The SKX007 is perhaps the most recommended mechanical watch in the last decade or two. Talk to any watch enthusiast, in person or on message boards, and they will probably gush about how impressive a dive watch the SKX007 is at its price point. The phrase “just get an SKX007” was (and still is) repeated so often it pretty much became a cliché.
Why is it so popular? We have an idea. For starters, it provides the full suite of mechanical dive watch functionality that meets the ISO 6425 standard, making it a legitimate dive watch. Many dive watches claim they have a 200m water resistance rating yet are not ISO certified, casting doubt on their claim.
The SKX007 is the real deal and that’s not all. Take just one look at it and you will see that it is a style powerhouse. So not only is it highly functional and aesthetic, but it is also affordable as far as dive watches go. Having such a combination was basically unheard of until the SKX007 came along.
Seiko products have always punched above their weight when it comes to value and looks, and in this review we will be reviewing the SKX007 and the SKX009 to determine whether all of the praise that they get is deserved. Is the Seiko SKX007/SKX0099 truly the most affordable and highest quality entry-level dive watch on the market, or is everyone else just blowing smoke in our faces?
Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 Overview
Over the years, Seiko has released hundreds of divers at various price points. Despite being produced in 1996, to this day the Seiko SKX007 is still in high demand. Seiko started making dive watches as early as 1965, and they used to have two separate lines of dive watches: the PROSPEX which is their professional line, and a sport/amateur line.
The sports line originally branched off from the professional line, and the SKX007 is part of this line. The reason for this is because Seiko wanted to focus on recreational divers with relatively low depth limits rather than professional divers diving to extreme depths during saturation dives.
Despite not being part of the professional line, Seiko has never let their entry-level watches suffer from quality issues. In fact, the SKX007 is the replacement for the 7002, which was used by military personnel worldwide up until it was retired in 1996. The torch was passed to the SKX line and they’ve been holding strong since then. So when you hear the words “entry-level” being used to describe the SKX007, know that it’s not some cheap quality watch.
Seiko SKX007 & SKX009 Specs
- Movement: 7S26 mechanical movement
- ISO Certified: Yes
- Water Resistance: 200m (660ft) water resistance
- Bezel: Unidirectional bezel (120 clicks)
- Crystal: Hardlex crystal (harder than mineral, softer than sapphire)
- Case Diameter: 41mm
- Case Thickness: 13.25mm height
- Lug-to-lug Distance: 46mm
- Lug Width: 22mm band width
- Power Reserve: 44-48hrs
- Weight: 80g (no strap)
- Day and date window
- LumiBrite markers
Seiko SKX007 vs. SKX009
You might be wondering why we are reviewing both the SKX007 and SKX009 in the same article. The reason is simple: they are essentially the same watch and they share the same specs in basically every regard.
The main difference is in their appearance. The SKX007 has a very plain black dial with black bezel. On the other hand, the SKX009 has a dark blue dial and a blue/red bezel, which is often referred to as the “Pepsi” style.
The SKX line of watches is no joke. They are all incredibly affordable yet high-quality divers, and the best-selling one is the SKX007/SKX009 which are the focus of our review. With that said, the other watches in this line-up are worth considering as well.
All of these variations differ in the size and style of their bezels, dials, and hands. However, internally and functionally, they are the same watch, using the same case and movement. You can expect a similar level of quality from any of these watches, so if for some reason you don’t like how the SKX007 looks, you can opt for a different one:
- SKX007: Black dial and bezel.
- SKX009: “Pepsi” style red and blue dial, black bezel.
- SKX013: Smaller version of the 007, hands slightly different.
- SKX173: Square bars instead of circles on the dial.
- SKX011: Orange dial, yellow bezel markings.
- SKXA35: Yellow dial with rectangular markers.
Dive watches look so good sometimes, and the SKX007 and SKX009 have a smooth and flowing case with barely any transitions or hard lines. Examining the stainless steel case closely, it has side surfaces polished to a mirror finish, and a brushed effect on the top surfaces. The outer profile of the case hugs the edge of the bezel closely, keeping a slim profile and is a detail we like to see on watches.
Additionally, the SKX007 and SKX009 case have a diameter of 43mm, a thickness of 13.25mm, and a 46mm lug-to-lug distance. They are quite large even on a 7-inch wrist which is understandable given that it is a dive watch. The case’s gently curved lugs round off the overall profile nicely and has a standard 22mm band width. Furthermore, it looks sporty and helps you exude a confident vibe.
The screw-down crown is located at the 4 o’clock position with prominent crown guards protecting it from impacts. The slightly rounded, flat end of the crown just barely extends past the guards. However, the grooved sides extend well above the sloped area of the guards, providing a small area for your fingers to grip it.
It takes some effort to unscrew the crown, however this is an intentional design decision to reduce the likelihood of it opening while diving. For the price range, the SKX007 and SKX009’s crown operates very well. It threads and unthreads smoothly without any jiggling even when fully unthreaded.
After unscrewing, it provides two audible click positions when pulled out for setting the time and day/date. The crown is an area that budget watches often compromise on. They usually feel poorly machined and are a pain to use, but that is not the case in the SKX007.
Our only complaint is minor: we wish the grooving on the crown matched the patterns on the bezel for a greater sense of unity in its aesthetic. If it seems like we are nitpicking, we kind of are, but at the same time this little detail is very important to those seeking perfection. Furthermore, the logo could have been engraved on the plain end of the crown, and is one of the most common mods for SKX watches.
Additionally, both the Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 have a 120-click, unidirectional (counter-clockwise) rotating bezel made from stainless steel with a black aluminum insert and with markings on it. Every minute is marked with square bars denoting the 5 minute intervals, numerals for 10-minutes, and small circles for the rest.
On the outer edge of the bezel, you will find a two-tiered groove engraved pattern which provides excellent grip for turning the bezel, even while underwater with thick gloves on. As it turns, you will feel a smooth and quiet click action with minimal wobble once it is set in the desired position.
On the 0/60 minute mark, you will find a triangle shielded lume pip and it is the only bit of lume found on the bezel itself. While we would have liked to see lume applied on the other markers, with the 0/60 minute position marked, you can at least get an estimate of where the minute and hour hands are pointing to by using the pip as a reference point.
The timing bezel can be used for all kinds of useful everyday tasks outside of diving, such as timing laundry, timing when to check on the food in the oven, or when to wake up from a nap, etc. The SKX007/SKX009’s bezel is a joy to use. It strikes the perfect balance of being intentionally stiff enough so it won’t accidentally turn when you don’t want it to and at the same time it is easily operable.
The dial is best described as simple and utilitarian. A large lume-filled triangle marks the 12 o’clock position, with large lume filled circles marking every 5 minute interval. Larger ovals mark the 6 and 9 o’clock position; the 3 o’clock position is missing one because the day/date window is located there instead. However, its size is similar to the oval opposite to it, keeping a sense of symmetry on the watchface.
On this particular version of the SKX007/SKX009, you have the option of setting the day to display in either English or Spanish. The color of the text is generally in black, with the exception of SAT in blue and SUN in red. The date ticks up from 1-31, so on shorter months you will have to manually adjust it yourself.
Functionally, the date window works perfectly. Aesthetically, we feel that it could have used some styling. As it stands, it is just a plain, boring rectangle. We would have preferred if it had a white border like in the Orient Ray II which would have been a nice detail that’d go well with the SKX.
There are some more texts found on this watch. Below the 12 o’clock triangle reads “SEIKO AUTOMATIC.” Above the 6 o’clock oval, “DIVER’S 200m” is printed, reminding you that, yes, this is indeed an ISO certified watch with a true depth rating of 200m.
This next bit of text is easy to miss. At the very bottom of the dial, just above the chapter ring, if you squint or have a magnifying glass you can find the text “7S26-002R R 2”. This seems like gibberish, but it signifies the automatic movement found in the SKX007.
Back to the markers, every 5 minutes is marked with a thicker rectangular bar. The chapter ring adds depth and a high-quality look to the watchface, and we feel it is well done. Overall, the SKX007 has a clean and good looking face. It feels like it is more of a tool watch than fancy jewellery, but its utilitarian design gives it its own personality that some watch lovers may find appealing.
Next, the screw-down, rounded solid stainless steel caseback provides greater water resistance. You’ll notice that it rises high above the back of the case and you can see the classic Seiko tsunami wave engraved on it. This wave only appears on Seiko’s ISO certified divers which signifies that it is the genuine article with at least 200m of water resistance (older watches with a 150m WR also feature the wave).
The recessed, flat crystal found on the Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 is made of “Hardlex.” If you’ve never heard of it, that’s because it’s Seiko’s proprietary mineral crystal. We would rate its quality somewhere above other mineral crystals, but still below a sapphire crystal.
It has good scratch resistance for a mineral crystal, and it also won’t shatter on direct impact like a sapphire crystal might. The edge of the crystal next to the bezel has been slightly chamfered.
Many users have found the crystal to hold up under rough conditions, everything from diving to boating on a near daily basis. This is thanks to the crystal’s design; having it be flat and recessed slightly below the bezel keeps it from plenty of harm.
Glancing hits from the side, which is probably the most common way a crystal gets scratched, mostly hits the bezel and completely misses the crystal. If not, Hardlex is a durable enough crystal to take a few hits. Overall, the crystal on the SKX007 and SKX009 is very good for the price.
Next, let’s talk about the handset. The SKX007 and SKX009 have a shooter sword-shaped hour hand that extends just to the inner edge of the oval markers at each quarter, and the long arrow minute hand extends all the way out to the outer edge of the smaller circle markers at each 5-minute interval. Both hands are filled with lume and outlined in chrome.
Furthermore, the second hand is narrow, long, white, and contrasted by a black shaft with a lumed lollipop at the tip. This is somewhat of a SKX exclusive design, since most divers will have a lumed portion on the main side of the hand instead of at the end.
The purpose of the lumed lollipop is not necessarily to tell you what second of the minute it is, but for letting the wearer know that the watch is still running in the dark. This is one of the requirements for being ISO certified. Should the watch stop operating during a dive due to mechanical failure or water ingress, then it would be extremely dangerous if the diver takes too long to find out the watch has failed.
Keeping with the style of the bezel, the hands have a similar design and are also legible enough to be read at a glance. Each hand is intentionally designed to have a unique length and form so that it is easier to differentiate them from each other.
The Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 uses Seiko’s caliber 7S26 mechanical automatic movement, which runs at 21,600 beats per hour and has 21 jewels. This movement has, over the course of 20 years, been used in over 50 Seiko dive watches and has a pretty solid track record of proven performance.
There’s lots to like about the 7S26, and here are a few reasons why.
First, it has a mainspring made from Diaflex, which is a special alloy developed by Seiko that is very durable and will not break even when overwound.
Next, the movement features a shockproof Diashock design – an isolation feature that helps protect it from unintended impacts.
Furthermore, the 7S26 is wound by Seiko’s Magic Lever system and features a bi-directional winding mechanism that uses the movement of the wearer’s wrist to power itself. When fully wound, the movement has a power reserve of ~40 hours, so you don’t have to worry about it stopping in the middle of the day.
Since this is a lower-end, budget movement, it lacks some of the features found in higher-end movements like hand-winding and hacking seconds. Its accuracy is also not the greatest, ranging anywhere from -20 to +40 seconds a day. This value may differ from watch to watch, however some users claim they managed to get theirs to run at +/- 5s/day.
We suggest you manually reset the time on your Seiko watch every three days or so to keep it within a few minutes of real time. You can potentially make the SKX007/SKX009 even more accurate by letting a watch-maker regulate the movement for you or doing it yourself.
The Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 by default comes with a rubber diver’s band which is serviceable but nothing special. There are also versions that come with a jubilee bracelet. You are, of course, free to purchase your own strap/bracelet if you feel like switching things up or if the included one just isn’t doing it for you. Since the lug width is 22m, you can find many straps for this watch.
The included rubber strap is indicative of what this watch’s intended use is, which is diving. However, it’s good looking and versatile enough for casual wear as well. By changing the strap, you can change the watch’s (and by extension, your) appearance from “I’m about to go diving” to “I’m ready to have a fun night out” just like that. There are a wide variety of straps that can match your personal style and mood.
Speaking of replacing the stock components for something new, that brings us to the next point, which is:
Not everyone knows that dive watches can be modded to drastically change its appearance. In addition to being the most recommended entry-level dive watch, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the Seiko SKX watches are the most modded dive watches as well. There is a thriving community of watch modders who specialize in modding the SKX line of watches.
You can find many third party mods for components like the bezel, crown, dial, handset, strap/bracelet, even for the crystal and movement for a truly one-of-a-kind timepiece. Some services provide custom engraved bezels or darkening the case by using vapor deposition.
Though it is possible to do all of the modding yourself provided you have the right tools, there is always the risk of user error. You might scratch the watch, install a component improperly, or otherwise mess something up if it is your first time doing things. As such, we recommend practicing on an old watch that had a long life before you try your hand on your current favorite timepiece.
We’ve talked a lot about the SKX007’s and SKX009’s looks and functionality, but how do they feel on your wrist? You would think that a watch this big would be too bulky and uncomfortable. But the fact is, the case hugs the bezel so closely it actually doesn’t feel as large as it is. Despite that design, the SKX007/SKX009 have a noticeable amount of weight and thickness, particularly in the main case area, which can cause your wrist to feel unbalanced.
With a weight of 4.8oz/136g, whether it’s too heavy for casual wear or not is up to personal preference. Personally, we are fine with it. After all, this is a diver’s tool watch that is ISO 6425 certified with an automatic movement. With this in mind, it’s actually impressive how comfortable the Seiko SKX007/SKX009 is.
Furthermore, the Rolex Submariner, the gold-standard for dive watches, weighs 4.6oz/130g, which is barely lighter than the SKX007/SKX009.
If you want to keep this watch as light as possible, then the rubber strap version will lighten the load, but the weight imbalance might worsen since the main case area remains heavy.
Furthermore, you might think that the strap or jubilee bracelet has a good chance of pulling on your skin and hair, but it doesn’t. The links on the jubilee bracelet flow smoothly as you move and never pinches or locks up.
The major link adjustment and the clasp’s minor adjustment lets you tweak it until the SKX007/SKX009 fits perfectly on your wrist.
Seiko SKX007 and SKX009: The Verdict
There are lots of expensive and high quality watches in the dive watch market, and both the Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 are a bit of an anomaly. Whereas the gold-standard Rolex Submariner can cost upwards of $10,000 and other high-quality watches can cost several thousands as well, while the price tag of the SKX line of watches are only a fraction of that.
If we are determining value based strictly on a dollar to performance ratio, then the Seiko SKX007 and SKX009 are perhaps the best entry-level dive watches on the market. These dive watches are ISO 6425 certified, so you can be assured that they have the features and performance you need to stay safe while diving.
On top of that, it is a good looking watch that has the support of a thriving modding community. If you don’t like the stock SKX007 or SKX009 for some reason, you can replace literally every single component until it’s basically a different watch. Or you can just make a minor adjustment to the bezel or crown. In any case, the SKX007 and SKX009 are truly the most versatile and affordable watches for what they provide, and it’s no wonder that they are almost universally recommended.