Let me preface this article with discretion: I absolutely adore my Seiko SKX. Before owning my Seiko SKX007 and SKX009, it was unimaginable for me to drop hundreds of dollars on a watch.
The SKX007 is the first watch I bought after realizing I wanted to make the jump from my casual gifted Fossil, to a more serious mechanical watch.
But with all of the hype around the SKX, it’s easy for a few of its flaws to go unnoticed. There are dozens of reasons why you should buy the Seiko SKX.
- 200m of water resistance
- ISO-6425 certification
- Lume that shines brighter than a torch
- 7S26 movement is basic, but rugged and reliable
- One of the most iconic watches of all time
But it’s very rare you’ll find someone discussing any reasons why you shouldn’t pick one up. So…
Is the Seiko SKX Still Worth Buying?
No, since the Seiko SKX has been discontinued in 2019, it is no longer worth buying.
Its lack of availability, and increased demand, have increased its price, making it no longer a value proposition as it once was. From a design, technical specifications, and value-for-the-money perspective, there are now many alternatives that are superior to the Seiko SKX, including the more recent Orient Kamasu.
Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 Pros and Cons
- 200m water resistance
- ISO 6425 certified
- No-nonsense, tool-watch aesthetic
- Amazing lume
- Reliable, workhorse Seiko 7S26 movement
- Seiko 7S26 movement is built in-house
- Seiko 7S26 movement is easily repairable
- Movement is shock resistant
- Screw-down crown
- Horological significance and heritage
- You will get clout in the watch community & more Instagram likes
- Seiko 7S26 movement is outdated and lacks modern features like hacking and hand-winding
- Hardlex crystal is outdated in favor of sapphire
- Discontinued in 2019, harder to find
- More expensive than before it was discontinued
- Frequent quality control issues such as misaligned chapter rings and bezel
- Aluminum bezel
- 7S26 movement isn’t the most accurate (-20 to +40 seconds per day)
- Jubilee bracelet is jangly
- Better alternatives on the market
Discontinued & Inflated Prices
In 2019, Seiko officially announced the discontinuation of the Seiko SKX. This means they’re harder to find, and even when you do find one, its price is going to be heavily inflated.
Prior to being discontinued, the Seiko SKX was often sold for $150 – $250, depending on its condition. A new one could often be found for around $200.
Now, we can see SKXs, depending on condition, can be found between $250 – $400!
No longer are SKXs a great value proposition. Instead, if you’re buying one now, it’s because you specifically want an SKX. With that said, there are so many other great dive watches on the market that don’t cost nearly as much…
Better Alternatives on the Market
In this day and age, with so many fantastic dive watches that are as good, or better than the SKX, for a similar price, it’s hard to justify
Some SKX alternatives to consider are:
The Orient Kamasu is simply currently one of the best value dive watches on the market.
With 200m water resistance, a sapphire crystal, and in-house movement with hacking and hand-winding, the Kamasu is hard to beat when it comes to value.
It’s hard to justify purchasing a $400 SKX when you can find a watch like the Kamasu, with better specifications, for cheaper.
Seiko 5KX SRPD Sports Divers
While not a direct replacement, the more recent Seiko 5KX Sports Divers make a great alternative to the SKX.
While they only have 100m water resistance, instead of 200m, and don’t have a screw-down crown like the SKX does, its water resistance is likely more than sufficient for most people’s everyday use.
The 5KX also comes with improved Seiko 4R36 movements, with hacking and hand-winding, a huge improvement over the SKX’s 7S26 which lacks both.
Finally, the 5KX divers come in a huge variety of colors, with over 27 models, and are much more affordable, often around, or under $200.
Probably one of the closest competitors to the Seiko SKX since was released in 1996, is the 200m water-resistant diver from another reputable Japanese brand, the Citizen Promaster.
The Promaster holds the same reputation as the SKX for being a rugged and tough, workhorse dive watch. It also features a very similar, no-nonsense tool-watch aesthetic that some love about the SKX.
While they do have mechanical Promaster variants, the real stars of the show are their Eco-Drive movements, which are solar-powered.
The Seiko Turtle almost looks as if it were the natural evolution of the Seiko SKX, like a Squirtle evolving into Blastoise.
The Turtle is a bit larger, and slightly more expensive, but comes with upgraded specifications over the SKX, including the 4R36 movement, with hacking and hand winding. The Turtle also maintains most of the features that were loved about the SKX, like the big, bold, and legible lume, 200m water resistance, and overall ruggedness.
Best of all, there’s even a version nicknamed the “King Turtle” that has upgrades in the form of a sapphire crystal and a ceramic bezel!
Quality Control Issues
Of the many Seikos I’ve owned, I’ve been lucky enough to have never experienced any major quality control issues firsthand.
However, there have been many horror stories of someone finding an issue on even their 2nd or even 3rd exchange of a Seiko SKX.
Some common quality control issues you on an SKX you should look out for are:
- Misaligned chapter ring
- Misaligned bezel insert
- Hour/minute hands not lining up
Mind you, these are all relatively minor quality control issues. Rarely will you be able to notice them if you aren’t specifically looking? Not to mention, most can easily be fixed by any decent watchmaker.
The problem I have with these QC issues, however, is in principle.
Spending money on a brand new watch, you’d expect everything to be in alignment, and checked over, before being sent over to you.
Even some of the most affordable brands like Timex rarely have any quality control issues, so why should we pick up a Seiko that costs more, and does have these issues?
Outdated 7S26 Movement: No Hacking or Hand-Winding
There’s a lot to be said about how awesome the Seiko 7S26 movement included in the SKX is. It’s been around for over 20 years, is virtually indestructible, and is very affordable.
Unfortunately, the movement is rather basic in complications and is starting to show its age.
When comparing two watches, side-by-side, like the Seiko SKX, vs. the Orient Kamasu, for instance, all other things equal, I’ll take the one with the slightly better movement.
Hardlex Crystal Instead of Sapphire
The crystal used on the Seiko SKX is Seiko’s own hardlex, which is their upgraded version of a mineral crystal.
Hardlex is more scratch-resistant than mineral crystals by a fair margin. While my mineral crystal watches seem to scratch if I so much as sneeze, hardlex crystals are much more durable.
I’ve worn my SKX009 for years and still have not seen a single scratch on the hardlex crystal.
With that said, sapphire crystals, the most scratch-resistant crystals on the market, would be preferred. In fact, many other manufacturers have started including sapphire crystals in their affordable divers, namely Orient with their Kamasu/Kamasu II, and Long Island Watches with their Islander.
Unconventional 4:00 Crown Position
The Seiko SKX, like many of Seiko’s watches, has a rather unconventionally placed crown, at 4:00, instead of the typical crown at 3:00.
Personally, I find this crown position greatly improves comfort and wearability on the wrist. A crown at 3:00 may dig into your wrist when you move, or bend it. A crown at 4:00 is completely out of the way and gives your wrist much more freedom.
With that said, the unconventional crown position can make the SKX look a little atypical. Granted, its unique look is what some people have grown to love about it, while others can’t stand it.
Not the Most Versatile Dive Watch
If you’re looking for a watch that you can wear day in and day out, the SKX makes a great choice thanks to its legibility and ruggedness.
However, it’s not the most versatile dive watch on the market, and can’t easily be dressed up, or dressed down.
While the SKX looks great in casual clothes, especially paired with jeans or shorts, and a t-shirt, it lacks a bit when paired with more formal attire.
Don’t get me wrong… Can you wear it in a suit?
It’s your wrist, your outfit, your life. Wear a darn Apple Watch with your suit, for all I care. The days of traditional styling rules are gone, especially when it comes to an accessory like wristwatches.
With that said, the SKX doesn’t play well with certain, more refined-looking straps, and its rather chunky thickness (13.5mm), can make it difficult to fit under the cuff of a shirt sleeve.
This makes it not an ideal dressy diver, whereas something a little more refined, like the Timex Waterbury Dive Auto, may fit the bill.
Flimsy Jubilee Bracelet & Mediocre Rubber Strap
One of the most common gripes about people who otherwise love their SKX is the included rubber strap or jubilee bracelet.
Let’s start with the bracelet.
While it has solid links, and not cheap-feeling, folded links like some of its Seiko 5 affordable counterparts, the bracelet still feels light, dainty, and almost tinny. Almost like you could break it apart, with just your hands, if you really wanted to…
With that said, some people also happen to love how light and flimsy it is. The smaller and lighter jubilee links allow the bracelet to wrap around your wrist comfortably, and even flex your wrist when wearing it.
The rubber strap, on the other hand, is a whole different mess. It’s stiff, and never feels comfortable, even after a long break-in period. The silicon used for the rubber wicks water, away, but also makes me sweat.
SKX007/SKX009 Dimensions – Too Chunky For Some
While I find the Seiko SKX007 nearly perfectly proportioned for my almost 7-inch wrists, the SKX might not be as great of a fit for those with wrists on the smaller size.
Like most dive watches, the SKX tends to look a little chunkier than the average watch, coming in at 13.5mm thick.
This is largely in part thanks to its dive bezel that protrudes atop of the case and rounded stainless steel case back which adds a couple of extra mm of thickness.
The SKX has a 42mm diameter, and a (relatively short) lug to lug width of only 46mm. This condensed lug to lug does, admittedly, help the watch be a little more wearable on the wrist.
Still, for some, especially those new to mechanical watches, or those with smaller wrists, the 42mm diameter can be quite intimidating. Luckily, Seiko thought of a solution…
Smaller SKX Alternative: SKX013
Meet the SKX007 and 009’s little brother: the Seiko SKX013.
The Seiko SKX013 is nearly identical to the previously mentioned models, but with a few small (pun intended) variations, primarily its smaller dimensions, and 38mm diameter.
I own a Seiko SKX013 mod that has been upgraded with a sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel, and the dimensions are absolutely awesome.
Pure Tool-Watch Design
While not completely unconventional in its appearance, the Seiko SKX is unapologetic about its identity as a tool watch. The hour markers are simply bold painted lume dots, without any applied indices.
On the flip side, these bold lume markers are what give the SKX such incredible lume, and low-light legibility. The downside is, that this makes the watch visually flat, and not very dynamic in most lighting conditions.
Of course, this is more up to personal taste, and while this may be a turnoff for some, the tool-watch nature of the SKX is exactly what so many people love about it. it’s pretty evident this isn’t the most “handsome” watch. But, it’s not trying to be. After all, we’re discussing a watch that’s designed as a tool.
What is the Seiko SKX?
The Seiko SKX is one of the most popular dive watches in the world. Watch enthusiasts absolutely adore it. Most have owned, or considered owning one, at one point in their watch collecting ‘careers’.
It looks awesome and is an ISO-certified dive watch, it’s basically indestructible and was, at one point, rather affordable, often purchasable for under $200.
However, the SKX has had its production discontinued, and no longer is it an affordable value, as it once was.
The Seiko SKX comes in a few variations. the most popular models are the SKX007 and SKX009. The only difference between the two are color. The SKX007 has a black bezel insert with a dark charcoal dial and the SKX009 has a red and navy bezel insert with a navy blue dial.
There also exists a very similar, but smaller model, the SKX013, for those with smaller wrists.
SKX007 vs. SKX009 vs. SKX013
The Seiko SKX007 has a black bezel insert and a dark grey, matte dial. The SKX007 has a 42mm diameter.
The Seiko SKX009 has a Pepsi (red/blue) bezel insert, and a dark navy blue, matte dial. The SKX009 has a 42mm diameter.
The Seiko SKX013 has the same style, black bezel insert, and dark grey, matte dial as the SKX007, but comes in a smaller 37mm diameter. This is a much more wearable and less intimidating size, even for those with smaller wrists, including women.
Because the watch is smaller, the hour markers are pushed closer together, giving the dial less negative space and a slightly busier feel.
Finally, the second hand on the SKX013 has been replaced, with an all-white arrow. I guess they figured they wanted to make the secondhand even more legible on a smaller watch, over the darker, lollipop second hand on the SKX007 and 009.
There’s no doubt the Seiko SKX is an awesome watch at a price that is hard to beat. But it’s not perfect. It’s an older model that has stood the test of time but is starting to get beat out by the upgraded features in watches at a similar price point, such as dive watches from Orient.
If you love the look of this watch, buy it. There’s nothing else on the market that looks like it. But if you’re someone who wants the absolute best bang for your buck, aesthetics aside, there are other, better options to consider.
Have you picked up an SKX? Let me know if you think it’s still worth the price in the comments below.– Anthony