Getting a dive watch is a mandatory stepping stone to building a great collection. Before spending a large amount on a high-end piece like the Rolex Submariner, you're always better off trying an affordable dive watch first.
Seiko and Orient are two great organizations (owned by the same parent company) that produce high-quality divers at a low cost. The most popular dive watch of each brand are the Seiko SKX007/009 and the Orient Ray II.
With such a large price difference between the two, you might wonder if the Seiko SKX is really worth it over the Ray II. In this article, I will point out every difference between the two to help you decide which watch is best for you.
Orient ray II
The first reason why the Seiko SKX and Orient Ray II are compared so often is their similar size. As you can see above, the SKX's case is 1mm bigger than the Ray II, but the lug-to-lug length is 1mm shorter.
This means that the SKX will take a bit more space on your wrist, but the shorter lug length will look good on smaller wrists. Conversely, the Ray II's case will be a bit less imposing on the wrist, but the lugs protrude slightly more.
Both watches share a 22mm lug width (easy to find replacement straps) and around 13mm of thickness. With all this in mind, I think the Ray II will look good on 6.25'' and above wrists, whereas someone with 6'' wrists might pull off the Seiko SKX.
ORIENT RAY II
200m / 20 bar
200m / 20 bar
Hands, Indices, Bezel
The movement is one of the most important parts of any mechanical watch, and the Ray II definitely outclasses the SKX in this aspect.
Orient's F6922 caliber is a modern automatic movement that has good accuracy and great reliability. Most specs are basic stuff: 22 jewels, 40 hours power reserve, and a low frequency of 21,600 bph. However, the F6922 has two highly sought-after features: hand-winding and hacking.
On the other hand, Seiko's 7s26 caliber is much more rudimentary since it dates back to the 90s. This means that the movement is even more basic, lacking hand-winding and hacking. The only way to solve this problem is to swap in a 4r36 movement, but that's very expensive and risky if you're not experienced.
Since accuracy and reliability is similar for the two watches, the Orient Ray II clearly has the most advanced movement thanks to its hacking and hand-winding abilities.
The crystal of the SKX007/009 is made of Seiko's proprietary Hardlex crystal. This is a mineral crystal that was hardened through special treatments, making it a bit more scratch-resistant than usual.
On the other hand, the Orient Ray II has a normal mineral crystal that hasn't been hardened. This does make a big difference in practice; my Orient's crystal gathered a couple of scratches within the first month of ownership. In contrast, my Seiko remained nearly flawless for a year.
Both the SKX and the Ray II have a flat crystal that's leveled with the bezel.
Water resistance is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any dive watch. At first glance, the SKX and the Ray II may seem to be on par since they both share a 200m water resistance rating.
However, there is one key difference worth mentioning. The SKX gets a "Diver's 200m" script, which may seem trivial, but it holds a lot of weight. This script implies that the Seiko SKX is ISO-6425 certified.
To get this ISO certification, a watchmaker must meet stringent standards such as testing every single unit for water resistance, 50 hours of water submersion, tested at 25% over announced resistance, etc..
Conversely, the Orient Ray II isn't ISO-6425 certified, so it goes through fewer stress-tests. For instance, only a random sample of watches is tested for water resistance. This means that the SKX's quality control is slightly better than the Ray II's.
While the two watches use a screw-down crown to get a 200m rating, their styling differs a bit. First, The SKX's crown is situated at the 4 o'clock position and it has no logo. On the other hand, the Ray II's crown is at the 3 o'clock position (more conventional) and it's signed with Orient's logo
The bezels of the SKX and Ray II work in a similar fashion. They both use a 120-click mechanism with unidirectional rotation. The SKX's bezel is a bit peculiar because it has 60 "hard" clicks and 60 "soft clicks".
In contrast, the Ray II's bezel has a normal 120-click mechanism with even clicks. Also, it's good to note that both watches use aluminum bezel inserts, which can get scratched quite easily.
The Ray II's bezel has a classic Submariner pattern, whereas the SKX's bezel has a distinctive cogwheel-like pattern.
Luminous phosphorescent is an important part of any dive watch, and it's even mandatory for every ISO-6425 certified diver's. Both the SKX and the Ray II have excellent lume, but Seiko's Lumibrite formula is clearly the brightest.
The Seiko SKX's lume is a benchmark across the industry as one of the best for affordable divers. On the other hand, the Ray II's lume is good, but nothing out of the ordinary.
On both watches, the lume is applied to the hands & indices, and there's a small lume pip on the bezel insert.
ORIENT RAY II
316l Stainless Steel
316l Stainless Steel
316l Stainless Steel
316l Stainless Steel
The styling is another important variable that should tip the scale when choosing between one watch or the other. The SKX's dial has a dark matte finish, which gives it a rugged/tool-watch look. Conversely, the Ray II's dial has a nice grainy sunburst finish that changes color under different lighting.
For this reason, I think the Ray II (with a leather strap) can have its place in a business-casual outfit. In contrast, I think the SKX has a pure sports/beater vibe that can't be shaken off.
Apart from the finish, the rest of the dial is pretty similar between the two watches. Both have the company's logo at the top, a water resistance script at the bottom, a beveled chapter ring, and a day-date display at the 3 o'clock position.
Round indices are a no-brainer for dive watches: they're super legible and the surface is easy to apply with lume. For this reason, both the SKX and the Ray II use circles for most hour marks, but their 6/9/12 o'clock indices are different.
The Seiko SKX has oval indices for the 6 and 9 o'clock marks, and a big triangle for the 12 o'clock mark. In contrast, the Orient Ray II's 6/9/12 o'clock indices are all trapezoids.
Both timepieces have a syringe hour hand, which is quite common for dive watches. The SKX's hour hand is nothing out of the ordinary. Conversely, the Ray II's syringe hour hand has a peculiar "two layers" concept.
The inverse seems to be true for the minute hand: the SKX's arrow hand is special compared to the average dive watch, whereas the Ray II's sword minute hand is pretty basic.
For the second hand, Seiko chose a round-tipped needle that's pretty unexciting. For the Ray II, Orient went with a red-tipped arrow that helps a bit with legibility.
As I said earlier in the article, the main difference between the case of the two watches is the length of the lugs, which protrude a bit more on the Ray II.
On the SKX, the top of the lug is brushed and the case sides have a highly-polished finish. This is the exact same brushed/polished pattern that's found on the Ray II. I must say that Seiko's finish is always a bit better than other brands (seamless transitions, nice beveling, etc..)
To achieve a 200m water-resistance, the two watches are equipped with a steel screw-down case back. The Seiko SKX's case back displays an engraved "Great Wave off Kanawaga", whereas the Ray II's case has Orient's classic dolphins logo.
Since the two watches are affordable entry-level divers, the bracelet is obviously the weakest point of both of them.
The SKX's bracelet will be a bit rattly, which is most likely caused by the hollow-end links. Nonetheless, it is still quite comfortable, but I recommend replacing it with one of the many high-quality aftermarket bracelets made specifically for the SKX.
I think the Orient Ray II's bracelet is a bit higher in quality, but it has the same weaknesses as the SKX (hollow end-link, slight rattle). Unfortunately, the offering of aftermarket Ray II bracelets is a bit smaller, but you can still find some good custom bracelets out there.
I usually don't touch on the subject of modding when comparing two watches, but it would be a sin to skip over the SKX as a modding platform.
The Seiko SKX is undoubtedly the most famous modding platform in the whole watch community. As you can read in my 7 Best Seiko SKX Mods article, the possibilities are endless when customizing this Seiko.
What's great about it is that tons of different manufacturers, such as Namoki and DLW Watches, produce parts specifically for the SKX. This means that they will fit seamlessly without any special tweaking.
On the other hand, a small number of Orient Ray II owners will perform crystal or bezel insert swaps, but parts are usually much harder to find.
For this reason, I must say that you should definitely get the Seiko SKX over the Ray II if you plan on modding your watch.
ORIENT RAY II
$120 to $150
It's hard to put a pin on the SKX's price because it's been discontinued for a couple of years now (unofficially replaced by the Seiko SRPD). This means that the price is based on supply & demand, which seems to drive the price higher as suppliers liquidate their remaining inventory.
At the time of writing this article, the SKX could be bought for around 300$ on Amazon, but the price fluctuates a lot.
In contrast, the Ray II is still mass-produced by Orient so there's plenty of supply. This keeps the price between $120 to $150 depending on discounts and time of the year.
One of the biggest inconveniences of buying a discontinued watch like the SKX is that you don't get a manufacturer's warranty. This means that you either buy a watch without a warranty or that you must rely on a third-party reseller warranty. Most of the time, these third-party warranties are a hassle and are never as good as the manufacturer's warranty.
Since the Orient Ray II is sold brand new from the manufacturer, you get Orient's 1-year full warranty. This is not as good as warranties from luxury brands which are 5-year long, but it's still plenty of time to find out if you bought a lemon.
If you're looking for a timepiece that marked history, the Seiko SKX is your best bet. This watch is a descendant of the Seiko 7002, which was very similar and originated in 1988. The SKX was introduced in 1996 and went on to build a huge fanbase as the most popular modding platform ever.
Even if it's not as significant as the Rolex Submariner or the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the SKX is still an important piece of watchmaking history, and it will certainly be collectible in the next decades.
On the other hand, the Orient Ray II is a modern dive watch with no particular history attached. It's just a darn-good timepiece for the price, but it probably won't be historically significant nor will it gain any value.
Even though a lot of people compare the Seiko SKX to the Orient Ray II, I think these watches are marketed towards very different groups of people. To help you know which watch is best for you, I've created the table below.
Get the Seiko skx if:
get the orient ray ii if: