With the onset of summer, there's a bigger market for affordable, dependable dive watches. Many dive watches have a lot of similarities and differences. That being said, some of the more popular brands deserve to be differentiated to determine which is the best. In turn, I will compare two popular dive watches; the Seiko Monster and the Orient Mako.
One of the first, if not the first thing people consider when buying a watch is the price. Price can help narrow the selection. The Seiko Monster averages about $200, while the Orient Mako runs about $150, depending on the retailer. Expectedly so, there's not a big difference between the cost of these 2 watches. So, the comparison will extend beyond the price to dissect the smaller details to determine the superior dive watch.
Not only are they competitive in terms of price, they have many other similarities. I've broken the competition down into 3 categories; so, there will be a decisive winner. The categories involve 3 of the most crucial elements to consider when buying a watch:
The Seiko Monster comes in three colors - orange, blue, and black. (There was also a yellow dial available under a limited release in the past.)
It has a 41.5 mm case diameter with a 12.5 mm thickness. This diameter is only 1/2mm thicker than the Orient Mako, and it is 1/2mm thinner than the Orient. So, the case sizes are virtually the same dimensions; however, the Seiko Monster weighs more. It doesn't let you forget you're wearing a watch. This big, sturdy watch may be out of place at social occasions.
Each watch has a unidirectional bezel. The bezel on the Seiko Monster is more pronounced with scalloped edges and may be easier to maneuver.
With dive watches, a lot of luminescence is necessary because light decreases as you descend in the water and visibility is crucial. And while both brands come in different colors, orange watches tend to be more popular, because orange is the most visible color under water where shorter wavelengths get absorbed. This technique dates back to 1967, when the 1st commercial dive watch appeared; after Doxa Watch Co. did research to determine that orange is the best color.
On each watch face are luminescent hands and markers. The Seiko Monster has bigger markers and more luminescent for a brighter display. The Seiko sports a domed hardlex crystal, which splits the difference between mineral glass (which is what Orient Mako has) and sapphire crystal, which can resist scratches, but is expensive and can shatter when knocked. However, the dome of the Seiko protrudes beyond the bezel, making it susceptible to scratches.
The Orient Mako has a sturdy, stainless steel bracelet, as does the Seiko Monster. The Orient has a screw down crown at the 3 o'clock position, guarded by shoulders, while the Seiko screw down crown is at the 4 o'clock position. This can be beneficial if the crown tends to dig into your wrist; however, you cannot manually wind it, unlike the Mako.
The Mako also has a much simpler face, complemented by the understated design of the bracelet. The Seiko Monster has a much 'busier' face.
The winner for aesthetic appearance: The Orient Mako
Seiko's aesthetic is tied to its functionality. Unless you're trying to impress some underwater friends, Orient's appearance is more suitable for a wider variety of occasions, especially on land.
In this case, functionality is not mutually exclusive from aesthetics. Some aesthetic features exist to enable and augment certain functionality.
Seiko's aesthetic is tailored to its functionality. Seiko's all around visibility is better underwater with a bigger face and more luminescence. Also, the hands and markers are all outlined in black, which make it great for on ground visibility as well, as the orange contrasts against the black. Also, its brushed and polished bracelet make it more durable and able to withstand abuse.
Yet, both watches are dependable divers. Both display the 'Diver's Logo', which indicates the ISO6425 standard for waterproofing, legibility, luminosity, shock resistance, anti-magnetism, and band solidity. Both watches are water-resistant up to 200m or 650 ft. The lugs in the bracelet of the Seiko Monster are drilled, which makes it easier to change to a leather band. The Seiko also has a 17mm extension on the bracelet; so, it can fit over a wetsuit.
The Orient Mako has a fold-over push button clasp to prevent it from inadvertently unhooking.
Each model has a day and date indicator and can display that information in Spanish. However, the Orient Mako has an additional button at the 2 o'clock position, which needs to be pushed to adjust the day, while the date is changed by the crown at the 3 o'clock position. The Seiko could be considered more convenient without the extra step.
The winner for functionality: The Seiko Monster
The movement of a watch is the mechanism responsible for keeping time. And let's face it, if a watch can't keep good time, it defeats the purpose of having one.
Both timepieces have an automatic movement. This means that the watch winds itself with the motion of your arm. The Seiko has an 7S26 automatic movement, and it's reported to be able to run for up to 10 years without maintenance. Its movement has an economical design and construction. It's made for performance at a minimal cost, with minimal to no maintenence. It is also a non-hacking movement, which means you cannot stop the second hand; this makes it harder to synchronize or calibrate the watch. The movement is not touched by human hands, unlike the Orient Mako.
Orient Makos have in-house movements. They are installed by Orient professionals, not imported from large suppliers. It takes lots of time and meticulous care to accomplish in-house movements, and they're quite uncommon among watches. Orient movements do not need batteries; kinetic energy from the motion of your arm gets stored into a spring via a rotor that powers the watch. The specialized in-house movements do not compromise reliability and sets Orient apart from the others.
The winner for the movement? The Orient Mako
It's a common sentiment from beginners to watch enthusiasts that both of these watches are a great deal for the price. There's no question that both watches could be sold for more than their asking price. If you're looking for an affordable, dependable dive watch, you can't go wrong with the Seiko Monster or the Orient Mako.
Yet, depending on your needs and/or your personal taste, one may be more suitable than the other, but that's up to you.