Damaged Seiko SKX007
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Sell It or Mod It: SKX007 With a Fogged Crystal

This was the last good photo of my Seiko SKX007, right before my first dip in the Pacific Ocean this summer ended it. You’ll hopefully never have the feeling of looking down at your ISO-certified 200 meter dive watch to see a fogged crystal.

Right now my favorite hunk of shiny stainless steel is sitting on the window sill, with the sun cooking out the moisture, hopefully from the movement into condensed drops of water on the on the inside of the glass, and then away altogether. It’s painful to look at. It involves a lot of wishful thinking.

Seiko SKX007
The last good shot of my Seiko SKX007 before the crystal fogged up on the inside.

I bought the watch from a re-seller on Reddit’s r/Watchexchange, so all the caveats apply. There is no warranty, but I got a great price. Obviously, in retrospect, that $50 difference meant I probably would have gotten a watch with no problems. And even if I had, Seiko would have fixed it since I’ve had the watch less than two years. (Feel free to learn from my mistakes.)

So, what do I do now?

My options are:

  • Sell it on Reddit, with full disclosure of the fogged crystal, to someone who will either fix it or mod it. Then, use that money to help buy another SKX — new, with a warranty.
  • Mod it myself and replace the seals along the way. If any corrosion occurs from the salt water intrusion, I’ll just have to deal with it as part of the mod (hopefully many years from now).
  • Pay a watchmaker to service the watch. This might cost more than the watch is worth new, but I haven’t checked yet.

In our Ultimate Guide to Dive Watches, we note that we don’t like the idea of modding a perfectly good SKX — because it approaches blasphemy. Mod to your heart’s content on Russia’s Vostok Amphibia, often with cross-platform parts.

But should you find yourself with a less-than-perfect SKX, as I unfortunately have, modding becomes a real consideration. That said, I don’t want an imitation or replica of another watch. It would have to be original or theme-driven.

And yet, I say that while instantly picturing the simple 3, 6, 9, 12 of Panerai’s Radiomir in my mind. Hmmm . . . But I’ll never mod the crown up to the 3 o’clock position!

What do you think I should do with my SKX007 with a fogged crystal?

Please let me know in the comments.

Panerai Radiomir
My SKX007 could echo the dial of the gorgeous, simple Panerai Radiomir. Courtesy StrapFreak.com.

Check out our top dive watch picks in Part 3 of Twisted Bezel’s Ultimate Dive Watch Guide.

Learn about the most significant watchmakers in the development of dive watches in Part 2.

Get a quick overview of dive history in Part 1 of the guide.

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3 Comments

  1. I think you should do a behind the scenes mod. Change the movement to Seiko NH36, so it has hacking seconds and hand winding. Then replace the hardlex crystal with a sapphire one, perhaps a subtle dome. It will look just like an SKX and only you, and the rest of the watch loving internet, will know it’s been improved.

  2. I left the SKX outside in the sun since day before yesterday. Every time I checked, there was moisture on the inside of the crystal. I just checked at high noon today — yeterday being the hottest day ever in LA — and there are no more water droplets. Did the heat beat the moisture? Time will tell.

    Regardless, the sun provides only a short-term fix. The salt water has introduced corrosion to the movement that will ultimately kill the movement.

    My Twisted Bezel Brother makes some great suggestions. I’d love to top off the reserve with a bit of handwinding before I set it down at night. Hmmm… any other ideas?

  3. Major update! I finally took my case-back wrench to the SKX and risked scratching it to have a look inside. This was in desperation after a further development in which the watch wouldn’t run at all. I broke the factory seal, without a slip or scratch, and found that the stem gasket had been physically ground up (explaining the weird rubbery tightness while setting the time awhile back that suddenly stopped) and a couple bits of had lodged in the movement. Most of the gasket was off to the side, loose in the case. I now knew the cause of the leak. No obvious corrosion had yet occurred, so I put the case back on and wore it happily — at least as happily as a person can with a diver’s watch that loses about 17 seconds per day and can’t go in the water.

    A couple of weeks later I decided to attempt regulating the movement myself, since the seal had now been broken, so I opened her up again and ever so gently pushed the regulator lever with a metal pin tool (I didn’t have any toothpicks). After a few days, it seemed the watch was running at about +10 sec./day. Much better than losing time! But I decided to try again. After charting the time with the Atomic Clock & Watch Accuracy Tool app, I’m thrilled to report that, on the second attempt, the watch runs at an average of about +3.5 seconds on the wrist. If I put it on the winder for a couple of days and wear something else, it falls back 10 seconds or so. I think I can find a pattern that keeps it dead on balls accurate all the time.

    For Christmas, my Twisted Bezel Brother Brad gifted me a new crown stem with gasket set, which was easy to replace after finding the stem-release button via a YouTube video.

    Now my SKX007 keeps near-COSC spec time and is waterproof again. I almost never take it off now. Usually I sleep with it on, taking it off only when the bracelet rips a hair from my beard in the middle of the night. It’s without a doubt my favorite watch that I’ve purchased.

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