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Hi Gang,

Yet another review of an older watch. For those not in the know this watch was brought out in 2000 as an homage or "re-issue" of the 6215 or 6159 pro divers of the late 1960s.

The hertitage is obvious when looking at this 6159 pic from the SCWF Photo Database:


Now compare this watch above to the "original" Marine Master: the SBDX003:
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Other than a lack of gold coloured text on the bezel it is pretty obvious that the watch is designed after the late 1960s originals.

These design choices can be both lauded and criticized on the same watch. More on this as I actually get onto reviewing the SBDX001; aka Marine Master.

Now, while the "original" SBDX003 came on strap only with gold coloured dial indices the SBDX001 comes with both strap and bracelet and a more conventional dial with silver coloured indices.

So, when you get a SBDX001 this is what you get:
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This packaging is a "step up" from the traditional Seiko packaging but if this was in an A.D. next to an Omega P.O. or Rolex Sub I suspect that this packaging would pale somewhat next to the beautiful packaging Swiss watches usually come in.
You get the watch, a strap, and the awesome bracelet that this watch is well known for:
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Now a bit about the actual watch [img]http://www.network54.com/images/happy.gif

When conversations happen about this watch certain things usually come up. One of the first things that often gets pointed out is the unique and cool diver's extention integrated into the clasp of the bracelet. Now this is somewhat more common as the SD 600 has this as does the Orient OS 300.

The latest diver to have a variation of this "ratcheting and adjustable" diver's extension is the Doxa 5000T. Here are the two together:


This is an excepional bracelet and the diver's extension is truly a genius design. The bracelet has good heft and it has solid end links. Very few things I can criticize on the watch except for the fairly plain clasp.
This is a very expensive watch (upwards of $2000 USD on the on-line e-tailers now). Why in the world would I want my MM clasp to look the same as a Monster clasp?
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Onto the watch itself. This is a watch that needs a closer look to recognize its talents. It has a relatively conventional look and it is on closer inspection that you start to see what a jewel it is [img]http://www.network54.com/images/happy.gif


The bezel is probably the first thing you might notice. It literally shines at you as it is not the typical bezel assembly with aluminum insert. It is a one piece bezel with some kind of clear coating which gives a real glossy amd trick finish to the bezel. The present Blancpain Fifty Fanthoms has a similar effect. Then again the bracelet along for this Blancpain will pay for a new MM plus a Sumo, plus straps and goodies to go on both!
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Then, if you get some light on that dial and bezel you will be treated to world class lume. This is as good as a Monster or Sawtooth. This watch takes a back seat to no watch in the level of lume it offers:
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Now you take the watch off and take a good look at it. What's this? No removeable caseback. Again not something you see everyday. This probably partially explains the 300m and He rating of the diver.
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Now how is this one on the wrist? Here is where the watch can cause you a few issues. It is a very heavy -top heavy- watch. This can make wearing it frustrating until you get the fit "just so". Once the fit was dialed in I could wear it in complete comfort. Being just slightly too loose led to it wanting to migrate around my wrist. A Sumo and other "better balanced" divers are not so tricky to dial in for fit. Thankfully Seiko's typical micro adjustment holes on the clasp are there to dial the fit in. However, why couldn't Seiko include a half link with the bracelet like various Swiss companies do?

Okay some wrist shots:
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So, how does this watch stack up?

Well as I was saying earlier this watch is a "jewel" or "gem"
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It has all sorts of "hidden" talents that one might miss at first glance. One is the bezel which I already elaborated on. The second is the hands which have a beautiful brushed finish.
You may catch a bit of this in this pic:
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The other element of this watch that is so specal is completely hidden from view. It is the Grand Seiko derived 8L35 movement. Look at how beautiful this movement is from a pic posted on the SCWF Photo Database by Jack Alexyon and IWW:
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This both my biggest compliment to the watch and one of my criticisms.

My understanding is that this watch is hand assembled where the Grand Seikos are assembled. This is a Grand Seiko derived movement. So, top drawer providence with this watch. Why then is there such a diversity to accuracy on these watches? This is now a $2000 + USD watch and less expensive watches are out there with C.O.S.C. certificates. Why couldn't Seiko charge a few hundred more for the watch and adjust it to say 3 positions? My Marine Master is +8 secs or so per day. I'm sure that with regulation this could be dialed down to +4 secs per day or better. Just a pet peeve of mine with this watch.

My other pet peeve is the lack of a signed crown. The SD 600 has a signed crown as does the Sumo.

The other area of criticism this watch gets is the lack of a Sapphire crystal. For me this is no biggie. Others feel differently.

Yet another issue that comes up with the MM is the lug width. It is 20mm which complicates strap choices for some and a 20mm bracelet or strap option on such a heavy watch makes a unique situation for sure. As I mentioed early on in this review Seiko made design decisions on this watch which were in keeping with the late 1960s originals. Those watches had 19mm lugs so using 20mm lugs on the MM makes sense in this context.

So what is the verdict?

My final score is 8.25/10. Where did the MM lose points? Well, I have much less expensive watches with far better accuracy. I was rough on the MM here and dedicted an entire point for this issue. I also deducted a half point for the plain clasp which inspires no passion in me and is the complete opposite of the beautiful clasps that other companies like Omega make.

The final 1/4 point was deducted for the lack of a signed crown.

Overall this watch is a gem and for me this is right up there with a Rolex Sub in that it is a watch with history and roots and it is a diver that is a "looker" and does not look super huge like a Tuna, 45.5mm Omega P.O. etc.

Update: A few months after I initially posted this review I sent the MM to Randal Benson for a regulation. It came back running -1 sec per day on my wrist. It would gain a couple of seconds if I did not wear it. If I wore it all day and to bed it would still run -1 sec per day which is phenomenal. Here is a link to the inards of this watch when Randall had it open: [url=http://seikoholics.yuku.com/topic/152]http://seikoholics.yuku.com/topic/152[/url] Thanks for reading. :)

Edit: I had to respost the pics as they did not survive my copy and paste from the AWF...


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