One of the things I enjoy about wearing Seikos is that there’s so much to discover post-purchase. Often, a watch will have a coherent style that you find you enjoy long after it originally caught your eye. Let’s take a closer look at a mid-line Seiko Diver to see what I mean.
Meet the Seiko SKA367, a yellow-faced Kinetic quartz dive watch with a typical complement of features:
- Waterproof to 200m (660ft).
- Stainless steel case with Hardlex mineral crystal.
- Quick-set and quick-change date window at 3 o’clock.
- Power reserve button to check battery level.
- Six month power reserve if not worn, with low-battery warning.
- Screwdown crown and caseback.
- 48mm wide by 15mm high.
- Stainless steel bracelet with dive extension (also available with a rubber strap).
- Lumibrite (Seiko’s very bright luminescent paint) on the hands, bezel dot, and indices for nighttime readability.
- List price of $475, with street price of around $360.
When you first see the Seiko SKA367, the yellow face and high-contrast black hands leap out at you. The dial is eminently readable, and a very cheerful yellow color. The crown also has a yellow highlight band that matches the dial and lends the watch a nice stylistic coherence.
If you look a bit closer, you’ll see a clear motif in the finishes of the steel: flat surfaces have a brushed finish, and bevels are mirror polished. The bracelet follows this same pattern which makes it both interesting and understated. The case is particularly detailed, with mirrored bevels, brushed flat surfaces, and a nicely textured bezel for friction.
Speaking of the bezel, this is one of the best I’ve experienced on any watch, including much more expensive Seikos. Looking closely at the profile, you see that the teeth are triangular with a rough finish. This makes it easy to grasp and rotate, which is a good match for the 120-click ratchet and perfect level of friction. It glides beautifully when you want it to, but it’s not going to get jarred out of place easily. The font and printing on the bezel are also excellent and easy to read. Unlike most other bezels, every minute is marked, making for easy and accurate timing — a very impressive and welcomed detail.
There’s a second motif of circular detail, as well: the yellow ring on the crown, the subtle reflective circles of metal around the hour markers, the circle of luminescent paint on the hour hand, the round covers on the lugs. They all come together to add nice visual accents to a very handsome watch.
Visibility is first-rate during daylight hours as the black on yellow hands are very readable. Each hand has a distinct shape, so there’s no confusion at a glance. Unfortunately, the skeletonized hands are a little hard to read in the dark since “Circle means hour” and “blob means minute” takes time to interpret mentally. I prefer solid lume-filled hands, myself, but this is far from a deal-killer.
The bracelet is another thing of delight. It’s first-rate, and very comfortable for a watch at this price point. It has a slip-lock wetsuit extension similar to the one on the Seiko Orange Monster, and four micro-adjustments for fine-tuning. Additionally, it has solid links and endlinks, a pushbutton release with flip lock, and, like the rest of the watch, a nice combination of finishes. The weight feels just right to counterbalance the mass of the watch.
The movement is Kinetic quartz which means there’s a rotor and generator inside the case. When you move your wrist, the rotor spins and a small voltage is generated that gets stored in a rechargeable battery. Unlike the new Seiko Velatura, you can’t handwind the SKA367, but it’s efficient enough to not be a drawback. The SKA367 uses the 5M62 movement which has a six-month power reserve, low battery warning, and a nifty button at the 2 o’clock position that temporarily re-purposes the second hand to show you the amount of charge currently in the battery. As with most quartz movements, it’s accurate to ±15 seconds per month.
As you can tell, I very much like this watch. It’s substantial and handsome, the yellow color is a nice change of pace, and the visual details are a constant source of interest. For diving, weekends, or just daily wear, we recommend it highly.
By Paul Hubbard