Seiko SKXA49K Black Knight review
- Date acquired: May 9 2005
- Production date: Dec 2004
- Source: Premierworld, eBay
- Price paid: USD101.50 (w/o shipping)
- Status: Possibly discontinued
The SKXA49K, or affectionately known as the Black Knight is one of Seiko‘s contemporary design, true dive watches that broke into new grounds. It was designed to look more dressy than a serious tool-like watch. The case design itself is unique, having a streamlined, bulbous case that smoothly follows the bezel‘s curvature and lines.
The Black Knight was one of the watches that grew on me. I didn’t like it at first by merely looking at stock photos of it on the Internet. The SKXA49K is one of the three automatic 7s26-01X0 models that Seiko launched in January 2004. The other two were the SKXA47K and SKXA51K in silver/white and orange dials respectively.
Unique to the SKXA47K and SKXA49K is the use of a patterned textured dial which adds to the refinement of these two watches. Strangely absent from the Orange Knight (SKXA51K) is the textured dial – instead it has a plain matte surface. Keeping with Seiko’s tradition of bundling their orange dialed divers only with rubber strap, the Orange Knight is of no exception. It comes only with a rubber strap while the Black and White Knights are available in stainless steel bracelet or strap. In my opinion, the Knight looks better on bracelet.
Back to the SKXA49K Black Knight, my decision to purchase one was heavily influenced by this photo that was taken by “Yeooo”, originally posted in the Seiko Diver’s Gallery. I was enticed by the stark contrast of the red “Diver’s 200m” text against the charcoal black dial. This particular photograph had become so popular that one or two eBay merchants used to borrow it for their SKXA49K auctions.
The SKXA49K "Black Knight" is a classy dress diver
While I don’t have the actual statistics, it appears that the White and Black Knights were more popular compared to the SKXA51K Orange Knight. The SKXA47K White Knight is a classy act on its own, many owners liked it for its highly legible dial and the satin-like silver/white dial. The White Knight is in a class of its own, and there are very few other Seiko divers having a white dial.
Above: The automatic SKXA47K "White Knight" and the SKXA51K "Orange Knight"
Seiko also released quartz and Kinetic counterparts to the mechanical Knight family. These were the black SHC053P and white SHC055P (quartz) for the certain international markets, using the popular 7N36 quartz movement. There appears to be only one Kinetic model (5M63 movement) – the black SMY089P which is exported to Europe and to a small extent, North America. In my experience I have not seen the SMY089P for sale in Southeast Asia.
From left to right: SHC055P, SHC053P quartz and SMY089P Kinetic Knight
You can easily distinguish the 7s26 automatic Knights from their quartz and Kinetic cousins. The most obvious is the lack of the “Automatic” text and the SMY089P has a “Kinetic” logo on the dial and the addition of a small power reserve indicator push button. Less obvious is the extra lumed marker at the 3 o’clock position. Automatic Knight divers lack this 3 o’clock lumed marker and have thicker cases to accommodate the 7s26 mechanical movement.
Look and feel
The SKXA49K was designed with a dressy diver in mind. You’ll be had pressed to find angular and wedge lines in this watch – curves and smooth contours seem to be the watch’s theme. Its case is highly polished at the sides with satin finishing on the lug and bezel surfaces. The unidirectional bezel ratchets smoothly, with the usual 120-click graduations, each click representing half a minute. Not all Knights have easy-to-turn bezels as I have personally tried out two SKXA47K White Knights at a local store which had very stiff bezels. They were impossible to budge and the bezel’s narrow serrated edges didn’t provide much help at all. I guess I’m lucky that my watch’s bezel turns effortlessly.
The Knight is endowed with a semi-integrated bracelet which flows into the curved lugs. This is one of the few Seiko watches that look best in its original factory issued bracelet. I usually avoid watches with integrated bracelets but the Knight’s bracelet seems to be very well designed. The alternative is the flimsy rubber strap that comes with the Orange Knight model. The ultra-narrow lugs preclude the use of an aftermarket leather strap, but if you’re adventurous you can custom fit one with some modification and know-how.
Some early photos of my SKXA49K Black Knight
On the wrist, the Knight is one of the most well balanced watches that I’ve worn. The heavy duty bracelet has thick, solid links with polished center links and satin finished edges. A diver’s extension clasp is standard with the Knight, meaning that you can wear this watch over a wet suit for scuba diving.
The dial is one of the most legible ones I’ve seen. Metal framed hour markers adorn the charcoal grey dial (it’s not true black) and a chapter ring serves as the minute markers. The black background English/Spanish calendar display blends nicely with the dial. Lume is excellent – Seiko uses its higher grade LumiBrite lume compound.
The luminous hands and markers glow with the slightest ease. The lume glows for hours well into the night and you can readily read the time in the dark. The hour and minute hands look like the ones from the Seiko SKX007 diver but they’re not. The Knight hands have a different Seiko part number and they’re more polished and have stronger lume than the SKX007’s.
The Knight has a very strong lume, similar to the Seiko Monster and Sawtooth
A distinctive trademark of the Knight is the white painted second hand with a red tip. The red tip doesn’t show much against the charcoal grey dial but it’s very visible on the SKXA47K White Knight.
As with many 7s26 based automatics, the Black Knight winds up easily and a 20 seconds’ worth of vigorous shaking quickly winds the main spring. Depending on the watch you can get from 40 to 44 hours’ worth of power reserve.
The Black Knight’s mineral crystal is slightly domed and sits flush with the gently sloping stainless steel bezel. The crystal’s curve isn’t that aggressive therefore it doesn’t give off too much reflection. Bear in mind that watches with domed crystals have a narrow field of view but the Knight’s dial is still legible from a moderate slant.
The Knight has a rather small screw-in crown that is protected by contoured crown guards. The crown is smooth with polished knurls which can be rather fiddly if you have large or oily fingers. The crown’s feedback is rather vague, it can be a bit difficult to grip the crown properly. I usually use the back-threading technique, which is to push in the crown while turning it anti-clockwise until I hear a distinct click. This ensures that the crown’s thread are lined up perfectly with the crown tubing grooves to prevent premature stripping of the thread.
Here’s a borrowed close-up image of the crown and its twin crown guards:
The dimensions of the SKXA49K Black Knight are as follows.
- Diameter: 43.5 mm (w/o crown), 45 mm (w/ crown)
- Lug-to-lug: 50.5 mm
- Thickness: 14 mm
- Lug width: 15 mm
- Bracelet width: 23 mm, tapering to 18 mm at clasp
Here are some pics of the SKXA49K on my 6.5" wrist:
- Caliber: 7s26A, 21 jewels
- Caseback type: 7s26-01X0
- Movement: Automatic, non-hacking
- Beat rate: 21,600 bph (6 beats/sec)
- Loss/gain: Less than 40 sec/day
- Power reserve: About 42 hours
- Construction: Stainless steel
- Crystal: Hardlex glass, slightly domed profile
- Bezel: Unidirectional, 120 graduations
- W.R. rating: 200m, ISO certified
- Luminous material: LumiBrite™
- Movement Singapore, cased in China
I’m glad that I got my Black Knight at the price I wanted. During the height of its popularity, it was usual to see the SKXA49K being won at as high as USD170 in some eBay auctions. There are very few eBay vendors selling this model nowadays, possibly indicating that the Seiko had ceased production of this understated dive watch.
I didn’t fully realize the beauty of this watch until a friend’s acquaintance complimented the Knight that I happened to be wearing. He was so interested in getting one and asked where to find one in Malaysia. I told him that I had not seen the SKXA49K locally and I had to resort to buying from eBay. He actually called up one of his contacts in Singapore to find out if he could get the Knight there!
Would I buy this watch again? Yes, without a doubt. The Knight is probably one of the overlooked and underrated watches from Seiko. They’re not easy to find at the local stores and you’ll probably have to buy one on the Internet.
What I liked:
- Well balanced and designed dress diver, unique styling
- High contrast dial and hands
- Red tipped second hand
- Sensitive and bright lume
- Metal framed hour markers
- Diver’s extension clasp
- Softly domed mineral crystal
What I didn’t care for:
- Integrated bracelet (you’re stuck with it)
- Polished center bracelet links too blingy for some
- Fiddly crown is a bit hard to grip
- Dial color should have been true black, not charcoal grey
- Bezel may be difficult to turn with some Knights
|Value for money:|
LiveJournal Tags: Seiko,diver’s watch,200m,Knight,stainless steel,review
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You are absolutely right, I totally forgot about the SKXA61 which is the N.A. version of the SKXA51K Orange Knight. Both share the same caseback numbers: 7s26-01×0.
There is also the little known black dialed SKXA63, which is also the North American model of the SKX171K diver.
Thanks for posting your comments!
I have yet to see photos of Knights with bezels transplanted from other Seiko models. Therefore, I don’t suppose the Knight’s bezel is interchangeable with the black ones that you see on the 7s26-002x divers. You can however, pry off the bezel and send it for a black PVD or TiCN process coating. Or you could try painting it with thick enamel paint, if you’re up to the task.
Most of the Knight owners like their watches as they are but those who wanted a custom look would just swap the hands and dials or bead blast the watch casing and bracelet.
I’m sorry I can’t help much here. IMO, the Knight’s bezel is quite nice as it is. 🙂
Today i got my ,,White K,,and again it was your review who persuede to go on it.Woaaah what a feeling of ,,bung for bucks,,after searching for average price , i was surprise that it was higher than i thought(5200NT$)(176 US$),ok, but real feeling of great watch for my starting collection.
Swiss watch have a lot of image of brand, but if i would have similar diver from CH.it will be over 1K$ so i’m going to stick with Seiko,Citizen,Orient.Great watch for everybody.
So again a warm Terima kasih (Thanks) for your great review.
Congrats on your acquisition as finding a NOS White Knight! 🙂 Finding one is very difficult given the fact that the entire Knight models have been long discontinued. The price which you paid is considered on the average side although some Internet dealers had been pricing them for over USD200.
Your views on Swiss watches having a better image brand is spot on. Swiss brands are not bad watches at all, except that many of the marques tend to be overpriced for what you’re actually getting. Not many people know that Seiko does produce high line watches that feature-for-feature will put many Swiss watches to shame. Upscale Seiko ranges such as the Credor and Grand Seiko carry models that will cost you tens of thousand of US dollars, but Seiko prefers to sell them in Japan, other than a handful of countries such as Taiwan and Singapore.
I wished I had chosen the SKXA47K instead but at the time I was more into black dialed diver’s watches. 🙂
Hi quartzimodo, as always, nice review of the seiko knight.
If anyone is looking for a seiko white knight here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I have one to let go. You can find the details here : forum.lowyat.net/topic/2317960
This watch needs a good home as currently I have a bit too many automatics.
Just thought I’d help out anyone who is looking for one.
[…] the hands and dial is adequately bright but not as powerful as the lume used in the Seiko Monster, Knight, Sawtooth or Sumo diver. It is still visible in darkness after seven […]