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Seiko Map Meter – the MM that does not belong to the sea

The other day while browsing around casually at a watch shop, I spotted a blue Seiko Map Meter watch (SKZ223) that was mounted on the nylon bund strap that supposedly only came with the orange version (SKZ227). Dealer explained that she had a customer who wanted the SKZ227 on the metal bracelet so she did a band swap and sold it at the price of the bracelet version. Things like that always happen at retail shops.
 
Anyway, I strapped on the blue Map Meter watch on the bund strap and for a while, I couldn’t get it off my wrist. The watch is big and thick, and the bund strap really makes it stand out on the wrist. Thickness of a watch is never an issue for me and this was the first I worn a Seiko on a bund strap. I have handled a bracelet version of the Map Meter watch when they were first released and had very good impression of it. This is the second time I tried it on.
 
The Map Meter watch appears to be an improved version of an earlier model known as Atlas (SKZ211 and so on). It has a bigger watch case that has a nicer polished and brushed finish than the matt finished Atlas. It also has a nicer two-layered dial as compared to conventional one on the Atlas. In other words, it is bigger and better and just like Arnold’s terminator model, the Atlas is an obsolete model. It can’t stop the Map Meter from flying out of the retail stores.


SKZ211K – Nicknamed ‘Atlas’


SKZ227K – The new and improved model

 
The Atlas and Map Meter series of watches have a unique design of their own that some may not appreciate because it doesn’t resemble the 6105’s, 6309’s or the Marinemaster that they are familiar with. I don’t blame them because the Map Meter watch is not a dive watch and should not be perceived as one. Some sellers on eBay call it ‘dive watch’ which is inappropriate and misleading. I must admit I had that misperception before but now I realized it is a ‘land’ watch. Maybe it wasn’t very clear on the Atlas but the Map Meter is clearly a ‘land watch’. It has a compass bezel for finding direction and a map meter for measuring distances on maps. Sure, it has a water resistance rating of 200m but so does the Prospex Landmasters. Therefore, when I look at the SKZ Map Meter watch, I look at it from a ‘land watch’ perspective. I won’t compare it with any Seiko diver at all. I think Seiko has opened up a new category of Seiko 5 with the Atlas and Map Meter. Instead of ‘Map Meter’, I am very tempted to call it ‘Seiko 5 Landmaster’ although I wouldn’t entrust my life to it.
 

The Map Meter watch uses plastic crown guards that are attached to both sides of the watch case by means of screws. They remind me of the plastic guards that some Casio watches have to protect their pushers.


 

I have the following guesses as to why the plastic part is used:
 
– to help reduce the weight since it is quite a heavy watch.
– for extra shock protection
– purely from a design standpoint to add some character to the watch
– to reduce manufacturing cost since steel is getting more expensive 🙂
 
As you can see in the pictures below, the caseback is surrounded by a plastic ring. The crown guards on both sides are joined by the plastic ring and this whole thing is actually a one-piece plastic instead of three separate pieces.

I hope it can last as long as the watch….


~~~~~~~

 

A few days later, I went to another shop and purchased an orange Map Meter that was distributed by the distributor, Thong Sia Group. The package includes warranty card, manuals, polishing cloth and a zipper storage case. The recommended retail price is $503.00 inclusive of tax. I paid $300 for it which is about 40% off the RRP. There are grey market ones selling for less but I decided to go with Thong Sia this time. (Prices mentioned are in Singapore dollars).


Inner, outer boxes and polishing cloth.


Warranty card and hang tags.

 
Watch came with nylon bund strap that is backed by leather on the underside for water resistance. Upon removing the strap, I discovered that it uses 22mm spring bars of normal thickness as opposed to the thicker ones used by the Seiko divers. For me, it means there are more strap options for the watch. In fact, I have changed the nylon band to a Kevlar style strap that I bought previously from globalwatchband.com.
 
The screw-in crown is knurled and is signed with the ‘5’ logo. The circumference of the bezel is also knurled just like the other SKZ’s. And being a compass bezel, it rotates smoothly in both directions. Unlike the dive watch bezel, the compass bezel does not ratchet nor click when it rotates.

 

 
The caseback is nicely done with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. Instead of the usual "Stainless Steel", this one is inscribed with "St Steel + Plastics". At 41mm diameter, this has got to be the biggest Seiko caseback I have seen so far. It reaches all the way to the circumference of the watch case as you can see in the picture below.


The lume on the lumibrite hands is pretty bright but I can’t say the same for the markers. They have pretty weak lume.
 
I went with the orange version because the color of the dial and that of the stainless steel bezel offer better color contrast against the black plastic guards.


 
 

Please click on any thumb to see a larger image


Instruction Manual – Map Meter


SKZ211K

 
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11 responses to “Seiko Map Meter – the MM that does not belong to the sea

  1. jorge 26/01/2011 at 1:11 pm

    quisiera saber como hago para comprarme un Seiko Mapa Metro (SKZ223) en peru no logro encontrar

  2. Certifiedfryguy 19/05/2011 at 9:11 pm

    I need to remember to just come here first when i want some info on a watch i’m interested in buying. I just spent a few hours looking for a decent writeup, and pictures and just as i was about to give up i decided to come look here.

    Do you still own this watch? How’s the plastic holding up for you?

    • Yeoman 20/05/2011 at 9:13 am

      I had it for over a year before letting it go. Plastic was in good shape. However, I’m not sure how long would it last. I believe at some point, it has to be replaced and I decided to sell it before it happens. 🙂

  3. kevin 02/06/2011 at 12:54 am

    I Just bought the orange map meter, just to check with you how do you use the map meter? I bought it at $388 is this to expansive? You got it at 300 that is a good deal.

    Thanks
    Kevin

  4. jerry jose 06/12/2011 at 1:06 am

    yoeman,

    very informative.thanks! im already eyeing this watch for quite sometime and i haven’t got any idea about this piece until i read your review. the look of this particular watch did get my attention that’s why i need to check it first before getting one for my self. im very confident about the quality of seiko watch but seeing one with a new and ,somehow, modern design such this particular model, i need to do some research first to find out the reason they incorporated black plastics around the watch. it’s kinda catchy for one’s attention but i need to verify if this is better than the all-metal build of the watch. hope to hear more from your blog regarding this seiko watch. for now i’ll just try to save some money to get me this time piece. thanks a lot, and more power.

    regards,
    jerry

    • Yeoman 06/12/2011 at 8:57 am

      Hi Jerry,

      Good that you are doing research on a watch before buying it.

      Plastic offers shock absorption and colour contrast to the stainless steel. It probably lowers the cost of the case as well. However, I still prefer the all metal case.

      Best regards,
      Thomas

  5. eduardo 18/06/2013 at 12:04 am

    Hi, i have the SKZ227K – The new and improved model with the metal bracelet, how can i find the canvas one?? a search in amazon but i get nothing.

  6. Sonny Libunao 19/04/2014 at 3:02 pm

    it is good watch.

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