Seiko is home to many excellent divers that are well-loved by both watch enthusiasts and diving professionals. One of their most renowned diver watches is the Seiko Monster — an exceptionally reliable, powerfully-built model that has caught the eye of many. In fact, the Seiko Monster has made such an impact that numerous variations of this timepiece have been released since it first came out. Without further ado, let us find out more about this robust icon, including its history, features, and why it is so highly regarded in the watch community.
History of the Seiko Monster
First released in the 2000s, the Seiko Monster was officially referred to by the brand as the Seiko SKX779. It belonged under the Seiko 5 Sports line, which means that it had all the features this collection was known for, such as impressive water resistance capacities, excellent automatic calibers, and more.
When it was first launched, the Seiko Monster was actually strongly associated with the iconic Seiko Tuna, as both watches came with very robust and bold exteriors. However, as time passed, the Seiko Monster itself started gaining traction, resulting in its own loyal following. Thanks to this popularity, today, there are numerous variants of the Seiko Monster that can be found across the brand’s many collections.
Why Is It Called the Seiko Monster?
Honestly, if have seen the Seiko Monster in person, then it is quite clear why it has been nicknamed as such. The Seiko SKX779 has an incredibly thick and bulky frame, combined with a chunky bezel that makes it look bigger than it actually is. On top of that, the Seiko Monster also has quite a distinctive watch face, with hour markers that somewhat resemble the thick teeth of a supernatural monster. Putting all these details together, the Seiko Monster’s nickname should make a lot more sense now.
A Closer Look at Seiko Monster
Since the original Seiko Monster was first launched a little over 2 decades ago, the brand has released a number of different versions of this watch, each with its own upgrades. In fact, long-time fans of the Seiko Monster have seen this timepiece evolve from a practical, robust watch to something a little more sophisticated. Later, we will be taking a look at some of the different variants of the Seiko Monster that have been released over the years. For now, let us delve a little deeper into the original Seiko Monster SKX779.
Case and Bracelet
The Seiko Monster SKX779 is housed in a 42mm stainless steel case with a stocky concave bezel. The thick case and bezel contribute a lot to the chunky look of this entire watch. The concave sides of the bezel give you a place for you to place your fingers, so you can easily grip and turn this bezel, even when wearing a diving suit. It also measures 48mm lug-to-lug and has a standard lug width of 20mm, so you can easily pair this watch with different kinds of aftermarket straps. Typically, however, the Seiko Monster is coupled with a stainless steel bracelet with large links, further enhancing the watch’s sporty, robust style.
On the underside of the Seiko Monster SKX779, you can find a solid stainless steel caseback that is securely screwed in. This caseback bears the engraving of the ocean logo commonly found on Seiko’s diving watches. There is also a large crown located on the right side of the case, at 4 o’clock. Instead of having it at the standard 3 o’clock position, having the crown at 4 o’clock places it at an angle, preventing it from digging too deeply into the skin of your wrist, making it easier to tote this watch around. It is also tightly screwed-in, preventing any moisture or dust from leaking into the timepiece and damaging its inner mechanisms.
At first glance, the dial of the SKX779 seems like any other sports watch out there, with oversized components that are generously coated in lume so that they will glow in the dark. However, when you look at the Seiko Monster’s face long enough, you will notice the small details that really make it unique. As mentioned earlier, a lot of people associate its large, luminous hour markers with werewolf teeth, hence its “Monster” nickname. In particular, the 12 o’clock marker, with its bulky rounded triangular shape, looks like a massive, sharpened fang. As many in the watch community have agreed, this is arguably one of the coolest elements of the Seiko Monster.
Aside from that, this watch face also comprises luminous arrow-headed hands, double-digit Arabic numerals for the minute scale, and a day-date aperture, with the text of the day display standing out in a deep red hue. All of these features were mindfully chosen to exhibit utmost functionality and practicality, regardless of the environment.
The Seiko Monster is powered by an in-house automatic movement, the Seiko 7S26 caliber. Held together by 21 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour and a substantial 41-hour power reserve. As a diving watch, this timepiece also comes with an excellent water resistance rating of 200 meters, so it can easily accompany you on all your watersports adventures.
The original Seiko Monster SKX779 is actually no longer being produced and can no longer be found in retail stores. Fortunately, you can still find it in certain second-hand markets. The resale value of the Seiko Monster SKX779 falls between $250 USD to $350 USD, which is quite reasonable considering its sturdy durability and memorable aesthetics.
5 Best Seiko Monster Models
Moving on, let us take a look five variations of the Seiko Monster that you should definitely check out.
1. Seiko Orange Monster SRP483
First off, we have the Seiko Orange Monster SRP483. This is actually a remake inspired by an early-generation Seiko Monster from 2001 called the Seiko SKX781. The Seiko Orange Monster SRP483 belongs to the 5 Sports line, which speaks to its durability and reliability. On top of that, its quirky, vibrant watch face is sure to draw the eyes of many.
The Seiko Orange Monster is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case and matching bracelet, with a heavyset bezel made of the same material. On the bezel, you can find indicators in black and bright orange for the elapsed time scale. These orange indicators complement the watch’s orange dial, which comprises large arrow hands, thick hour markers, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. These hands and hour indices are all filled with luminous pigment for optimal legibility.
On the underside of this watch, you can find a transparent caseback. This gives you an up-close and personal view of the Seiko Caliber 4R36 which drives the watch. This movement, which is held together by 24 jewels, has a solid power supply of 41 hours. Another striking difference between the Seiko Monster SKX779 and the Seiko Orange Monster is that this watch has its crown placed at the standard 3 o’clock position. Instead of grooves, the sides of this crown have a more studded texture. In addition, it comes with protruding crown guards that keep the crown safe from any impacts.
If you want something loud and sporty, you can get this Seiko Orange Monster for around $300 USD.
2. Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD25K1
The Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD25K1, on the other hand, is more of a sophisticated yet equally bold timepiece. As part of the brand’s Prospex collection, this watch was created to withstand the harshest environments possible. This is a classy and versatile diver’s watch that can be used both on land and underwater.
This Seiko Monster piece utilizes a 42mm stainless steel case and bracelet, with an oversized stainless steel bracelet. Attached on top of this bracelet is a ceramic elapsed time scale insert in dark grey, with pronounced and highly legible white markers. The dial comes in a lovely blue sunray finish and is adorned with large luminous hands and hour markers, along with a magnified day-date window at 3 o’clock. Driving this watch is an in-house automatic 4R36 Caliber, with a 41-hour power reserve and a 200-meter depth rating.
To make things even sweeter, this classy Seiko Monster watch has a very reasonable price tag of $480 USD.
3. Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD27
This next entry is probably the most rugged Seiko Monster watch on this list. The Seiko Prospex Monster SRPD27 boasts a dark, masculine design that goes incredibly well with its chunky build, making it look modern and stylish. This watch also proves the diversity that comes with Seiko Monster line, as it has quite a different vibe compared to the other Seiko Monster pieces.
The SRPD27 is housed in a 42mm stainless steel case, with a rotating elapsed time scale bezel and a ridged silicone strap that both come in black. This is complemented by a sunray black dial, which comprises arrow hands, broad hour markers, and a magnified day-date display. Like the original Seiko Monster SKX779, this watch has a sizeable crown placed at 4 o’clock. It is also equipped with an automatic 4R36 Caliber, giving this watch a 200-meter water resistance capacity.
This Seiko Monster piece retails at $357 USD.
4. Seiko Snow Monster SRP481K1
The Seiko Snow Monster SRP481K1 is a personal favorite of many because of its evocative nickname and its pretty design. One glance at the watch face and you will instantly understand where it got its nickname from. With its combination of snowy white and sky blue hues, simply looking at this watch will evoke a memory of chilly winter afternoons.
The Seiko Snow Monster uses a 44mm stainless steel case with a matching stainless steel bracelet and unidirectional bezel. This stout bezel bears pronounced black and blue indicators for its elapsed time scale. The watch’s all-silver exterior also blends well with the snow-white dial. This dial is decorated with luminous arrow hands, along with a bright blue seconds hand, thick hour markers outlined in blue, and a day-date aperture with the date text also in light blue. On the rim of the watch, you can also find a blue chapter ring marked with white indicators for the minute track.
Like the other Seiko Monster watches, this timepiece has a see-through sapphire crystal caseback. Through this movement, you can admire the watch’s automatic Seiko 4R36 Caliber at work.
For those who want something that is subdued yet sophisticated, the Seiko Snow Monster sells at just $170 USD, making this the most affordable Seiko Monster piece on this list.
5. Seiko Baby Monster SNZF47
Last but not the least, we have the Seiko Baby Monster SNZF47. This watch comes with a slightly slimmer, rounder exterior, which is why fans have dubbed this a ‘younger’ version of the Seiko Monster. This smaller build, along with its affordable price, has led to his watch being referred to as a ‘Baby’ Seiko Monster.
The Seiko Baby Monster is presented in a 42mm stainless steel case and bracelet with a unidirectional bezel. The bold black and red indicators both serve as the bezel’s elapsed time scale while also enhancing the sportiness of this entire watch.
The watch’s sleek, all-silver exterior is sharply contrasted against a rugged jet-black dial. This dial is furnished with oversized white arrow hands, broad luminous hour indices, a red seconds hand, and a compact day-date complication at 3 o’clock. Compared to its sibling models, the dial components of the Seiko Baby Monster are more closely clustered together, making the dial look smaller and busier. Finally, this watch runs on the automatic Caliber 7S36, which has a 41-hour power supply and a 100-meter depth rating.
If you enjoy this sporty, masculine Seiko Monster piece, you can get your hands on it for just $220 USD.
Who should get the Seiko Monster?
Now that we know more about the Seiko Monster, let us consider those who should definitely keep this watch on their radar.
- Bold Personalities. Since it was first launched, the Seiko Monster has always been viewed as an acquired taste. It boasts a very unique, almost aggressive exterior that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, that very design makes it a perfect option for those who have strong and daring personalities. It is a cool and reliable companion for people who are not afraid to take risks when it comes to styling their time-telling accessories.
- Outdoor Enthusiasts. Since people tend to focus on the aesthetics of the Seiko Monster, they often forget that it comes with impressive functions and features as well. The original model and its descendants were all designed to be dependable watches that can be maximized both indoors and outside. This makes the Seiko Monster a great timekeeper and tool watch for outdoor enthusiasts and those with active lifestyles.
- Seiko Patrons. Given the numerous iconic watches that Seiko has to offer, it can be quite difficult for patrons to figure out which models are truly worth buying. That said, the Seiko Monster remains a must-have for enthusiasts of the brand because of its unparalleled boldness. Even though it is often associated with the Seiko Tuna, this watch stands out on its own and is a definite eye-catcher.
- Robust Watch Collectors. One of the words most frequently used to describe the Seiko Monster is ‘robust’, thanks to its tough and thick exterior. While this might be an acquired taste for many, there are definitely people out there who prefer robust timepieces both in terms of technical and physical specifications. The Seiko Monster serves as a perfect representation of this, which is why it is recommended for those who enjoy collecting powerful watches.
Alternatives to the Seiko Monster
For those who want something with a similar vibe to the Seiko Monster, below are some alternative models you can find in the market right now.
1.TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. WAZ101A.FC8305
The first alternative watch is the TAG Heuer Formula 1 Ref. WAZ101A.FC8305 which is reminiscent of the iconic Seiko Orange Monster SKX781. While it is not quite as large as the Seiko Monster, it definitely exudes the same bold and sporty vibe. One thing to note, however, is that this TAG Heuer watch is a racing-inspired model rather than a diving piece.
This TAG Heuer Formula 1 timepiece comes in a 43mm stainless steel case paired with a lovely fabric strap and a rotating bezel in black. It possesses a textured dial, which showcases a striking orange hue and is adorned with slim luminous hour indices and long black dauphine hands. You can also find a compact date window outlined in black at 3 o’clock. This watch is driven by a well-crafted quartz movement.
If you want an equally energetic alternative to the Seiko Monster, this TAG Heuer Formula 1 watch retails at only $1,450 USD.
2. Bell & Ross Instruments BR 03-92 Ref. BR0392-D-BL-ST/SRB
The Bell & Ross Instruments BR 03-92 Ref. BR0392-D-BL-ST/SRB, on the other hand, does not really look like any of the Seiko Monster models. However, its chunky and oversized exterior is what makes it a great alternative to the Seiko. It also boasts extreme durability and reliability, which are qualities found in the Seiko Monster watches as well.
This Bell & Ross Instruments piece is housed in a 42mm, square-shaped case coupled with a black rubber strap and a rotating bezel. The black dial follows a straightforward analogue layout with luminescent blunt hands, round geometric hour markers, and a small date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Underneath this rugged exterior, you will find an impressive, automatic BR-CAL.302 caliber that boasts a 38-hour power reserve and an incredible water resistance rating of up to 300 meters.
If you are a fan of robust and large timepieces, you are likely to enjoy this $3,700 USD Bell & Ross model as well.
3. Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Ref. DM3002A-PC-BK
Now, we have the Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon Ref. DM3002A-PC-BK which is the closest alternative to the Seiko Monster in terms of looks. This is mainly because of its distinctively large round bezel that is an attention-grabber right off the bat. This is a great alternative for those who want a more luxurious and professional timepiece.
This Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon watch comes in a 42mm lightweight titanium case paired with a black rubber strap and a rotating bezel. The simple black dial consists of luminescent indices and thick skeletal hour markers, all of which are fitted with tritium gas tubes that will light up the watch face in the dark. There is also a modest date window at 3 o’clock. Inside this watch is an automatic Ball RR1101-C caliber, which is held together by 21 jewels and has a 42-hour power supply.
At $3,249 USD, this Ball watch is a pricey yet reputable alternative to the Seiko Monster.
The Seiko Monster is one of the most iconic watches from the well-established Japanese brand Seiko. Its playful and inventive nickname is a tribute to the watch’s extremely memorable, standout design. Most, if not all, of the watches in the Seiko Monster series boast bold and distinctive designs that continue to resonate with people even today. Indeed, this selection of timepieces is proof enough that not all ‘monsters’ are bad.
Photo Credits: Seiko Website, Amazon, and WatchShopping Site
If you’re on the hunt for a rugged outdoor watch, check out our article on the Polar Grit X.