Since the late 1800’s, Seiko have been pushing the bar when it comes to timekeeping across the world. With the introduction of their first wristwatch in the 1920’s, Seiko vowed to create watches that were as stylish as their competitors, whilst being functionally rich and robust for the day to day wearer.
Short for the word “Seikosha”, roughly translated to “House of Exquisite Workmanship”, Seiko’s founder Kintaro Hattori set out to dispel the 20th century myth, that any products made in the eastern world could not stand up to the quality of a western rival.
Whilst in the modern watch community Seiko are known for their mid-range pieces, it is important to note that the brand have been at the cutting edge of watch making across the last three centuries. Through the 20th century, Seiko pioneered the first Quartz and Kinetic winding watches, but it’s their Diver range we’re interested in today and specifically the Seiko 7002.
As underwater diving started to become popular in the 1960’s, Seiko stepped into the water resistant watch market with the Diver 150M model. Zoom forward to 1988, and the 7002 took it’s place as Seiko’s front running and now fourth generation watch for divers worldwide.
Seiko were set as the go-to brand for divers, but the 7002 has become a watch with appeal far wider than just the water sport fanatics. So let’s take a look at what makes the 7002 so popular and break down this iconic watch…
The 7002 brings together style, simplicity and functionality to make it a truly legendary divers watch. It couples a matt black face with distinctive rectangular hour markers to maximise accurate timekeeping in underwater conditions. Both the hands and hour markers have a unique, green colouring given by the luminous finish to enable full sight in dark, underwater conditions.
The hands again have a unique Seiko styling, with the minute hand incorporating an arrow-shaped design. The 7002 differed from its predecessor, the 6309, by returning to a date only indicator at the 3 o’clock position, leaving behind the day/date indicators of the past.
The 7002 was in the Seiko range between 1988 and 1996. During that eight year reign, a number of different variants of the 7002 were released with slight differences between them. Whilst slight size difference are out there, the 7002 measures 41mm in width, 45mm in length and a 13mm thickness. Whilst not the smallest watch in the world, the 7002 combines a sturdy, stainless-steel makeup within a streamlined design to ensure it is an asset and not a hindrance to all wearers, divers and non-divers alike.
The bezel is a key element to any divers watch, allowing the wearer to accurately track the amount of time they have been underwater. The 60 click, bi-directional rotating bezel of the 7002, provides full 360 functionality to the wearer.
Across the many variations in the 7002 range, the stylings of the bezel commonly changed to suit the different tastes of the diving watch market. The classic bezel seen above, incorporated the same luminous style as the dial with ‘Pepsi’ style bezels (as seen in the image below) becoming a popular choice for later releases.
For the watch purists among you, the original 7002 strap consisted of a black silicone-rubber offering which was stamped with Seiko Diver’s branding. It is extremely rare to find the original straps on a 7002, with replacement aftermarket straps commonly found due to the wear and tear a watch of this type and purpose encounters.
In some of the later 7002 releases, different strap styles and materials were released, again to appeal to different sections of the market. The use of stainless-steel Oyster and Jubilee straps were common, adding an extra robustness to the already bullet-proof 7002.
The legendary 7002 has a lot to it to ensure it’s the timepiece of choice for the diving community, let’s take a look at some of the stats:
– Water Resistant to 150m – 200m for Later Model
– Fully Automatic
– Movement Frequency of 21,600 BHP
– 40 Hour Power Reserve
– ISO 6425 Certified
As you can see, the Seiko 7002 really packs a punch with it’s underwater specs. Ready to get your hand on one? Well, let’s take a look at the cost…
With the Seiko 7002 last produced new in 1996, there are a huge range of high quality, second hand pieces on the market. If you’re looking for a complete original, you may be looking at an elevated cost due to a limited number of unused models which haven’t had services or after-sales modifications made to them.
On the general market, a second hand, A1 quality Seiko 7002, like the one seen above, can be picked up for as little as £180. As always, changes in design styles,spec and condition can lead to price fluctuations as low as £90 at the time of writing.
Seiko’s mid range offering, often leads to them being disregarded among the most popular watch brands in the world. Since 1880, Seiko have been revolutionising the watch market, with big strides forward made in Quartz and Kinetic technologies.
Now seen as true specialists in the diving watch market, Seiko have made a name for themselves in the sports market, with the classic 7002 the piece of choice for many. With it’s sturdy and robust makeup, luminous design style and functional bezel, the 7002 maintains it’s dominance nearly 30 years after its first release.