The SKX007 is perhaps the most evergreen diver’s watch from Seiko. First introduced in 1996 to replace the 7002-series divers, it has become an icon of the quintessential Seiko diver. Eleven years on, this model is still sold by most authorized Seiko dealers worldwide to this day. The SKX007 became so popular that it spawned several models based on the 7s26-0020 caseback design.
Other models that share the 7s26-002x case design include the:
SKX009 (deep blue dial with red/blue “Pepsi" bezel insert)
SKX011J (orange dial with black bezel and gold numerals)
SKX173 (black dial with rectangular markers, North American model)
SKXA35 (yellow dial with rectangular markers, North American model)
The SKX007 also spun off two new models sometime in 2004, the SKXA53K and SKXA55K. These were nicknamed the “Bullet" divers owing to the bullet-shaped index markers. While these two models share the overall design of the SKX007, Seiko classifies the caseback numbers as the 7s26-02K0 instead.
From left to right: SKX173, SKXA35, SKXA53 and SKXA55
Perhaps due to aesthetic reasons the SKXA53K and A55K fared poorly compared to the ubiquitous SKX007/009 models and are not as widely sold at the stores. Purists lambasted the SKXA53/55’s strange chapter ring that had a red or black colored arc which served no useful purpose. The bullet-shaped index markers were also presented a radical departure from the traditional rectangular or round shaped markers in the 7s26-002x family.
The SKX007 was an acquired taste for me. Having owned the SKX779K and SKX781K Black and Orange Monsters respectively, I thought the design was just too plain and common. The SKX007K and its Pepsi sibling, the SKX009K can be seen in almost every authorized Seiko dealer throughout Asia.
It took a while for me to fully appreciate the SKX007 and it was this picture below, which was taken by Mike B.D. and posted in the SCWF that made me sit up and take notice. I’ve collected tons of SKX007 photos but this was the one that made me pull the proverbial trigger on this watch. 🙂
As you can see, the above photo was tastefully photographed and highlights the classic lines of the SKX007. I liked his picture a lot that it graced my desktop computer as a wallpaper for some time.
Not long after, I decided to buy the rarer SKX007J, which has the “Made in Japan" markings on the dial and caseback. The “J" version also sports additional “21 jewels" text below the “Diver’s 200m" marking, to distinguish it from the garden variety SKX007K. Some people have claimed that their SKX007J is more accurate out of the box compared to the more common SKX007K but I think this was rather an exception rather than the norm.
Since the SKX007J was not available in Malaysia, I had to source mine from eBay. After researching for the best prices around, I won the watch at an unbelievable USD98. I liked the watch a lot that I bought another one from the same seller (Capital Mall), but by then the seller had decided not to auction the SKX007Js and instead offer for a Buy-It-Now (BIN) price of USD140. So the average price paid for each watch was USD119, which is not too bad considering that some online sellers price them at USD150 or more.
Quality-wise, both the SKX007J and SKX007K have no significant difference. Price-wise, due to its exclusivity the SKX007J usually costs more than the “K" variant. The SKX007J often comes with English/Arabic day language as it is meant to be exported to the Arab speaking, Middle East countries. However a small number of the “J" variants have been known to be fitted with English/Roman languages for other markets.
Here are borrowed photos of the SKX007K (left) and the SKX007J (right). Note the bottom part of the dial of the SKX007K just says “DIVER’S 200m" in red.
The SKX007K (left) and the SKX007J (right)
As for the SKX007J, you will find beneath the DIVER’S 200m are the additional text, “21 JEWELS" and “MADE IN JAPAN" at the bottom of the dial.
The second hand of the SKX007 signaled a drastic change from its predecessors, the 7002, 6309, 6105 and 6217 line of divers. Instead of the lumed dot or “ball" on the tip of the second hand, the Seiko decided to place the SKX007’s ball on the opposite side – the short end of the second hand.
Some purists don’t like the placement of the lumed ball on the “wrong side" as it broke away from the 40-year old Seiko tradition of having it on at the tip of the second hand. Others like me welcome the change as it would get pretty boring and predictable if the lumed ball was always at the tip.
Many agreed that the purpose of the lumed ball is to indicate that the watch is indeed running, which is useful when you’re diving in the dark depths of the sea. Recreational scuba diving doesn’t need precision timing – all you need to know is how many minutes you’ve been underwater; not necessarily to the nearest second.
The 7002 was the last model to have the lume on the second hand tip. Seiko resurrected the lumed ball at the tip design with the SKX173, SKXA35, SKXA53 and SKXA55 models.
Seiko later reintroduced the second hand with the lumed ball at the tip (a ‘la 7002 and 6309) with the North American market, SKX173 and SKXA35 models. Shortly after that the same “traditional" second hand was available with the SKXA53 and A55 “Bullet" models.
Look and feel
The SKX007 is a full sized diver but smaller compared to the newer Seiko divers such as the quartz SHC-series “Sawtooth" and the automatic SBDC-series “Scuba" or “Sumo" models. When I first saw it on someone’s wrist I thought it was a pretty big watch but compared to the current trend of over-sized fashion timepieces (such as those from Nautica) it’s of the “right size".
As much as I prefer larger sized watches nowadays, I find the SKX007 perfectly balanced for my 6.5" wrist. The lume is brighter and more sensitive than the non-diver Seikos you can think of but falls short of the models from the Sawtooth, Knight, Sumo and a few models from the Prospex diver family. Dial visibility is excellent and reading the time is a breeze, thanks to the fat arrow-like hour and minute hands.
Some photos of my SKX007J
SKX007 Custom Mods
The SKX007 is a cult favorite among Seiko dive watch hobbyists. It is easily modified, from subtle changes by replacing the hands to all-out modifications involving sandblasting the case, dial, bezel and hands replacement with Seiko or non-Seiko parts. Its duality in its persona makes it a versatile timepiece – with Jubilee or Oyster bracelets it makes a nice sporty/dressy watch that you can wear to functions and formal events.
Put on a striking rally leather strap with customized parts, it’s transformed into a mean looking timepiece for the outdoors and parties. Perfect for the individualist who wants a very unique looking SKX007.
Here are some examples of very interesting mods of SKX007 divers. The modification possibilities are endless and are only limited to your budget and imagination! 🙂
(All photos depicted belong to their respective copyright owners)
My two personal favorite SKX007K mods happen to belong to “Busdriver Mike" and “Ray K" respectively. Mike’s SKX007K mod involves a radical dial replacement from a 7s-caliber Seiko military automatic with a custom made red second hand, while Ray K’s mod is a very subtle-yet-elegant bezel replacement (from the SKX011J).
Two mod ideas from opposite sides of the spectrum and both are simply….well, I’m kind of lost for words. 🙂
Above: Busdriver Mike’s very sporty SKX007K mod (left) and Ray K’s elegant makeover (right)
OK, let’s get back to the basic watch. The measurements of the SKX007 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)
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
Construction: Stainless steel
Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
Crown: Screw-in type
Bezel: Unidirectional, 120 graduations
W.R. rating: 200m, ISO certified
Luminous material: LumiBrite™
Movement Japan, cased in Japan (SKX007J)
Movement Singapore/Malaysia, cased in China (SKX007K)
If you’re looking for your first Seiko automatic diver’s watch, I would highly recommend the SKX007 whether the “J" or “K" version. It’s a tough watch and powered by the reliable 7s26 automatic movement. Those who have owned an SKX007 in the mid-90s can attest to its reliability. True, it’s no Casio G-Shock but for a mechanical watch I’m pretty sure it can survive harsh punishment and withstand rough use. I’ve seen pre-owned SKX007s at the flea market in varying states of condition – all of them still run when I shook the watches.
In the early days, Seiko offered the SKX007 on a rather cheap Oyster bracelet but nowadays this watch is only available with Jubilee bracelet or rubber strap, which is rather stiff unless you curl it up and boil it in hot water (really!) 🙂
Some online sellers like Chronograph.com offers the SKX007 in a variety of bands: NATO, Z-22 rubber, Jubilee or aftermarket Oyster bracelet (Model 48A2-JG) like the one I have. A number of 7s26-002x owners have gotten the so-called “Super Oyster" heavy duty bracelet.
AFAIK, the Super Oyster is not an original replacement bracelet from Seiko although the text “SEIKO" is embossed on the clasp. In my past research I have yet to find a Seiko watch that is factory fitted with the “Super Oyster" bracelet.
Would I buy this watch again? You bet! The SKX007 is an inexpensive watch and it feels good to wear it on both a bracelet and a strap, so I got two of them. I left the first SKX007J original while the second one, I swapped the hands for the ones from the Seiko SBDA001 diver, known as the “Titanium Samurai". It’s a subtle mod but it works out fine. The modded SKX007J is now on a De Rivoli 22mm carbon fiber strap.
Here are some photos of my two SKX007Js on a bracelet and a Cordura strap:
What I liked:
Elegant, classic lines – a true descendant from the earlier Seiko diver models.
Very good lume, very legible dial
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
Lume could have been brighter like the SKX779K Monster
Oyster bracelet option not available, must be purchased separately