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Authored by technogeekery


Hello all - new to the forum, and have very much appreciated all the online information and advice, its been a great help in choosing my new watch. I've had 2 real watches over the last 20 years, both Seiko quartz 200m divers watches (I'm a diver, albeit infrequent) and have loved them. When it came to replacing my watch this time, I spent a lot of time researching the replacement online - and thanks to you all was able to be much better informed - isn't the internet a wonderful resource? So here is my review, quite a long one, and I hope this information helps someone else in their own search for information.

So - with all that extra information, what was my informed decision? To go with another Seiko quartz 200m, of course!

Seriously, one thing that hasn't changed in the last 20 years is the quality and sheer value for money that Seiko offer in a diver's watch. After 2 weeks trawling this forum, your diver's watch section, and real-world trying out different watches, I've come back to Seiko quartz. I was tempted by automatics, the sheer love of quality machinery that so many of you exhibit chimed with my own sensibilities - but for a practical go anywhere pick up and use watch that I don't have to worry about, the quartz made more sense for me. I want them to be accurate, really solid, completely waterproof and very tough, scratch resistant but also still good looking for when I inevitably do scratch it, low to no maintenance, 10 year + lifespan, not so expensive I worry about it, good looking enough to wear with suit, and versatile enough I never have to take it off except when I'm rock climbing or in bed. I'm living in Japan at the moment, so Seiko / Citizen / Orient are relatively inexpensive (although I think the USA pricing is still generally cheaper) and all 3 brands offer astonishing value/features for the money.

I don't know Orient well and don't perceive the brand at the same level as Seiko or Citizen, so concentrated on the latter two. I looked at a lot of the Citizen models, and they are very well made, good looking, decent watches - but they are priced the same as the Seiko equivalents here, and I felt they were overall slightly less well made. For example, the bezels are distinctly inferior, and the bracelets not as good. Minor differences, but enough together with my excellent experience of Seiko to discount them. I really liked the eco-drive though, and one of them really appealed - the Ti Promaster DLC Ti PMX56-3002

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[font=arial]Exactly my kind of watch, and much smaller, lighter and thinner than most dive watches, so works well with my 7" wrists and french cuffs at work. Maybe as a second watch one day [/font]

[font=arial]So - to the Seiko's. They have a good range of Seiko's domestically, of course, but suprisingly few of the true diver variants. Despite the growing popularity of huge dial watches generally, given the physical differences of the Asian customers, the huge diver's watches are probably just too heavy. Admittedly, I started out looking specifically at lighter / slimmer dive watches such as the ti models as I really don't need such a bulky watch, and they do sometimes bind up with my work clothes and tend to overpower my slimmer wrist. I tried on a few, but wasn't sold - they just didn't feel right. Regardless of the reality, even expensive titanium models felt insubstantial and "cheap" - whereas when I slid on a more traditional full size stainless diver it just felt RIGHT. I tried on some automatics for fun, also some of the bigger serious pro diver models such as the Tuna variants and Marine Masters. Very serious watches, but too big, heavy and mono-purpose for me. Fabulous as a dedicated dive watch, but not for what I need. But the models I was interested in were the kinetic scuba's - and they felt perfect. Heavy, obvious quality, great visibility and clarity, simple classic looks, and a superb bracelet. Sold - now which one? The black is classic, the pepsi looked like my first watch and I was very tempted - but the orange was the standout. It relieves the seriousness a bit, the bracelet dresses it up, the dial says sporty, the bezel says serious - there ya go, my all-purpose watch .[/font]

[font=arial][img]http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a208/technogeekery/SBCZ015.jpg


Model 5M62-0BL0 which I believe is SBCZ015 Seiko Kinetic Scuba 200m. In Japan this is marketed as a Prospex model, which refers to their professional diver watch range. No traditional battery, but a long-life (lithium I believe) battery powered / charged by Seiko's kinetic system which converts human movement into electricity. The 5M62 quartz movement is used in many Seiko watches and is developing a good reputation for both accuracy and reliability. I think this orange-face variant is a Japan-only model, but as far as i can tell the colour is the only thing distinguishing it from the models available worldwide.

I don't have any of my own photos yet, can post some up later if anyone cares, but this pic shows the watch clearly. I love the look, but thats pretty subjective. Wasn't sure about the skeleton hands at first, would have preferred solid hands, but they are distinctive and they are growing on me. I'm also not at all sure about the way the orange face is in two sections, with a circular cutout just inside the minute markers. Any ideas why they did that? I think it would have looked better with a plain flat face, and its the feature I like least about the watch. Hope I get used to it.... Otherwise the watch is simply exactly what I like. Bezel is superb, lovely fine movement, precise, well machined, easy to grip, simply perfect. Crystal is Hardlex - don't know what my last watches were, but I never got a scratch in 10 years of hard use, so suspect this will hold up well too. It gets fingerprint marks quickly - but cleans very quickly and easily too, and looks great, no reflection problems. Layout of the dial & markets is classic dive watch, no numbers just markers, very clear and legible. The orange is clean and distinctive and looks great against the SS (think it would look even better with a good rubber strap, more on that later).

Crown is plain polished stainless, looks good, screws in & out easily and feels like serious quality. The power reserve button is unobtrusive, set in a small collar just where the crown logs meet the case. Power check mechanism is simple - press the button when the second hand is at 12, and the second hand jumps to a position between 5secs (1-7 days reserve) and 30 secs (4-6 months). Case is a mix of brushed and polished ss, and classically shaped - looks superb and fits my 7" wrist very well. Size is 43mm x 14mm - while in the US this is nicknamed the BFK it is by no means an oversized watch, and compared to the giant Promaster Ecodrives and Tunas/MM's I tried on, it looks subtle! Due to the smaller radius dial, and the way the black bezel insert minimises the bezel size, it wears smaller than my last Seiko and is well suited to my smaller wrist - I think you could get away with this from 6.5" to over 8".

The bracelet is excellent - heavy, supple, good looking brushed ss with Seiko branded locking clasp, and 3cm wetsuit extension. The jeweller had to take out quite a few links to get it to fit my wrist, but it still looks in proportion. Together with the watch it makes for a substantial package - you definitely notice its there on your wrist, and I like that very much. Its comfortable with its well shaped case and slightly rounded case back (screw down, tastefully engraved with tsunami logo), and the bracelet has a 4-position micro-adjustment feature that allows you to set it in increments of about 3mm - so with a bit of fiddling at the shop, I was able to get it perfectly sized to my wrist.

But.... as I was paying for it, I asked for a rubber strap to go with it. My wrists change size from winter to summer, and daily depending on the temperature and how much exercise I am getting - so I like rubber straps for the flexibility they allow. I also like to mix up the looks from time to time, and a rubber strap transforms the looks of these divers. But the jeweller was distraught and spent a lot of time explaining somethign to me about the lug pins - all in Japanese of course, and my minimal Japanese was not up to the task. But what I think I gathered was that due to the design of the lug pins, this watch can only be used with the OEM bracelet. Aaaargh! It wasn't a deal breaker, but it was disappointing - and a bit annoying, if true. I must say I can't see how to remove these pins myself, they are not screws or allen key nuts, but rather a plain round tube fitting that looks like it needs to be pressed out with a special tool. Anyone got any idea on this? Can you find aftermarket straps for this model? If not, I'll be happy to live with the bracelet, as its a very good one - but I really would like to get and use a rubber strap from time to time. Looks like a standard 22mm lug-lug gap by my ruler...so I guess its the closure that is the problem.

Other than that, I'm very happy with the watch, excellent value for money good looking diver that should give high accuracy and reliability for the next 10 years or so. I might drop back in and give an update in a couple of months regarding accuracy and longer term impressions. I can take and post photos if anyone is interested, feel free to ask questions too.

Finally - just fyi - Japanese retail price for this in the major discounters is just under JPY30,000 (about USD320) with 1 year international warranty.

 
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