Review No.2 — A Bond Watch on a Budget

I’m on a watch kick — this might be one of several watch reviews all in a row…So if you’re not interested, well, sorry not sorry!

About three months after I bought the blue Seiko watch from the previous post, and equipped it with a nice brown leather strap, I was on the hunt for a new watch, with a black color scheme that would match a black belt and shoes. (Though I later learned that straps and bracelets are easy and quick to change with a $7 tool or a baby screw driver.)

The research for this watch was far easier and quicker than for the blue one; in fact, I’d run across this watch in the research for the blue one. This is a Seiko SKX007 — the “made in Korea” version (SKX007K, versus the “made in Japan” and $70 more expensive SKX007J). At around $170 grey-market retail, this is perhaps the single best watch one could buy on a sub-$200 budget. Or really, maybe any budget.

With an hardy aesthetic similar to that of a Rolex Submariner or Omega Seamaster (watches commonly seen on the wrist of none other than James Bond, Agent 007), this watch is not only a pretty piece, but a truly functional tool. (I like that it’s named SKX 007, though I think the Japanese executives running Seiko probably didn’t do that intentionally…It’s cool though!)

One of the big selling points of this watch, is that it’s a tool watch; it features a automatic-winding mechanical movement very similar to that of the blue Seiko, and most people tend to think that means it’s delicate — it’s not. The 007 is a certified dive watch, and could take a beating punching baddies on Bond’s wrist, and then slide down on a casual dive to the depths of the ocean and be none the worse for wear. Now, I acknowledge that I’m not a SCUBA diver (nor are lots of people who will buy this watch), and that I probably won’t every take this any further than a few feet into the pool during swim lessons or if I fall in, but it has been tested and meets the ISO standards to be officially certified and marked “DIVER’S 200M.”

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Thanks Wikipedia

This means that it’s a hardy watch: prior to putting it on the metal bracelet seen in the picture, it was on a super slim woven nylon strap, and I took it hard-core mountain biking, shook and banged it up, and to this day, it has kept pretty freaking awesome time, averaging -2.1 seconds/day — well inside the -4/+6 range needed to be certified a “chronometer” by the Swiss. (For non-watch people, it’s losing about 2 seconds per day, which is STELLAR for a tiny clock with hand-assembled gears spinning and ticking away at 518,400 ticks a day.) On an “oyster” bracelet, I’ve had people ask me if it’s a Rolex.

Clearly it’s not, but it does have a day/date complication, and more importantly — a click-y dive bezel! I can still remember the time when I was quite young, and my grandmother (my mother’s — both of her parents are long-time SCUBA divers, and have dived across the world) showed my how the unidirectional bezel was used to time elapsed time on a dive: it’s stuck with me for years, and though I don’t track down time, I use the bezel to track driving time, time between study or work breaks, how much water I’ve had on hot days…the uses are nearly infinite. (Oh, and the luminescent paint on the hands and dots is excellent!)

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All told, for about $240–250 including the aftermarket bracelet, I have a truly-hardcore watch that makes me feel like a British special agent when I wear it, looks good, and functional with all manner of everyday attire and situations. I like the blue watch — but it’s not certified-tough; I have a couple small issues with this one — but it’s the watch that sees the most wrist-time; I doubted the forum-posters and YouTube reviewers initially, but I can now agree: this Bond watch, this Japanese phenom, might just possibly be the best watch for the money, and looks far better than the pennies I paid for it should justify.

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