A few weeks ago, I was looking to put together another project watch. I wanted the best of both worlds (at least for a budget south of the $300 my recent Speedmaster purchase left in the Personal Watch Fund): a tool watch that dresses up. A diver was the obvious genre for this and within that, Seiko seemed the clear choice of base given the wide variety of custom parts to choose from.
I liked the 007's case and bezel, but didn't fancy its dial or hands - but of course these were exceedingly easy to find replacements for. I loved the Monster's rectangular dial indices and desired its legendary lume, but not much else about it (sorry, I know it has its fans; the, uh, aggressive bezel is a bit too bold for me), so I was rather pleased to learn from this forum that the Monster dial, with the integrated chapter ring removed, fit nicely into the SKX007 case (thanks nakedjohnny and V8!). From there on out, I just chose whichever parts I thought might good together and hoped for the best. I think it turned out rather well:
Big version: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaneli...98365/sizes/o/
And the obligatory lume shot:
In my previous research, Monster-dial-in-007 mods are pretty rare and I haven't seen any others with a Planet Ocean style bezel, so I'm going to take the opportunity to make this look the "Planet Monster". Charming, right?
Here's the parts list:
- Seiko SKX007K base
- Seiko OEM Black Monster dial (from Yobokies)
- Yobokies orange plongeur minute hands and Planet Ocean style bezel insert
- Noah Fuller aluminum chapter ring
- Motor City Watch Works plongeur hour and second hands
- William Jean Super Oyster Type II bracelet
* I used V8's hour hand because it extends past the post, similar in shape to his and Yobokies's minute hands, lending a pleasant symmetry. The lume rectangle on his second hand also seems to be just marginally larger than the one on Yobokies. Lume on these hands is about even with Yobokies's hour and second hands.
* The lume on my Yobokies minute hand is *ridiculously* bright. The lume shot is a bit exaggerated because I've just charged the face with a flashlight, but it is evident even in normal use. The color is not much different from the dial indices - it looks white in the photo because it is overexposed (and thus brighter than the green indices). The lume on the other Yobokies hands are weaker and on par with the MCWW hands. What he calls "red" is more reasonably "orange" (at least on for the minute hand). MCWW's red is actually red.
* The Yobokies PO bezel insert has pretty weak lume. It is also shipped with a protective plastic overlay; mine seemed to have gotten caught where the lume dot fits over into the insert. The small strips that get torn off when removing the plastic are extremely hard to remove without scratching the insert. The lume dot is also highly domed rather than flat (common with fake POs, I understand).
* The Noah Fuller chapter ring had a bit of grease on it when it arrived, but this was pretty easily cleaned off. There are a few microscopic dots of it that I found zooming in to 1:1 pixels on macro shots, but these are generally invisible to the unassisted eye. Though it's mostly an aesthetic decision, the brushed aluminum finish reflects the lume light a bit, which is kind of nice in the dark.
* The Monster dial works really well here, I think. Removing the integrated OEM chapter ring is pretty straightforward, but a bit hard to do without deforming it (it's plastic). Removing this leaves four holes on the dial, visible in the pictures above. They're at 1:30, 4:30, 7:30, and 10:30 and are small and inconspicuous enough that they do not bother me at all. The plongeur hands work really well with it, as a number of people have also found. The hour hand is just shy of the ten-minute numerals on the shorter indices. The lack of minute-markings because of the removal of the Monster OEM chapter ring is remedied by using an SKX007 chapter ring with minute hashes.
* Speaking of which, aligning the chapter ring is *$#@ annoying. It was off by about half a degree and I couldn't live with it. I think it might still be about an eighth of a degree to the left, but it's too small a difference to be sure. Noah includes a small bit of a sticky gel to hold it in place, which is an absolute requirement for ensuring correct alignment. I used a very small amount for the chapter ring and the rest to glue the bezel insert on.
* William Jean's newish Super Oyster bracelet with solid end links is very nice. I wouldn't have thought that I'd fine a screw link bracelet at twice this price. Fit and finish are very high quality. The deployant is rather weak though. It feels far cheaper and much less well-finished on its internal surfaces than the bracelet links. On the hierarchy of diver clasps, it rates lower than the Orient Mako's or Watchadoo straps'. The bracelet has nice Seiko fat spring bars on the lug ends, but the deployant side uses very thin and cheap spring bars that make me a bit concerned - I replaced them with some thicker, more solid-feeling spring bars from smaller watches. The end links on the deployant side are also a bit less impressive and are made of a rolled bit of steel. Nothing to really worry about (unlike, perhaps, the deployant bars), but worth noting.
* The SKX007 has an exceptionally nice case at this price point. It's not immediately clear from most photos, but the top is brushed, but the sides and back are polished. It's a subtle, but *great* look. The sides of the bezel are, I think, too polished out of the box. A little work on them has made mine match closer the case top's brushed appearance.
* I did not feel like I had to adjust the watch. I think its daily rate has been around +3-4 seconds average for the past week. I'm pretty happy about that.
* I had an excellent experience with all the vendors. The actual watch parts were all ordered pretty much simultaneously, with MCWW's parcel arriving first by virtue of the fact that V8 is stateside. Yobokies beat out Noah Fuller by a few days, but I think they shipped around the same time and the difference is just a matter of chance.
Adding two detail shots and a quick wrist shot:
I also posted some minute hand color variations on this later post.