The Seiko Prospex model SSC017 is another entry in a long line of Seiko dive watches. This particular variant, sometimes referred to as the “Air Diver,” is set apart from other Seiko divers by its attractive black-and-blue color scheme. It strikes a fine balance between some of the more sedate all-black dive watches and the vibrant, colorful variants like the famous red-and-blue “Pepsi” dive watch.
With serious dive functions plus looks capable of complementing a suit, this is a versatile watch that should appeal to a broad audience. It is hard to find many faults with this watch, with its lengthy list of features and Seiko’s solid reputation for crafting quality timepieces. Nonetheless, let’s dig in and see what we can find out.
At 43 mm across, the handsome round stainless steel case is large, as it should be. Dive watches have to be legible and usable in less-than-ideal dive situations, so the bigger the better. The SSC017 is rated as water resistant to 200 meters or 660 feet, making it suitable for professional marine activity and scuba diving. ISO 6425 certification provides extra assurance that this watch will hold up to underwater duty.
The famous Seiko tsunami logo, reserved for the company’s professional dive watches, is stamped on the back of the case. The crown and both pushers screw down to safeguard against leaks while underwater. The crown also features an attractive thin blue accent line around the bottom to go with the other blue markings on the watch.
The edge of the wide bezel has very thick ridges, making it easier to manipulate while wearing gloves. The most striking feature on this watch has to be the blue insert which marks the first 15 minutes on the bezel. This unidirectional bezel rotates quite easily with a nice clicking sound to go along with it. I can imagine some users might prefer some more weight given to the bezel’s movement, but for such a serious dive watch at this price, that is probably getting too picky, in my opinion. Drilled lugs will make it easier to swap out the bracelet if you don’t care for the one that comes with the watch.
The black dial is situated behind the Prospex SSC017 exclusive Hardlex crystal window. Intricate minute markers circle the outer rim of the dial. Three subdials at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions make the dial a bit cluttered. They measure in 24-hour, 60-minute, and sub-second intervals.
Silver-trimmed hands and dot hour markers lend a tasteful aesthetic to this watch. The minute and second hand are arrow shaped, while the hour hand is tapered. I really like how the blue from the bezel is repeated in a discreet manner on the dial, with a partially blue second hand and a blue hand on the 60-minute subdial. This is one of those minor details you don’t pick up on right away, but grow to appreciate every time you look at the watch. Lume on the markers, all three hands, and on the bezel pearl ensure that the watch is almost as functional in dark conditions as in light.
A small date indicator is tucked in between the 4 and 5 o-clock markers, and because it is shown in negative against a black dial and in that rather unusual location, it can take a while to locate it until you get used to it. At 5 beats per second when using the chronograph function, the sweeping motion of the second hand approaches, but doesn’t quite match, the smoothness of an automatic watch’s motion.
With its raised middle section, the SSC017’s stainless steel bracelet goes great with the stylish-but-rugged demeanor of the rest of the watch. An extendable clasp gives it the ability to open further than normal in case you require a wider opening for slipping on over dive suits. No, this isn’t a flashy feature, just one of those practical attributes that shows this is obviously a well thought out dive watch.
SSC017 Prospex Movement
A quartz movement with solar charging provides a hassle-free arrangement with no winding or battery changes to fuss with. A stout 6 month power reserve should prevent the watch from dying while you aren’t wearing it. By all accounts, Seiko’s quartz movement is absurdly accurate and should not require any adjustments.
To sum it up, the SSC017 Prospex is a beautiful and practical dive watch. It is easy to see why Seiko’s divers have garnered the loyal followers who eagerly await each new release. Particularly in this black-and-blue configuration with the metal bracelet, it is a versatile watch that could serve as your daily go-to, as long as you don’t mind wearing a large watch.