There is a widespread love for the Seiko Black Monster, first generation, considered a great value for a diver watch with great lume and a robust automatic movement. I knew, as a fan of the Monster, that comparing it to the new SRP307 would be difficult. How could I not be sentimental about the legendary first edition? How could I be objective?
Side by side, I find the watches have subtle differences. The shark teeth indices on the new version are stark white on the new version while the original has off white or yellowish indices. I find the first version to look more expensive the way the off white markers contrast with the dial.
While I haven't done a lume test, I've heard widespread reports that the old lume is a bit better. That wouldn't surprise me.
Everything else seems the same, the bracelet, the cheap flimsy clasp, the case, the bezel. In spite of reports that the new bracelet feels lighter and cheaper, I find that this is not the case. This appears to be the very same bracelet.
The big difference is the automatic movement. The second generation offers a crown-winding option. That's a huge advantage and for people who never experienced the first generation, they may actually prefer the new one based on the automatic movement alone.
I have mixed feelings about acquiring the new Monster. It's nice and has some of its first edition's splendor, but not quite. It's hard to put my finger on it. Or I may just be in love with the idea of the original and its surrounding legend.
My advice: There are still first generations around for about $200. Get one.