The SKA369P1 is not a watch that receives as much attention as the automatic diver’s watches from Seiko, but it does offer a variety of advantages that make it hard to ignore. It is a bulky timepiece which is designed to look bigger than it actually is thanks to the casing below the bezel, but it is the bezel that adds a sense of classic style to the overall look to turn it into something that would otherwise be quite a bland looking affair.
The face of the watch is actually quite small compared to the diameter of the casing with the bezel sitting flush to the edges. This adds to the bulky look of the watch, but at no point does it become difficult to read or feel inconsistent in terms of design. Indeed, the depth of the watch and the diameter work perfectly with the Pepsi bezel to offer a sense of a classic diving watch, a hard wearing tool that can go anywhere and a form that commands attention without appearing like a fashion piece.
In my tests over 3 weeks, the watch has lost just 2 seconds which is more than acceptable for a quartz driven watch. The fact that it is kinetic adds some interest because some may argue that there is a touch of the ‘mechanical’ about it which is kind of true. It does tick rather than sweep and it requires movement to produce the energy to power it. Potentially, this is a better system than a mechanical because the power reserve is not measured in hours, but in weeks and months. Having said that, after 3 fairly busy weeks I have still not managed to get the Seiko to the maximum setting. It’s not the end of the world because it is keeping charge well, but the nerd in me wants to know that months of use is available to me from this moment.
The lume is a case of brilliant and a missed opportunity. It is, as you would expect from Seiko, extremely bright and capable of lasting throughout the night with ease. However, the skeleton hands are somewhat difficult to read and you have to get used to the circle (hour hand) and triangle (minute hand) to know the exact time in darkness. I have seen this watch with aftermarket solid hands and it works a lot better so that may be a customisation I look at in the future.
The Hardlex glass is very tough and should wear well over extended periods, but it does not offer as invisible a view as you may see on other watches, with the occasional smudge visible. This is a minor quibble though because it is better to have a material that will look new for a long time than one which looks super clear for a limited period.
Finally, the bracelet is a beast with a fold over safety clasp and a diver’s extender for diving suits. It suits the watch perfectly, but when you put this watch on a brown leather strap, it feels very 1970’s. This watch can take different forms with the simple addition of a strap and the end result is something new every day if that is your thing.
With a screw down crown and only one other button to check the current charge, there is a minimalism at play here which belies the size and shape of the watch itself, and it comes together to create a charming timepiece that will work for you 24 hours a day.
An understated yet attention grabbing watch that does all of the basics well. It is super strong and will work underwater, at night and in every other situation you can throw at it. This is one of the very best dive watches you can buy for under £500.