Seiko SRPD25 “Monster” Automatic Prospex Diver 42.4mm – $400ish
NOTE: You can get one of these for noticeably less through gray market dealers like Jomashop, but know that you’re almost certainly not going to get a manufacturer’s warranty there.
About the Author: Zach S. is a United States Marine Corps Officer and Product Photographer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. When he’s not training or doing photography he enjoys reading and writing on a myriad of topics.
The Seiko Monster is something of a legend in the affordable automatic diver category. I’ve been collecting watches for about ten years now, and whenever someone mentions they want a solid, automatic dive watch, I… haven’t recommended the Monster in the past. Instead, I usually suggest the perennial favorite, still around (for now), SKX007/009. To me, the previous incarnations of the Monster has always been just a little too big, a little too loud, and a little too weird to be something I’d want to wear on the daily.
But that changed when I saw the most recent evolution of the Monster on sale behind the jewelry counter of my local department store.
I had a coupon burning a hole in my pocket, and it was enough to tip me over the edge. For the last week I’ve been wearing this new, SRPD25 Monster nonstop. I have to say, I’m incredibly pleased with what Seiko has done to improve it.
Still bold, but toned down a touch.
The case of this monster is about 43mm across and 48mm lug to lug, but I promise it wears small. For real. It does. It feels positively tiny on the wrist compared to similar Seiko divers like the SRP77 “turtle”, as well as the well-reviewed Samurai, which I wore as my daily watch for well over a year. A combination of the very flexible bracelet and the fact that the bezel is sunk into the case make this watch wear like something around 40mm or so. The bezel action is a bit loud, but very smooth, and the indentations on the bezel have matching indentations on the side of the case, which I find pretty stylistically unique. Inside the case beats one of Seiko’s hacking and hand winding automatic movements. Power reserve is 41 hours when fully wound. Water resistance is the expected 200m, with a textured screw down crown and screw down caseback.
Side by side with a Samurai.
The Monster wears noticeably smaller. More like a 40mm watch, despite its 42.4 mm diameter.
This is what drew me to the watch. Unlike the famous orange and black monsters, the newest version has a beautiful blue-green sunray dial. Coupled with the ivory-colored vintage inspired lume, it lends the monster a very dignified, grown up look. The handset has been updated too, getting a little sleeker and more refined. Overall, I found the color to be subdued enough to wear with virtually anything, yet interesting enough for me to not get bored with it. The large, rectangular, day & date accommodating cyclops is a bit controversial, but I like it. It makes the watch a bit more distinctive, and it does a great job of making the day/date easier to read. The ivory lume is classic Seiko bright, and when on my nightstand I have no trouble reading the time in the middle of the night.
The blue-green sunray dial does great with a brown leather strap
The bracelet is another major selling point of this watch for me. Quite frankly, it’s amazing, and feels several steps above similarly priced Seiko divers, such as the Samurai. The links are all really well machined, and the fact that they’re so short means the bracelet flexes very comfortably around the wrist. A unique feature of the Monster’s bracelet is that the solid end-links are 20mm to fit the lugs, but the bracelet then immediately widens to 22mm. This has the effect of giving the Monster the appearance of having an integrated bracelet, which is very fashionable as of late. If you buy the Monster, I suspect you’ll probably wear it on the bracelet 95% of the time, but it also works on leather, and I wore it for a week like that. The color of the dial just looks so good when paired with a brown leather strap.
Bracelet is terrific. Very comfortable.
While I won’t say the new Seiko Monster is as versatile as the SKX007 or Samurai, I would feel comfortable recommending this model to just about anyone. Yes, it’s bold. Yes, it’s brash, but it has definitely grown up. While still unmistakably a tool watch, the new Monster can go with a suit much more naturally than its predecessors. Probably not in a conservative or serious/sober situation… but with a suit for a bit of fun? Why not? For about $400 dollars, I think you would have a hard time finding similar quality with the same pedigree and unique styling. Not for the faint of heart, the Monster is a do-anything watch that is ready to take on the day.