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Monday, August 8, 2011

Seiko SKZ211J1 Atlas/Landshark review



There was another model from Seiko that really caught my eye and it was the black SKZ211K with yellow hands. Nicknamed “Atlas” by a majority of watch enthusiasts. I believe the internal rotating sun compass ring that suggested the use of this watch in hiking and jungle trekking. Since an Atlas is associated with a map and a map in turn has connotations with navigation, Atlas was chosen. Another nickname is the “Landshark”. I’m not sure how that alternative name was selected but the it’s also a widely accepted nickname for this watch.



The Atlas has an amazing, solid feel to it. It sits flatly on the wrist and doesn’t flop around that easily. The well polished case appears to be die cast from a solid chunk of stainless steel which extends to the twin crown guards that flank the case. The thick, finely knurled uni-directional rotating bezel provides excellent grip to help turn this otherwise moderately stiff-turning bezel.

The bezel insert is of dark indigo blue to match the watch dial and is marked by 5-minute graduations. I wished Seiko had opted for the traditional diver-style markings, with prominently enlarged markers at the 15th, 30th and 45th minute positions. And a lumed triangle denoting the 60-minute position instead of the number “60″ would be very much welcome.

I like Seiko’s choice of the blue hue in this watch – depending on the lighting it resembles black. I’m a fan of dark blue dials, really and this watch really grabbed my attention immediately.



Alas, the Atlas wasn’t meant to be a diver’s watch – it was designed as sports watch from scratch. I suspect Seiko intentionally made the Atlas to look this way so that it doesn’t overlap with their true diver’s watches.

On the underside of the watch, the SKZ209K has highly polished caseback with a prominently engraved Seiko 5 logo.



A nice touch is its signed compass crown with the Seiko 5 emblem on it. Seiko had an oversight with the compass crown design – there is no way to lock it down. The crown is rotates too easily so you can’t prevent the compass ring from accidental turning. If you rely on the watch’s sun compass for navigation, you may be at risk of losing your bearing.



Anyway, if you’re a serious hiker chances are you won’t use the watch’s primitive sun compass for navigation. You’re likely to be equipped with a proper magnetic compass and perhaps a GPS unit as well.

On the wrist, the protrusion of the compass crown guards doesn’t bother me. In fact, the extra surface area helps to distribute the watch’s heavy case evenly. The crown guards also stops the watch from sliding or rotating on the wrist should you prefer to wear this watch loosely. Neither do they dig into my wrist. It’s surprisingly comfortable to wear despite photos suggest. You really have to try this on to see for yourself.

On the opposite side of the case, the main crown is a rather tiny affair. Sloped crown guards flank the rather miniscule 4.5mm diameter crown. Finger-and-thumb grip is excellent, thanks to the finely knurled crown surface. Unscrewing the crown is not a problem but screwing it back using the “reverse direction trick” in can be rather fiddly.

Seiko apparently spared no expenses in designing the SKZ211 Atlas. After all, it was their first 200 meter water resistant Seiko 5 Sports and first impressions count big time. The 22mm Oyster inspired bracelet is surprisingly top notch – solid links all around with highly polished sides and matte brushed links with a dab of polished center link strips.



In the lume department, the Atlas’ lume brightness unfortunately falls short of even the SKX007 diver. The Arabic numerals are barely bright enough to read in total darkness but the ultra-thin strips of lume representing the other hour markers are rather dim. The main hands have just adequate lume and their brightness could have been better.

Again, the SKZ209K is a sports watch – it’s not an ISO certified diver’s watch therefore it doesn’t use the same grade of LumiBrite compound which Seiko typically uses for its range of true divers.



Here are the measurements of the Seiko SKZ211J1.

Diameter: 42mm (without crown), 46.5mm (with compass crown)
Lug-to-lug: 48.5mm
Thickness: 14mm
Lug width: 22mm
Bracelet width: 20mm, tapering to 18mm at the clasp

Here are some photos of my Landshark on my wrist:




This watch was purchased for RM624.99. The suggested retail price is RM1,420.

Specification:
Caliber: 7s36A, 23 jewels
Caseback type: 7s36-01E0
Movement: Automatic, non-hacking
Beat rate: 21,600 bph (6 beats/sec)
Loss/gain: Less than 40 sec/day
Power reserve: About 42 hours
Calendar: Day/date, dual language
Construction: Stainless steel
Crystal: Hardlex glass, flat profile
Screw-down crown
Bezel: Unidirectional, 120 graduations
W.R. rating: 200m
Luminous material: LumiBrite™

What I liked:

  • Solidly built case and 7s36 movement
  • Easy-to-read, dark indigo blue dial with Arabic numerals
  • Signed Seiko 5 compass crown
  • Easy-to-grip knurled screw-in crown
  • Standard 22mm lugs and solid linked bracelet with twin push button clasp
  • The first 200m W.R. rated model in the Seiko 5 Sports lineup
  • Looks good on either factory bracelet or aftermarket strap

What I didn’t care for:

  • Sun compass feature is more of a novelty
  • Mediocre lume
  • Tight turning bezel
  • Bezel insert design is rather unorthodox
  • Non-locking compass crown

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice review. I like this watch and I want to buy one in eBay. But the main problem is that I have doubts if it will look too big for my wrist. The perimeter of my wrist are 17,5 cm. Whats your opinion about this? Will it look too big or ostentatious? (Sorry for my low english knowledge)

The Blogger (63672674) [meoramri] said...

My wrist is similar to yours. How it will look on your wrist will be similar to the last two pictures (the watch on my wrist). Hope this helps in your decision.

Whatever it is, big watches are in fashion......

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