By Meor Amri Meor Ayob

 

Two years ago, in February 2012, I decided to get the Seiko SNM035 “Land Monster” via Amazon. I got attracted by the twin crown at the 2 and 4 o’clock positions as well as the map function on an internal bezel.

I got to say that I am not a serious amateur diver, but many of us can appreciate a highly functional instrument like the Seiko SNM035 Land Monster. This watch looks more like a tool than a fashion accessory, and to me, that’s its appeal. 

The first thing you would notice is its size. Nicknamed the Land Monster, its 45 mm wide watch face makes it standout on anyone’s wrist. Coupled with the 15 mm thick case, this watch tends to create a  very strong impression. Unfortunately, the size does limit its use from formal events. It would be very difficult for the watch to easily slip under the cuffs. Compared to the more famous Seiko SKX779 Black Monster with dimensions of just 42 mm by 14 mm, the SNM035 is the bigger brother. Although the Land Monster’s dimensions provide easy readouts and allows it to have more features compared to the more famous Black Monster, the inability to be wearable in all occasions, namely with formal wear, is a disadvantage against it. Although one cannot blame it since it is designed for diving anyway, it could have shared the limelight with its more illustrious brother if the dimensions have been  made slightly smaller. 

The Seiko SNM035 has a very bold looking unidirectional rotating bezel with 60-minute scale and luminous marker at the 12 o’clock position. The first twenty minutes worth of markers are painted orange (the rest are black) for additional referencing. Do note that the markers and the Arabic numbering are etched into the metal and painted over. Even if the paint deteriorates over time, one can still see the markers and numberings.

The main markers on the dial as well the over-sized hands allows a copious amount of Lumibrite paint, a special luminous chemical made by Seiko to be put on it. This ensure that one can see the dial even in darken conditions (subject to the luminous paint being sufficiently charges by an external light source).

The seconds hand is coloured differently, i.e. in orange to match a part of the bezel. Meanwhile, a date window is located at the 4 o’clock position and replaces the marker at that position. Personally, I would have preferred a stand-alone date window while maintaining a lumed marker at the 4 o’clock position. This would make the watch dial look more consistent and complete.

A unique function of this watch is the 360-degree compass scale on the dial flange which is fully rotatable for setting bearings and solar navigation, made adjustable by the crown at the 4 o’clock position (the crown at 2 o’clock adjusts date and time). By following a simple set of rules and having the sun available, one can more-or-less accurately get a compass bearing. Below is manual on how to use it.

The dial is devoid of any other wordings apart from “SEIKO”, “AUTOMATIC” and “DIVER’S 200M” in three rows. Only the bottom row is coloured orange (the rest in white).
As The Seiko SNM035 is designed as an underwater instrument, its twin screwdown crowns and screwdown caseback, is built to withstand water pressure up to 200 meters. I like the fact that Seiko chose different design crowns. The crown at the 2 o’clock position allows one to adjust the time and date. It utilises a thin grove design for gripping. The crown at the 4 o’clock position allows one to manipulate the internal map bezel. It utilises a large gear tooth design for gripping. As an added protection, a chunk of the watch casing protrudes between the crowns to minimise direct impact on them.
Like all typical dive watches of quality, the Seiko SNM035 dive watch is crafted with 316L surgical grade stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. Despite the use of such quality steel, it is still advisable when in contact with sea/salty water, to rinse it properly with freshwater. The bracelet that holds this watch in place is also made with 316L stainless steel, and equipped with a fold-over push-button deployment safety clasp and a dive extension for fitting snugly over a diving suit.
The solid screw-down case-back has the famous tsunami logo in the center. Around this logo, information about the watch can be found etched. The movement used in this watch is the Seiko 7S35 automatic/self-winding movement, with 21 jewels and 42 hour power reserve. It is a non-winding and non-hackable movement that has seen the test of time. I am actually quite proud to know that the movement was manufactured here in Malaysia. This watch traveled a long way to America but now is back home to where it began.
The 20 mm bracelet is solid with solid end-links. Even though Seiko planned this watch to be an affordable professional dive watch, important aspects of a dive watch, like an extension mechanism for wet suit usage is still incorporated as part of the overall offering. Although simple, it is an elegant solution to keep cost down and allow it to be enjoyed by the vast majority of consumer.Sadly, this mass-consumer centric strategy is sadly missing in Western brands where their professional dive watches fetch multiple times the price of a Land Monster. I hope Seiko will continue with this strategy going forward.
In conclusion, the Seiko SNM035 Land Monster, fulfill all its objectives. The DNA reflects its sportiness and ruggedness to face challenges. Overall, macho good looks by a real tool watch. For more info, please visit seikowatches.com

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Meor Amri Meor Ayob – Contributing Editor

Meor Amri is a passionate watch collector from Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. Having bitten by the horology bug in 2010, he has written extensively about the watch scene and has assembled a large collection of watches (excessively!!) on his own free time.

His blogs on the same subject are: Watch Collection Hobby & My Horological Photos

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