You're probably looking for an affordable dive watch, and you're not the only one. Dive watches are making a big comeback in the last few years, and watchmakers know it.
A lot of these watches are put on the market as an afterthought, just to follow the most recent trends. That's why it's so important to research which watch to pick since for every nice watch, there are 10 lemons.
By comparing the Citizen Promaster to the Seiko Skx007, you're definitely on the right path. Both companies have made outstanding timepieces for decades, and they offer a great selection of diver models. This article will help you choose between the Promaster and the Skx007.
Since there are a few Promaster Diver models, this review will be centered around the BN0151-09L version.
While they very much look alike, the Promaster and the Skx007 are a bit different in size. Separated by only 0.5mm, the two cases have almost the same diameter, but the Promaster is quite bigger when taking into account the crown (48mm).
The Seiko has a smaller total case diameter (45.5mm), but is 1mm thicker because of its automatic movement. The 22mm band width also adds a bit of size to the Skx007.
Both watches use a flat mineral crystal, which is quite common on diving watches. The two models have a 4'o clock screw-down crown attached to their stainless steel case. This gives them a 200m water-resistance, which is plenty for amateur diving.
source: Reddit, Fratello Watches
The movement is the biggest differenciating point between the Seiko Skx007 and the Citizen Promaster diver. This is probably the element that will make you choose one over the other. The Promaster is the most technologically advanced of the two, with its Eco-drive E168 quartz movement.
The E168 caliber is a precise quartz movement that will keep time within a +- 15 seconds margin per month. The 32,768Hz oscillator is solar-powered using the Eco-drive technology. The power reserve of 6 months means you can wear this watch a few times a year without needing to set the time again.
Seiko's 7s26 movement
The Skx007 has a more traditional movement; a 7s26 automatic in-house caliber. It certainly won't keep time as precisely as the Promaster does, but it pays great homage to watchmaking traditions.
The 21 jewels, 21 600bph caliber is good for about 40 hours once fully wound, if you go for longer than that without wearing it you will need to wind it again (by shaking it).
This is the same movement that is found inside the famous Seiko 5. The manufacturer says it will lose or gain from -15 to +25 seconds per day. As you might know, the Skx007 is more of a fashion statement than a precise timekeeping device.
The Citizen Promaster and the Seiko Skx007 are almost twins. Although, as shown above, there are a few differences. The first one is the shape of the bezel. The Seiko has a fully dented unidirectional bezel. Conversely, the Promaster's bezel is also dented, but not all around the circumference. It also rotates unidirectionally.
The 60 minutes bezel has 60-clicks on the Citizen, and 120-clicks on the Seiko. Some people online argue that the SKX really only has a 60-clicks bezel, considering half of the 120 are ''sub-clicks''. This means half of the clicks will sound more shallow, but to be honest this isn't a problem unless you are seriously OCD.
As mentioned earlier, the difference in diameter of the two watches can be boiled down to the crown. The screw-down crown is sticking out a bit more on the Citizen, so you need to keep that in mind if you plan on wearing it with tight clothes, such as a dress shirt.
Both Dials look very much alike. As I said earlier, I chose to compare the Citizen BN0151-09L to the Skx007 for this review, but I will talk more about the different variations later on.
Starting from the bottom of the dial, we see both manufacturers chose to go with white markings for every minute/second. For the five minutes marks, the two watches have the same round markings. These are covered in a thick coat of high quality lume, so you will be able to read both watches in the dark easily (as seen below).
The luminous phosphorescent color isn't quite the same, the SKX007 (on the left) has a greenish, teal color while the Promaster has blue lume.
As we continue to go down the list of differences, the 3/6/9/12 hour marks are the next discrepancy. First of all, the Skx007 doesn't have a 3 o'clock mark on its dial, since there is a black day-date display instead. This feature is placed at the 4 hours mark on the Promaster diver, and it doesn't display the day.
For the 6 and 9 o'clock marks, the Seiko uses a pretty standard oval shaped mark, nothing too fancy. The Promaster is a bit less conventionnal, using trapezoid shaped marks. For the 12 o'clock mark, both watches use a special mark. The Skx007 has a triangle, while the Promaster's mark is U-shaped.
As we get closer to the dial's center, we notice both models display their 200m water-resistance. The Citizen also proudly exhibit its Eco-drive logo.
When it comes to the three hands, the two watches have really similar patterns. The seconds hand is basically the same; a very thin white arrow.
The hours hand is also almost identical, using a pentagon shape, with a pointed end. Finally, the minutes hand also use the same shape on both models; a classic arrow. The difference is in the color, Seiko went with a very light grey, where Citizen chose to add a bit of life to the watch, using the orange color.
I think its important to dedicate a section to talk about the case, since both manufacturers made an extra effort to make it look nice. The two cases are made from brushed stainless steel, and they are very well machined.
As you can see above, both cases are screw down. This means you will need a special tool such as a Jaxa wrench if you ever plan on opening them. This shouldn't happen, as they are well-built, and there's no need to open them unless you want perform mods.
The Skx007, pictured on the left, has a wave decal engraved. This wave is loosely based on ''The Great Wave off Kanagawa'', a famous japanese piece of art. The Promaster diver has the Citizen Eco-drive logo instead, a 2D representation of the planet. Both models are really gorgeous, but I have a penchant for the Seiko.
I chose to compare to compare the Promaster to the Skx007 since it is the most popular model of the Skx line, but there are a few other models if the 007 isn't your cup of tea.
The 3 models above are the most popular versions of the Skx line. The 007 is pictured with the rubber strap,but all of these models can be bought with the rubber or stainless steel band. It is important to note that the Jubilee steel bracelet is the weak point of the Seiko Skx. You can buy a third-party bracelet, or you can go on sites such as longislandwatch.com, which sells them pre-equiped with a higher quality bracelet.
The Skx009 is pretty much the same thing as the 007, with different colors. If you are interested, I compiled the differences between the two models in this article. As for the Skx013, it is a replica of the 007, but in smaller size. Instead of 42.5mm, the case diameter on this one is only 38mm, almost as small as a Seiko 5. It also has a smaller lug size, at 20mm, and a bit shorter bracelet as well. This is the perfect example for men with small wrists.
The Citizen Promaster comes in a lot of variations. I will show every model that's currently available directly from Citizen's website.
The BN0150-28E is basically the same model as the one reviewed, except for its black color. This one resembles the Seiko Skx007 even more. There are no physical differences between this one and the BN0151-09L version.
They both come with a perforated rubber strap, that displays a diving chart (as pictured above).
The BN family is very similar to the models mentioned above. These are available with a variety of rubber or stainless steel bands. There are a few colors to choose from, but nothing out of the ordinary.
The 5 minute marks are not as special on these models, they are much more formal. The date reader is situated at the 3 hour mark, as is the case on the Skx007. Their size is a bit different too, with a 3mm smaller case diameter. Apart from that, these models are the same as the reviewed one, except for their more expensive price. (350$-500$ MSRP depending on the model)
The models above are referred to as the ''Promaster Professional Diver'' watches. The BN7020-17E is the most purpose driven watch out of all those presented in this article. Its 1000m water-resistance will be plenty, even for professional divers. This one means business, with its titanium case, sapphire crystal and J210 caliber. All these upgrades come with a price, for this one, the price to pay is 2300$ before discounts.
The two other models above are also diving oriented. They offer an increased 300m water resistance. The BJ0085-01E uses the same E168 movement as the Promaster I reviewed, while the BJ8050-08e uses a B873 movement.
The last three are the chronograph versions of the Citizen Promaster. These watches are completely different from the original model, and I would need a separate article to talk about them.
The CA0715-03E and the CA0719-53E are the latest additions to the Promaster lineup, while the CA0716-19E is a special edition for the 100th anniversary of the company. (From 1918 to 1930, Citizen was called Shokosha Watch Research Institute.)
At around 150$ after discounts, the Citizen Promaster diver is quite cheaper than the Skx007, at around 215$. Additionally, it is much more convenient, thanks to its Eco-drive quartz movement.
Still, out of these two watches, the Skx007 is the one I prefer. Its automatic movement is certainly not convenient, but it pays respect to the watches that paved the way. To me, winding my 7S26 movement has become a ritual, and I don't get tired of it.
If you are simply looking for the best bang for your buck, I can't recommend the Citizen Promaster diver enough. It does its job very well, and for a reasonable price. If you are a watch collector, and care a lot about the heritage of watchmaking, you might prefer the Skx007 and its rich history. Please let me know in the comments which is your favorite model, and why!
Get the skx007 if:
Get the promaster if:
This Post Has 17 Comments
You did a great job of detailing the differences. With both watches regularly showing up as “best dive watches under….” I found it helpful. I personally own the Citizen and really enjoy it’s simplicity and accuracy . The lume is one of the brightest of all my watches, easily seen throughout the night. Personally I think the case work is nowhere near as nice as the Seiko but I really enjoy the hacking function so I chose the Citizen. Thank for the comparison , it would be nice to have both!
Thank you for your kind words Bill!
Awesome comparison, thanks a lot!
Thanks for your feedback!
Owned two of each, and agree with your comments. Sold my SKX to ‘move up’to many other Seikos. Still have my black Promaster (preferred the blue better, though), and I wear it often. I have several more expensive watches, but I like the grab and go convenience of the Citizen. Mine gains a second or two per month. The SKX gains a second or two before noon. BIG difference. If you are comfortable regulating (adjusting the oscillating speed) on the SKX then you may get it to under 5 secs a day. It is easy to do with a $10 caseback wrench. Be prepared to wear the SKX EVERY day, or do the ‘jiggle’ every day, as it doesn’t hand-wind, or hack. It’s actually a very inconvenient timepiece, but if you must have an Automatic Diver, you’ll start here.
The newer ‘Turtle’ is a better option, but then the obsession begins.
The Promaster is very convenient. Always accurate. Never stops working. No battery changes.
* I have owned enough mid-priced Japanese dive watches that I no longer scoff at quality quartz options.
When the Zombies invade, I’ll grab my Promaster!
Thanks for your detailed comment. I’m happy to hear that you enjoy your Promaster!
Great comparison…. I happen to have purchased the Citizen BN0151-09L just last month from Amazon US for $119. Which to me was an excellent price for an excellent watch. I don’t see why people should have to pay so much for a quality watch. The only thing I did right away was take off the rubbery strap which I didn’t care for and switch to a Eulit Palma Pacific 20mm Royal Blue Perlon Watch Strap. I’d purchase another one as backup if/when Amazon’s price ever drops that low again.
You’re absolutely right, monitoring Amazon prices to pick this watch up can save you a great amount of money.
Glad you like your BN015-09L!
Nice write up. Having always wanted a 007, the prices were always rising due to it being discontinued (my understanding), I ended up with a Blue Promaster as my first big boy diver watch a few months ago.
I am now the proud owner of a 007k with perfect alignment. Prices came down a bit and I could risk them going up again.
Love them both. The Blue Promaster was about $135 cad and the 007k came in around $315 cad. Is it worth over double, probably not….but like you, I consider it THE diver watch by which others are measured against.
Thanks for your detailed comment. This article isn’t really about which one to get, but rather which should you get first. Almost every dive watch collector will end with both of these in his collection one day or the other. Glad you enjoy both of them.
True. I’m on my fourth 009 and also have the elusive A35. For my daily driver, however, I usually wear my black Promaster mated to a Pulsar 2002 Olympic bracelet. There is something just right about the combination. This particular watch is nipping at the heels of the Citizen Caliber 0100 accuracy-wise.
What’s wrong with the Seiko Jubilee bracelet? I have it and it looks good to me.
Hey Flavio, Seiko generally makes low-quality bracelets for their affordable watches. For instance, you get hollow end-links, stamped clasp, etc.. It just feels flimsy compared to a good bracelet.
I own both the Promaster-black dialed version, and SKX 173 which I think has a superior dial layout to the OO7. IMHO, both are great watches. The Promaster certainly wins out in the ‘convience’ catagory, as you never has to wind it and it stays accurate to within a minute or two A YEAR. It is also considerably cheaper than the SKX line which is no longer in production. The SKX has some series chops what with Seiko’s rich history of making quality divers watches. And yes, in good condition it will fetch more on a resale or flip. However, for a long term hold, the fact that the Promaster never needs to be opened for a battery change means the chances of needing to replace the sealed gaskets (if in fact you use the watch for it’s intended purpose-diving, but how many of us really do that?) to maintain waterproofness is all but eliminated. So really, it’s just a matter of preference and intended use as to which model to go for. I, like Romeo, prefer my SKX 173 as I think it looks a little more retro-stylish, but I certainly do wear my Promaster just as much. As for lume, both the 173 and Promaster have outstanding lume, even better than the 007 and it’s smaller sibling, the SKX 013.
Thanks for your comment!
Still prefer the -04h
None better and much safer than wearing the Rolex sub these days