Seiko Arnie: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Sturdy Favorite

Watches worn in films have made their mark on a lot of folks’ spheres of consciousness. Through the medium of film, the general public has become familiar with an array of iconic timepieces, especially if they are worn by renowned actors. Some popular examples include James Bond’s Omega Seamaster pieces and the Hamilton watches that show up in Tenet and Interstellar

Appearances in pop culture can also be a huge factor that contributes to a particular watch amassing massive popularity and its own cult following. For those familiar with film and watch circles, the Seiko Arnie is perhaps one of the most famous instances of a watch receiving a huge following after an appearance in a film. Indeed, the influence of the American action star Arnold Schwarzenegger, whom the watch was named after, cannot be denied when it comes to the Seiko Arnie’s popularity.

Read on to find out more about the Seiko Arnie and everything it has to offer. 

History and Overview of the Seiko Arnie 

Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing the Seiko Arnie on Commando (1985)
Arnold Schwarzenegger wearing the Seiko Arnie on Commando (1985). Image by: 20th Century Fox

The Seiko Arnie hails from the brand’s flagship Seiko Prospex collection. This series of watches is widely recognized for its amazing roster of dive watches, which includes well-known names such as the Seiko Marinemaster and Seiko Turtle. As an esteemed Japanese watch brand, Seiko has only continued to meet everyone’s expectations with the well-crafted Seiko Arnie. 

Introduced in 1982, the original Seiko Arnie piece released was the Seiko H558. It was notable for being the first-ever hybrid dive watch to grace the world. The launch of the Seiko H558 further cemented Seiko’s position as one of the leading innovative watchmakers globally. It also showcased the exceptional designs that came with Japanese craftsmanship

Back in the ‘80s, the Seiko H558 garnered much popularity thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The American actor utilized the watch in many of his action and sci-fi films, including massive hits like Commando (1985) and Predator (1987). This eventually led to the Seiko H558 being nicknamed after the actor, receiving the catchy  “Seiko Arnie” moniker. Over time, the Seiko Arnie gained a cult following which included not just watch enthusiasts, but also the actor’s growing fanbase worldwide.

Seiko Arnie 2019

Seiko Arnie 2019
Image by: Seiko

In August 2019, Seiko released a modern reissue of the well-loved 1982 Seiko H558. Dubbed the Modern Interpretation of the iconic 1982 Seiko Arnie, the brand-new Seiko Arnie watch came in a completely new build, including its construction and movement. It was launched in three different versions:

Of the three reissue models, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SNJ025 bears the greatest resemblance to the original Seiko H558. It is also the most popular piece amongst watch connoisseurs. Let us get to know more about the modern Seiko Arnie in the next section of the article.

Anatomy of the Seiko Arnie

Case and Caseback

Front View of Seiko Arnie

The Seiko Arnie comes in a huge and chunky build that matches perfectly with the former bodybuilder and actor it is named for. Crafted in stainless steel, the case of this watch measures a thick 47.8mm in diameter and has a height of 13.8mm. These measurements suit folks whose wrist sizes border around medium to large. In spite of its immense construction, however, the Seiko Arnie actually wears quite lightly on the wrist, weighing around 114 grams. As such, you can easily and comfortably wear the Seiko Arnie even for long periods of time. 

Surrounding the stainless steel case of this watch is a matte black shroud, which helps to emphasize its hefty look. This shroud is made from robust, shock-resistant plastic and adds to the lightweight build of the Seiko Arnie. If you are familiar with Seiko’s timepieces, you might have recognized this shroud feature from the design of the Seiko Tuna watches. Although it makes the case extra bulky, this shroud also provides the watch with an additional layer of protection against any accidental bumps or impacts. 

On the underside of the Seiko Arnie, you can find a solid stainless steel caseback. It holds a delicate engraving of a cresting tsunami. This is a common feature seen in many Seiko dive watches. The caseback is also tightly screwed down. This prevents any water or dirt from leaking into the Seiko Arnie and damaging its inner mechanisms.  

Crown and Pushers

Crown of Seiko Arnie

On the right side of the Seiko Arnie’s case, you will see a large crown made of polished stainless steel. Like the caseback, this crown is securely screwed down and helps to safekeep against the entry of moisture or dirt. The crown also comes with grooved edges, which makes it easier to grip and turn, especially when it is wet. 

Located on the other side of the case are two thick, protruding pushers. The push-button at 8 o’clock is used to change the modes on the Seiko Arnie’s digital display. This includes switching between the watch’s stopwatch, alarm, date, and time display features. The push-button at 10 o’clock, on the other hand, controls the Seiko Arnie’s built-in LED backlight and stopwatch functions. Finally, using both pushers in conjunction allows you to set the watch’s alarm. 

Bezel

One of the most important components of a dive piece is its bezel, and Seiko Arnie does not fail to deliver. Fixed on top of the Seiko Arnie’s watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel with 120 clicks. It does not have any backplay whatsoever. This ensures that you will not accidentally turn it backwards and lose track of your elapsed time underwater. 

This bezel has thick, ridged edges that resemble the sides of a bottle cap, giving wearers a better grip. You do not have to worry about any difficulty in turning the bezel, since it sits taller than the surrounding plastic shroud. The bezel is also fitted with a black aluminum insert. It is filled with a 60-minute count-up scale and a luminous pip at 12 o’clock, which helps illuminate the watch face. 

Dial

Dial of Seiko Arnie
Image by: Seiko

Aside from its famous association with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Seiko Arnie is also recognized for its striking hybrid dial. It shows off a matte black finish and is filled with hour markers in various geometric shapes and arrow-headed sword hands outlined in silver. A chapter ring, placed around the dial, bears indicators in white for the minute track. All of these components are generously coated in the brand’s LumiBrite material, allowing for optimal legibility even in low-light environments. 

A rectangular digital screen is placed on the topmost section of the dial. It displays the watch’s time, alarm, stopwatch, and calendar functions. Even in the dark, you can still see this digital display clearly thanks to the Seiko Arnie’s built-in LED backlight. The dial of this watch is also protected by a tough layer of scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal. It keeps the watch face safe from any hard impacts or scratches. 

Strap

Strap of Seiko Arnie
Image by: Seiko

The Seiko Arnie is paired with a sturdy silicone strap in black. It has thick, wave-like ridges that ensure the strap rests securely on your wrist. The strap’s durable silicone material is also completely waterproof, so it is a great partner for this dive watch. 

In addition, the Seiko Arnie’s strap also comes with a multitude of adjustment holes. This allows the wearer to easily adjust their strap for a looser or tighter fit. It is also equipped with a stainless steel buckle, which keeps the strap safely fastened to your wrist. 

Water Resistance

The Seiko Arnie has an impressive water resistance capacity of up to 200 meters. You can bring it on all sorts of water adventures, from surfing and swimming to deep-water conquests like professional diving. As a dive watch, the Seiko Arnie is also ISO 6425-certified. 

Movement 

Driving the Seiko Arnie is an in-house Seiko Caliber H851. This is a solar-powered quartz movement which can be charged using exposure to any light source, artificial or natural. When fully charged, the Seiko Caliber H851 can last for up to six months. It also has a superb accuracy rate of +/-15 seconds per month. 

Price

Coming from a watch brand widely known for its affordable prices, the Seiko Arnie has an extremely budget-friendly price tag of just $419 USD. With its robust build and jam-packed features, this accessible price makes the Seiko Arnie well worth the purchase. 

Alternatives to the Seiko Arnie

1. Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E

Front View of Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E

For another dive piece that comes from a notable Japanese brand, check out the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E. This Citizen watch is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case with a height of 14mm, making it considerably smaller than the Seiko Arnie. With these dimensions, this Citizen watch can fit well on wrists of all sizes. 

The Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E also has a sleek hybrid dial. It bears a matte black finish and contains trapezoidal hour indices and thick syringe hands. These hands and indices are all filled with a light green lume that adds a softer touch to this watch face. The minute hand is also outlined in orange, which pops brightly against the rest of the black backdrop. At 12 o’clock, a light gray digital display can be found. 

This Citizen Promaster piece also comes with various functions such as alarms, depth measurements, and a stopwatch, all of which are displayed on the watch’s digital screen. Wearers can control these features using the small push-buttons found at 2, 8, and 10 o’clock. A screw-down crown is also located at 4 o’clock, with a stout water pressure sensor placed on the left side of the case. Like the Seiko Arnie, the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E is water-resistant up to depths of 200 meters.  

You can get your hands on the Citizen Promaster Ref. JP2000-08E for $459 USD.

2. Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00

Front View of Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00

For another robust dive watch with a very quintessential style, check out the Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00. This Mido piece utilizes a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a high-quality black rubber strap. Sitting atop the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel with an elapsed time scale insert made of black ceramic. Like the Seiko Arnie, it also possesses an outstanding water resistance rating of 200 meters. 

Protected by a layer of sapphire crystal, the black dial of this watch is ornamented with rectangular hour indices, silver skeletal hands, and a day-date aperture at 3 o’clock. The seconds hand of this watch is tipped with orange, adding a burst of color to this watch face. These components are all treated with Super-LumiNova, which lights up the dial in the dark. 

This Mido Ocean Star piece runs on an in-house Mido Caliber 80. Held together by 25 jewels, this self-winding movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and offers a stellar power supply of 80 hours. 

The Mido Ocean Star Ref. M026.430.17.051.00 retails at $890 USD.

3. Oris Divers Ref. 01 733 7720 4354-07 4 21 18

Front View of Oris Divers Ref. 01 733 7720 4354-07 4 21 18

If you would like to invest in a more expensive dive watch, this handsome timepiece from Oris might interest you. The Oris Divers Ref. 01 733 7720 4354-07 4 21 18 shows off a gorgeous combination of black and royal gold tones. It sports a 42mm stainless steel case and an elegant black rubber strap. Fitted on top of the case is a unidirectional count-up bezel, with a black ceramic insert and gold-tone edges. 

Arranged on this watch’s black dial are luminous geometric hour markers and broad sword hands, which come in a lovely shade of rose gold. A trapezoidal date complication, outlined in gold, can also be spotted at 3 o’clock. All of these functions are driven by the watch’s Oris Caliber 733. Based on the Sellita SW200-1 movement, this caliber has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a standard 38-hour power reserve.

You can buy this Oris Divers watch for around $2,200 USD. 

Final Thoughts

Through this in-depth look at the Seiko Arnie, we can say that it is certainly an incredible dive watch, especially with its modern, upgraded features and solid build. It is an apt timepiece for the modern-day man and can be utilized in all sorts of adventures, especially water-based ones. For those seeking a hefty dive piece with hybrid features, the Seiko Arnie is definitely a great option.

All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. 

Photo credits: 20th Century Fox, Seiko PH, Seiko USA, and Seiko Watches.

Are you on the hunt for an iconic vintage watch? Check out our review of the rare Rolex Coke.

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