Review SKZ247K1 Seiko 5 'Frankenmonster'
Hello all once again! It's been ages since my last review, but I promise more are to come. This is one of a series of two reviews that I will be releasing over the next couple weeks. I'm long overdue.
Today's review will be of the Seiko 5 SKZ247K1 Diver's watch, or 'Frankenmonster.'
I've been looking at this watch for several months and finally decided to pull the trigger on it. As you will glean from this review, there are many things to like about it, but also some shortcomings. Not a deal breaker, considering the price range that this piece is available at even brand new. So without further delay, let's get started.
Seiko is well known for their unique case designs. This piece is no exception. There are a combination of several different Seiko pieces all in this one watch. A bold stainless steel bezel like on the Monster models, a rubberized shroud surrounding the case like the Arnie models, and a very militaryesque face and handset. The hex screws holding the case surround to the middle case, and the large bolt-shaped signed crown at the 4 o'clock position lend the styling to the nickname 'Frankenstein' or, more commonly, 'Frankenmonster.
The design of this watch sets it apart from all other watches. You will be very hard pressed to find another one styled quite like this one. Overall, the design is excellent. It is unique, and very rugged. A real tool watch.
The all stainless bezel with black engraved markings and lume pip looks great. Unfortunately, that's it. Although there are deep ridges and checkering on the supposedly chunky bezel, I find it hard to grip. There are several reasons for this.
The bezel itself is rather thin. Or rather, it has very little for the fingers to gain purchase on even though there is supposed to be lots of traction. This is largely due to the case shroud, which only has places for your fingers to grip at the 6 o'clock to 9 o'clock area and the 12 o'clock to 3 o'clock area. The rest of the bezel is largely covered by the shroud, and the parts that are exposed are partially covered.
In addition to the shroud hindering the use of the bezel, the gripping surface on the bezel itself is polished to such a high shine that it renders the deep checking useless.
What's even more suprising is that the 120 click bezel spring is tight enough to make it difficult to actuate the bezel, but isn't tight enough to stop it from moving should you accidently collide with a chair or door frame.
This is a big hit on the Frankenmonster. This may be something that is very uncommon, or maybe unique to my particular watch.
A huge redeeming factor (and something that makes the unfortunately bezel forgivable) is the face and handset. The hour indicies are large and piled thick with Lumibrite. This makes both day and night reading of the watch face ludicrously easy. Interestingly, I have found that the hands and lume pip have a very slightly different glow than the dial. I suspect this may be because of the relative amount of lume applied to the hands and dial. In any case, readability is spectacular day or night.
Something that I have yet to get used to is the second hand, which has the lume applied on the opposite side of the second hand, that is to say that while the second hand is pointed at 10 seconds, the lume is positioned at 40 seconds. I found that this is almost identical to the second hand of the SKX007 that I used to have. I actually got rid of the 007 because of this very thing, but find that it doesn't bother me nearly as much on the frankenmonster.
For all intents and purposes, the SEL bracelet on the Frankenmonster should be a hit. For myself, personally, it isn't. It's solid, but I find that it's rather stiff and uncomfortable. It took maybe 20 mins for me to get the sizing just right, and it still doesn't feel as good as let's say an aftermarket oyster bracelet.
Surely the relatively beefy clasp and dive extension should be a redeeming factor? Nope. The dive extension isn't intuitive at all. While inovatively designed, it's somewhat difficult to operate. Also, the folding portions of the main clasp are unnecessarily long, and I feel that this also contributes to my difficulties sizing the bracelet.The pushbutton release and safety latch are a nice touch though.
The centre links on the bracelet are patterned to match the checkering on the bezel. Personally, this does nothing for me, but I can respect that many people find this an attractive pattern.
Finally, friction pins.
Friction pins are not only difficult to size, but I feel are more unreliable than screw pins. The only positive is that every single link, with the exception of the SELs can be removed or replaced because they all have friction pins holding them in. This can come in handy if there is damage to a link close to the lugs. On other bracelets, you'd be stuck. On this one, you can simply replace it at the cost of a replacement link. Not too bad indeed.
The movement on this beast is the Seiko 7S36 non-hacking non-handwinding automatic movement. This in-house movement is a proven work horse. A budget movement to be sure, but this is not a caveat. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it makes this tool watch even more of a tool. The idea would be that the less there is to the movement, the less there is a chance of something going wrong. Essentially the KISS philosophy. So far it is keeping excellent time.
Overall, the Frankenmonster is an excellent watch. If you're looking for a no nonsense workhorse tool watch, the SKZ247K1 is the watch for you. Just be sure to keep in mind that the bracelet may be hard to size, and the bezel might be difficult to work. Your mileage may vary.
And now, as I'm sure you've all been waiting for, here are the pictures. Apologies in advance, as I am only an amatuer, but I do the best I can with what I have.
I hope you've enjoyed the review and I hope that it helps you to make a decision when it comes time for you to be bitten by the Frankenmonster bug!