Ever since its original release in 2011, the Seiko SKX007 has been one of the most popular dive watches on the market. With a quick glance, it’s easy to see why.
The black dial with bold lume markings makes a bold statement, and it’s also high-visibility and easy to read. Even the day and date window is very easy to read, with a pleasant, pale-blue font for the date. The bezel is also bold. It looks like a big gear, and has a 60-click unidirectional rotation. Overall, the stainless steel case measures 42mm in diameter and 13mm thick. So while it looks chunky, it’s still comfortable. Throw in a Seiko 7S26 automatic movement with a 41-hour power reserve, and you get a good idea of why this watch is so popular.
But if I know anything about my readers, I know you guys have discerning eyes. And if you’re going to spend a few hundred dollars on a new watch, you don’t want one that’s almost perfect. You want a picture-perfect timepiece for your lifestyle. With that in mind, here are five watches that are similar to the SKX007, but with their own unique twist.
First up is the Orient Mako II. It has a similar bold design to the SKX007, but it offers a metallic blue dial option in addition to the black. It also has numerals at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions, instead of the 007’s thick dots. The date window similarly high-visibility, although there’s a decorative divider between the day and date.
In terms of overall look and feel, the Mako II is slightly smaller than the 007, but only slightly. It’s 41.5mm in diameter and 13mm thick. Unless you measure it with a set of calipers, you won’t notice much of a difference. It does feature a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, which makes it slightly more rugged. Around the outside, a gear-style steel bezel features understated white markings on a black background. The bezel is unidirectional, with a 120-click rotation, so you can adjust it in 30-second increments.
The Mako II’s movement is a Caliber F6922. Because I generally review automatic watches, I should point out that this movement is hand-wound. The power reserve is 40 hours, so it’s not like you have to wind it constantly. The best thing to do is wind it every morning so you don’t forget. It’s also easy to set. The crown is hacking, so you can easily correct for small inaccuracies if your movement runs a second or two fast.
Like any respectable dive watch, the Mako II is water-resistant to 200 meters of depth. The crown has a screw-down design, so it won’t accidentally pull out just because it got snagged. The steel band is understated compared to the 007’s, with a simpler, 3-link design instead of the 007’s busier 5-link band.
The dial on the Citizen NY0040 has heavy, chunky lume indexes that are nearly identical to the 007’s. However, they appear pale green in daylight as well as darkness. The hands are also thick, with the same lume paint. The dial’s finish is a deep, navy blue that stands out in sharp contrast to the black finish on the bezel, as well as to the black background in the day and date window. The day is printed in red, which looks really sharp, but can be hard to read in low light. By contrast, the date is a standard white-on-black.
The case is a medium-weight, 42mm case that has plenty of wrist presence without being overbearing. It’s 12mm thick, which is relatively thin for the size. It features a mineral crystal, which offers plenty of clarity, along with being scratch-resistant for plenty of durability. The bezel alternates between smooth and scalloped sections around its circumference. It has a 60-click unidirectional rotation, which allows for easy adjustment for most purposes.
Like all Citizen watches, the NY0040 has a solar-powered movement, with almost 100 hours of reserve power when fully charged. However, there’s no charge indicator like you’ll find on some Citizens. But after wearing it regularly for a few weeks, you’re virtually guaranteed to have a complete charge.
The NY0040 is water-resistant to 200 meters and, like most dive watches, it has a screw-down crown. The crown is located at 8 o’clock, instead of the traditional right-side location. This is a blessing for right-handed individuals, since it won’t dig into your wrist when you’re wearing your watch on your left hand. The band is blue rubber. It doesn’t have the same “quality” look as a metal band, but it does have a dive chart printed on the side for a more sporty look.
The Seiko SKX009 is in the same series as the 007, so it shares a lot of similarities. But there are also a few important differences worth noting. The most noticeable difference is the bezel. While the 007 features a plain black bezel, the 009’s bezel has a two-tone design, with red from 0 to 20 minutes, and navy blue from 20 to 60. This allows for easy timing, since 20 minutes is the most common time limit for beginning divers with a single tank. You can also adjust the bezel in 30-second increments, thanks to the 120-click unidirectional design.
The dial itself is virtually identical to the 007’s. It has the same black face, the same lume hands, and a similar day and date window, although both the day and the date are printed in black. The case is 42mm in diameter and 13mm thick, also identical to the 007. However, it features a Hardlex crystal, which is shock-resistant. It also has a screw-in back. For everyday purposes, this doesn’t have any advantages. However, it makes it easier to perform maintenance, since removing the case back is easier, as is replacing it.
The 009 utilizes the same 7S26 automatic movement as the 007. It has a 41-hour power reserve, which is enough to leave it in your drawer for a day and a half without needing to reset it. The stainless steel band is also identical to the 007’s. It has a 5-link design, which might look busy to some eyes, but is very flexible and secure. Water resistance is rated for 200 meters, with a secure, screw-down crown located at 4 o’clock.
Like the SKX009, the SKX013 is part of the same Seiko series as the 007. The dial is an identical black, and has identical white lume indexes with bold markings at the quarter-hour marks. The day and date window is also identical, complete with light blue text in the day window. The bezel is slightly different, with semicircular white markings along the right side of the dial. However, it shares the same gear-style, 60-click unidirectional design.
What makes the 013 really distinct from the 007 is the smaller size. While the 007 has a 42mm case, the 013’s case measures 37mm in diameter, which is noticeably more compact. It’s also slightly thinner, at only 11.5mm. As a result, it barely reaches the threshold for a medium-sized case. This makes it a great choice if you have smaller wrists, or if you just prefer a watch with slightly less wrist presence. The 013’s case also has a screw-in back, easier maintenance. And just like the 009, it features a screw-down crown in the 4 o’clock position.
Like the 009 and the 007, the SKX013 uses the 7S26 automatic movement. In that regard, it maintains the same reliability, without bringing anything new or different to the table. If you prefer an automatic movement, you’ll be more than satisfied with the performance. The 013 also uses an identical, 5-link stainless steel band. It’s attractive and flexible, but takes longer to adjust when you first have it fitted.
The Dan Henry 1970 is the most unique of all my choices, but it still has a lot to offer. The dial is a satin black, with plenty of negative space that creates a more formal look. There’s no day and date window, and no complications whatsoever. The only indexes are at the 5-minute marks, and they’re fat tan rectangles. There is, however, a small chapter ring, with single-minute indexes and small numerals at the 5-minute marks. The bulk of the chapter ring is black, but the top right quadrant is orange. This isn’t quite the same as a two-tone bezel, but it serves a similar function. And it pairs well with the inner rotating bezel, which has discreet indexes at the minute marks and numerals every 10 minutes.
The case itself is slightly narrower and slightly thicker than the SKX007, at 40mm in diameter and 14.8mm in thickness. It’s constructed from polished stainless steel, with a slightly domed crystal. The domed shape isn’t enough to cause any distortion, but it’s enough to add an attractive touch to a relatively Spartan watch. The case is rated for 200 meters of submersion, just as you’d expect from a good diving watch, and there are two separate screw-down crowns. The 4 o’clock crown is used to set the time, while the 2 o’clock crown is used to adjust the inner rotating bezel.
The Dan Henry 1970 features a Seiko Caliber NH35 movement, which moves just as smoothly as the 7S26 movement that’s found in the Seiko SKX series. It also has an identical, 41-hour power reserve. The watch band is rubber, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your preferences. That said, it has an attractive diamond hash pattern, and is available in four different colors.