Monday, August 8, 2011

Seiko Black Monster: Pure Breed Diver’s Watch

What first caught my attention was the watch’s good looks. Even if its purpose oriented designed, the concept of “function follows form” turns out well in this watch with its clear lines only finding the slightest bit of tension by the asimetric position of the crown and bezel guard extending in the lower right corner. The crown is positioned there so it doesn’t dig into your wrist. All this gives the watch its character which combined with reliability and an affordable price (compared to other divers watch)  earned it a bit of a cult following.

The Seiko Black Monster  has a tough self-winding mechanism, robust stainless steel case and bracelet, unidirectional rotating bezel and a screw-down crown for setting the time and calendar. The crystal is curved “Hardlex”, which is proprietary material of Citizen. Its better than mineral crystal but not as scratch resistant as sapphire. Does it mean that sapphire is better then? I don’t think so. Sapphire may not scratch but will shatter on impacts that may just scratch Hardlex, but otherwise leave the watch functional, so it’s a good call for a tough use watch that may be impacted by tools, diving equipment, rocks, etc. Seiko’s patented lume material, Lumibrite, is the brightest found on any watch. It’s impressive when you expose it to a light source and turn off the lights. Only tritium vials would do a better job, and then again only in the long run when the lume in the Black Monster wears out and needs light once again. This fortunately takes long enough so its not a problem overnight.
Seiko Divers Automatic Black Monster SKX779K Men's Watch
Seiko Divers Automatic Black Monster
Seiko Men's SKX781 "Orange Monster" Automatic Dive Watch
Seiko “Orange Monster” Automatic Dive Watch

Survival Watch?

While some watches have navigation tools or more intense LED that could be used for illumination, I’m not sure about watches being “survival” equipment. Maybe a digital compass can be a life saver or the intense LED in some watches be used for some emergencies, but I believe it would fall into the “makes life easier” category instead. That’s still good enough reason to get a Suunto Core or Casio Pathfinder if you’re inclined to do so.

What the Seiko Black Monster offers that appeals to me is excellent built, ruggedness and the lack of need of batteries to keep on working. Some people may also like the fact that it would not be affected by EMP because it has no electric components. In a very unlikely scenario where batteries are no longer available, all you would need would be some maintenance every couple decades or so.
Why even carry a watch then if I already have one in my cell phone?

Obviously keeping track of time would be number one. Depending on your line of work and lifestyle you may be checking the time of the day on your cellphone several dozen times a day. When you have meetings, kids to pick up from school, planes to catch, last minute deadlines, the plotter guy closing at exactly 5PM and you wondering if its worth making a run for it or not, just checking your wrist is easier than going for your cell. One other thing to keep in mind, especially if you work in big cities where opportunist burglars may abound, is that getting your cellphone out increases the chances of it getting snatched from you. In Buenos Aires you notice that the more cautious people or the ones that got tired of getting their cell phones robbed, they move aside into a store or building entrance to talk while away from the sidewalk where the pedestrian transit makes for a quick grab n’ run. Getting a nice cellphone stolen doesn’t come in cheap, better use a watch for keeping the time of the day.
The Seiko Monster is offered in several colors, but the most popular ones are the ones that I have, the Black and Orange Monster. The only difference is the color of the face of the dial, but for some reason that change alone makes the look and feel like completely different watches.
The Black Monster is more formal and classic. It wouldn’t be out of place while wearing a suit. The Orange Monster looks very good but its clearly less formal, more appropriate for casual wear, especially during summer. I suppose the Black Monster is the more versatile of the two.
Something different from my regular posts folks. If you’re an analog type of guy you’ll love this watch, and this is one of the toughest ones out there.
Take care,

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