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  • Affordable diver

    Morning gents, I'm off overseas soon and looking for an affordable (read: cheap) diver that I can wear day in and out, without any concern for what I put it through. I will be swimming, won't be scuba diving, won't be taking another watch with me, and don't want anything too large or flashy.

    I know there are plenty of "affordable diver" threads online but I'm looking for current views and hopefully some photos from owners or former owners of the following or similar (approx. prices only):

    Seiko SKX007 (K from $250 or J from $300)
    Seiko SNZF17 (K from $200 or J from $250)
    Orient Blue Ray ii (from $300)

    I haven't seen any in person and I'm struggling to make the call. If I was less concerned about price, I'd jump up to the Samurai (which I do really like the look of but can't justify right now).

    Thoughts?

    Cheers,
    Suavio

  • #2
    You won't get out with an SKX007
    Tony Lewis
    New Zealand

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    • #3
      you cant go wrong with any of them mate.
      none are large or excessively flash.

      personally id say the Orient just because you dont see too many around and the dial is rather lovely. the only reservation i would have is regarding how much abuse you are expecting to give the watch. the 007 looks good with a few signs of wear, the orient looks a little tired if it is scratched up and dented.

      a 3rd company to look at could be something from the Citizen line up, if you are not one of these mechanical only types, they have some great eco options :thumbup:
      “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.”


      Despite having the numbers, there is the crazy man in the mountains that none of the tribes will go near!
      Always aim to be that man.

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      • #4
        Can't really add much to what John has said in a nutshell, and certainly second the grab and go functionality of the eco-drives. The promasters take quite a beating as well!

        Comment


        • #5


          Seiko SKX007 (K from $250 or J from $300)
          Seiko SNZF17 (K from $200 or J from $250)
          Orient Blue Ray ii (from $300)


          Some great advice above :thumbup: , and I agree with all that’s been said. As an additional resource, you may want to look over a comparison review that I did a number of years ago for the SKX007 (https://www.timekeeper.co.nz/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=537). While far from current, the watch being reviewed is still exactly the same, and you may find points for consideration in drawing up your own comparison of the models you are considering to buy. Note though, that the other two divers in that piece have been out of production for some time.

          As this is our Dive Watch forum, I would just like to point out—and you already realize—that that, of the three you have picked out, only one is a true ISO-compliant diver’s watch (Seiko SKX007). The Orient Blue Ray II, while I’m sure is more than capable in recreational scuba diving, is more correctly referred to as a “sports diver”. As for the Seiko 5 SNZF17, I would call it a sports watch styled like a diver . I do realize that, in actual usage, all three are likely bought for similar purposes, i.e. daily wear, but the Seiko SKX007 and Orient Blue Ray II are more likely competitors, while the Seiko 5 SNZF17 would compare better with other Orient diver-style sports watches like the EM76001B. I feel on-line vendors tend to price the Seiko SNZF17 higher than they realistically should, perhaps due to the popularity of this Submariner-like model.

          Over the last decade, I have owned three Seiko SKX007 as well as its Orange-dial variant, the SKX011. No Orient Ray, but did have a Mako (1st Generation) for a while, and I have handled the SNZF17 on more than one occasion. So, I will only comment on the SKX007 and Orient Ray II.

          Seiko SKX007

          For many, its place in Seiko dive watch history alone as being the true living descendant of the second longest continuous line of Seiko, spanning well over half a century, is enough reason to experience one sometime during their watch journey. The styling faithfully adheres to that first introduced by Seiko’s first mainstream quart diver, the 150m 7548, and continued on in the slim-case Diver 150m 6309. There aren’t many watches out there that retain their looks what is now nearly four decades. If a Swiss manufacturer were to continue producing a watch like the SKX007, they would be charging five times what Seiko is asking, like what you see in watches like the Omega Speedmaster Pro.

          Of the trio you are looking at, the SKX007 is the toughest, and should things get too rough, a massive parts market—both OEM and aftermarket—awaits, not to mention the possibility of "modding", if you are interested in such. If you happen to sell it used at some point in the future, an eager market also awaits for this diver, and the same can be said for the its sports watch sibling, the SNZF17. No watch is perfect, however, there are things to put up with. First, the on-wrist comfort can differ depending on what bracelet or straps you choose to wear yours on.

          I personally favour the stock Jubilee bracelet that many dislike—it’s bad if you think of it as a bracelet, but as a type of flexible mesh (I know this is an odd way to look at it), it is very comfortable. Nato also works well for me. However, on any combo, most wearers will find the ‘007 less comfortable than the vintage 6309 (both case types), Diver Cal 7002, and even the Sumo. This is due to the shape of the case back, where on the three mentioned divers, there is a larger surface area in contact with the back of the wrist, spreading more evenly their weight, compared to that of the SKX007 with its “domed” case back.

          Comfort can also be affected by the build quality, by which I mean that, on some units, the base of the crown guard at 4 o’clock can be too sharp that the wrong bracelet/strap can cause discomfort.

          Orient Ray II

          If I were to choose the Orient Ray II over the SKX007, it would be down to three aspects. The first is a slightly better quality of movement. While both share a common ancestry—early Seiko 7006 of 1970—Seiko has taken their entry-level mechanical movement in a direction that focuses on durability and robustness. Orient took a more refined approach to the development of their base Cal 469xx, specifying it with better accuracy rate than Seiko, and in its latest incarnation, the F6922, incorporating auxiliary manaul-winding and hacking. Though, contrary to popular belief among enthusiasts, the pure inclusion of hand-winding and hacking in themselves does make a movement “higher grade”, as seen in the Seiko 4R36, which is essentially the same grade than the 21-years-old 7S26. Many, myself included, will tell you that Orient are also more accurate “out of the box” than 7S26-equipped Seiko.

          The second reason for choosing the Ray II would be build quality. While material is on par with Seiko, with the exception of the unbeatable Seiko lume, fit-and-finish is, IMO, slightly better. For reasons unknown, there seems to be noticeable variation in quality in the SKX007, both K and J variants, that I don’t see in other SKX divers like the original Monster (SKX779). Sometimes it is the case finishing or chapter ring alignment, other times it is the bezel action, and other times still, all is perfect. Entry-level Orient, on the other hand, tend to be more consistent in their QC, and I no reason to think otherwise for the Ray II.

          Lastly, the relative rarity of Orient watches in NZ is an icing on an already-great offering. While Rays and Mako seem to be everywhere on the forums, in the wild, you’d be hard-pressed to bump into one locally. The absence of the date-pusher at 2 o’clock in the Ray II has its fans and critics—I miss it as it’s a visual link to another Orient historical lineage, while others welcome it, seeing the pusher as an antiquated non-necessity. The lack of the said pusher also gives the Ray II a more Sub-like silhouette, though again, whether that is a positive or negative is subjective.

          Hope this gives you a good start for things to think about, but either of the above two would not disappoint you. As the other Seiko, the SNZF17, I'd only go with it if 1) you like the styling, or 2) you want a Cal 7S26 but the SKX007 is too large for your liking.
          A watch journey that also serves the betterment of others is one worth taking.

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          • #6
            One other consideration is that if you decided to do a TST mod later then SKX007 can me modded..

            See:

            http://www.thetigeruk.com/home.html

            Not sure if DW is planning another group project with these..

            Cheers
            Tony Lewis
            New Zealand

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks so much everyone for your replies above. Don, I really appreciate your thoughtful reasoning. Based on all of this I've made my call...

              As much as I liked the look of the Ray II, I've opted for the Seiko skx007. It fits the bill for a hard wearer that I can put on and forget about, and I think its look is growing on me. Plus being an actual diver, and modifiable, I think it's the only long-term choice.

              Thanks again - a new skx007 is winging its way to me now!

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              • #8
                Need some Pics in the wild when you get it

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                • #9
                  Thanks to all those who helped with this decision. The skx007 is more impressive in person and has a lovely solid feeling to it. I think we're going to get along just fine...

                  For the record, I purchased the K version with rubber strap (J was almost $100 more and I'm not a fan of bracelets). My very first step was to replace the strap with a nato style. IMO this watch looks made for the nato.

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                  • #10
                    Massdrop has the Skx for $169 USD

                    Sent from my SGP512 using Tapatalk


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                    • #11
                      Like the SKX ... never owned that one, anyone used Massdrop?

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                      • #12
                        I've bought a few things off there recently, a nice one piece horween strap and there are nice pens on the writing community as well.
                        Sometimes the watches are with full warranty, sometimes the warranty info is hard to find. In a lot of cases the savings are not that much compared to other online grey market sellers and the wait for delivery is several weeks. Recently some more upmarket watches have been appearing. Lots of glycine, but that may be due to the recent Invicta purchase of that brand.
                        I jumped on a Seiko perpetual chronograph a little while back. The drop ended on friday, I don't think they're shopping for a few weeks yet. I'll let you know what the overall experience was like when I get the watch

                        Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk


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                        • #13
                          I've used Massdrop and find it really good


                          Live long and prosper.

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