For more than two decades, the SKX009 reigned as one of the best and most affordable Pepsi dive watches available. It garnered a large following and made its way onto the wrists of countless (satisfied) collectors worldwide.
When the SKX was discontinued in 2019, a direct replacement to the SKX009 was introduced: the Seiko 5 Sports SRPD53K1.
It wouldn’t be truthful to say that the SRPD53 was well-received by ardent Seiko followers. Indeed, many deemed it an inauthentic and subpar substitute for the esteemed Seiko Pepsi icon.
With the goal of providing an objective perspective, and via the following article, I lay bare the technical differences between both models and set aside my personal preference until the end of the page.
Watch The Video Comparison
- Reference: SRPD53 / SBSA003 [Read Our Review]
- Case Diameter: 42.5mm
- Case Material: Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Seiko Hardlex
- Water Resistance: 100M / 330ft
- No Screw-Down Crown
- Dial: Sunray Blue, Lumed (Green LumiBrite)
- Bracelet: Stainless Steel Bracelet
- Movement: Seiko 4R36, Automatic
- 41-Hour Power Reserve
- Hacking Seconds
- Retail Price: $295
- Reference: SKX009K [Read Our Review]
- Case Diameter: 42.5mm
- Case Material: Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Seiko Hardlex
- Water Resistance: 200M / 660ft
- Screw-Down Crown
- Dial: Dark Blue, Lumed (Green LumiBrite)
- Bracelet: Steel Jubilee
- Movement: Seiko 7S26, Automatic
- 40-Hour Power Reserve
- No Hacking Seconds
- No Hand-Winding
- Retail Price: Discontinued
The Seiko 5 Sports Pepsi watch reflected throughout this page is the SBSA003; this reference entails that this model was manufactured in Japan. When it’s not made in Japan, this same model can be found under the model number SRPD53 (SRPD53K1 on bracelet). The differences on the SBSA003 are reserved to a couple of “Made in Japan” bits of text throughout the watch. The construction and accuracy of the watch are the same.
Likewise, you’ll see I’ve used pictures of both an SKX009J and an SKX009K. These are the two reference numbers for the Made in Japan (J) and non-Made in Japan versions (K), respectively, of the SKX009 Pepsi. Once more, the differences are merely aesthetic.
SKX009 vs. SRPD53 Case Specs
Broadly speaking, the watch case of the SRPD53 Pepsi and the SKX009 are nearly identical. The case design of the SKX proved its versatility over many decades and accordingly, Seiko chose to maintain it for the Seiko 5 Sports SRPD collection released in 2019.
As a result, the following case dimensions are true for both the SKX009 and the SRPD53:
- Diameter: 42.5mm
- Case thickness: 13.4mm
- Lug-to-lug measurement: 46mm
- Strap size: 22mm
Additionally, both watch also possess Seiko Hardlex crystals. This scratch-resistant and shatterproof material is proprietary to Seiko and a modest enough choice for a sports or diving watch retailing for less than $500 (which both of these are).
Where the cases begin to depart in design is with the crowns at 4 o’clock. In the SKX009, the crown screws into the case whereas the SRPD53 crown does not. This results in the previous model achieving a 200m depth rating while the latter is only rated to 100m. Few collectors ever push the limits of these water resistance ratings, however, many still put a lot of emphasis on them.
The surface finish of the stainless steel on both the SKX and SRPD’s case is the same: high-polish case flanks and a grained finish on the top of the case. On the other hand, the lugs of the modern SRPD53 are differentiated by lug holes which the SKX009 does not possess.
Pepsi Diver’s Bezel Comparison
The bezels of both the SKX009 and the SRPD53 feature a Pepsi motif where the majority of the bezel is a dark blue color while the segment from minute 0 to minute 20 on the diver’s scale is in red. Both feature silver numerals, though the SKX009 possess full 60-minute graduations and a luminous pip at the top index, neither of which are present on the 5KX Pepsi.
Besides the differences in the bezel inserts, both bezels are very similar with their steel construction, textured surface on their outside perimeter, and rotate only unidirectionally.
5KX Blue Sunray Dial vs. SKX009 Dark Blue Dial
The dial design is likely the aspect where these two Seiko Pepsi Dive watches differ the most.
On one hand, the SRPD53 has a shiny, blue sunray dial with applied, polished hour indices. On the other hand, the SKX009 has a matte, deep blue dial with white indices that have been printed right on the dial. Both have similar minute tracks that have been printed on the rehaut. Likewise, the hands are polished with tons of Seiko LumiBrite lume on both models.
It’s likely that the dial will be the characteristic that most polarizes collectors. With the blue sunray dial, the look of the Pepsi diver strays from utilitarian dive watch into the jewelry segment thanks to its luster and delicate finish.
Three-Link Bracelet vs. Jubilee & Rubber Strap
In its OEM condition, the SRPD53 is usually sold on a 3-link stainless steel bracelet. This band is well built and properly matches the look of the watch.
The SKX009 could be had both on a black “wave” rubber strap or the Seiko Jubilee bracelet. While these were still sold by the manufacturer, I believe the Jubilee versions commanded a higher price but I’m not completely sure.
Even if it did cost more, the Jubilee bracelet option was a clear winner not only because it looks much better than the rubber strap, but because it is much more comfortable to wear.
Regardless, both the SKX009 and the SRPD53 have versatile enough styling that they could be put on an aftermarket strap and still look great. Indeed, many collectors did this with their SKXs and many others will likely do this with their 5KX models.
Seiko 4R36 (5KX) vs. 7S26 (SKX) Movement
The Seiko 5 Sports SRPD53 is equipped with a modern caliber, the Seiko 4R36 movement. Not only is the movement visible through the crystal caseback that the SKX009 does not possess, but it also has:
- A 41-hour power reserve
- +35/-45 secs/day accuracy
- Brushed finish on plates, bridges, and rotor
- Hand-winding function
- Hacking seconds function
On the other hand, the SKX’s 7S26 dates back to the ’90s which means that it’s less accurate than the 4R36, has a slightly shorter power reserve (40 hours), does not have hacking seconds of hand-winding, and can’t be observed because the caseback is solid. This last point is likely an advantage since I am convinced that the 7S26 movement used in SKXs boasts no finishing whatsoever.
Which Is Better?
I have no doubt that the Pepsi diver you prefer will depend exclusively on your own personal taste. This sounds obvious but allow me to elaborate.
While both the SRPD53 and the SKX009 are Pepsi Seiko divers, there is a clear difference in design ethos from one to the other. The SKX009 was designed to look like a professional diving instrument; towards this goal, its dial is less flashy or ornate and the OEM rubber strap is stiff since it is undoubtedly intended to be worn over a diving suit.
Alternatively, it’s clear to me that the SRPD53 tries to appear as a much more luxurious option. Its dial is lustrous and, while it retains some of those utilitarian design cues, it is a much more frivolous wrist accessory as evidenced by its crystal caseback.
After spending a couple of months with both of these watches, in the end I came to prefer the SRPD53. This was simply because the movement was more modern and the dial looked better. I can admit that I really enjoy the Seiko Jubilee bracelet however it is not enough to put the SKX009 over the SRPD53 in my view.
I can definitely see why Seiko fans could prefer the SKX009 given its heritage and unique look; I simply don’t place that much importance on these aspects at this sub-$500 price point.
All of this being said, I’m convinced that you’ll be satisfied with either of these timepieces and likely happiest if you are fortunate enough to get both!
Let me know in the comments below which of these two Seiko Pepsi watches is your favorite! If you’re looking for related content, check out the following articles:
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