I had been looking at getting one of these vintage Seiko Divers model 6309-7040 for a couple of months. The reason is that I believed it to fit my wrist better then the regular SKX divers. Also I had a mod in mind and I wanted something that was vintage looking. So when I found one on bracelet (I don't like rubber straps) that looked like a good deal I snatched it.
I have to say that I am no expert on vintage Seiko divers, I did read a bit about the 6309 model, saw a few photos and I learned a few things in reading posts on the forums. However I don't think that I could recognize an original part from an aftermaket one. But in truth, does this matter much? Not really, at least to me:
I was expecting great things from this watch but when it arrived it blew away all my expectations. Here was a great watch some 25 year old in great shape looking more like being a few months old and little used certainly loved and in much better shape that I would ever have imagined.
Some of the reasons that made this exciting for me were that the watch had received some service, cleaning and lubricating, gaskets replacement, etc. it also had passed a WR test. In addition I can see that the case is in great shape a part for a ding on the crown side. But I would expect that from a 25 years old watch. Otherwise the case is great, the finish may be still the original one as the top is brushed and the bottom is polished. The best part is that the case is wide, 44 mm and it sits totally flat on the wrist, it is very comfortable. The watch is large and solid but not heavy. The bracelet is an oyster or super oyster maybe, and it has solid end links. These are solidly connected to the case with no rattle and look great on the watch, at least in my opinion. The links are adjusted via screws which is better then the usual pins and collars.
The bezel turn both ways, it is easy to grab and turn but it offers fair resistence and it is secure, I cannot imagine it to turn or spin on its own by mistake. The lume pip seems aged as it is brownish in color. The bezel insert seems different from the other ones I have seen on other watches, in that it slopes downward toward the glass instead of from the glass, this makes the outer edge of the bezel a little taller then the insert and the glass thus protecting these from scratches. The whole watch is not very tall, maybe 15 mm or so, making this very manageable and easily balanced on the wrist.
The crown action is great, plenty of thread in there and easy to operate. The position and the size of it, even if protected by the case, makes it easy to be grasped and turned which ever way. It is very easy and positive to use and adjust the time or date as well as screw it down. Talking about the time, this watch keeps great time at about -10 seconds per day for the couple of days I wore it. I heard all sort of stories about the time keeping of these vintage Divers, but I have to say that my first hand experience is very interesting. Such timekeeping is hard to find on brand new automatic watches some times. So I guess with proper service one of these 20-30 years old movements can still keep great time, this one does.
This is one of the best looking Seiko Dials, it has great design and it is plenty legible. The pleasing lines of the indices probably are the reason for such great success. This one has been relumed with blue lume, it seems whitish when not charged and it is decently applied. The hands are my only real complain. It is not that they don't work or that there is anything wrong with them, I just simply don't like them. I never liked the shape of the Seiko Divers hands and these being the original shape, are simply ugly. This obviously is my opinion and I am sure that some love them. Anyway, they are ugly to me but they are also relumed and while the blue lume of both dial and hands, is not the greatest or brightest, it lasts all night. It easily compares with the Seiko lume for longevity while not as bright initially. The day/date wheels also seem different from regular SKK divers, they seem made of different color, not white but more silver type. They are nice to look at and seem to work perfectly.
In summary this is a great watch that could be produced newly maybe with a few updates here and there. For example I find the shape of the "cushion" case a bit odd, but the size should be retained and, in my opinion, only the lugs should be elongated so as to be 4-5 mm longer like the Sumo. Of course the case could be upgraded to have more WR, 200 or even 300 meter. A nice bracelet could be optional and the lugs could be drilled through. Maybe they could even resurrect the movement and maybe upgrade it to keep its reliability and increase its precision. But these are really only small upgrades. This is a watch that can please, you have to like it though. As with everything beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while personally I find the watch great and functional, I still don't like the hands shape and find the case a little to cushiony for my taste. But this is merely a personal preference and liking, so very subjective. Most of the above are facts and mostly objective so I hope these can help others in making their opinion about such fine watch. I consider myself very lucky to have found such fine specimen of such an iconic diver and I know that it may not be the same for most of them, but I think that there are some good examples of these around that one can have maybe for a little premium and if one likes this, I feel it is worth it.
It is almost too bad that the watch is so good as I wanted it to be my next custom project but being so nice I feel bad about even thinking of changing parts on it... no kidding, I find it too good to mod.
Anyway, while I think about it I thought to share some impressions and photos of such iconic watch, I wish I could do a better job of the photos, but for the moment these are it.