Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seiko Diver SBCM023 Discontinued

Just saw a tweet from Chino Watch that the Seiko Diver SBCM023 has been discontinued.  This model was a professional diver with the venerated 8F35 caliber inside delivering 20 seconds per year accuracy, perpetual calendar and 8 year battery life.  Many consider the 8F to be an example of high-end quartz and with its relatively low price it offered a good entry point for both quartz and diver fans.

Picture from Chino Watch

It is a shame to see this model be discontinued.  Because of its design similarity I often thought of the SBCM023 as the little brother to the SKX007 who went to college.  Unfortunately Seiko has been phasing out its various models with the 8F caliber so this doesn't come at such a surprise.  It is doubtful to me if Seiko has any intentions of updating the caliber.  Aside from the 7C caliber used in the Tuna and the 9F used in the Grand Seiko, the menu of quality quartz calibers currently available from Seiko is looking thin to the point where Seiko is not competitive with Citizen and Casio.


JapanWatchConnection said...

RIP indeed!

I liked mine for the short time I had it and somewhat regret having selling it. It was a matter of time before Seiko pulled the plug on it, being the cheapest diver in the entire Prospex range. The lume on this model was excellent and the bracelet, sans the hollow end links, was a real piece of quality. The alignment of the seconds hand was very good for a sub $300 quartz watch. I, too, doubt it will be replaced, leaving the recently introduced (Chinese made) solar divers to take its place. The SBCM023 was made in Japan, another plus.

JapanWatchConnection said...

Some background on this watch.... It was introduced by Seiko Japan circa 2003 and was initially available in 3 flavors...Pepsi bezel over bracelet, orange bezel over black rubber strap and black dial over black bezel and metal bracelet. Over the years, both the Pepsi bezel and orange dial versions were discontinued leaving the SBCM023 pictured above as the sole diver sporting the 8F35 movement. These watches were retailed only in the Japan domestic market. The SBCM023 has a Japan retail price of 31,500 YEN and street price around USD $300.

This watch had its followers but the main complaints it logged over time, chief among them, was its overall case size (39mm with crown, 12.5 mm thick), the presence of hollow end links instead of solid end links for the otherwise excellent bracelet and the lack of a sapphire option (Watch was fitted with Hardlex crystal).

For being the most inexpensive Seiko diver in the Prospex range it was a really nice watch packed with features.... High accuracy movement -/+ 20 seconds per year, perpetual calendar, ISO rated, 200m or 20 bar water resist, screw down crown at 4 o'clock, screw down and sculpted case back, smooth turning timing bezel, well finished/polished case, bright/consistent lume and super alignment of the seconds hand on a fairly entry level model. The battery was rated to 8 years and the case back had the expiration date of the battery printed according to the watch manufacturing date.

Really a big loss. I feel that the remaining entry level Prospex quartz/solar/Kinetic divers while very competitive, none offer the rich feature set of the SBCM023 at the rock bottom price they typically sold for.

If you are thinking about getting one, this is clearly the time to do so. Don't wait until existing inventories are fully depleted!.

JapanWatchConnection said...

Add more casualties to the Prospex line..... Also the pair of Ti Kinetic Direct Drive quartz divers have been axed as well.

JapanWatchConnection said...

I am seriously thinking of getting another SBCM023 from Higuchi. I hope he still has left over stock.....

JapanWatchConnection said...

Fat chance. These are gone for good. Amazing. Not even 2 months ago people were paying much attention to these, but once word got out about their imminent dismissal, people went crazy and cleaned out remaining inventory.

I had a brand new SBCM023 last year (Made in 2010) and I sold it. Chalk that up to experience. I see these watches appreciating in value overtime for the few lucky and smart owners that held up to them.

JapanWatchConnection said...

Got lucky and was finally able to get a brand new SBCM023 from Katsu Higuchi. Earlier this week he received what appears to be the very last shipment of these from Seiko Japan. The watch is on its way to me as we speak.