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It’s no secret that we’re big fans of the SKX007. As cliché as it may sound, Clockwork Republic was founded out of an unwavering passion for this remarkable timepiece. The SKX007 holds a special place in our hearts, and when it comes to iconic timepieces, few watches hold as much allure as the SKX007. In this article, we delve into the fascinating history of the iconic SKX007, tracing its origin and significance to determine if it still lives up to the hype.
History and Origin
Part of a proud lineage of diver’s watches, the SKX007 traces its roots back to the rich heritage of Seiko's dive watch history. It all started in 1965 when Seiko introduced the reference 6217, a dive watch capable of withstanding water pressures up to 150 meters. This watch, fondly referred to as the 62MAS by the watch community, marked Seiko's entry into the world of professional diving watches.
A few years later, Seiko unveiled the iconic 6105 series, which quickly gained recognition and popularity. Produced from 1968 to 1977, the 6105 series featured two distinct cases: the cushion case (6105-8000) and the turtle case (6105-8009). The latter gained further fame as it found its way onto the wrist of Captain Benjamin L. Willard, portrayed by Martin Sheen, in the movie Apocalypse Now.
Building upon the success of the 6105, Seiko continued to refine its dive watch offerings. In the following years, the 6306 and 6309 models took the stage, serving as predecessors to the modern-day Seiko Turtle. It was not until 1988 that the 7002 series was introduced, paving the way for the SKX007 as we know it today.
The 7002 marked a significant milestone for Seiko as it was the first non-Prospex (professional-grade diver) model that boasted a water resistance of 200 meters (150 meters for the initial series) and featured a reliable unidirectional 120-click bezel. The model gained widespread popularity, particularly among personnel from various military forces worldwide who appreciated its robustness and performance. It was produced until 1996, when Seiko unveiled the SKX007 (7S26 series), a worthy successor to the well-regarded 7002, inheriting its impressive water resistance, rugged design, and reliability.
The SKX007 is not just an appealing timepiece; it also boasts impressive specifications that adhere to the ISO 6425 standard, which sets criteria for dive watches. It has a remarkable water resistance rating of 200 meters (660 feet) which allows the watch to accompany divers on underwater adventures, providing reliable performance even at significant depths.
The SKX007 features a sturdy stainless steel case with a diameter of 42.5mm, providing a substantial presence on the wrist without the added bulk due to the short 46mm lug-to-lug. Its robust build ensures durability and the ability to withstand the rigors of underwater exploration. The watch is designed with a screw-down crown at the 4 o'clock position, providing comfort by keeping it from pressing into the back of your wrist. The 120-click unidirectional rotating bezel has clear markers, allowing divers to track elapsed time underwater. The dial is minimal but practical with lume markers and hands, ensuring legibility in low-light conditions. Protecting the dial is a scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal, a hardened mineral glass that offers excellent durability and resistance to impact and minor scratches. Powering the SKX007 is the caliber 7S26 automatic movement, a 21-jewel self-winding workhorse with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours.
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Significance and Iconic Status
The affordability of the SKX007 has made it accessible to a wide range of watch enthusiasts. Despite its relatively modest price point, it delivers remarkable value and durability, often surpassing watches with significantly higher price tags. This accessibility has contributed to their widespread popularity and enduring appeal.
In addition to their accessibility, the Seiko SKX007 has developed a cult-like following, inspiring a vibrant and passionate community of modders. These watches have become the perfect canvas for personalization and customization, capturing the imagination of enthusiasts who seek to express their individuality. Modders swap out components such as bezels, hands, and dials, transforming the watches into unique and personalized timepieces. The modding scene surrounding the SKX007 has given rise to a creative subculture, with dedicated forums, social media groups, and even specialized businesses catering to the demands of mod enthusiasts.
The community surrounding the SKX007 is a testament to its iconic status. Watch collectors and enthusiasts from around the world have formed passionate communities, sharing their admiration for the timepiece, exchanging insights, and showcasing their prized collections. The SKX007 has become a conversation starter, uniting individuals by their shared passion for horology.
2019 marked the end of an era for the SKX series as it was discontinued and “succeeded” by the Seiko 5 Sports series. The new models feature a similar case design, an upgraded 4R36 movement, a see-through caseback, and a wide range of colorways and special editions. However, unlike the SKX007, the Seiko 5 Sports series are not ISO certified, lacks a screw-down crown and a reduced water resistance of 100 meters.
SRPD55 on the End Link Rubber Strap
The introduction of the Seiko 5 Sports series garnered mixed reactions within the watch community. While many enthusiasts embraced the new models for their upgraded movement and expanded design options, some expressed disappointment which sparked debates among dedicated SKX fans.
The SKX007 has rightfully earned its place as an iconic timepiece, captivating the hearts of watch enthusiasts with its distinctive design, reliability, and rich history. Its status within the watch community is evident by its cult following and the vibrant mod culture that has grown around it.
But is it worth buying? Is it still worth the hype? From a technical standpoint, the SKX007 may no longer offer the same value it once did. With its discontinuation, availability has become limited, and prices in the secondary market have increased multifold. There are alternative options such as the Orient Kamasu, Citizen Promaster and other models from the Seiko Prospex line that offer superior features and functions at an excellent value.
However, the appeal of the SKX007 goes beyond mere technical specifications. Owning the SKX007 means owning a piece of horological history. Like many iconic timepieces, the SKX007 represents more than just a watch—it represents a proud lineage of divers and for those who appreciate the heritage and iconic status of the SKX007, acquiring one remains a worthwhile pursuit, despite the price tag.