Welcome to the WWR Gift Guide, our annual run-down of some of our favorite watches. Today let’s look at the famed Orange Monster AKA Seiko SKX781 Automatic Dive Watch. This is my absolute favorite beginning collector’s watch and, at about $200, it is very reasonably priced.
No sub $200 watch holds so much cachet and rapt attention as the Orange Monster. It is hefty, colorful, beefy, and cool. It is extremely solid, extremely reliable, and water resistant to 200 meters. Why is the Orange Monster so popular? It’s inexpensive, it’s fun, and it’s a Seiko. It’s a beater, but it’s a beater that will get you compliments.

When I received the Monster, I was surprised that it was actually quite light. The rubber strap is very supple and nubby and the in-band extensions add an organic feel to this beast. This organic theme is repeated throughout the piece, from the inset bezel to the odd hands and markings.
The bezel turns with a soft click and seems a bit off at times, turning one click before or after the desired time depending on the speed of the turn. It’s also slightly loose, but eminently usable. However, the bezel is unidirectional so it won’t accidentally slip backwards while you chase giant sharks and turtles off the coast of New Zealand. This is truly the only complaint I had with this piece.

The Hardlex crystal is quite clear and the face is clean and stylish. This is a utility diving watch, so it won’t win you any fashion awards, but it’s cool enough to warrant a second look over lesser fashion brands. The screw-down crystal is quite solid and the entire case, made of polished and brushed stainless steel, is well made.

Accuracy is about +/- 10 seconds per week, which is more than satisfactory. The price is also right: about $100-$150 online. The 7S26 movement is a Seiko workhorse with day and date display. The lume is quite nice and stays lit overnight and the orange face pops while not being too jarring. The Monster is a worthy adversary to the $1000 Doxa orange faced diver, I would say this is one of the sassiest and most recognizable faces in all watchdom and worth every penny.

ByJohn Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

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