Saturday, 29 May 2010

Seiko Black Monster Review

As opposed to the usual array of luxury watches I review, I feel compelled to write down my thoughts on what I believe might just be the best value automatic diver's watch in the world. This is a watch that punches far above its weight, and makes similarly priced watches feel poor quality and overpriced by comparison. For me, the Monster is the new Diving Watch yardstick - I now compare all other divers to it.

Technical Features

*Model Ref: SKX779
*Stainless steel case
*Unidirectional rotating diving bezel w/ 60 minute graduations and glowing bezel pearl
*Case diameter: 42mm
*Black dial with Lumibrite baton markers, and luminous hands
*Screwdown crown @ 4 o'clock
*Hardlex Crystal
*200m Waterproofing

The Movement

In a nutshell, it's a non-hacking automatic movement with day and date complications - John Davis' review here is an authoritative walkthrough of the movement, and describes it much better than I could. In terms of accuracy, it's not too bad - mine gains roughly 8 seconds per day

UK RRP: Not sold here, eBay prices tend to lie around £150-180.

The Aesthetics

There's no denying the fact that this is a bold watch - but it does so in a way that befits it's purpose as a serious diver's watch. This watch looks purposeful, honest in its intentions, and I can only admire that in a watch. It's substantial without being overly thick, and sits well on the wrist. Simplicity in the dial, and a large, legible bezel makes it practical for every day use, particularly at night. I can't compliment enough the lume on this watch - it blows anything I've seen personally out of the water. Rolex and Omega are improving their lumes, but for intensity and longevity, no non-radiactive paint compounds can compare. It takes very little to charge it, and even on low light exposure, it can store enough power to be legible in the dark for several hours.

The bracelet is nicely finished - mainly brushed with polished highlights, and it's not trying to imitate another brand, which is always an issue at this price point. It's a little fiddly to adjust, but nothing impossible by any means. The clasp is also very impressive - a foldover push button deployment with a locking clip makes for a very solid and secure fit. However, it should be noted that I have had some problems with the locking clip popping open under stress, though the rest of the clasp remains secure - I believe this is because I need to loosen the clasp a little on account of the warmer weather, so this is by no means a major problem

The Feel

As some of you may have worked out by now, I like a substantial watch. This doesn't disappoint - the bracelet links are solid, and they don't skimp on the construction of the case. It's not as heavy as a Deepsea, for example, but it lies at a similar weight, at a guess, as a Seamaster 300m. When properly adjusted, it sits securely on the wrist, and is best with a little movement from the head. I haven't got the world's largest wrists (usually need 1 or 2 links out of most watches), but it doesn't look oversized at all. I think this can be partially attributed to the large bezel, which reduces the dial size to a reasonable level. This certainly doesn't feel as flimsy as a lot of watches at this price point, and I'd argue feels nicer than a lot of watches worth 10 or even 20 times more. It really is an understated hero, and it's a shame that more people don't know about it.


I see this as a great daily beater. You can wear it with confidence, and treat it with as little respect as you want, and it'll still keep ticking. Certainly a good idea if you don't want you multiple thousand pound watch getting messed up too badly. Not one for wearing with a suit, but for just about anything else, it'll do its job admirably


I really love this watch, it has so much to offer for such a small price. It having an automatic movement is, for many WISes, a notable plus point, and I feel it is a breath of fresh air from the soulless quartz watches that dominate this segment of the market. Unique styling is a major benefit, and I also see it as a conversation starter. It's eyecatching in a good way, and it has the engineering quality to back it up as well. If you are looking for a cheaper everyday watch, look no further - it may have a couple of minor niggles (the non-hacking movement for one), but it makes up for this with oodles of character and usefulness. Throw away your quartz watches, and embrace the Monster!


  1. This Seiko timepiece has the makings of a great watch!

    Sell Rolex Watches

  2. I just received this watch and couldn't agree more. My everyday has been a datejust in stainless and gold, but I was looking for something a little different and a little more bold. After two weeks, the "Black Monster" has become the new daily, with the Rolex staying in the autowinder for dressier occasions. Astounding value.

  3. Thanks, this review of Seiko Black Monster was very helpfull ;)