, I like the SKX011J the way it’s designed. It’s the gold accents that make this orange beauty stand out from the rest. No other 7s26-0020 diver model has the hands and bezel of the SKX011J.

Still, that doesn’t deter owners from modifying their SKX011Js. There are many aftermarket parts that you can use to customize this watch. If you like, you can use hands and bezels from other Seiko models.

Here’s a superb example of tastefully a done modification to the stock SKX011J, by Kelly Rayburn. The hands are from the SKXA51 Orange Knight model while the bezel is from the SKX007. The dial markers were also professionally relumed.

 

Kelly Rayburn's modified SKX011J

Kelly Rayburn’s subtly modified SKX011J is probably the most popular modification

 

Look and feel

The SKX011J, being just a dial variation of the 7s26-0020 diver family, feels just my existing SKX007J. The watch is well balanced on the wrist and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

As with other orange dialed Seiko divers, the SKX011J comes with the standard Z-22 rubber strap. I’m no longer a fan of rubber straps so I replaced mine with a Seiko 48A2-JG Oyster bracelet, which fits any 7s26-0020 watch perfectly.

Lume-wise, the hands and dial is adequately bright but not as powerful as the lume used in the Seiko Monster, Knight, Sawtooth or Sumo diver. It is still visible in darkness after seven hours.

 

The SKX011J's lume

 

A lume shot of my SKX011J

Dimensions

The measurements of the SKX011J are as follows:

  • Diameter: 42 mm (w/o crown), 45 mm (w/crown)
  • Lug-to-lug: 45.5 mm
  • Thickness: 12.7 mm
  • Lug width: 22 mm, tapering to 20mm at clasp (48A2-JG Oyster bracelet)

 

 

 

Specifications

  • Caliber: 7s26A, 21 jewels (7s26B from Oct 2006 onwards)
  • Caseback type: 7s26-0020
  • Movement: Automatic, non-hacking
  • Beat rate: 21,600 bph (6 beats/sec)
  • Loss/gain: Less than 40 sec/day
  • Power reserve: About 42 hours
  • Calendar: Day/date, dual language (Eng/Arabic)
  • Crown: Screw-in type
  • Construction: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
  • Bezel: Unidirectional, 120 graduations
  • W.R. rating: 200m, ISO certified
  • Luminous material: LumiBrite™
  • Movement Japan, cased in Japan

 

As usual, the wrist shot. Here’s a photo of the SKX011J on my 6.5" wrist.

 

SKX011J on my wrist

 

And some additional photos of my SKX011J here:

 

IMG_8457 (Medium) SKX011J_1598 (Medium) PMMM_7521 (Medium) IMG_8428 (Medium)

Conclusion

There’s not much to say about the SKX011J except that it’s a very interesting variation of the more common SKX007 diver. If you’re a dive watch fan, this may appeal to you if you like orange dials. I don’t think the watch is overly loud – with a stainless steel bracelet or strap it makes an excellent watch to wear to the office. The gold accents compliment the orange dial rather nicely.

Some online sellers like Chronograph.com offers the SKX011J in a variety of bands: NATO, Z-22 rubber, Jubilee or aftermarket Oyster bracelet (Model 48A2-JG) like the one I have. The SKX011J is only issued on the rubber strap from the Seiko factory.

Yes, I would purchase this watch again, provided if I can find one from Pokemonyu or Premierworld, that is. At the time of writing, brand new SKX007Js are no longer sold on eBay. My guess is that supplies from these gray market eBay sellers have dried up for some time. If you’re looking for a new one, Chronograph.com and 21Jewels.com retailers still carry stock of the SKX007J both on rubber and custom fitted bracelets.

Alternatively, you can hunt for a pre-owned one that may turn up from time to time on the Seiko & Citizen Trading Forum.

 

What I liked:

  • Elegant looking diver and less common than the SKX007/009 models
  • Decent luminous dial and hands
  • Smooth action bezel with distinctive clicks
  • Looks good in various strap options
  • Availability of aftermarket custom parts

 

What I didn’t care for:

  • Crown is a bit difficult to screw-in
  • Gold plated hands are a little difficult to read against the orange dial
  • Bezel sometimes sticks if not turned regularly
  • Lume could have been brighter like the SKX779K Monster
  • Oyster bracelet option usually not available, must be purchased separately

 

Quartzimodo’s Rating

Price: 4-star
Looks: 4-star
Build quality: 3-half-star
Features: 3-star
Value for money: 4-half-star
Overall: 4star11[7]

 

 

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