on May 12, 2009
....a short and sweet story about this model (formally model 6309)of Seiko watch. In February of 1978 I was in a specialized unit of the Air Force and had just arrived at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. I needed a good watch as my old Timex had just broken. I went to the BX and bought this watch for $110. Most expensive watch I had ever owned but I needed a good one and figured this was it. I wore that watch on my left wrist everyday, all day for 22 and a half years! There is no embellishment here. I sent it in every 5 years or so for a cleaning and adjustment and that's it! How many bands did I replace? I couldn't tell you how many bands and band pins I replaced on that watch. It went with me everywhere through my youth to middle age. It is truly like an old friend - the things we had done and the things we had seen - death, destruction, sea depths, high altitude, girl friends, wives, marriages, divorces, child birth, child graduation. Incredible! The day the jeweler told me it was wore-out and could no longer keep good time was the day I put it in my safety deposit box.
---I bought the same model watch the next day. It has been on my wrist, ticking away, since June, 2000 - just as faithful as my old friend who now lies resting after a long and storied career.
If you need a good watch and one that will last, I can recommend this one.
Update...12.20.15 The Seiko SKX173I bought in 2000 is still going strong after 15 1/2 years. This watch will take me into old age. I'm slowing down now and not nearly as active so I believe this watch may last longer than the last one. My kids can have it when I'm gone - to do with it as they please. They do know what these watches mean to me.
There are other watches out there. Some are digital and others are bigger and still others are more expensive. But, in my book, you can't buy a BETTER watch.
on February 17, 2009
I felt the urge to clarify some points after having read the complaints from those that apparently know nothing about mechanical watches. No offense, but a little research before purchasing your first mechanical watch might be a good idea.
An automatic watch will not be as accurate as a quartz. These watches (with the Seiko 7S26 caliber movement) usually gain or lose around 15 seconds per day on average. That is absolutely normal. If you desire improved accuracy, you could have the movement regulated (which should cost under $10). But, if you expect to set the time and not have to re-set it for a long time, then a mechanical watch is not for you. A mechanical Rolex usually won't be as accurate as a Casio quartz on a monthly basis. That is simply the nature of a mechanical watch.
These watches have about a 48 hour reserve, when fully wound (which takes about a full day of wearing it). You'll either want to wear it at least every other day, or get a winder, or expect to have to re-set the time & calendar within 2 days of not wearing it. You also can't manually wind this watch. You gently shake it for about 30 seconds.
Another important thing to know is that you should not change the day or date when the watch time is between 9PM - 4AM (when the calendar is in transition). Doing so can damage the calendar mechanism. This is mentioned in the manual, but not everyone reads manuals. The date should change at midnight, but the day slowly changes till about 3AM.
All of this may sound negative, but it's not. It is exactly what is expected from an automatic watch (of any brand) in this price range.
Some people feel they have been ripped off if their Seiko watch, which they assume must be made in Japan, is made elsewhere, such as Malaysia. Seiko has factories in many countries, and they all have the same high quality control standards. There have been no proven quality differences between a Seiko that's made in Japan, and one that's made in Malaysia or Singapore.
I own many Seiko watches, including this model. I have been very pleased with all of them. Seiko makes quality watches (both mechanical and quartz) at very competitive prices.
on May 14, 2005
I've been a fan of divers watches since college days. I first ran across a Seiko 150m model about 1988 and I've since come to regard this SKX173 200m as THE classic dive watch. Not only is it great for water activities and sports, but it's also great for dry land functions such as telling time and looking cool.
The automatic mechanical power isn't just some outmoded watch technology from the past. It's fascinating to have this intricate and accurate time-machine on your wrist. And the auto-winding mechanism is a real plus. If, like me, you find yourself the owner of multiple watches in these days of expensive batteries for quartz models, replacing power cells can become a high-priced hassle. All you have to do is wear this watch and move around normally and it runs without a thought. The only downer for me is that I want to give my other watch models some wrist time too, so then things tend to run down. But then, just pick it up, set it, strap it on, and off you go. I have always found it quite accurate enough for my ordinary time-keeping purposes.
One of the classic and attractive feature of diver watches is the rotator elapsed time bezel. If you like the countdown timer feature on your digital watch, this rotator simply does the same thing in an analog way. Just turn the 0 indicator to the preset position of the minute or second hand and WATCH (yes, pun intended) how much time goes by. There is also a a version of this elapsed time ring in red (from 0 to 20 secs.) and blue (from 20 to 60 secs.). If you want a slightly different dive-watch look, I've found that these replacement rotators are readily available on the net.
The jet-black face makes for a bold, easy-to-see-at-a-glance contrast with the square-cut hour markers and attention-grabbing hour and minute indicators. Another plus here is long lasting glow in the dark visibility. Some other brand's marine model I've got has markers that fade to invisibility after an hour or so in the dark. You can tell time on this watch all night long and even, I suppose, in murky water. There's even a luminous dot at 0 secs. on the elapsed time rotator.
The 22 mm. black rubber waterproof strap, held in place by heavy duty, industrial strength spring pins, makes a great looking match with this steel and black watch. And apparently Seiko diver straps are indestructible. Other rubber straps seem to be programmed to serve their brief time and then self-destruct. But even the band I've used on my Seiko 150m for 16 or 17 years shows no sign of cracking or breaking. After wearing this watch for a while the heavy strap seemed to mold itself to the size and shape of my wrist. It just sort of makes itself at home on your arm.
The steel case has a great look of solidity and a pleasant heftiness. It's big (42 mm across) but not geeky big, just the right size and weight to project a certain masculine handsomeness. A nice design touch is the position of the crown at 4:00 instead of the usual 3:00, not only a nice and noticeable difference, but it doesn't cut into the back of your hand in case of hard work or heavy lifting (one of my favorite watches to wear to the gym). BTW, the crown is only for stetting the time and date, as it's not needed as a winder.
In case you can't tell, I really like this watch. So much so that I also got the more recent model SKXA35 with the bright yellow dial (See it on Amazon. Really cool too!).
With the quality and durability of this SKX173, you're in for some long-term watch fun and interested comments like. "Great watch! Where'd you get it?"
Good price and good deal too. Hey, man, go for it. Get this watch!
on September 2, 2007
First, I love this watch. It has become my everyday wearer, and I suppose that is the highest praise from a watch nut. If you think you would like a diver's watch, consider the SKX173.
Looking through the other reviews, there seems little new ground that I can cover, so I'll just gush for a while.
The nighttime luminosity is excellent, the watch uses Seiko's Lumibrite, which is an organic luminous material. It is not radioactive and works very well. In any ambient light, the matte black dial with clear, tasteful luminous markers and dissimilar hands ensure that you always have the time at a glance. The absence of shiny metal surrounds for the hour markers keeps the dial look clean. The large arrow shaped minute hand is effectively differentiated from the hour hand so that I never confuse the two. Luminosity of dial and hands are roughly equal. If anything, the hands appear brighter. The luminous dot and bold triangle on the bezel also assures that you are able to track elapsed time in any lighting condition. The 120 click unidirectional bezel moves smoothly and with just the right tension to assure that accidental turns are minimized. I use that feature every day. I find a watch without a rotating bezel to be less useful unless it is a chronograph. Exposure to sunlight or light high in UV (fluorescent, for example) charges the luminous material. I have no trouble seeing the time at night. The flat crystal sits slightly below the bezel, which should help prevent scratches. Though, you can catch a reflection from it if the light hits it just right. I like a day and date function on a watch. Most diver's watches don't display the day. I love the blue Saturday and red Sunday. I like that there is not a ring around the date window, again a very clean design. The absence of a date magnifier keeps the look classic and businesslike.
I swapped out the as delivered rubber strap with a Seiko jubilee style bracelet with flip lock clasp. I found that dresses the watch up nicely and is very comfortable. The strap is great, and conforms to the shape of your wrist after a while, I just prefer a metal bracelet. The crown at 4:00 is large, with fine grooving affording a good grip and is not irritating at all. Thanks to the domed back of the watch, it sits high enough on the wrist so that the crown doesn't form that annoying little callous on the back of one's hand. For a watch this large, it is surprisingly comfortable. My wrist measures 6 1/2" around, so I have relatively small wrists. My Omega Seamaster GMT was as large, yet the back so flat that this was a constant issue. My Rolex GMT had a sharper, smaller crown with coarser serrations, but sits high enough so that is not a problem. The SKX173 crown guard is a visually delightful and wonderfully functional design that I have not seen work as well in any other watch. A terrific feature that is underreported, IMHO. I remember thinking, on taking the watch out of the box, "Now this is a crown guard..." It has never snagged on anything. Even if you don't scuba dive, a diver's watch has a tougher, thicker case /crystal and excellent sealing system, affording maximum protection for the movement within. It just makes sense if you want trouble free operation.
A lot of concern has been expressed about timekeeping, so I should address that. Due to the Seiko Magic Lever winding system and despite the low mass rotor of the 7S26 movement, winding for me is efficient. I find it will maintain a full wind on a winder at 650 turns per day, bidirectional- same as a Rolex. The Omega GMT wouldn't maintain it's level of wind at 650 TPD. If the watch is fully wound, I find it runs a little slow (-3 to 4 seconds per day). Catching up those few seconds is easily accomplished by resting the watch crown down. I have not set the watch in two weeks, and it is currently indicating within a few seconds of the correct time as checked against an atomic clock using just these two simple tricks. In essence, fully wound, a little slow; not fully wound, a little fast. Your mileage may vary. Some combination of rest position and activity level will dictate your actions if you want the watch to be spot on. This is excellent performance for an unadjusted mass produced watch and says a lot about Seiko's design talents and quality control. The 21,600 BPH (6 ticks per second) movement ensures lower stress than a high beat movement, increasing longevity. The lack of a hack feature can be overcome by applying slight backward pressure on the crown during setting. Care should be used to not have the watch run backward at this point, because that is bad for the escapement. This works best if the watch is not fully wound. I do not often use this approach, since I can speed the watch up or slow it down in use to achieve a good synchronization within a few days.
All in all, an excellent watch and an exceptional value. I would highly recommend this watch to anyone desiring a classic diver's which will be a faithful companion in your daily life. Great looks, functionality and an outstanding value.
on February 12, 2015
Let me first say that I am a 'watch guy'. I have owned a Rolex Sub, a GMT Master II and a Charriol - so I am not afraid to drop some coin on a watch. I was itching for something new and I was willing to spend a few bucks. I wanted a diver watch and when I did some Google searches this Seiko watch popped up. I read the reviews and watched a few youtube videos on it and I figured 'why not give it a try'. It's only $200 bucks after all. Yesterday I recieved my Amazon package, and let me say this is one fabulous watch. It came in a simple box and pillow with an instruction booklet and a card to fill out to show ownership. The watch itself is very well made. Excellent brush finish on the steel case, with nice mirror finish on the sides. The bezel feels substantial and turns nicely with each 'clique'. The face is easy to read with nice sharp markers that glow in the dark nice and bright. The watch isn't too big and looks great on the wrist [I hate those big bulkly watches that people wear today].
The black rubber strap is really nice, it looks great and feels good on the wrist. Nothing about this watch feels cheap. This is a great watch.
How does it compare to a Rolex? It my opinion it is just as good and has a better warranty as well. A Rolex Sub will be 30X more expensive but I assure you it is not 30X better than this Seiko watch. This is a great timepiece.
on February 8, 2008
Pictures don't do justice to this watch. It has a sixties and seventies technology retro look that isn't at all out of date. The numbers, the hour hand, the minute hand, the second sweep and the rotating bezel all match up precisely. There's a sort of "brute force elegance" to it.
You know it means business because the winding crown is protected and offset. It won't receive karate chop blows as it would if set at the normal 3 o'clock position, it will deflect glancing blows instead. The rectangles marking the hours make a nice contrast to the sweep second hand with its marking circle. The non-radioactive paint used to light the face at night uses no electricity, poses no hazard, and is bright.
The synthetic rubber band is of industrial quality in strength. I prefer it to the 007 model's metal band, which will shake itself into disrepair after a couple of years. The SKX173 band is hypoallergenic.
The watch can be worn 24 hours a day unless you wear a dress shirt with cufflinks or a heavy coat that can't be pulled back at the wrist to check the time. The purpose of this watch is scuba diving. I use it because I swim a mile non-stop every day. A battery-powered sport watch, even the Seiko Sport 50, isn't good enough if you have an aquatics regimen of this intensity. Whenever you change the batteries, you should spend the money to change the seals for the back of the watch, also. Even with that pre aution, eventually, it's going to leak.
The SKX173 is an automatic watch, meaning it is self-winding through an internal mechanism. That's why the watch is significantly thicker than a battery-powered watch. But this self-winding means that there is no reason to take the back off the watch unless there is a very serious maintenance problem. So the seals stay where they were when assembled at the factory.
As noted by others, the SKX173 runs slightly fast. It's actually less fast when worn all the time, which keeps its automatic winding tension at a maximum. I simply set the watch for a minute slow, let it catch up and become a minute fast, then reset it at mid-month and at end-month (when you want to correct the date feature, anyway, since most months don't have 31 days). So my schedule allows me to open the winding stem and reset it about 24 times a year. That's it! That's the maintenance and expense for running this watch.
This is the best watch for its purpose -- anything cheaper is going to shake itself loose or leak eventually from battery changes. Anything more expensive is a vanity. You can spend twenty or even thirty times as much for a watch hand-made in Switzerland, but every accidental bump or motion will upset you and lower its value. The SKX173 is machine-made to industrial standards in Malaysia to the specifications of Japanese engineers.
And it has a quiet, honest, masculine handsomeness to it. Get one for yourself and see.
on January 19, 2009
A mechanical Movado watch looses or gains about a minute a day! For the price this watch is quite accurate! You need to wear it all the time. At night, if you set it at a night stand it could adjust itself a bit. Over all a mechanical accuracy is about 15 seconds a day +/- and based on how active you are? So, I give this watch thumbs up. For the design, this is a knock out. Very Attractive, and functional with a unique personality. If you are not diving all the time you may consider replacing the band. Good buy go for it. Also, I researched the 7S26 movement; it is basic when it comes to automatic watch mechanisms these days, but it is rugged.
on September 9, 2006
Reading through some of the reviews posted here it sounds like some people purchased this AUTOMATIC watch without realizing that you have to keep wearing it to keep it running. It's a little bit absurd to give a watch 1 star for doing what it was designed to do-stop running if nobody wears it. Just for reference, I own the orange face version of this watch with a metal strap (same exact watch other than color and strap selection).
Anyways, the power reserve on this watch is approximately 2 days (this may vary a little). This is a fairly good (but not quite excellent) power reserve for a mechanical automatic watch.
Annoyingly though, this watch has a tendency to run fast when it is not constantly being worn, so as it runs out of power it begins running faster and faster.
If I neglect to wear it for a day or a day and a half it will pick up a few minutes-after many weekends I end up having to slow it back down 5 minutes. It is much more accurate when worn every single day.
The only other criticism I have of this watch other than its tendency to run a little fast, is that it is a little bit difficult to pull the crown out to the middle position (for adjusting the day/date)-it's fairly easy to overshoot it. But this is more a minor annoyance than a serious issue.
These minor annoyances aside, this watch looks fantastic and feels wonderful. On top of all this, it's a genuine diver that'll go to 200M without problem-with a movement that's stood the test of time. No, the movement is not the most accurate or up to date-but if accuracy is what you really want automatic watches are never going to be quite as good as quartz watches anyway.
on September 24, 2015
I purchased one of these in 2000 while in the Navy after arriving at my first duty station in Norfolk VA. I needed something that could take a beating, survive underwater, and would last. I was originally looking at the G-SHOCKS which I'd had in the past as a kid, but always liked mechanical watches. Most people looked at more "military" brands, such as Luminox, that trumpeted their "use" by elite units. But if looked around you realized nobody in those units actually used those watches. Plus my dad had served in the Army and swore by SEIKO, and my older brother was a certified scuba divers and sky diver and swore by SEIKO. So SEIKO it was to be and this was to be the SEIKO.
It's still alive and ticking! It's taken a mind boggling amount of abuse from the military, along with traveling to all sorts of crazy places in another career path. Add in a few motorcycle accidents, being whacked into countless walls, all sorts of temperature extremes, and the times I shocked myself silly working on electrical gear and I'm impressed. Had to have it serviced once.
The only down sides are that as a mechanical watch you need to adjust it off and on. The trade off here is that you never need a battery. SEIKO makes great movements be it quartz or automatic. Don't be fooled that a Rolex Submariner keeps better time than a SEIKO. If you move up the SEIKO ladder to a spring drive movement automatic movement it keeps better time than the Rolex. And pretty much any other Swiss watch (short of something like a Patek) is just using ETA movements which aren't really better or worse than most of the stuff SEIKO cranks out. The movements in their divers in this price range are made to be damn close to immortal and the reality is you'll be adjusting any mechanical regardless. You're getting more than what you pay for here and you're getting something proven. The next is that a lot of SEIKOs use hardlex crystals, rather than the synthetic sapphire you find on dressier divers. It's true that sapphire is the most scratch resistant out there, but it's also the most likely to shatter. Regardless of the fact that this is a "pick your poison" type of situation, hardlex is the cheaper material and you simply couldn't get away with using it in a watch that's in the four to five figure price range. Lastly the stock bands on this will break. However that's true of any silicone or rubber strap, they wear out. Not that metal bracelets can't or don't, but not at the same rate. Do yourself a favor and pick up a nylon NATO strap and use that. Good ones can be had for under 30 bucks.
I don't consider these issues real problems. You're tweaking the watch monthly regardless, hardlex isn't going to fail on you, and NATO straps are ideal.
Still wearing mine.
on November 1, 2015
This is an excellent watch. It is sturdy and reputable. Mine ran a minute or two fast over the course of a week, but I could have taken it to a jeweler to adjust. Instead, I adjusted it myself and live with the small inaccuracy of fast time it keeps. The watch band was the first thing to go. I ended up making my own band and have used it ever since. I plan on creating a new band as I don't like the leather I used on the first band I made. The bezel is useful for everyday purposes, for anything that requires you to measure in time: pizza in the oven, driving, etc. I migrated away from the chronograph style that has too many small dials that I never use. I definitely recommend this watch.