The Skinny on the Z199
- The Uncle Seiko Z199 Bracelet
- Fits: Seiko SKX / SRP
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Taper: 22mm to 16mm
- Endlinks: Hollow
- Price: $69
I don’t tend to wear leather straps. I don’t wear NATOs. That makes the bracelet on a watch incredibly important to me. The bracelet can make or break the user’s experience when handling a watch. It’s not a fair situation, perhaps, but it’s an accurate statement.
The stock “jangly jubilee” has become the battle cry for SKX enthusiasts. It’s been glorified and celebrated, but I think the Seiko 44G1ZZ bracelet just plain sucks. I was very interested to see if swapping to an Uncle Seiko bracelet could really improve the cult-classic Seiko SKX. Fortunately, Uncle Seiko does, indeed, sell the remedy for my SKX bracelet woes.
The first Seiko SKX that I ever bought cost $168 on Amazon. I knew that the original bracelet was rubbish, but it was hard to justify spending 40% of the cost of the actual watch on a new bracelet. The Seiko SKX is now discontinued and the prices for those watches keep going up. Odd as it may seem, in the present tense, spending 20% of the watch’s price on a new bracelet now makes more sense to me.
I wasn’t without concern for the Uncle Seiko Z199 bracelet. It’s not perfect, but would the Z199 have enough improvements to bring the Seiko SKX up to the next level?
I always love screws instead of pins, and thankfully the Z199 has screws. Screws add the feeling of over-engineering. They are usually heftier than pins and will stretch less over time. You do still get the pin look because the links are drilled all the way through. Better still, the links on the Z199 are all solid. The increased heft really helps balance the weight of the top-heavy Seiko SKX. With small jubilee links and seven micro-adjust positions in the clasp, you should have no problem finding the sweet spot to get the SKX sized perfectly for your unique wrist.
I would have liked to see Uncle Seiko include solid end links, which add so much to any bracelet. The only other thing that I would change about the Z199 is that the first center links aren’t secured tightly enough to the end links. It produces just enough of a gap and wiggle to make a picky watch-geek notice.
I thought that the stamped pressure clasp would bother me – not for comfort but for cred, as if not having a locking clasp discredited me from being hardcore adventure-ready. But, c’mon, I was thinking this as I sat at the desk in my office, typing on the computer, drinking seltzer. I’m sure the stamped clasp will be fine! The Uncle Seiko Z199 jubilee bracelet is neither underwhelming nor overwhelming. Shouldn’t that be enough? We just need a bracelet that can balance function and form. I’m confident in saying that the Z199 does that.
The Skinny on the Uncle Seiko Super Oyster Bracelet
- Fits: Seiko SKX007, SKX009, etc. (Not SKX013)
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Taper: 22mm to 18mm
- Endlinks: Solid
- Price: $59
If I seemed a little underwhelmed by the Uncle Seiko Z199 bracelet it was because I got to check out the Super Oyster offering as well. This might be the best bracelet under $60 that I’ve ever seen. It radically changed the entire Seiko SKX experience. This is the bracelet that Seiko should have made for the SKX. If a small independent accessory provider can get this done for $60, Seiko should have the scale of manufacturing to make this happen without impacting the price point of the watch.
What a difference! The Seiko SKX finally felt like a real watch. I didn’t need an aftermarket bezel or a domed crystal mod to make the SKX007 feel like the real deal. The weight out the balance of the entire package to an upmarket place that I didn’t think that the Seiko SKX was capable of going.
The clasp being both milled and having a safety lock puts more weight under the wrist, inspiring confidence and adding the balance I mentioned above. There are only three positions for micro-adjustments, so it took me a little finagling to get it just right. Those pesky pins didn’t help the cause. I was glad when it was all over.
I’d recommend the Uncle Seiko Super Oyster with solid end-links to everyone that owns an SKX. If Uncle Seiko ever makes 20mm a version for the SKX013 it will be a guaranteed birthday gift for my brother. It’s ironic that Uncle Seiko’s least expensive bracelet is also one of their best.
Allen’s Second Look at the Seiko SKX007 summarizes the stock bracelet simply: “Bad Bracelet.” It’s no secret that stock Seiko SKX could use improvements. There are countless options out there for aftermarket replacement parts for upgrading this admittedly mediocre watch. If steel bracelets and Seiko is your shtick, Uncle Seiko seems to have the pulse of the people. Uncle Seiko products are not limited to just the SKX, and David has written a nice write up of many of their other bracelets. There are options for Seiko Turtles, SARBs, Willards, and more. From a zoomed-out approach, Uncle Seiko beats the heck out of playing eBay roulette to upgrade your Seiko SKX.