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on February 13, 2006
The Seiko "Black Monster" is making watch history right in front of our eyes. Everyone interested in an automatc dive watch should look at this or its Orange, Blue or Yellow brothers as a "must have" watch. Every collector I know - no matter how expansive or selective - has a Monster in the watchbox.

I am the owner of the Orange, Blue, Yellow, and Black Monster watches. The Blue is a "Limited Production" model - only so many made each year -- the Yellow Monster is already a legend -- only 300 made in it's Limited Edition and is no longer available through retail channels. Be prepared to bid at auction for this model.

So - what makes the "Monsters" watches of legend...?

The Black Monster's 42mm case is 316L stainless steel - featuring the Seiko made 7S26 21 jewel mechanical movement - not the best timekeeper in the world -- but accurate enough for most of us -- 15sec +/- daily. The movement is not able to "hack" and is not manually windable. Either you wear it every day or put it on a programmable watchwinder to avoid resetting the time/day/date. With screwdown crown at the 4 o'clock and screw-in back - the Black Monster easily is rated at 200M water resistance.

The day/date is at the 3 o'clock and gives a good clear read - the watch face offering no magnification window. The change of day date can take up to 3 hours - not good for folks working the night shift. The plastic day/date wheels are of a self lubricating plastic and should give many years of trouble free performance.

The stainless steel unidirectional scalloped bezel moves freely at 120 clicks to the minute. A perfect match to the sculptured case - the bezel also offers protection to the watch crystal.

Seiko's "Hardlex" treated mineral glass crystal is scratch resistant - but not nearly so as the preferrable sapphire crystal found on the Blue or Yellow Monster. It is convex domed to not protrude above the bezel. The black watch face neatly sets off Seiko's patented lume material set on indices on the watch face and hands. The monster series is famous for it's torchlight lume - making every other diver in it's class pale with envy. The white watch hands are readable in low light, but might have been black outlined around the lume material (as in the Yellow Monster) for even greater visabiliy and readability in poor lighting conditions.

The triple safety clasp stainless steel pinned link bracelet is already a legend. A great looking and most comfortable design, it also features a wetsuit deployment clasp - not always found on a watch of this price. Recommend a thorough rinsing of this band after diving in salt water. With solid end links and unique Seiko pattern - it is a thing of beauty.

Available in either a ss bracelet or rubber strap - the Black Monster is a fantastic value when purchasing it with the stainless steel bracelet - an after market rubber strap from Seiko is available... but you save up to $50 in value by buying the ss bracelet over the rubber strap model.

A boldly designed heavy watch - you should have no hestitation wearing this or it's Orange Monster brother (see my review) as an everyday watch or water sport diver. Manufactured in either Singapore or Japan (Japanese model is always preferrable - so always ask before you buy), this under $200 watch from Amazon vendors is a must buy for any diver, boater or swimmer. You cannot buy a better watch for the money.

This watch is not sold as Seiko USA stockage - this is a gray market watch that most Seiko dealers will not service. Buy from reputable vendors that WILL servive this timepiece in the unlikely event anything goes wrong. To learn more about affordable watches from Amazon I recommend WisTalk.com or InvictaTalk.com - places where your watch questions can be answered.
1515 comments| 155 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 17, 2007
Originally written for the Orange Monster, this review holds equally true for the black version.

From the moment you first hold this watch in your hand, you realize it is a quality timepiece. The first thing that strikes you is its large size and heavy feel, yet despite that, it feels comfortable on the wrist due to its fine balance.

BRACELET:

The bracelet end links (those that attach to the watch case) are solid rather than formed sheet metal like you will find on most other watches in this price range. The pins holding the bracelet to the watch are the sturdiest I have ever seen. Each of the bracelet's subsequent links is also made from a solid piece of steel, not folded sheet, each component being feather-edged to prevent it digging into the wrist. Its removable link pins are of an unusual machined pin and collar design which, though fiddly to remove and replace, nevertheless ensure that the pins remain under-flush and secure when correctly installed. The bracelet is perfectly flush on the side that contacts your wrist making it feel very smooth during wear.

The clasp is very high quality, having both a fold over security buckle, which deploys with a satisfying click, and an Omega style double button catch. The security buckle closes onto a spring pin whose ends are spherical thus ensuring a tight fastening which should not wear with use. All in all these features add up to a watch that is very quiet on the wrist, the only faint sound coming from its automatic winding mechanism.

Finally the bracelet incorporates a clever hidden diver's extension (to allow the watch to be worn over a wet suit).

CASE:

The watch case, back and bezel are made from stainless steel. The case has an attractive mix of polished, brushed and machined finishes which all add to the feel of quality and function. The overall impression is that this is a precision instrument rather than a fashion piece; that's not to say though that it would look out of place with a dinner jacket any more than a wet suit.

The unidirectional bezel is of a heavily scalloped design, protected by bezel-guards which extend upwards from each of the lug pairs. The lower guard also functions as a crown guard and, all in all, the impression is of a case machined from a solid billet of steel. The bezel sits slightly higher than the domed crystal, thus providing protection from scratching and the crystal itself is of a proprietary Seiko material "hardlex" which, as I understand it, is better at resisting scratches than mineral glass but less susceptible to shattering than sapphire.

The luminosity of this watch is astounding due partly to the use of Seiko's proprietary "lumibrite" paint but also to the large coated areas on the hour markers and hands.

The bezel only turns one way, as a safety feature for timing dives, and feels silky smooth, the best I've experienced on any Seiko or Invicta diver. It has 120 clicks per revolution and is nicely aligned with the face.

MOVEMENT:

The watch uses the 21 jewel Seiko 7S26 movement running at 21,600 bph (5 ticks per second). It is non-hacking which means that the second hand does not stop when the crown is pulled out. Although this makes it difficult to synchronize, if a slight backward pressure is applied to the fully extended crown, it is possible to stop the second hand. The watch can not be hand wound but the self winding mechanism is very efficient and I have found that it has a power reserve of at least 24 hours. The 7S26 has been around for many years and has a reputation for ruggedness and reliability.

ACCURACY:

There are several reviews where people complain of poor accuracy. Typically, when new, automatic movements will be set to run fast at the factory because they tend to slow down after a few weeks of use. I own three watches with the 7S26 movement and after their breaking in period all are now keeping time to within 10 seconds per day.

I have a few thoughts on accuracy. You have to ask yourself how accurate does your watch need to be? If it is running 10 or 20 seconds fast per day then set it one minute slow and you will only need to re-set it once every week or two when it has advanced to one minute fast. If you need more accuracy then, unless you are willing to pay at least five times as much for a swiss watch, then buy a quartz.

Finally, if you do a search on the Seiko Monster you'll quickly come to realize that in its various colours, these watches are firm favourites amongst those who are members of internet watch forums. I would highly recommend that you purchase one and see for yourself!
33 comments| 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 23, 2006
I used to make fun of my friend who collects automatic watches. Then my wife got me a nice titanium automatic dive watch for Christmas a couple of years ago. It's as big as a clock and as heavy as a door knocker. Sound similar to anything we might be discussing here?

The other day I dropped my beloved watch (made by an obscure German firm that specializes in "instrument watches"). Much to my horror, it fell off the nightstand and the hands froze. I figured I'd be without it for at least a month while the service center fixed it, so I took that as an opportunity to browse a few web sites to look for a temporary substitute. Wound up spotting this chunker.

The Black Monster. Cool name, strong reviews, three year warranty, well known brand, unbelievable price, what's not to like? I considered its Orange Monster sibling momentarily, then decided to go with basic black.

The Black Monster arrived today. Let me tell you, the pics on the site fail to do justice to this bad boy. It is one shiny big hunka steel, even more manly than the titanium timepiece my wife picked out. It took just a moment to set the date/time and adjust the stainless band. I put it on and really started to appreciate the heft of the thing and the huge glow-in-the-dark hands that contrast with the elegant black dial. (Must confess I have yet to try it with a dress shirt; might be a tight fit at the cuff.) I think I have a new favorite watch. Don't tell my wife.

Epilogue: After I had placed the order for the Monster and it was too late to cancel it, I picked up my other watch--the titanium one--and much to my surprise and delight, it sprang to life! Of course, I couldn't bring myself to send the Monster back. I rationalized my unplanned purchase as costing much less than the now-unneeded repairs on the other watch...though now I have to buy a watch winder since I can only wear one at a time. And so it begins. I will no longer laugh at my friend. And one of these days I'll take this thing diving.
22 comments| 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 10, 2007
Originally written for the Orange Monster, this review holds equally true for the black version.

From the moment you first hold this watch in your hand, you realize it is a quality timepiece. The first thing that strikes you is its large size and heavy feel, yet despite that, it feels comfortable on the wrist due to its fine balance.

BRACELET:
The bracelet end links (those that attach to the watch case) are solid rather than formed sheet metal like you will find on most other watches in this price range. The pins holding the bracelet to the watch are the sturdiest I have ever seen. Each of the bracelet's subsequent links is also made from a solid piece of steel, not folded sheet, each component being feather-edged to prevent it digging into the wrist. Its removable link pins are of an unusual machined pin and collar design which, though fiddly to remove and replace, nevertheless ensure that the pins remain under-flush and secure when correctly installed. The bracelet is perfectly flush on the side that contacts your wrist making it feel very smooth during wear.
The clasp is very high quality, having both a fold over security buckle, which deploys with a satisfying click, and an Omega style double button catch. The security buckle closes onto a spring pin whose ends are spherical thus ensuring a tight fastening which should not wear with use. All in all these features add up to a watch that is very quiet on the wrist, the only faint sound coming from its automatic winding mechanism.
Finally the bracelet incorporates a clever hidden diver's extension (to allow the watch to be worn over a wet suit).

CASE:
The watch case, back and bezel are made from stainless steel. The case has an attractive mix of polished, brushed and machined finishes which all add to the feel of quality and function. The overall impression is that this is a precision instrument rather than a fashion piece; that's not to say though that it would look out of place with a dinner jacket any more than a wet suit.
The unidirectional bezel is of a heavily scalloped design, protected by bezel-guards which extend upwards from each of the lug pairs. The lower guard also functions as a crown guard and, all in all, the impression is of a case machined from a solid billet of steel. The bezel sits slightly higher than the domed crystal, thus providing protection from scratching and the crystal itself is of a proprietary Seiko material "hardlex" which, as I understand it, is better at resisting scratches than mineral glass but less susceptible to shattering than sapphire.
The luminosity of this watch is astounding due partly to the use of Seiko's proprietary "lumibrite" paint but also to the large coated areas on the hour markers and hands.
The bezel only turns one way, as a safety feature for timing dives, and feels silky smooth, the best I've experienced on any Seiko or Invicta diver. It has 120 clicks per revolution and is nicely aligned with the face.

MOVEMENT:
The watch uses the 21 jewel Seiko 7S26 movement running at 21,600 bph (5 ticks per second). It is non-hacking which means that the second hand does not stop when the crown is pulled out. Although this makes it difficult to synchronize, if a slight backward pressure is applied to the fully extended crown, it is possible to stop the second hand. The watch can not be hand wound but the self winding mechanism is very efficient and I have found that it has a power reserve of at least 24 hours. The 7S26 has been around for many years and has a reputation for ruggedness and reliability.

ACCURACY:
There are several reviews where people complain of poor accuracy. Typically, when new, automatic movements will be set to run fast at the factory because they tend to slow down after a few weeks of use. I own three watches with the 7S26 movement and after their breaking in period all are now keeping time to within 10 seconds per day.
I have a few thoughts on accuracy. You have to ask yourself how accurate does your watch need to be? If it is running 10 or 20 seconds fast per day then set it one minute slow and you will only need to re-set it once every week or two when it has advanced to one minute fast. If you need more accuracy then, unless you are willing to pay at least five times as much for a swiss watch, then buy a quartz.

Finally, if you do a search on the Seiko Monster you'll quickly come to realize that in its various colours, these watches are firm favourites amongst those who are members of internet watch forums. I would highly recommend that you purchase one and see for yourself!
0Comment| 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 8, 2006
I have been a Rolex man for as long as I can remember. When I was in college, I kept a Rolex brochure next to my study desk as inspiration of what might be achieved if I studied hard and kept my nose to the grind stone. Well, the hard work payed off because I have owned several Rolex watches--most recently a two tone Submariner. Like anything else I fancy, collectibles come and go--and almost everything is for sale. I had the chance to sell my Sub and took it--thinking I would upgrade either to a Daytona or an all-gold Yachtmaster. But a watch purchase like that doesn't just happen overnight, we are talking about some serious , serious money here. So now I needed an interim watch to get me through until my next Swiss beauty arrives.

Enter the Black Monster. First of all, I got this thing on Amazon for WELL below ANY of the so-called "discount" watch sellers--including the shop at home tv channels. Not only that, but I paid for 2 day delivery and got my watch overnight!!

I can't even begin to describe just how substantial and expensive looking this watch is. It is one serious hunk of metal that evokes memories of an all stainless submariner--not only in looks, but in heft, build quality and overall "feel". I paid about $150 for this watch delivered and had I not known its price and source, I would have guessed it to be AT LEAST 20 times that expensive. The stainless is beautiful and the band is a work of art--VERY well made, very substantial and very smooth. The bezel clicks with authority and the crystal is glossy and flawless. The luminescence is unbelievable! After charging it, I could read the time on this watch in a totally dark room from about 12 feet away---probably farther if not limited by my own eyesight.

The bottom line here is that Seiko and Amazon have saved me thousands of dollars because I no longer need a Rolex now that the Black Monster is here. You can bet I will be buying the Orange version in very short order and I have a newfound respect for this venerable watch maker. Honestly, I cannot for the life of me figure out how anyone can sell this watch for less than $5-600.

If you want/need a sporty watch that is diver certified to 660 feet (I never take mine off--swim , shower, etc), looks and feels really cool and doesn't cost a fortune, here it is. I am so happy with my purchase I would like to just keep typing and spitting out superlatives, but I think you may get the point.
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on April 12, 2007
The best dive watch money can buy, bar none. For $150, you are getting a product that is unparalleled in quality and performance. It's not perfect, and at around $150 it doesn't have to be, but what you are getting for that amount is far more what I can expect in Swiss Automatics 3x this price range or more. And don't listen to the lone naysayer out there...I'm not sure what pipe they are smoking out of, but the luminosity of this watch is legendary among watch collectors....charge it up in light for a few seconds and watch this bad boy light up like Chernobyl. I will echo a truth a fellow collector once related to me..."Any serious watch collector should have a Black Monster in their collection."
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on December 4, 2006
The Seiko Black Monster was my first mechanical watch - I bought mine in the summer of 2002. Since then I have bought 15 or so mechanical watches of various stripes, from a '50s Tudor to an early '60s Seiko Self-Dater to a modern Sinn 656. Ultimately I don't think I could have chosen better for my first mechanical watch - the Black Monster is a true beast. It is actually the only watch I have dived with to significant depths. The watch and bracelet are remarkably heavy, well-designed and crafted. I don't really think there is a watch under $1K that soundly trumps the Black Monster. I could downgrade the watch based on the existence of things like the IWC Aquatimer and Rolex Sea Dweller, but it would hardly be fair - this is a stellar watch, and argubly THE best value in a diver's watch on the market today.
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on November 10, 2006
I must confess that I bought this watch for two reasons -- one practical and the other...emotional. On the practical side, I need a tough watch that can take everything I can throw at it while kayaking, mountain biking, doing yard work and any other activity, and this watch has stood up well. It cost half of what my Seiko Perpectual Calendar did, weighs less, is 100 percent stainless steel (no irreplacable plastic/rubber parts like the Perpetual Calendar has). Because the Black Monster is a self-winding mechanical watch it is not as accurate as my battery-powered Perpetual Calendar. However, the Black Monster won't need to be sent in for service every three years to have the battery replaced. Now, the emotional reason for purchasing this watch. I'm not a flashy guy but I like the way a quality watch turns people's heads. I've had people wearing a Rolex eye my watch enviously, then work up the nerve to ask me what it is. When I tell them "a Seiko diving watch" it starts a conversation about the active lifestyle I lead and the fact that, unlike a $5,000 Rolex (which I believe most people own purely as a status symbol), I'm willing to wear my Seiko all the time and not worry constantly about damaging it. Attractive, practical, functional, well-made sums it up.
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on November 24, 2005
This is one of those iconic watches. A quick search on the net will show that the Black Monster and its colour variants have quite a following. Have had this watch for a short while but am totally impressed by its build quality and accuracy. It really puts some of the more expensive brands to shame. If you want a rubber strap better to buy the steel band model and then buy an aftermarket strap. The metal band is a work of art in itself. It also has a clever wetsuit extension built in. A note of caution. If you are getting the band resized at a local dealer, make sure they dont loose the pin sleeves. See the pink things on this page.

[...]
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on June 14, 2012
I purchased my Black Monster 6 years ago. I had not worn a watch in a number of years, but I had always really liked watches, so I decided it was time for a new watch.

Here is what I wanted. A watch that was completely stainless steel, did not need a battery, and could take a beating.

Stainless steel because the oils in my skin will make short work of leather, rubber, and even some plastics.

No battery because I don't want to change them.

And could take a beating because I do repair work.

like many others before me, I painstakingly plowed through reviews here on Amazon. I went to the watch forums and lurked and learned. I debated with myself over this and that, and in the end decided on the Black Monster.

I've worn this watch almost every day since it came. I have worn it while I've pounded away with a hammer, while I've torn machinery to pieces, while I've crawled around on the floor in the dirt and grime.

On a number of occasions, I've hammered on equipment while wearing this watch, so hard that I've had to take it off and stuff it in my pocket, because the weight of it thrashing around was starting to bruise my arm.

This watch was been shown no mercy.

So 6 years later how is it doing? It's doing fine.

The case and bracelet have many small surface scratches that I'm sure could be polished out if I was inclined to do so, but it in no way has it started to look bad. If this watch had been shown love and care, instead of steady harsh abuse, I'm sure it would have no scratches at all.

The crystal, as I look at it right now, has 3 scratches. One is more noticeable then the others, but you really have to be looking for scratches to see them.

Make no mistake, this watch is as tough as nails.

All the functions are in working order. The bezel I use to mark time almost every day. How long have I been at lunch, how long has dinner been in the oven.

The bracelet locks and stays locked. -A funny side note. I was on a tour of the Neon Graveyard in Las Vegas last year and the guy giving the tour spotted my Black Monster and said that he was into watches and had never actually seen one before and asked if he could take a look at it. I said sure and handed it over. After looking closely at it he mentioned that it even had the "wetsuit extension." Now, I'd worn the watch so long and had never needed to use this feature, I'd completely forgotten that it was there!

Time keeping. Since the very first, this watch has run a bit fast. After a month or so it will have gained about 5 minutes. I pull out the crown and set it back 5. This has not changed one bit since the day I got it. So it gains a little time, but it has been incredibly consistent.

So would I recommend this watch? Yes I would.

The reason I'm writing this review is because a few weeks ago I decided maybe I needed a new watch, a fancier one with a compass. I started the the process all over again. Looking at watches, making note of the features they had, reading tons of reviews. And don't get me wrong there are many fine time pieces out there. But I couldn't find one that I liked better then the one I already have. So I ordered a stand alone compass for $24 and was done with it. And have decided to stick with the Black Monster until one of us breaks.
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