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Seiko Orange Monster vs Citizen Ecozilla.jpg

Orange Monster vs Ecozilla is a debate which is as long standing as the two watches themselves. Both have legions of loyal fans, both are convincingly chunky, macho and reliable as well as being extremely competitively priced.

At the higher end of the food chain, or dive watch scale, the same debate rages about the Rolex Submariner versus the Omega Seamaster, but today we focus on dive watch bottom feeders, these two worthy Japanese contributions to the underwater world.

Seiko Orange Monster

Seiko Orange Monster.jpg

Seiko’s SKX781 or Orange Monster receives almost universal praise from anyone that comes into close contact with it. The SKX781 has been described as a “rite of passage” diver’s watch, a watch you acquire and admire on your way towards your Rolex Submariner or Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. Ecozilla aside, you will struggle to find an automatic diving watch that looks as good and is as affordable as the Orange Monster.

The watch features Seiko’s trusty calibre 7S26 self winding automatic movement with 21 jewels. It is trusty too. You can leave this watch in a drawer for months on end, give it a little tap and it starts up immediately and keeps remarkably accurate time. It’s housed in a beefy 42mm stainless steel case that has a thickness of 13mm.

With day and date at three o'clock and the crown at 4 o'clock, the watch is water resistant to 200 metres, and is famous for its eye catching bright orange dial and big bold luminous hour markers. It has great heft to it too. And never mind about underwater, the Monster shines like a lumilite beacon of truth while watching movie blockbusters in your local cinema. The stainless steel strap is of great quality, but can easily be changed to a chunky rubber strap, according to preference.

2013 Seiko Orange Monster

2013 Seiko Orange Monster.jpg

The Orange Monster has had a recent facelift with the introduction 2013 Orange Monster. The new version has shark teeth style markers surrounding the orange dial, and is certainly a worthy successor to the original. But the SKX781 remains An excellent investment and a great starting point for any entry level watch collector. Still widely available from around $200.

Citizen Ecozilla

Citizen Ecozilla.jpg

The Citizen EcoZilla, or to give it its full name, the Citizen BJ8050-08E Eco-Drive Professional watch is nicknamed ‘EcoZilla’ thanks to what was once held to be its wrist devouring proportions. Well, maybe at one time it was considered unusually large, but it has undoubtedly been tamed by the size of modern watches and is today nothing remarkable in terms of its size. It measures 46mm diameter with a case thickness of 18mm. The mineral crystal is 6mm thick. Despite its size, the Ecozilla is made from light weight titanium which means it’s not heavy or uncomfortable to wear. Like the Orange Monster, the Zilla also offers supreme readability with the date at 3 o'clock and with chunky luminous hands and hour markers. The Citizen Ecozilla has equally large read out numerals on its unidirectional bezel, with an imposing rounded shape.

The major difference between Seiko Orange Monster and Zilla is the movement. Where the Monster is automatic, the Ecozilla is powered by Citizen’s excellent Eco Drive technology that continues to charge the watch in both natural and indoor light. The Ecozilla runs on a Calibre B873 Japanese movement which, being quartz, shades it in terms of accuracy and reliability over the Seiko. It also has a huge180 day power reserve, with a low charge warning when there is less than 3 days of power remaining.

The Citizen EcoZilla goes a further 100 metres deeper than the Monster - 300 metres, so it’s a pretty serious dive instrument. Like the Seiko Orange Monster, the Citizen Ecozilla is also available from about $200.

Conclusion

As all Watchuseek dive forum readers know, they are both great budget dive watches, and if you can’t decide between them don’t hesitate to get them both.


As usual some of the best pictures are by Watchuseek members so thanks Jason Penney for the two main pictures of the Monster and the Ecozilla.


 

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I like the 2013 monster facelift a lot. the 'sharksteeth' markers are a somewhat more efficient patters for 'time acquisition' than the rectangular markers. Readers should be made aware of a key difference in the long term viability of these different movements. Solar powered movements such in the ecozilla, are really battery powered. The battery being an intermediary.The solar 'surface' charges the battery. The reason I bring this up is that there have not been any long term tests done to determine the MTF for these batteries. In other-words, they will gradually lose their ability to hold a charge and if so, it's questionable if and how replacement batteries may be located and installed. I know this from quizzing Casio technical representative about my Protrek, which uses a similar solar charging system. The Monster's movement however, is likely to survive many decades with occasional service for lubrication.
At these prices it's hard to be thinking 25 years hence- but to some it might matter.
 

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Have both now (more than one each). For diving, the Zilla. I've had problems more than once with Monster gaskets, and while this may be just really bad luck, the Zillas have never faltered and are actually easier to read underwater despite somewhat smaller dial area. Plus you can hurt a barracuda with a Zilla ;^)

Both are phenomenal watches at their prices, and nicer in many ways than much more costly models. Monster bezel is sublime.
 

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Cool write up about some of the best value watches around. My Monster family says hi!





Nice Monster collection. Not a negative question, but what made you decide to get two Gen 1 black Monsters? I'm considering getting another 6309-7049 and want help justifying it.
 

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Such different watches. I've been on the verge of getting an Eco-Zilla several times, but the lefty crown and weird lugs keep turning me off. As for the Monster...I did buy one, but it's not a keeper. Maybe I've been spoiled by more expensive boutique divers.
 

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Both are great watches... Had an orange monster, and will buy one again in the future, but with the new movement.

The Ecozilla is an epic watch once you get the suppa adapters for it. It is my tool / weekend dive watch and I love it on Isofrane!











Honestly... Just get both!
 

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The Black Monster was the FIRST watch to enter my humble collection when I started it.
At this time I decided to go only for automatic dive watches, so no Ecozilla for me (I have 4 exceptions, 2 classy automatics and 2 G-Shock).
I sold my Monster few months ago, I keep good memories of it, it was my Seiko G-Shock !
 

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I have both the Monster and Ecozilla. The only problem I have with the Monster (and I probably got screwed with a fake one bought from a seller in Hong Kong on Ebay saying it was authentic) is that it doesn't have a hack feature and now doesn't keep perfect time. The Ecozilla is better but it's really heavy (at least the stainless steel one is) and I've bought a few replacement bands (not to mention Suppa Parts) to remedy this situation. There was a question earlier why the crown is on the left instead of the right. This is to prevent discomfort on the wearer's wrist. The Monster itself has the crown at the 4 o'clock position instead of the 3 o'clock position just for this reason. But I have to admit that both watches are awesome. Btw, I heard that the new Monster (also called Dracula) now has a hack feature. If so, that's an improvement!!!
 

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I have both the Monster and Ecozilla. The only problem I have with the Monster (and I probably got screwed with a fake one bought from a seller in Hong Kong on Ebay saying it was authentic) is that it doesn't have a hack feature and now doesn't keep perfect time.
Perhaps a little more research and knowledge before you cry "fake". The monsters (not the new ones) did not have a hacking movement (7s26). The new ones indeed do (4r36).
 

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I had Black Monster and currently have Citizen Eco-Zilla 300m Professional Stainless. I will also discuss Boschett Cave Dweller II below.

BM: paid $165 w/ SS bracelet on sale from online dealer. Lume is legendary. Attractive, original styling, great finishes, good weight fit and feel w/ solid link bracelet. Unique case integrates bezel and crown protectors. Makes it somewhat trickier to turn bezel and and adjust time compared to Boschett Cave Dweller with fully exposed bezel and over-sized 8mm crown. Black Monster was just horrible +35 seconds / day and I was told this is within specs! Gained 5 mins / week, so my friend opened it up and tried to adjust time and damaged hairspring in process. Estimate $125 to rebuild watch, so I sold it instead for $50. My non-affection for orange dials has been posted elsewhere on F74, so there is no need to elaborate -- IMO the orange dial w/ clashing greenish markers is horrid. Never quite get the orange thing. Fortunately for me and others the Black Monster dial is quite nice, attractive and functional. BM case back shows the Seiko crested, breaking wave which is very well done. My BM took a real beating, and would still be with me, had I taken it to a watchmaker for regulation, instead of my friend.
PC170015.JPG
Without the Black Monster, I was forced to start wearing the Cave Dweller II which seemed enormous compared to the Black Monster. I quickly became accustomed to the larger diameter, increased height and extra grams of weight. The best part of quitting the Black Monster habit was switching to the CD II w/ highly accurate Miyota 8215 auto mvt that is incredibly spot on day after day, and carries a great amount of reserve too. CD II has ratcheting bracelet for quick adjustments throughout the day. CD II bracelet is non-tapering 5-link style and I find the watch extremely durable with sapphire crystal that has yet to show any scratches. Black Monster Hardlex was easily scratched. Although I miss having the BM, the CD II more than makes up for the Monster's short-comings noted above.
PC070048.JPG
Citizen Eco-Zilla -- what every dive watch should be. Lume that likely beats anything in and outside its class. Charge the Eco-Zilla before a dive and you should be able to navigate the deepest darkest depths without auxiliary lights. Zilla has fantastic bluish lume w/ incredible legible hands and dial. The bezel is beastly and set in the case. Whereas most bezels seem to sit on top of the watch case, the Zilla bezel rotates in what might be described as a machined course or groove. This makes accidental movement of the bezel quite difficult. For those who admire rear-ends, the Zilla case back displays a beautiful full relief diver helmet. Overall the Eco-Zilla takes the concept of tool diver to another level. There is no mistaking the Eco-Zilla for anything other than a dedicated diving tool. Whereas the BM might pass under a dress sleeve and could be worn with a suit-jacket, the Eco-Zilla is really not suitable for dress attire. The only short-coming (if any) is the specialized strap attachment that does away with spring bars (generally the first place of failure on any attachment system) but requires specialized adapters for the use of any other type of rubber strap, NATO, or bracelet. Walt's Adapters (no longer available) solved this problem and StevRal (Benarus watches) now provides adapters making it possible to easily accessorize the Eco-Zilla with just about any properly sized, after-market strap or bracelet.
P2030003.JPG
Eco-Zilla SS 300m w/ Armida A1 High Dome

As for the solar power recharging system -- I remember seeing Citizen Solar Powered watches in the Leisure Pro Dive Catalog more than 10-years ago, so the technology has been around for quite some time. (How about those solar powered digital watches from the 70's). According to one informed blogger Eco-Drive was introduced in 1995, and the battery should be good for 20-years. See if you get that out of an automatic without any service.

Conclusion:
Compared to the Seiko Black Monster, I have experienced better performance, durability, accuracy and ease of operation with Boschett Cave Dweller II. Comparing the Eco-Zilla to the Seiko BM is not really fair to the Monster. The Eco-Zilla is the true monster (Godzilla), and the Eco-Zilla simply dominates the BM as a tool diver to which all dive watches should be compared. I can still recommend the Black Monster as an entry to the world of dive watch collecting, but IMO the Eco-Zilla is likely a better place to start for one seeking a true dive watch machine.


RHINO

Recommended Reading
:

Eco-Driving With Citizen Eco-Drive | Citizen Eco-Zilla.
 

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Where are you guys buying your Monsters? I have a hard time finding them in stock from stores aside from third party sellers, which I have a hard time trusting. What's a fair price for the Monster and for the EcoZ?

Has anyone seen an EcoZ with a Sapphire dial?
 

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Where are you guys buying your Monsters? I have a hard time finding them in stock from stores aside from third party sellers, which I have a hard time trusting. What's a fair price for the Monster and for the EcoZ?

Has anyone seen an EcoZ with a Sapphire dial?
I bought a 'used' black Monster (first gen) on ebay for 140$ the other day. I say 'used' but it truly was new in original box, the bracelet still had the foil on.

Does the EcoZilla have drilled lugs? I think that is a killer feature in that price class. Also the slightly domed crystal is a distinguishing feature. Non of my watches has a hacking feature - so I am not missing that to much (anyways, in that price-class there is non, imho, the new Monster is almost $100 more...)
 
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