The Seiko (SRPD25) Fourth Gen Monster vs. First Gen Monster (SKX781 and SKX779): A Cult Classic Receives Some Upgrades
When I first started down this never-ending rabbit hole of watch collecting, one of the first watches that I purchased was the Seiko SKX781, or as you probably better know it, the “Orange Monster.”
What drew me to the Orange Monster over, say, an SKX007/9 was its rugged styling with the chunky scalloped bezel made of brushed steel, and bright orange dial. The color was so bright that it looked like you actually had a piece of a fresh orange strapped to your wrist. The fact that I could get an automatic watch for under $200 (the going rate at the time) sealed the deal.
The “OM” was such a hit with me that it wasn’t too long before an SKX779, or “Black Monster” ended up in my collection (for obvious reasons, I try not to use the abbreviation “BM” for the black colorway). What it lacked in bright color, it made up with an almost militaristic style. Having one of each in your collection was not a crazy idea.
Fast forward to 2019, and I had long since bought and sold a handful of first gen Monsters. I found myself missing the fun styling, and decided that I needed some fun back in my watch collection.
Unfortunately, what I quickly found was that, since it has been discontinued for some time, it’s not so easy to buy a clean SKX781 any more. Many of them have been abused at this point, and sellers of clean ones often want over $400 for them.
I quickly expanded my search to the second gen Orange Monster (SRP309). This model looks very similar to the “1G,” but adds tooth-shaped teeth, and a hacking/hand-winding 4R movement. Unfortunately these are less common, and at least as expensive as the first gens, plus I didn’t like the markers as much.
Continuing up the chain, I remembered hearing that a third gen Monster existed, and found that a few orange sunburst dial ones were available (SBDC023). Unfortunately, these models also existed outside of my budget because they contain the higher-end 6R movement, but chances are you won't even find one.
Luckily, around this time was when the fourth gen Monsters were hitting the typical markets. Unfortunately they do not currently make an orange version, but I ended up buying a brand new blue dial version (SRPD25, or SBDY033 in other markets). MSRP is $525, but I found one for roughly $300 on eBay. I pulled the trigger, since I could get a BNIB fourth gen for less than a well-used first gen.
I missed the pop of that orange dial, but I’m always a sucker for a deep blue sunburst. Stick with me to hear my impressions of the watch, as well as a comparison to the OG OM, and some worthy alternatives.
First Impressions Immediately when you put on this watch, you can tell that Seiko has taken it up a notch from the original. The watch feels and looks more expensive on the wrist. The trade-off being that it has lost some of the fun and rugged character of the original.