Photo credits: @cswatches_official's Instagram page
As an integral part of the group of timepieces that put Seiko on the map, Seiko divers’ watches have a storied history and complexity as timepieces. Evolving from their origin as one of the Seiko brand’s baseline watches, they have found a following in the watch modding community as baseline modders’ watches. As a result, Seiko has become a sought-out brand for watch modification aficionados with a motley of movements and mod parts that are easily available out in the open market. Follow us as we take a deep dive into knowing how essential the Seiko brand is for horology enthusiasts of diverse persuasions today, just how “moddable” Seiko watches are, and how you can recreate an exorbitantly expensive luxury watch using a Seiko divers’ watch.
Find some parts you'll need to build your own Seiko Yachtmaster mod in this collection.
Watch modding - horological counterculture?
People have said that owning and wearing a watch is symbolic of one's status in life. However, owning and wearing watches and timepieces can be more than that. They can also be symbolic of you, your traits, and your personality. By personalizing and altering components (modifying or "modding") of your favored wrist-worn daily ally, you create your own label or symbol for yourself and change how the rest of the world can see you.
Modifying a watch or a timepiece can also be a form of subverting typical cultural norms like capitalism and the manufacturing of various consumer goods, in this case, watches and timepieces. Some watch modification enthusiasts believe that their modding can be considered acts of defiance against the mass production of watches and timepieces. Although numerous parts for watch modification use have been mass-produced, watch modders' horological counterculture sentiments still manage to flare because of the creative flair that they showcase in their personalized pieces. With the wide availability of mod parts, watch parts, and their numerous variant styles, one can definitely and almost limitlessly exercise their right to express themselves through the modern art of watch modification.
Those who became part of the community have various reasons to enjoy customization. Some want to focus on tinkering with watch parts; some are curious about how things work. Finally, some want to achieve a specific look different from the original timepiece from the stores because they find the typical store items to be dull.
Now, don't worry if you're just starting to dip your toe in the watch modding scene. You're not the only one. Setting out to design your watch from scratch can be challenging. Every brilliant and skillful watch modder started as a newbie. And there's no shame in starting with little to no knowledge of watch modding - as long as you start somewhere.
Lots of horology enthusiasts turn to Seiko for watch modification purposes because of the brand's relative price-friendliness and the extensive accessibility of mod parts for Seiko watches. Ready-made Seiko mod parts and watch parts are always ready for purchase in stores, whether physically or online. Additionally, one can get ready-made Seiko mod parts from reputable businesses online, like a ceramic bezel. Now, deciding on what kind of watch you want to mod is essential to doing a decent watch modification. So you can go ahead and pick a commonly modded watch type from Seiko. One of the go-to watch types for watch modding is the discontinued but still affordably available Seiko SKX007, a divers' watch.
By checking on tips from the watch modding community and online support, you will find the information you need to search for and work with the parts you need for watch modification. Of course, the choice to have the watch modification job done professionally is also available to you. But where's the fun in that? After all, with all these continual periods of lockdown and quarantine, one might as well learn something new at home. Beginners may doubt themselves and feel discouraged about their lack of knowledge and expertise with watch modding. But with time, research, and repetition, such issues common to new learners will become a thing of the past. You can then focus on enjoying yourself and the whole process.
A timepiece for MODern consumers
The Seiko SKX007 is legendary. As mentioned earlier, this particular timepiece by Seiko is affordable, yes, but also timeless. Its classic looks have inspired many in the watch modification community to produce mod parts dedicated to it. It has a history as an ever-reliable watch that could accompany you to dive as deep in the oceanic depths as much as you can or need. That storied reputation made it clear for horology enthusiasts with little or no modding experience that it was the choice watch for personalization and modification. Why? Because it was durable. It could stand to get modded.
Although Seiko discontinued the SKX007, it has become a collector's item. In addition, a slew of imitative SKXs is out in the market. Some of the imitations are downright worthless, but some of the higher-quality replicas can be very convincing and might fool a would-be buyer into spending more than they ought to. The SKX007 was never meant to be a premium or luxury watch. Instead, it utilized an inexpensive movement paired with utilitarian parts, making imitation SKXs easy for replica manufacturers to create.
However, it might be better to build a Seiko SKX007 from the depths up, so to speak. The SKX007 was a great budget diver's watch at its best. It never tried to compete with other watches in terms of make and materials, and it was a reliable go-to watch for anyone that needed a quality watch that could work for years without any issues or need for service.
But for the more advanced and aggressive watch modder or horology enthusiast, rebuilding one could be the best way to express oneself with a one-of-a-kind timepiece. Especially since the problem with getting a limited SKX piece today is that it can be too expensive. However, if you were to buy it as a watch collector's item, that could still work. However, be sure to keep it in a safe place or compartment, and do not wear it too often outside of your home - if that's what you want out of your SKX.
For anyone that wants an SKX-style watch made to be used, it makes a lot more sense to build one. It could be more labor-intensive, but it is less pricey that way. After all, it would be a labor of love for any lover of watches and timepieces.
The Seiko Yachtmaster
A less daunting way of approaching a watch mod job for beginners is to turn to aspirational builds inspired by well-known watch designs or timepiece designs. Introducing the Seiko Yachtmaster modification build - a watch mod style that will surely never fail to steal the attention of anyone in the same room you are in. So let's dive right in! In watch modding, you can recreate the style of a more exorbitantly-priced timepiece for cheaper. And with vastly more creative freedom.
The Seiko Yachtmaster (YM) mod build is one of the most popular and well-loved builds in the watch modding community. One of the easiest ways to distinguish this build or style is through its bezel insert. There are several variant colors of Seiko SKX007 Yachtmaster bezel inserts, including silver, gold, and black, just to name a few. As a result, this build is generally bigger and showier than similar-looking builds like the Submariner.
Some Seiko Yachtmaster build choices that are available for you out in the watch modification world are:
- The black Yachtmaster build - one of the most popular builds because of its effortlessly cool appeal, and of course, black can go well with anything.
- The golden Yachtmaster build - bold and brustling, not everyone can wear this build; only certain personalities can aptly wear a full-on gold watch (but when paired with the right wearer, this Yachtmaster build will dominate any room it's in).
- The silver Yachtmaster build - perfect for those who prefer their statement pieces to be subtler; an elegant and sophisticated build choice that will look good on any wrist.
- The two-tone Yachtmaster build - features two different metallic tones (usually gold and silver) or one metallic tone paired with black or another shade; balance is key to the fabulousness of this build.
The Seiko Yachtmaster's notably bold yet classy style is, of course, inspired by the Rolex Yacht-Master, which first emerged in 1992. It was a timepiece that was so well-received and evoked such luxurious opulence unknown to watch buyers until then. It also seemed to be the market's first premium watch designed for luxury seacraft owners.
And who would have known that that decades later, the Yacht-Master would inspire and continue to inspire watch modders and watch builders of all levels to remake it, using classic Seiko divers' watches as their horological canvas? Of course, although Seiko's initial SKX line (watches and timepieces for everyone) is opposite to everything that the Yacht-Master was marketed for in the past, their styles just blend when paired together. And this is truly evident, especially when you come across a well-made Seiko Yachtmaster build.