Do you ever wonder how a watch so popular can get discontinued?

There are many reasons why watches get discontinued, no matter how popular or critically-acclaimed they are. Similar to phones, cars, or clothes, watches are products that are subject to market forces, and the view of the manufacturer. 

One of the obvious reasons for pulling a model from the market is low sales. Some products are released but somehow flop. As a result, low income and possible losses make watch companies discontinue a model.


The Royal Oak, if you can believe it, was not always the grail watch that it is now. Its first year was marked by very low sales, which fortunately did not stop Audemars Piguet from selling it. Source: Monochrome Watches


Some watch brands release limited edition watches, therefore, these watches are basically planned to be discontinued from the start. This also means you can only purchase them in the secondary market once retail units sell out.

Like other products, watches may become obsolete over time, so watch brands will revisit a watch model and reimagine it with new parts at some point. A model may be rebuilt from scratch with new designs, movement, or materials - just look at the Rolex Submariner! 

On the other hand, some watch models get discontinued because the company wants to revamp its watch lineup to improve its marketing strategy. 

In this process, watch models may be relaunched as part of another watch lineup. The models below are all Seiko watches that were pulled from the market despite being popular. In some cases, new versions hit the market with upgrades, which is always welcome! 

Seiko Monster SKX779/781

The Seiko Monster is a great example of a discontinued model that collectors love. 

In the early 2000s, the Seiko Monster was a huge hit. It has a totally original design that people either love or hate. The model with the orange face, SKX781, was very popular, and the black SKX779 was also a fan favorite.


Source: Fratello Watches


The famous in-house movement 7S26 automatic movement was accepted at the time, but has become archaic, as it neither hacks nor handwinds. The lume on the other hand, stands up to anything on the market today.

Of course, the Seiko Monster is all about design. 

For example, the bezel on the Seiko Monster is unique, and can’t be compared to anything else in the Seiko line (maybe a Tuna). The dial design was also one for the books, and has been redesigned a few times since its introduction. 

With a diameter of 42mm, the lug-to-lug distance comes in at a very wearable 48mm making it look good on all kinds of straps, despite its visual chunkiness. The supplied metal bracelet is also unique, and adds to the overall feel of the watch. 


Source: Gnomon Watches


The Seiko Monster ended its run before Seiko introduced the Prospex collection, where the upgraded Monster now lives. Unlike the SKX007, an OEM Monster can still be had, even if you may have to wait for the next edition to hit the markets. 

Seiko SKX007/009/011

The humble Seiko SKX was loved by many during its 20-year run. It offered features like ISO certification, which no other watch at its price point could.

In 1996, Seiko launched the SKX diver’s line, with two variants being the overwhelming best sellers, the SKX007, and the SKX009. Many people entered the world of watches with an SKX, and never looked back. 


Source: Wristwatch Review UK


In a 42.5mm x 46mm case, the Seiko SKX watches came with short lugs, crown at 4 o’clock, and the venerable 7S26 movement. It was a workhorse watch, and many are still beating away with 100% OEM parts. 

The SKX line was made to be used, with a bezel that rotates in half-minute increments and the legendary Seiko Lumibrite dial markers that glow like the sun. 

Offering so much value, it’s little wonder that the SKX became immensely popular. In addition to the SKX007 and SKX009, you can find a lot of other variants out there like the SKX011, with its vibrant orange dial.

Sadly, the SKX series was discontinued in 2019 and (sort of) replaced by the new Seiko 5 Sports series. Of course, if you want to build your own SKX inspired watch, we can help!

Seiko Baby Grand Seiko SARB 033/035

The black SARB033 and white SARB035 were wildly popular, and are both gone from the market. Sometimes called the Baby Grand Seiko, these models were hard to get when in production, and have since risen in value.


Source: Wrist Review


The SARB033/35 is a versatile watch that can go almost anywhere. With a 38mm case, it is comfortable and wearable in a variety of situations. With its simple style, many compare it to a Grand Seiko, although some of the finishing doesn't match up with Seiko’s premium offerings. 

Using Seiko’s 6R15 automatic movement, the SARB033/35 did have case finishing reminiscent of a classic GS, and its bracelet also harkens back to classic Grand Seiko designs. 

Although the SARB033/35 series represented a value when originally on the market, much like the SKX series, the SARB033/35 are no longer a value proposition - despite their good looks! 

Seiko Alpinist SARB017

The Seiko Alpinist SARB017 was also one of the most popular affordable Seiko watches to ever be in the marketplace. The original modern Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is a classic and sporty timepiece that has an interesting green dial with some quirky design features.


Source: Fifth Wrist


A member of the SARB series, the Alpinist’s 38mm stainless steel case with a 38 millimeter fits almost any wrist size. It also has a second crown around 4 o’clock, which moves a rotating, internal bezel. 

Although the Alpinist SARB017 was cut from the Seiko lineup a few years ago, there is a new version that many people like. In addition, the new Alpinist series offers fresh colorways, so if gold and green isn’t your favorite, you can opt for another color scheme. 

Seiko Sumo SBDC001/003/031/033

The Sumo launched in 2007 and is one of Seiko’s youngest diving watch designs. The first generation includes the black SBDC001, the blue SBDC003 nicknamed the ‘Blumo’, and the SBDC005, which comes with an orange dial and a rubber strap.

The Seiko Sumo has been a great success and it developed a cult following, although they aren’t for everyone. It is a large watch, at 44mm, and on the supplied steel bracelet, it is heavy at around 180g.  


Source: Dream Chrono


While it won’t fit under most shirt cuffs, the Sumo is a versatile watch that can do just about anything outside of the office. It is an ISO rated 200m diver, although most people will never go that deep. 

One great thing about the Sumo is that Seiko still offers upgraded versions of the watch, and they are still very affordable. In addition, the current models offer top-tier components, like ceramic bezels, and sapphire glass. 

The Rise of Homages

Seiko mods are a perfect example of how a watch lover can get their hands on something like the discontinued SKX series by creating a SKX007 mod

Homage mods can also use Seiko spare parts, if you want to use OEM materials. At namokiMODS, we offer a wide range of Watch spare parts, which are perfect if you need to upgrade an old Seiko, our build one from the ground up. 

Take a look at our extensive online catalog to learn more about all we offer.

Happy modding! 

October 03, 2022 — Jeremiah A

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