By Meor Amri Meor Ayob
The SKX779K or commonly known as the “Black Monster” by Seiko watch collectors around the world is a total departure from the classic Seiko diver lineage when it was first launched back in the year 2000. It became an instant hit with watch collectors around the world.
It is hard to pinpoint what is the attraction on this watch. Some say its the looks, while others say it is about the price. Whatever it is, the overall package is what makes this diver a sought after piece.
This watch is sized for modern standards. With a diameter of 42 mm without crown (47mm with crown), it has a thickness of 14 mm. The lug width is 20 mm while the lug-to-lug measurement is 48 mm. Made out of stainless steel, the watch uses a special propriety crystal of Seiko called Hardlex to protect the dial. It is slightly domed as seen from the photos below.
The scalloped bezel design and case combination is unique. Seiko is able to create interesting combinations when it comes to bezel and case. Other examples of such beautiful combinations are the Seiko Tunas and Seiko Anantas.
The screw-in crown is at 4 o’clock. Personally I am not that thrill with this position as it makes the watch looks asymmetrical. Nevertheless, it is easy to handle and well protected by the protruding part of the watch casing when screwed down. Unfortunately, it is not as smooth when screwing in as compared to Swiss brands.
The dial is black. The main markers are also numbered in small Arabic numbering. At the 3 o’clock position is the day and date functions window (with replaces a main marker). The hour hand is short and looks like a pointed spade. The hour long is long and thick while the seconds hand is thin with a small reference triangle in the middle of it. An interesting moment is when the hour and minute hands line up together on the dial to resemble a rocket ship. Meanwhile, all the markers and hands are generously painted with the ultra sensitive LumiBrite, the non-radioactive luminous compound developed in conjunction with the Nemoto Corp of Japan. The name LumiBrite itself is patented by Seiko. It will readily glow for 8 to 10 hours in the dark.
Seiko etched the markers and Arabic numbers on the bezel before painting it black. This gives a nice 3 dimensional effect to the bezel. It it unidirectional and rotates with a solid ‘click’. It moves in 120 increments for a full circle.
I personally like the stock 20 mm stainless steel bracelet. The squarish design of the links look unique. There is also a divers’ extension mechanism next to the clasp. This gives an additional 1 inch of length to the bracelet.
The screw-down caseback is a solid surface and uses the reference type 7S26-035. Seiko’s famous “tsunami wave” symbol is etched in the middle of the caseback.
The mechanical engine used in this watch is the Caliber 7S26A with 21 jewels. It is an automatic, non-hacking, non-manual winding movement operating at the beat rate of 21,600 bph (or 6 beats/sec). The main springs have about 42 hours of power reserve.
The 7S26 is the entry-level workhorse under the Seiko stable. Not as accurate, with a loss or gain rating of less than 40 sec/day, as other movements from Swiss manufacturers. Nevertheless, this caliber is one of the most hardy and the easiest to service and repair. This helps in making this watch a very affordable mechanical piece after taking into consideration its capabilities.
Probably the highlight of the Monster is its capabilities. It has a water rating of 200 meters. ISO 6425 certified dive watch. Designed to take punishment, lots of them. Not too big, not too small. Therefore, it can be used in all occasions. Above all, cost below RM1,000!! When I bought this in March 2012, it cost me only RM569.
Above is the power of the illumination paint. Very bright.
Overall, a very versatile watch and good as a daily watch. A must have for any serious collector.
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