Seiko Submariner A.K.A. Seikolex - Best Mod Ideas

Seiko Submariner
Photo credits: @cswatches_official's Instagram page


Seiko divers’ watches are iconic. They truly established Seiko as a brand to watch in the world of horology and have inspired countless watch enthusiasts to start watch collecting. It is in this vein of inspiration, or “watchspiration,” that the Seiko brand has managed to recognize the strength of its diver supporters by providing avenues for their supporters to practice their creative freedom. And the primary avenue is watch modification. By producing such mod-friendly watches, Seiko has gained a prodigious modder following not only for its notable divers’ watches but also for the brand itself. So come and let’s venture into the depths of what watch modification is all about, how Seiko came to have such a dedicated modder fanbase, and how one can remake a much-loved luxury timepiece using a Seiko divers’ watch.

Find some parts you'll need to build your own Seiko Submariner mod in this collection.


The Seiko brand - a modder’s delight

Seiko stands out as a nexus place for devoted horology lovers and watch modification enthusiasts from all over. The reliable Japanese watch brand has been much loved and respected by consumers of all sorts - from the casual ones to those who like to tinker with what they buy. Seiko is willing to let horology lovers and devoted watch modification enthusiasts personally customize their watches and timepieces, regardless of watch modification expertise. Suppose you are so inclined to venture into the depths of watch modification and are eager to learn. In that case, Seiko is there for you with the accessibility and diversity of its timepieces. A wide range of parts for watch modification are available for your purchase. 

Seiko manufactures its own watch movements. All are made in-house. This means that all parts or components of the Seiko watch, internal and external, are Seiko-made. Doing so is an extraordinary feat as only the older and more established brands of watches (Breitling, Omega, Panerai, Tissot, and others) usually have the capability to do such a thing. However, several watch brands and houses now offer a variety of movements and parts for all kinds of modification options.

With all that said, Seiko watches are still the dependable choice for the everyday wearer of watches as the brand offers great value for the price of their products. Moreover, Seiko prides itself on its wrist-worn products and their notable resilience, which lack the need for regular service sessions. Yes, there could still be relatively trivial elements of watch design that might irk some wearers. Still, Seiko watches are friendly to the possibility of wearers wanting to alter and edit the different watch elements and parts to reflect their individuality and personal taste. For example, some horology enthusiasts and would-be watch modders might want to switch out the material used for the watch crystal. Others might want to swap one part for a flashier or more stylistic option. Regardless of the reasons, any Seiko watch can become a custom-made timepiece.

For would-be watch modders, diving headfirst into the contemporary art of watch modification can be an educational, joyous, and rewarding experience, especially with a timepiece from Seiko. In addition, one can have more leeway to express themselves creatively through the watch or timepiece they choose to wear on their wrist. Anyone can explore the affable arena of watch modification, especially with a brand like Seiko. Due to the brand's huge watch modder community support and following, customization choices abound for everybody. All one has to do is procure a Seiko watch, pick a style or modification build, and get to modifying or modding! You won't have any regrets.

The Seiko Submariner

One style or modification build you can try is the Seiko (SKX007) Submariner mod - one of the most attractive Seiko modification builds out there. A Seiko Submariner mod build starts with a new case that uses standard SKX parts, unlike other SKX-based mod builds. You can then use the old case for other projects, or you can just start from scratch and buy all the parts you need without needing an old SKX timepiece. The steel and PVD-coated Seiko Submariner cases can make great starting points for any Seiko Submariner mod. One does not have to compromise their artistic vision due to a lack of options for parts.

The Seiko Submariner build is sleeker and less bulky than similar-looking divers' watch builds like the Yachtmaster. Additionally, the Submariner and Yachtmaster are two very similar-looking builds - no denying that. The Yachtmaster build can be slightly bulkier and more ostentatious, whereas the Submariner can be a subtle and low-key choice for daily use. The Submariner also has a thinner and flatter caseback, making it more comfortable to wear for most people. The classic Submariner look can be easy to achieve, and you can set yourself up with various handsets and Submariner-style bezels (stainless steel, polished chrome, and various others). You will not be limited to one style or another in the slightest. 

Creating a Seiko Submariner build can take the following creative routes:

  • The "custom colorway" route - examples of this include using a black case with metallic accents, like a gold or silver bezel and crown, creating an SKX Submariner build that feels a lot like the latest generation of Yachtmasters, and yet with its unique flavor; and a full rose gold SKX Submariner case is also poshly possible, which you can match with molded rubber straps is a classy-looking build that looks as good as it feels.
  • The "classic look" route - available for those who want to go in the direction of a classic Rolex sports case but want to mix it up and be adventurous (usually utilizes a dial that doesn't come off of a diver's watch); such builds show how field dials can work perfectly in a Seiko Submariner case or how one can use stock Seiko dials in such a manner for modding.

Of course, one can decide to use a dial quite similar to the original Submariner, and options are available. With some skeleton or snowflake watch hands, you'll have yourself a really beautiful Submariner-style build that still showcases some originality. The build's beautiful textured dial sets off the style and also pairs greatly with a black case's polished and brushed finishing.

The inspiration

Of course, the build mentioned above is inspired by the Rolex Submariner. Without the Rolex Submariner, it's impossible to talk about watches, especially divers' watches. In addition, the Submariner is truly one of the most iconic watches there are –  particularly in the world of sports watches. Since the Submariner was introduced in the 1950s, it has been a trend-setting timepiece.

If you are trying to search for the right look for your moddable watch, know that the Rolex Submariner has been tinkered on, prodded, and lauded by horology enthusiasts and can definitely provide you with artistic inspiration for building your Seiko Submariner-style mod. Building a Seiko Submariner mod with an SKX watch is an excellent way to evoke the style of a Rolex Submariner without having to deal with extravagant prices or having to be on a years-long waitlist for the chance to procure the luxury timepiece. Moreover, there aren't any mod parts or watch parts you can buy in the market for a Rolex Submariner. I don't think any respectable watch lover would want to disassemble one either. 

You open the door to lots of practical and creative options by building a custom Seiko Submariner mod, as there is a wide range of Seiko mod suppliers for such mod builds. With a Seiko Submariner-style case and mod parts, you can recreate a Rolex Submariner that is more reflective of your individuality at a fraction of Rolex prices. Also, you don't have to worry about exorbitant prices for regular service, as there are reliable, almost service-proof Seiko movements available in either physical or online stores.

Specific tips for the mod-shy

No need to fret if you are a little averse to dipping your toes in the watch modification pool; the Seiko Submariner mod build is versatile and accessible enough for beginners. No wonder it has inspired many horology enthusiasts and watch mod lovers to create their own Submariner-style watches and timepieces. Just make sure to take a gander at these tips concerning all the options for parts and components that are out in the market for you to pick from.

  • Watch dials - (1) these are the focal points of any watch or timepiece; one can use any watch dial that fits a 7S or 4R movement, and there are also date-only variants available (2) check the used section of the watch markets for any Seiko dial you might like 
  • Watch hand set - a must for any watch mod build; popular options include Mercedes hands, Tudor-style snowflake hands, and timeless Seiko 62MAS-style hands perfect for vintage appreciators.

If you really are not ready for a little do-it-yourself action, then that's fine as well. Seiko Submariner mod builds are one of the most popular Seiko options for modding at present, so it's not a surprise that there are pre-built Seiko Submariner mod builds available for you. If you really don't want to get too tinker-heavy.

For the watch aficionado that doesn't want to build their own watch themselves but totally wants a custom-built Seiko Submariner, then these pre-built and pre-modded watches and timepieces will be the best option. The options can be truly limitless, limited to your imagination - which is what makes the contemporary art of watch modification both enjoyable and a tad overwhelming. However, it is definitely more than just a hobby. It's a lifestyle. If you need more guidance and practical tips for planning and executing your Seiko Submariner-style mod build, the watch modding community and their expertise are just a click away.