Sporting one of Seiko’s famous “Pepsi” bezels, the SKX175 we are looking at today is characterized by rugged good looks and a casual appeal. Seiko sells several divers that are very similar to this model (including the well-known SKX007 model), the main difference being the color schemes. I happen to think the red-and-blue design on this model looks fantastic.
Classic Diver Case
The 41 millimeter case is a nice and compact size for a mechanical dive watch. This is a stainless steel case with Seiko’s Hardlex crystal dial window. Water resistant to 200 meters, so it gets Seiko’s official endorsement for professional use.
The screw-down crown is situated at the 4 o’clock position, with crown guards that rise up at a fairly steep angle to meet the top. The thick lugs angle towards the bracelet with no curving, giving off a masculine vibe. Maybe I only thought of this because this is a dive watch, but from the front view they remind me of shark’s teeth. The caseback features Seiko’s tsunami logo. With ISO certification, you know this is a seriously capable dive watch.
The unidirectional bezel is the standout styling element of this watch, in my opinion, with the striking red and blue coloring. This is obviously what has earned these watches their “Pepsi” nickname. The blue on the bezel is slightly lighter in color than the matte blue on the dial, although they are close enough in color that this is not always noticeable.
I think the design would benefit from a little more separation in the tones here, but overall, it’s not a glaring issue. Another interesting aspect of the bezel is that it does not taper at all, it is flat like a large coin sitting on the case. This is an interesting bezel deisgn that is somewhat unique today, and it imparts a solid and rugged feel to the watch.
Dark blue, grayish dial color complements the red accents well on the SKX175. A black-on-white day and date window is housed at the 3 o’clock position. “SEIKO” is printed in white right under the 12 o’clock marker, with “AUTOMATIC” right underneath in a slightly smaller font. To add a splash of color to the dial, Seiko wrote “DIVER’S 200m” in red, atop the 6 o’clock marker.
The round white hour makers are fairly large, making for easy readability, with a triangle-shaped marker at the 12 o’clock position. Lume fills the tapered hour hand and the arrow-shaped minute hand. The bezel pearl and hour markers also glow once the lights go out.
The 22-millimeter wide jubilee style stainless steel bracelet uses a fold over style clasp with a safety. The double locking clasp also includes an extender for fitting over dive suits. I don’t hate this bracelet by any means, but I feel that it doesn’t quite match the style of the rest of this watch. While the case and dial say “sporty diver,” the bracelet says “suit and tie,” at least, that’s the impression I get. It doesn’t necessarily clash with the rest of the watch, but I would probably switch it out for a sportier design if I were to purchase this model. If there is a weak point on the SKX175, it is probably this bracelet which, besides the questionable looks, feels slightly cheap and jangly.
The SKX175 employs Seiko’s widely-used 7S26 automatic movement. While it might not be the most accurate design available, it has a reputation as a solid workhorse of a movement. Shock-dampening features mean this movement is designed to stand up to whatever abuse you throw at it and keep on ticking.
It uses 21 jewels, beats at 21,600 mph, and has a 43-hour power reserve. The second hand ticks 6 times per second, for a very smooth sweeping motion that makes it obvious this isn’t a quartz watch. Some might be disappointed to learn that this watch does not allow manual winding, so a watch winder would be a worthwhile investment if you are not planning on wearing it regularly.
The SKX175 is certainly not without some compromises, but overall it represents a very solid value in its segment. In fact, the combination of classic good looks and serious dive features make the SKX175 hard to beat if you are looking for a sturdy mechanical watch that you don’t have to worry and fuss over – it can pretty much be worn no matter what you are doing that day. Plenty of people desire these traits in a wristwatch, evidently, as this is a very popular watch with many devoted fans. I can certainly appreciate the combination of rugged features, automatic movement, and relatively inexpensive price tag. It currently goes for around $300, a terrific price for a watch with all of these features.