Ask in any forum for advice on an affordable sports watch, and I bet that in the first 5 replies you will see an SKX007.
This review is about its “happier” brother, the pepsi-bezel SKX009
I bought the K version as my second “real” watch. I already had a couple of dressier and more serious looking watches, so this time I wanted something a bit more fun. Something a bit toolish, with a bit of color, but still classy. The SKX009 fit the bill perfectly.
What’s not to like about this watch! A tough, proper ISO certified diver watch with a unique, toolish but still classy design that has been around for almost 50 years. Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) wore one of its first versions (aka turtleback) in “Apocalypse now”, while Robert Redford wore one of its close cousins in “All is Lost”.
I do not have much to say about the watch’s quality. It feels like (and really is) a tank. It has been known to function flawlessly after years of direct exposure to bad weather and intense beating.
The dial is very clean and easy to read. It really adds to how beautiful this watch is. And the lume is incredible. In normal daylight, it preserves its crisp white color, and in darker places it illuminates brightly for a long time. A perfect example of Seiko’s superior lume technology.
Its case is a big chunk of metal and is all polished. There is a toolish air about it. But it also has an overall class that reminds me of something out of the 60s. Not overly refined, but still classy. People like calling it a “beater” and have used it as a demonstration of the Wabi Sabi world view. And I have to agree, I like the idea of a watch that looks like it has been places. But for me, it’s also a perfect example of a casual watch. Something that does not look out of place in a casual office.
The Jubilee bracelet really is a weird choice (at least aesthetically) and is probably a remnant of its 60s-70s heritage. But I have to admit it is very comfortable. The short and rather loose links allow it to bend and hug the curves of the wrist. The links are solid metal, but the clasp is nothing to write home about. And of course, as you would expect, the end links are hollow bent metal. I have to admit that the bracelet looks nice, but for me, it is a bit flashy, so I wear it on a NATO strap. And one of the best choices is the one Mr. Redford wore.
Which brings me to the weird aspect of the watch. In room light, the bezel has a nice dark blue color, while the dial looks black. In direct sunlight, the bezel reveals a really vibrant and clear blue, while the dial turns into a kind of faded grayish blue which do not really fit together. Perhaps that is why people like to beat it. To give the bezel a look to match the dial. All that color drama also makes it weird to match with a strap. It looks good with many options, but none of them really clicks to give you a “Hell Yeah!” moment.
My favorite so far is a distressed brown leather NATO, closely followed by the Redford navy blue NATO.
It also looks decent in a Bond NATO, although it’s hard to find a watch that doesn’t.
The watch also looks a bit weird with normal leather straps. At least to me, on my 7 and a half inch wrist. It is probably because of its rather small lug to lug length and its tall profile which makes it wear a bit small, tall and squarish.
Conclusion? I have thought of flipping it a lot. Probably because I cannot find a strap that I REALLY like on it. But after wearing it for a couple of days it grows back on me. It really is one of those watches that you regret flipping. And unless I find something better to give me that colorful but classy vibe, I will not sell it. Next on the strap tests will be a Khaki NATO. A solid bright red NATO might also look good, but I do not really like so much color on my wrist unless it is summer and I am on the beach.