Nowadays, it's good to be a deep dive watch enthusiast, particularly if you're looking for a new addition to your collection.
The number of affordable deep dive watches has never been better. And, since we’re always in for a good battle, here’s one for the primacy in the budget-friendly category.
The focus will be on the top three Japanese mechanical watch brands and their particular models:
1. Seiko SKX and its replacements
2. Citizen Promaster Fugu
3. Orient Kamasu
Orient Kamasu on Blue Perlon strap, Seiko SKX009 on Camel Brown leather NATO, while Citizen Promaster NY0081 was on 'Martial Arts' Monogram NATO strap
Naturally, these companies and models were chosen for a good reason. Primarily for their top-notch quality and a budget-friendly price. Secondly, for their excellent looks and trendiness.
When the popularity is concerned, which reflects in Google search volume, Seiko SKX leads the group with a search volume of over 12K. Kamasu follows with around 6.6K and Fugu with around 5.4K.
Let’s first briefly look into the history of these models.
Seiko SKX series was introduced in 1996. It was the birth year of SKX007, which lived to be the most iconic model of the series. It had two versions, one of which was made in Japan.
The same goes for the popular SKX009, better known as Pepsi. Finally, the series featured two more models, SKX011 and SKX013.
Retro Razor Stainless Steel Watch Band was on Seiko SKX013
The line was discontinued in 2019, succeeded by the Seiko 5 Sports line. Seiko SKX admirers are also fond of the models from the Seiko Turtle series relaunched in 2016 and the early models that some say served as an inspiration for the SKX series.
The original Citizen Promaster NY004 diver debuted in 1993. After a noticeable entrance, it remained unchanged for 25 years.
Citizen Promaster Fugu Series pair with Tropical style FKM rubber watch bands
Then came NY008 in 2018, inspired by NY004 and the Aqualand JP2000 from 1985. In addition, NY008 featured special edition models for Asia, just as NY009 that followed in 2019 did.
NY011 came out in 2020, featuring several different models and upgrades of the predeceasing series and models.Finally, in 2021 the Fugu collection was enriched with two variants of the NY013 watch and a notable NY0080-39H special edition.
The Orient Kamasu series was introduced in 2019. Despite being a newcomer in the diver watch market, Orient Kamasu was warmly welcomed by the diver watch fans community.
Orient Kamasu BLUE AA0002L19 was on Goma BOR Watch Band, Kamasu BLACK AA0005B19A with Super-J Louis bracelet, and Kamasu GREEN AA0004E19A paired with Green Chaffle FKM Rubber watch strap
Naming it after a Barracuda turned out to be foreshadowing as it quickly gained popularity and secured a spot among the competition.
There are seven models available at the moment:
These are regular editions, which differ in dial and bezel color and watch bends. A limited-edition RA-AA0007A09A completes the Orient Kamasu family.
Now that we're acquainted with all three series in general, it's time to move onto the centerpiece of the article: the battle of their three individual representatives for the title of the budget-friendly deep dive watches.
Starting with the most iconic watch among budget-friendly divers and more seems like the most natural thing to do.
Seiko SKX007 has a 43mm x 13mm heavy 316L stainless steel case. Such a dominant case and the crown positioned at 4 o’clock allow the watch to rest on a wrist of any size firmly.
The dial is perfect for a diver watch, clearly readable in all lighting conditions thanks to the luminous paint used on hands and markers that vividly contrast the black background. Red used for writing DIVER'S 200m is a pure touch of design elegance.
Left : Seiko SKX009 was on James Bond NATO Strap; and Right: Seiko SKX007 paired with 22mm Braided Leather Watch Strap
Apart from steel, rubber, or NATO watch bands, many more are available that complement the overall minimalistic design.
SKX007 features a half-minute unidirectional bezel that flawlessly aligns with the index markers at all times. In addition, the mechanism is self-winding, its precision and reliability secured by Caliber 7S26, perfectly adequate for a diver watch in this price range.
The ISO 6425 standard adherence certifies SKX007’s 200m diving competency, providing another reason why diving watch lovers are so fond of this model.
Taking all that into account, it's tough to understand why Seiko decided to discontinue this and all other models from the SKX series.
Watch bands from left : Retro Razor bracelet, Black & Red NATO strap and Bandoleer Watch Band
Although sought after, SKX007 can still be purchased. Current prices range from $150 to well over $500, depending on the condition and exact model.
The focus here will be on one of special Citizen watches.
The youngest battle participant today is the latest watch from the long line of the Citizen Promaster series. It's a limited edition released in May 2021 to mark the beginning of a new TV anime series “Godzilla S.P-Singular Point.”
The wild Citizen Promaster Godzilla pairing with Italian Handmade Hornback Alligator Watch Band
Promaster Godzilla has two variants, red NY0080-21Z, and grey NY0080-39H, counting 500 pieces each. Not surprisingly, they are already highly collectible, thanks to a massive base of Godzilla and Promaster Fugu fans worldwide.
Caliber 8204, housed in a 42mm x 12.6 mm stainless steel case, is responsible for timekeeping precision, and does a great job, as always. It enables both manual and automatic winding, with the crown positioned at 8 o'clock.
Left :Tapered Leather Wand Band on Godzilla, Right :Citizen Promaster Gold NY0083-14X-RG was on Camel Brown Quick Release Nubuck Leather Watch Strap
Depending on the model, the dial is red or grey and features Godzilla’s unique dorsal fin. In addition, the back displays engraved Godzilla's profile.
The unidirectional bezels come in red and black while hands and markers are layered with luminous paint, guaranteeing excellent readability in all lighting conditions.
Godzilla has type 1 magnetic resistance and is waterproof certified for 200m diving. It originally comes with a Polyurethane watch band. We have a previous Citizen Godzilla Watch Review, which you may interested to read too.
The original price was $400. However, if you are lucky to find one nowadays, don't be surprised by seeing a $600 price tag.
Let's take a look at the latest release from KAMASU series - RA-AA0005B
This lovely watch is undoubtedly one of the reasons behind the Orient Kamasu series rising popularity. And, for a good reason.
It comes in a 41.8mm x 12.8mm stainless steel case which safeguards a Caliber F6922 movement mechanism. It allows hacking and both automatic and hand winding using the crown positioned at 3 o’clock.
Left : Fur & Denim Watch Strap Red Wax Hand Stitching, Right :Zizz Cheese Calf Dark Chocolate Brown Italian Leather Watch Strap
Left : Kamasu AA0005B19A with Super-J Louis Diamond-like Carbon, Right : Orient Kamasu AA0002L19 on Goma BOR Watch Band
The dial is black, hands and markers are luminous and clearly visible in the dark thanks to superb luminosity. As a nice feature, the twelve o'clock marker and hands' edges are prominently sharp to resemble barracuda’s ominous teeth.
The black and gold bezel compliments the elegant design, as do the second hand’s red colored edge and the font chosen for emphasizing Orient Kamasu’s water resistant 20 bar capability. Another great feature of Kamasu is the sapphire crystal glass, a very uncommon feature for watches in this price range.
It comes equipped with either steel or rubber watch band. Both provide comfortable and secure wear in both everyday and diving use. Of course, there are also additional ones available, this Super-O Boyer, among others.
The average sales price for this model is in the area of $260 - 280.
It was a genuinely hard choice to make. All three models deserve to be in the top three, and opting for any of them wouldn't be a mistake.
Three Italian Handmade watch bands , from Left : On Promaster Godzilla Hornback Alligator Watch Band; On Kamasu Green Brushed Green Watch Strap; OnSeiko SKX007 Racer Watch Strap
Still, after long and careful consideration of all the essential factors, the title of the budget-friendly diver champion goes to Orient Kamasu.
Compared to the other two watches, Kamasu is more available on the market. All at a simply unbeatable quality-price ratio for a diver watch of such quality.
Left : Quick Release Tapered Milanese Mesh Watch Band, Right : Seiko SKX007 with Curved End Massy Mesh Watch Band
No doubt, they are all SUPERmodels, you can kind of pair anything watch bands with them
Next, it’s the one that offers manual and automatic winding combined with hacking. Also, the Orient Kamasu has better accuracy (-15 to +25 compared to -20 to 40 seconds of Godzilla and SKX007).
Also, it's the only of the three that has sapphire crystal glass, a feature highly uncommon for this price range.
Finally, having the smallest case of the bunch makes it universally wearable regardless of the owner’s wrist size. If you are new to Orient watch, will you consider getting One?
Written by S.K. , images by Toni
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