This is not my first time working with the WatchGecko Magazine, but it is my first feature. Today I am going to take a look at my Seiko Monster collection. I touched a little on this in my interview with Richard Brown back in August, so please glance back at that feature to learn a little more about myself and my watch collecting journey.
It began whilst surfing eBay in the winter months, I stumbled across a bright orange Seiko that caught my attention right away. I immediately messaged the seller and we managed to strike a deal. I later discovered this watch was known as the Seiko ‘Baby Monster’ ref SRP483K1 which is part of the Seiko 5 Sports Diver range. I received the watch and was over the moon with it and was left feeling very intrigued as to what other Seiko Monsters were out there.
The Seiko SKX781
Once again, I took to the internet seeking out the history and heritage of the Seiko Monster. I found there were many more variations and generations; a line of dive watches which started production in 2000. I also quickly realised the Seiko Monster had gathered a cult-like following. The first releases divided watch enthusiasts and die hard Seiko collectors, with some calling the watch ‘ugly’ and ‘grotesque’ and others loving the Monster’s rugged lines.
As a result of my hunt, I discovered the original line of the Seiko Monster and that the 4th generation of the model was now in production. The 4th generation of the Monster posed a significant change in case design compared to its predecessors. However, it was the Gen 3 that had really caught my attention due to the stunning dial designs, in particular the SBDC073 aka ‘Frost’ or ‘Ice’ Monster and the SZSC005 aka ‘Jade’ Monster. Due to both watches now being discontinued and rare I couldn’t just go into a local AD and pick one up off the shelf, not to mention the 3rd generation was produced only for the Japanese domestic market. Once again I took to eBay, Chrono24 and other forums but was out of luck!
The Seiko Jade SZSC005
With the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation of the Monster now discontinued along with several limited edition pieces, the range was becoming highly collectable among Monster enthusiasts. All of the mentioned pieces now trade well above the RRP with some limited edition pieces trading for more than 10 times their original price!
My next purchase was another variation of the Monster, SBDY053 aka Baby Tuna ‘ice frost’. This piece features the same dial as the 3rd generation frost Monster SBDC073 and that’s what drew me to it, along with the large areas of brushed stainless steel which partly encase the bezel, hence its cult name the “shrouded monster”. Along with the Baby Tuna, there proved to be many more variations of the Monster out there.
The Seiko Ice Frost Baby Tuna SBDY053
Getting back to the classic Monster, generations 1-3 remain largely similar apart from changes to dial and movement upgrades. The Monster features a 42.5mm diameter stainless steel case with a lug to lug of 47.5mm. The lugs are very short and with a thickness of 12.5mm the Monster is super compact and wearable, even for those with a smaller wrist like myself. The case with a screw down crown provides 200m water resistance for all your diving needs or in my case pool paddling.
So, what else do I love about Seiko Monsters? The lug width is 20mm and a good job too, as this thing is a real strap monster. The beefy applied markers and hands are covered with Seiko’s secret lumibrite, when the Monster is out in the dark it feels like you have a mini nuclear reactor on your wrist, although rest assured, there is no radioactive material present! The Monster is just built for action with the case forming bash guards to the top and bottom of the watch. The dive watch is completely made in house and there is nothing else like it.
The Gen 1 Monster in my collection is the SKX781, this reference is the orange dial. Along with this, the SKX779 (black dial) was also released. The pair featured in the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) for the first time in 2000. The heart of the Gen 1 Monster is the calibre 7S26 which features 21 jewels, 41 hours power reserve and 21,600 bph. The movement has a day date function and is non hacking or hand winding. However, it is bulletproof and many monster collectors can vouch for this as their 20 year old watches have never been serviced, yet the 7S26 still keeps time well within Seiko stated parameters. If I had to sum up the SKX781 in one word it would be Legibility! After these two models came limited editions of the first generation which featured brightly coloured dials and some upgrades including; the calibre 7S36, which very similar to the 7S26 but with 2 additional jewels and a sapphire crystal display. Lastly the Night Monsters were released in 2007 as part of the Gen 1 collection.
The second generation of the Monster superseded the first generation in 2012. The Monster from this generation in my collection is known as the Dracula ref SRP313. The Dracula is named after its white fang shaped hour markers outlined with a blood red border. These hour markers feature on all of the second generation Monsters. However, the Dracula is the only reference with the coloured outline. As with the first generation, Seiko released more limited edition pieces to the Thai and wider Asian market. Many refer to this generation as the true monster due to its dial and it being the only generation to feature the teeth like hour markers. Apart from the changes to the hour markers the second generation also had a movement upgrade, the calibre 4R36 features 24 jewels, 40 hours power reserve, 21,600 bph and most importantly the automatic movement is hacking and can be manually wound.
The Seiko 'Dracula' SRP313J2
The third generation and final monster in my collection is the Jade Monster ref SZSC005. This generation made its first appearance in 2014 and the seven models produced have some of the best dials ever released in the Monster line! Sunburst, textured and matt finishes are all there. There are several changes to the third generation: the removal of the “fang” hour markers, the removal of the day window, the inclusion of the cyclops lens for the date window and the upgrade of the Monster’s beating heart. The calibre 6R15 features 23 jewels, 50 hours power reserve, 21,600 bph, again with hacking and the possibility of manual winding. The Jade Monster has a gorgeous sunburst dial that changes in colour from a jade green to a stunning bright blue dependant on light. I like to call this one my Rolex Submariner killer as it does pull that cyclops off very well.
The forth and current generation Monster has not yet entered my collection and I’m not sure it will. Seiko have produced some great dials for this generation, however I feel the case has been refined and neatened up a little too much, now losing much of the machismo I have come to love. It was always my goal to acquire my favourite Monster from each generation and I have thoroughly enjoyed hunting down and collecting the species. I instantly fell in love with the look of the Monster as soon as I saw it and the cult like following only added to the excitement. At the time of their release the value for money was truly fantastic for this robust and unique tool watch. Although most Monsters have been captured, there’s still some out there to be hunted and I would encourage anyone to discover this unique range as I suspect you will love them as much as I do.