If you’ve read my previous article on the history of SKX dive watches, you probably saw this SKX013 review coming.
Ah, the infamous SKX divers. Being one of the most discussed watches online, there is a large divide between the love and hate for this family of Seiko divers. Let me introduce you to the Seiko SKX family.
Currently, there are three (3) SKX watches, with two discontinued (SKX007 & SKX009) and one submerged (pun intended) under mystery in regards to production (SKX013). The SKX007 and SKX009 are similar in the sense that the only differences are the dial and bezel color. The former carries a matte black dial and black bezel, while the latter carries a matte dark blue dial and a Pepsi bezel. If you’re not familiar with what a Pepsi bezel is, it is referring to a bezel color combination that is reflective of the iconic Pepsi drink: blue and red.
All three SKX models are offered on either the stock Seiko rubber strap or infamous Seiko jubilee bracelet. For the SKX013 that I personally purchased, I opted for the jubilee bracelet as I’m a metal bracelet guy. The logic I use is that purchasing a stock metal bracelet separately after the purchase of a watch will almost always be more expensive, plus with the fact that I can always find plenty of third party leather or rubber straps later on.
Diving into the specifications of the watch in review today (once again, pun intended), the SKX013 is the smaller sibling of the three SKX divers. While the bigger siblings are around 42mm in case size, our beloved smaller sibling measures in at 38mm. Paired with a lug-to-lug distance of 44mm and a lug width of 20mm, the measurements sure do make the SKX013 a relatively small dive watch. Watch aficionados have questioned the design of the SKX013 as dive watches are traditionally large in size (at least 40mm in case size). However despite such criticism, the SKX013 receives plenty of love as an option for smaller-wristed people, including myself and Vincent.
Looking at the dial of the watch, the SKX013 sports a matte black dial with printed indices, just like the SKX007. At the 3 o’clock position is the day and date complication, which undoubtedly is a handy feature to have. For the hands of the watch, the minute and seconds hand sports an arrow-shaped hand, while the hour hand is a syringe-like hand. All the hands are filled with Seiko’s patented LumiBrite lume, hence the longevity of the lume isn’t something that you should be worried about.
The watch has a screw-down crown at the 4 o’clock position, reminiscent of the Seiko 5 series, as it plays a significant role in the 200m water depth rating of this small dive watch. The bezel, meanwhile, is a 120-click unidirectional bezel. Many owners and reviewers of the SKX series have pointed out the bezel to be the watch’s forte, and I would have to wholeheartedly agree. Despite the affordability of the watch, Seiko has definitely not cheapened out on the bezel. Solid bezel clicks and minimal backplay. Thank you, Seiko. In case you’ve wondered, the bezel insert is made of aluminum, which at this price range, is the norm.
Now, onto the bracelet. Let me confess first before I start talking (writing, in this case). I damaged the endlinks a while back trying to make the endlinks fit absolutely perfectly to the watch. Fortunately, I’ve had enough time with the stock bracelet to have my say on it.
A dive watch…and a jubilee bracelet? Aren’t jubilee bracelets designed for dressier timepieces? Well, yes, and no. When I found out that the SKX series came with a jubilee bracelet, something didn’t seem right. But fret not, as this combination is better than you might initially think. Plus, the jubilee bracelet is surprisingly comfortable thanks to its flexibility. The only major downside to the stock bracelet is the hollow endlinks, which I’d say triggered my miserable “DIY” attempt. It would be great if Seiko could provide solid endlinks, but at this price point, I’m being too greedy.
On the bright side, there are many third party bracelet options for the SKX series, with both hollow and solid endlinks available. Mine, for example, is a Strapcode bracelet. Some people may be put off by the price of the bracelet as they near US$100. However, if you take into consideration the length of ownership of one bracelet (surely one is enough to serve you until the watch dies on you), it’s a costly, yet worthy investment in my opinion.
So, how does the SKX013 fair as an everyday watch? To keep my answer short: very well. Sure, the 200m water resistance may be a slight overkill as a desk driver (for most owners), but it’s definitely a nice feature to have. As an affordable daily beater watch, I really have nothing to complain. So if you’re looking for an everyday watch that can handle the dings and scuffs of life (including unexpected rain), the SKX013 is definitely a worthy contender of being the best affordable small dive watch.
Bonus: I took my SKX013 with me on my recent week-long trip to Busan, South Korea. Above is a complementary wristshot!
Now, onto the age-old question: SKX007/009 or the SKX013?
It all depends whether you prefer a larger or smaller dial and case. This is because the lug-to-lug measurements are similar whereby it is 46mm for the SKX007/009 and 44mm for the SKX013. If lug width is also a key factor for you (eg. most of my straps are 20mm), take note that the SKX007/009 has a lug width of 22mm.