Thursday, 1 January 2015

Seiko SBDX012 and the Marine Master 300m / MM300 range [ 6215-7000, 6159-7000, SBDX001, SBDX003 ]


Seiko announced a new limited edition 50th anniversary diver watch in Sep 2014 and from the press release on Seiko's site LINK, it will be available from 23 Jan 2015. Price is noted at 280,000Yen + tax or about US$2,350 and S$3,150 IF you can get your hands on oneSeiko dealers in Japan will likely have very low numbers allocated so it will be hard to find one for sure as 1,000 pieces will be snapped up very quickly or has already been fully allocated. Price wise the regular SBDX001 retails for 250,000Yen or about S$2,800 but can be obtained at a discount and can be purchased new for about S$2-2.3k range plus or minus or about 15-30% discount off retail[range is wide coz all sorts of sellers are out there selling to folks outside of Japan]. The SBDX012 will definitely have zero discount.

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before going any further though... A HAPPY NEW YEAR! [non-MM300 Seiko diver 6309 8110 doing
the wishing below. i don't normally buy the local papers but got it just for this shot ;) ]
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ok onto the SBDX012... this is most likely gonna sell out immediately...

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Comes with bracelet and urethane strap with gold buckle
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same monocoque case as other MM300s
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and the non-regulated, lightly decorated 8L35 movement as it's beating heart
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The earlier SBDX003(released in 2000, limited edition of 500 pieces) retailed for less on launch at 200,000yen
~ US$1,900 then but price has doubled since to about US$4k now
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Note this SBDX012 and SBDX003 are just cosmetic changes to the non-limited edition, regular production model SBDX001, which has standard white accents.

Difference from SBDX001 to SBDX003 [side by side comparo here LINK]

  • Gold accents for the hour marker, hands and lettering in SBDX003
  • No bracelet for SBDX003
  • 2 line text on SBDX003
Difference from SBDX003 to SBDX012
  • Gold print for the bezel font is true to the origin pieces - From Seiko's site, translated by google "the character on the bezel is subjected to a golden finish by anodic oxidation treatment of laser...  By the electrolytic treatment anodized material, a surface treatment for generating the artificial oxide film. Color is born by the refractive index of the light..." 
  • Bracelet included
  • 4 line text on the SBDX012
  • red light marker on the seconds hand
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from left to right 6215-7000, 6159-7000, sbdx003(Limited edition 500 pieces), sbdx001 
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[image credit: aceivan on sgroc ]
the vintages are very rare birds in good condition... 6215 7000, 6159 7000, sbdx003

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[image credit: aceivan on sgroc ]
Casebacks of the 6215 7000, 6159 7000, sbdx003

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[image credit: aceivan on sgroc ]

Pros and Cons of the MM300 series

Pros 

  • Great looking(to me) sporty dive watch at approximately 44mm * 15mm [50mm lug to lug], cool styled case with brushed and polished surfaces and a nice dial and hand design. 
  • Strong lume - may matter if you're diving with it and not so much if you ain't
  • High quality movement, the 8L35 which is an un-decorated Grand Seiko movement calibre 9s55, beating inside which means it should be highly accurate. As noted, the movement is un-decorated and that won't matter as you won't be seeing it. Has decent 50 hour power reserve, quick set date, movement hacks and is an automatic with manual wind. Accuracy per Seiko : Average daily rate +15 seconds to -10 seconds
  • Monocoque case ~ better water resistance
  • Unidirectional bezel moves smoothly, 120 clicks all the way round. 
Cons
  • Crown is similar to lower end Seikos and owners have had cross-treading issues in the past where one may screw it in when it isn't aligned and strip the thread in doing so. Not as robust as it should be and not sure if the SBDX012 addresses this. No logo on the crown means it's a bit on the plain side.
  • Bracelet has been noted to be one of it's weak points. A bit light and flimsy-ish when paired with a heavy body. Clasp isn't that great as well compared against new clasps eg Tudor's clasps but it does have a ratcheting divers extension. Fit at the lugs has been an issue for some as well. 
  • Bezel coating(which is some paint acrylic or lacquer thing) will scratch and the only option is to replace the whole bezel which will be costly. quote some years back was around us$300+ for the bezel which is just too much to pay. There may be aftermarket options though which will cost maybe half of that... maybe.
  • Top heavy watch (Weight 210-ish gms with bracelet) and rather narrow lugs so it may move abouts on the wrist or not be comfortable worn for long. Lug width is 20mm and should be 22mm. hmm can 2mm make so much difference? u betcha :)
  • Non-regulated movement and folks have reported weak to high levels of accuracy. Why, why would you not regulate the movement? 
  • Japan Domestic Model(JDM) means there may be limited servicing options other than sending it back to Japan and I have heard the Seiko authorised agents Thong Sia has not been keen on helping out at times. if they do help to send it back then the cost(per a local owner) could be about S$600 for a full service(a few years back) which is >25% of the purchase price new and maybe 35% of the price pre-owned? that is a lot to pay relative to the price of the watch...
  • Thick case and sits pretty high on the wrist so prone to being knocked around. Also may not fit under shirt cuffs.
  • Brand association with cheap quartz watches... folks not in the know disrespectin the mighty Seiko brand! this is for noobs and not folks who know watches and that Seiko can make fantastic mechanical watches at different price points above the US$1k / US$5k marks and even higher.
  • Lume is applied by hand and some folks have had dials with uneven lume or found it not to be applied consistently.
  • Non-sapphire crystal. it's hardlex and is not as resistant to scratches as sapphire but it's pretty hardy so this is a minor niggle.
Hmm noting all these pros and cons, especially the potential high cost of servicing/refurbishing, I will skip over the SBDX012 at whatever high after market price it will go for and maybe target a MM300 used and in decent condition for about S$1.6-1.7k range or get new for S$2k... oh well, we'll see what the year brings ;) ending off with some Seiko diver history below from Seiko site and well wishes to you for a great year ahead with many, many, many fine new watches! Cheers, Raph


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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice looking watch! Never thought about Seiko, but this I one is a game changer for me!

-Bro. Anonymous

Darren Nathan said...

Good write up m8.
I like your 6105 too.
Happy New Year

raphael too said...

Bro anonymous, thou hast good taste! :) Happy New year to you! cheers, raph

raphael too said...

thanks Darren!

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