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But first, I want to bore you with half a page of background on the watch purchases.
Ever since I bought the SBDC005 (orange 6R15 diver), I became interested in orange divers, particularly those with classic design. I wore the SBDC005 for several weekends and being a WIS, I soon felt the urge to bring in more orange divers to the collection.
Two weeks ago, I made a trip to my usual watch shops and ended up with the SKX011J and SKXA55K. The SKXA55K was an impulse purchase. I only had the SKX011J in mind. Anyway, I felt like a newbie again with the purchase of these two basic Seiko divers. A very enthusiastic newbie that is.
The SKX011J came from the Seiko distributor, Thong Sia Group and has a price tag of $428.00. Yikes, they have adjusted the list price upwards. I bought the watch for $250.00 which is about 40% off the list price. It came with warranty card and papers. I gave the box back to the seller because I don’t really need it.
The SKXA55K on the other hand is a grey market or "pirate set" as the watch retailers here call it. I bought it for $195.00, no box no papers. Both watches came with Z-22 strap. Prices mentioned are in Singapore Dollars and payment terms on both purchases were "cash and carry".
Next, I want to bore you with another half a page of what I feel about the SKX divers after going full circle with them.
I bought a SKX009K in 1996 and it happened to be my first automatic watch. At that time, I was a newbie and I felt excited about the SKX009 because it was a big watch and the automatic movement fascinated me. I wore the 009 on Z-22 strap as well as jubilee bracelet for several years before selling it.
Today, when I look at the SKX011 and A55, I no longer feel they are big because I have bigger watches in my collection such as the Marinemaster and 6R15 scuba. Even the Samurai and Alba Stingray are bigger than them. However, I can still appreciate the design. I think it is a simple yet beautiful design that has stood the test of time.
In terms of quality, I think they are the most well made 7S26 watches 10 years ago if you compare them with other 7S26 watches of that era. Today, although Seiko has upped the quality of their 7S26 divers outside Japan with releases such as the Monster, Atlas, Mapmeter, etc, none of these has got the classic design I am looking for and the classic SKX divers probably offer the best quality per dollar in a 7SXX watch till today.
Ok, here’s a brief comparison of the SKX011J and SKXA55K:
Hmmmm… the Z-22 straps on the watches seem to be identical. I’m not sure if ‘J’ version means the strap is also made in Japan. I guess it is but I don’t find difference between them and therefore I will skip them and proceed with the head to head comparison.
The 011 has gold tone hands and bezel insert. The A55 does not have the gold accent found in the 011 but has a blue and white chapter ring instead of an orange one. The orange chapter ring on the 011 is seen as part of the dial and hence makes it look bigger compared to the A55.
Another noticeable difference between them is the shape of their hour markers. The 011 has mainly round hour markers while the A55 has bullet shaped markers. Lume is equally bright although I thought it is always brighter on round markers than long-shaped ones. Also note that the A55 has a small 3 O’clock marker next to the day/date window while the 011 doesn’t.
The dial of the 011 appears to have a slightly lighter orange tone than that on the A55.
Here are the casebacks. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here.
From the serial numbers, you can tell that the 011 is using 7S26B movement while this specimen of A55 being produced in 2005 is likely to be using the 7S26A movement.
Other than the above differences, I don’t find any difference in the case finishing. There is also no difference in the how the movable parts such as the rotating bezel and the screw-in crown feel like in operation. It is as though they came out of the same factory.
Last but not least, the photos: