Seiko SKX031K “Submariner” review


Watch History


  • Date acquired: July 23rd 2004
  • Production Date: Nov 2003
  • Source: Chun Cheong Watch & Pen Store, Sungei Wang Plaza
  • Price paid: MYR400 (approximately USD115)
  • Status: Discontinued




Pop quiz folks – what resembles a Rolex Submariner watch, says “SEIKO" on the dial, has a screw-in crown and costs a fraction of the price of the watch that it pays homage to?

No prizes for guessing, it’s none other than the Seiko SKX031K – Seiko’s timeless tribute to the Rolex Submariner. The SKX031K had been available for over a decade (it debuted in 1996 with the introduction of the 7s26 automatic caliber) but Seiko quietly ceased production of this great looking watch by 2006. However, unsold pieces of the SKX031K continued to remain in the market for another three years until worldwide stocks finally dried up circa 2009.

It took me several months to consider one of this timeless classics from Seiko, albeit its design isn’t entirely original (after all, it is a homage to the Rolex Submariner) and I thought the SKX031K would fill the gap between my 200m, ISO-certified Seiko divers and my dressy Seiko 5 timepieces rather nicely.

The SKX031K and its Pepsi-bezeled SKX033K are Seiko’s only tribute models to the Rolex Submariner. There are several watch companies that also produce homage Submariner watches. Invicta, AMF, Sandoz and Orient are some of them that have these look-alike models.

2 (Medium) 2ER00001B

Top: A genuine Rolex Submariner (left) and a homage Orient “Submariner" (right)

In case you didn’t know, a homage watch is not a replica or fake watch. Basically a homage watch borrows some design influences from the original watch without infringing on copyright and trademarks of the patent holder. To the untrained eye, both the Orient and the Rolex appear similar but there are subtle variations in detail between the two.

For the rest of this review I will enclose the term “Submariner” (in quotes) to denote a homage Submariner.

Seiko’s own “Submariner" in detail

Unlike the other homage watches, Seiko’s SKX031K tries to retain as much design originality as possible while giving the “flavor" of the Rolex Submariner. Probably in an effort to avoid copyright infringements, Seiko decided to use the hour and minute hands from their SKX007/SKX009 diver instead of the famous “"Mercedes-style" hour hand.

The watch company also altered the dial design of their “Submariners" in a way, perhaps to protect themselves from legal infringements.

This is to say that Seiko doesn’t have the Mercedes-styled hands in any of their products – in fact they have incorporated such hands in a few Seiko automatic models that don’t resemble the Rolex Submariner.

To my initial confusion, Seiko offers two versions of the Submariner. I found out that there was also the mid-sized version of this watch – the SKX023K which to the uninitiated, could easily be misconstrued as the full-sized SKX031K.

In fact, I almost purchased an SKX023K by mistake at one watch store. I didn’t have the photo of the SKX031K Sub in my PDA for reference and had to rely on my memory alone. 🙂

Fortunately, I recalled the SKX031K sharing the same hour and minute hands as the evergreen SKX007 diver and politely told the store owner that it wasn’t the watch I was looking for.

I found out that few authorized Seiko watch dealers in Malaysia sell both models simultaneously. Unless you do a proper side-by-side comparison in the same store, you may not notice the not-so-obvious differences between the two.

Before we continue with the review, let’s first scrutinize the characteristics of the SKX031K and its smaller cousin, the SKX023K.

SKX031K2 SKX023K

Above: The SKX031K (left) and the junior sized SKX023K (right). Pics courtesy of

As you can see from the photos above, both the SKX031K and SKX023K appear to share the same dial layout with the same styling of hour indexes, dial fonts, framed calendar window and bezel markings. The unofficial nickname for the SKX031K is of course, the “Submariner" while its junior cousin is simply referred to as the SKX023K. Going by popular culture, the Seiko “Submariner" is the full sized SKX031K.

From what I’ve noticed in the watch forums, more Seiko enthusiasts prefer the normal-sized SKX031K to the mid-sized SKX023K.

In a nutshell, here are the trivial differences between both watches:

Feature SKX031K SKX023K
Case diameter 40mm Less than 40mm
Hour/Minute hands Sharply pointed arrow tips Shorter hands with rounded arrow tips
Second hand White painted Chromed finish, unpainted
Minute markers Located on a separate almost vertical, dial ring Printed horizontally on the dial
Crown and crown guards Large Small
Lug width 22mm 20mm



Also as a noteworthy mention is the vast dissimilarity between the SKX031K Submariner and the mid-sized SKX013K, which is actually a boys-sized ISO-certified 200m diver. Yeah, I used to get the model numbers mixed up too. 🙂

To illustrate the SKX013K diver, here are two photos of the watch. The SKX013K, being an ISO rated diver’s watch, retails for much more than the SKX031K “Submariner". You could say that the SKX013K is a miniature version of the full-sized SKX007K diver.

SKX013f SKX013_small

Top: As you can see, the SKX013K is a miniaturized version of the SKX007 diver. It is a true diver’s watch, unlike the SKX031K “Submariner".



Model Lineup

At present there are only two color variations of the Seiko “Submariner" – the black SKX031K and the dark blue dialed SKX033K with the blue/red “Pepsi" bezel. These two models are Seiko’s continual best-sellers, particular in the Asian market, which explains why after a decade they are still produced by Seiko’s overseas factory in China.

SKX031K2 SKX033K

Above: The SKX031K black “Sub" and its only other sibling, the SKX033K Pepsi “Sub". Pics from


You may be interested to know that Seiko used to have the “Made in Japan" versions of this watch, also known as the SKX031J. The “J" versions (along with the Pepsi SKX033J) appeared in the mid 1990s but for some reason was later discontinued, leaving only the “K" models in production today.


Skx031J (Medium)

Top: A rarely seen SKX031J. Note the extra dial text “21 Jewels" and “Made in Japan" on the dial.


The Seiko SKX031K and 033K both come in a variety of strap options:

  • 22mm folded linked Oyster-style bracelets
  • 22mm folded linked Jubilee-style bracelet
  • 22mm polyurethane rubber strap

Availability of Seiko “Submariners" on bracelets or rubber straps usually depend on the authorized Seiko dealer’s decision to bring whichever model that they feel is more saleable. From my personal observation, the SKX031K/033Ks on sale in Malaysia usually are fitted with the Oyster-style bracelets. I don’t recall having spotted any that came on the Z-22 rubber strap.



Look and feel

The SKX031K is a rather handsome watch albeit Seiko’s efforts not to make it look too close to the Rolex Submariner. It is exudes both classiness and sportiness and is equally at home at formal functions and for casual outings.

What else can I say? With the SKX031K, you get a taste of the classic Rolex Submariner for a fraction of the price. 🙂

The dial is easy to read and I like the framed index markers which matches the framed calendar window. The white painted second hand ensures good visibility even in the dimmest environment. The screw-in crown is sort of an unorthodox feature for a 100m-rated, sports watch.

Did I already mention that the SKX031K is a sports watch? Although some people refer to it as a “diver", it’s actually a diver-like sports watch.

SKX031K_1905 (Medium) SKX031K_1908 (Medium)

Top: Pics of my SKX031K “Submariner" with a lume dial shot on the right

The SKX031K’s form factor falls somewhere in-between a large diver such as the SKX007K (if you could call the 007K large, that is) and a diminutive Seiko 5 dress watch. It is definitely small when compared to the mammoth looking Titanium or Stainless Steel “Samurai" divers and the SBDC001 Sumo certainly dwarfs it.

The watch seats well on my wrist and doesn’t flop around. Its modest thickness of only 11mm makes it easy for you to wear it under long sleeved shirt cuffs.

SKX031K_6175 (Medium) SKX031K_2608 (Medium)

Top: The framed, chromed index markers of the SKX031K makes it extra special (left). Another angle of my Seiko “Submariner" (right), showing the 22mm folded link bracelet.

The Seiko “Sub" dial and hands are coated with medium-grade LumiBrite. It’s about as bright as the SKX007K diver and falls short of the fierce luminosity of the SKX779K Monster. Visibility in the dark is quite acceptable – certainly better than the lume used on basic Seiko 5 models.

What I find a bit odd is that Seiko used “10 Bars” instead of the usual “100m” to denote the watch’s water resistance. Japan Domestic Market (JDM) Seikos typically use Bars instead of meters for their non-diver models. The SKX031K is definitely not a JDM model (although this watch can be found in a few specialty watch stores in Japan) but an international market model. Seiko always uses meters in place of Bars for their non-JDM, non-diver models.

I’m out of educated guesses and can offer no explanation. Only Seiko Japan’s marketing people may be able to shed some light on this strange practice.

The bezel is the bi-directional, 60-click type which means that you can measure elapsed time to the nearest minute. The bezel rotates with positive clicks, not too loose or firm but unfortunately the markers aren’t aligned precisely. I believe this is a common complaint with the Seiko “Sub".

It would have been better if Seiko had chosen a uni-directional, 120-graduation bezel instead with a luminous dot on the 12 o’clock triangle marker (in the SKX013K, the marker is unfortunately not lumed) – after all, most of their Seiko 5 Sports 200m models (which are not ISO-rated divers) are endowed with 120-click, single direction bezels.

48A2-JG 44G4-BE

Above: The solid link, 48A2-JG bracelet clasp (left) vs the 44G4-BE‘s clasp fitted to the SKX031K (right)

The factory bracelet is unfortunately the folded link (44G4-BE) type with a simple flip-lock safety catch on the clasp, presumably to cut costs. It’s a shame that considering the Orient 2ER00001B comes with solid links. The mitigating factor is that the 44G4-BE bracelet’s clasp has a good number of micro adjustment holes which makes tweaking to your wrist circumference a snap.

I think it is possible to retrofit the SKX031K’s bracelet with Seiko’s better (48A2-JG) 22mm solid link Oyster bracelet that comes standard with the Seiko SNA225P 7T62 quartz chrono. The end pieces from the 48A2-JG will not fit the SKX031K’s lugs due to different profiling. You’ll have to remove the 48A2-JG’s end piece links and use back the SKX031K’s original end pieces to circumvent this.

However, the downside of the 48A2-JG’s bracelet is that it only has two micro adjustment holes, which makes perfect sizing rather tricky.



SKX031K_0242 (Medium) 1106773905

Above: The SKX031K’s screw-in crown up close (left) compared to the Orient 2ER00001B‘s crown (right)


The knurled crown is flanked by a pair of softly beveled crown guards. The guards are not as sharp like the original Rolex Submariner or even the Orient 2ER00001B “Submariner". For a 100m rated non-diver’s watch, Seiko thoughtfully included a screw-in, locking crown. I’d say that Orient’s “Submariner” has a better looking crown and guards – closer to the Rolex Submariner’s.

I like the SKX013K’s crown – it’s easy to grip and not that fiddly to screw it back in, using the popular “reverse-threading" trick.

The caseback is a rather plain affair, with a highly polished surface with the traditional Seiko “wave" symbol in the center. When I bought the watch, the Seiko protective blue sticker was was glued onto watch and I had a tough time scraping it off. The end result was in lots of minor scratches in the process.

Fortunately since the caseback is a polished, mirror finish, I managed to remove the marks using Autosol, a well-known German-made metal polishing product. It should however be noted that Autosol is a super abrasive compound and should never used on brushed finish surfaces of a watch, e.g. the clasp of a bracelet, which is usually brushed.



Above: The Autosol metal polish works wonders on scratches on smooth, mirror finishes. Do NOT use this on brushed finishes!


It’s worth mentioning that of all the stainless steel backed watches in my collection, the SKX013K sometimes gives me a rash if I wear it for too long without taking it off. I remember reading another SCWF member echoing my sentiments – he experienced the same problem too.

Seiko’s watches are supposed to be made of 316L Grade stainless steel but I wonder if Seiko used an inferior quality stainless steel with unusually high nickel or chromium content for the 7s26-0040 models. Some people are allergic to nickel or chrome on their skin but I’m not sure which element is responsible for the rash on my wrist.



Customizing the SKX013K

There are not many owners of this watch who mod the SKX013K, compared to 6309-704x and 7s26-0020 divers. I guess like me, most prefer to leave the watch as it is. However, for your personal enjoyment here are some photos of modded SKX031Ks that I’ve collected from the Internet.

Most of the modifications below are subtle, involving a simple swap of watch hands but a few adventurous owners went for all-out dial replacements.


(All photos herein belong to their respective copyright owners)


IMG_0101v (Medium)1444561519_30831eab89 (Medium)
seikomatic100_3342 (Medium)
custom-skx-031-2 (Medium)SKX031-6309
skx031sammi (Medium)pmmm9






As usual with my watch reviews, here are the measurements of the SKX031K:

  • Diameter: 40 mm (w/o crown), 43 mm (w/crown)
  • Bezel diameter: 39.5 mm
  • Lug-to-lug: 45 mm
  • Thickness: 11 mm
  • Lug width: 22 mm
  • Bracelet width: 22 mm, tapering to 18mm at clasp

IMG_4767 (Medium) IMG_4765 (Medium)

Top: Wrist shots of my SKX031K, with the Saturday indicated in a nice bright blue font




  • Caliber: 7s26A, 21 jewels (7s26B from Oct 2006 onwards)
  • Caseback type: 7s26-0040
  • Movement: Automatic, non-hacking
  • Beat rate: 21,600 bph (6 beats/sec)
  • Loss/gain: Less than 40 sec/day
  • Power reserve: About 42 hours
  • Calendar: Day/date, dual language (Eng/Roman)
  • Crown: Screw-in type
  • Construction: Stainless steel
  • Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
  • Bezel: Bi-directional, 60-click graduations
  • W.R. rating: 10 Bars (100m)
  • Luminous material: LumiBrite™
  • Movement Singapore or Malaysia, cased in China

Compliments from non-WIS folk

I still find it strange that I get the odd compliment on this humble Rolex Sub-lookalike from my acquaintances, although I’d be happier to wear a “better” watch like my SBDC001 Sumo for example.

Case #1

Sometime in late 2004, I attended an office luncheon with some of my friends. I was wearing the SKX031K at the time. Ironically, the compliment came from a woman, who was a colleague of my friend. I noticed that she was staring at my SKX031K for about 30 seconds until she finally spoke up.

What’s that watch that you’re wearing? It looks very nice! Can I see it a bit closer?"

It took me several seconds to regain my composure and sheepishly showed her the Seiko “Submariner". Perhaps she had mistaken it for that world famous Swiss marque that starts with an “R" and ends with an “x". 🙂

It’s not what you think it is – it’s actually a cheap Seiko automatic watch, really!", I stammered in embarrassment.

She looked at it for a little while and said, “Well, that IS a very nice looking watch that you’re wearing. I really thought it was a Rolex!"

Bingo! Just what I had anticipated what she was thinking.

I jested, “Are you thinking of buying one like this for your boyfriend or for yourself? I bet it’ll look good on your wrist too!" Now it was her turn to feel embarrassed so she said nothing more. 😉

Case #2

Another real life experience was very recently, when I happened to be wearing my SKX031K “Submariner”. A new acquaintance of mine, who is an entertainment industry lawyer by profession regularly goes to the same local Starbucks joint that I do. We’d be there four times a week at night, bringing our laptops along to do our work sitting at separate tables.

When he had finished his work, he would usually come over to my table and have a chat with me. My friend knows that I’m into watches and he had seen me wear a different watch each time. However, he’s not much of a “watch person” and didn’t seem to be the least interested in my watches.

It struck me as odd when he saw the Seiko “Submariner” that he appeared to be more interested in what I was wearing. I took it off my wrist and showed it to him – “This is what we call the Seiko Submariner”. He expressed surprise, saying that he initially thought it was a Rolex Submariner.

I took the opportunity to show him the hordes of SKX031K photos I had in my laptop and told him that it was a homage watch. He asked me how much it cost and his eyes widened slightly in amazement when I told him how much I paid for it. Obviously it was much less than he had expected.


I find this watch interesting as it serves well as a daily beater or the occasional wristwear. Although I don’t wear the SKX031K as often as I do nowadays it’s definitely a keeper for me. Would I buy this watch again? Yes, I would unreservedly…but only if I could find another new one.

When I think about it, you don’t actually need a real Rolex Submariner to draw attention towards you when a humble USD115 Seiko also does the same job – and it’s not even a fake watch! 😉

Sadly the Seiko company decided to quietly phase out the SKX031K Submariner sometime in the middle of the 2000s, probably from 2006 to early 2007. It wasn’t until two years later that the worldwide supply of this model was noticeably shrinking although a few eBay merchants managed to get hold of the last batches from their overseas suppliers. Today, the SKX031K is an officially extinct watch, much to the disappointment to newbie Seiko watch collectors just starting out with their hobby.

Nobody knows the exactly why Seiko decided to pull this model off the market after selling it for ten years. Like its bigger cousin, the SKX007K 200m diver’s watch it enjoyed brisk annual sales particularly in the Far East. If the SKX031K is selling quite well, there’s no reason for Seiko not to continue making it. After all, the initial R&D costs to come up with this watch would have been long recovered and being of simplistic design, I don’t think Seiko’s production costs to make the Submariner is that high either. It’s not like the smartphone and tablet industry where its players need to design new models every six months or lose out to the competition.

I do have a personal theory though: copyright infringement issues. I think the Rolex company had decided to come down hard on the counterfeit watch industry but also included legitimate watch companies selling lookalikes and homage models of its signature Rolex Submariner watches.

If this is indeed true, Seiko agreed to comply with Rolex and ceased manufacturing the SKX031K without much fanfare. It may be one of Seiko’s best sellers but then the SKX031K is one of their many models that are neither advertised nor listed on Seiko’s online catalogs.

Strangely enough, even Orient appeared to stop selling its popular 2ER00001B black “Submariner” model at around the same time, along with its deep blue dialed version. Since Seiko owns a controlling stake in the Orient Japan Watch company, the disappearance of Orient’s version of the Submariner isn’t surprising. Both Seiko and Orient have many other original designs to sell and they wouldn’t lose much by not selling the SKX031K and the 2ER00001B respectively. Inevitably the loss will be felt by people who have fallen in love with either model but that’s the way it goes.

I guess the SKX031K will go down in history as one of the “evergreen” Seiko models ever produced and I’m glad I own one. 🙂

SeikoSKX031_2 (Medium)

Above: This is probably the best looking photo of a SKX013K I’ve seen so far. (Borrowed picture)



What I liked:

  • A definitely timeless and classic looking sports watch from Seiko
  • Nicely designed Submariner homage watch without looking too “Rolex-like”
  • High-contrast, easy-to-read white painted second hand
  • Screw-in crown, easier to screw in compared to the SKX007 diver
  • Smooth action bezel with distinctive clicks
  • Looks good in various strap options
  • Suitable to be worn for any occasion, perfect mid-size form factor
  • Affordable!

What I didn’t care for:

  • Seiko could have used a solid linked bracelet instead of the folded link type
  • Bi-directional bezel with only 60 click graduations
  • Caseback steel sometimes gives me rashes on my wrist
  • Watch dimensions could have been slightly larger
  • Crown design and crown guards could have been better designed
  • Bi-directional bezel with no lumed 12 o’lock marker

Quartzimodo’s Rating

Price: 4star5Citizen Nighthawk BJ7017-50ET review
Looks: 4-star
Build quality: 3-star
Features: 3-star
Value for money: 4halfstar42Citizen Nighthawk BJ7017-50ET review
Overall: 4star11743Citizen Nighthawk BJ7017-50ET review


Technorati Tags: Seiko,SKX031K,Submariner,reviews,7s26,watches


Did you enjoy this post? Why not leave a comment below and continue the conversation, or subscribe to my feed and get articles like this delivered automatically to your feed reader.


Here are a few more pics of my Seiko “Sub”.

Modded with Mercedes ands, stainless steel chapter ring and domed sapphire crystal.

And here is the same watch with the green “LV” bezel insert and the original Seiko folded Oyster bracelet.

I hope you and your readers like it.


Hi Stan,

Those are very nice mods you’ve done to your Seiko SKX031K! The one with the green bezel insert almost looks like a Rolex Sub. Excellent pics! 🙂 If you want your photos to be noticed more, consider opening up either a free or Pro Flickr account. If you have a Yahoo account, you can use the same password for the Flickr account. There’s a group dedicated to Seiko watches as well as automatic watches. I’m an enthusiast photographer and I post some of my watch pics there too. I no longer use Photobucket. Seems like it’s popular with watch forum members to store images of their watches but the free Photobucket service isn’t that reliable from my experience.


Hi Quartzimodo,

I was reading this article of yours about SKx031K Sub and decided to search in the online store. Guess what? They mentioned no more in production or not in stock.

Is it true? or where would you know of any online stores (preferably from MY, SG or JP) that I can take a look?

Thank you.

Hi EC Lim,

The SKX031K “Submariner” was a very popular watch but it has been long discontinued years ago. Those who wanted it badly after Seiko phased it out would scout eBay and Google for online stores that had leftover stock of this model. However it could be possible that a few old brick-and-mortar watch retailers that don’t have websites but have one or two pieces left on their display shelf.

In absence of an online store website, there is no way for you to know which retailer is still selling this watch. Unless you come across a forum thread and someone wrote a recent, genuine lead e.g. “I was window shopping at ABC shopping complex along Orchard Road and came across one unsold Seiko SKX031K at XYX Watch company. Anyone interested?”. Chances are if people have spread the word about that watch, someone who lives in the vicinity and has read that same forum would have bought it by the time you read the post.

Your last recourse is to go watch hunting on foot, scouting for the Submariner from one watch shop to another. You may want to try your luck looking for the SKX031K in older shopping centers and old, not-so-popular watch stores from the 70s or 80s. It all boils down to sheer luck. 🙂

happy hunting,

Thank you for your prompt reply. So, hunting for SKX031K would be like “looking for a needle in a haystack”.

Well, most people said, if you can’t get the original, get the one that is most similar to the original!. So, Quartzimono, in your opinion, which model would be the closest to SKX031K or the “SUBmariner”. SKX013K? or there sre some newer models that are clost.

Would appreciate your opinion as I would definately would like to own a Seiko Automatic.

I had a Seiko Quartz that I purchased about 30 years ago. At the back casing are engraved:

6530-6090 RO

The glass need to be replaced and the repair shop in Petaling Jaya quoted me RM120 and not an original glass from Seiko. so I didnt proceed with the repair. Do you know of any Seiko master repairer around KL or PJ?

Would appreciate your opinion. Thank you.

Hi EC Lim,

I have gone on several watch hunting trips many years ago. Some of my Seiko watches were found by sheer accident; others were close to the model I was looking for. And a few trips proved to be fruitless and I went home empty handed. 🙂

It helps if you can show the store assistant or boss a clear photo of the watch you want on your phone or tablet, because even Seiko dealers never memorize the model number of their Seiko merchandise.
If you want a Submariner homage that looks almost like the Rolex Sub, IMO the Orient 2ER00001B would be an excellent candidate other than the Sandoz “Sub”. Even so, the Orient is getting scarce nowadays and this model itself could have been phased out. The SKX013K on the other hand, has no passing resemblance to the Sub at all – it’s a junior version of the full sized, SKX007K 200m diver.

With regards to your Seiko 6530-6090. You could try contacting the Thong Sia service center and ask to speak to Nancy (assuming she hasn’t retired) from the spare parts department. If they don’t have the original glass in stock, they will try to order one from Japan. Note that watch crystals have their own unique, part number. Some crystals can be used on certain other Seiko models provided that the crystal is of the same part number.

Generic watch glasses can also be used if they fit your watch seamlessly. You can try either Hang Thai Watch in SS2 Petaling Jaya or Hing’s Watch, located on the ground floor of the Jaya 33 complex. Neither watch repairers will have original spare parts at hand; as they will order parts as necessary.

good luck!

Aloha Quartzimodo Sir, I have two Seiko 6309-7040 Divers.
One has a Serial No. of ……….. 360062 ( ” A ” )
The other has a Serial No. of … 780637 ( “Japan A ” )
can you identify them please.
Thank you and Aloha for you time Sir.

Hi LongBike,

More 6309 divers? You must be really into these delightful cushion cased watches – I’ve never known anyone who’s very fascinated with this model. 🙂

First watch (360062) was made on June 1983 – Hong Kong assembled, Singapore made movement.
Second watch (780637) was made on August 1977 – Japan made by the Suwa factory.

Now, if you want to own the “grail” of these type of watches, try to find the rare Japan-market, 6306-7000/7001 model for a change. The 6306 can hack and was made in very limited quantities, making this gem a true collector’s item. 🙂

Q Admin.

Leave a comment



Additional Info

privacy policy