29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
A modern replacement for my old workhorse (***UPDATED 24JUL14***),
This review is from: Seiko Men's SNE109 Stainless Steel Solar Dive Watch (Watch)
I just got this watch (the Seiko SNE109 Solar with orange face) and I'm pretty happy. My wife ordered it through Amazon at an "Amazon-ing" price of around $150! (The price actually dropped about $40 as we procrastinated ... go figure ....) This watch is a huge value when compared to others at twice the price. First off, the box is pretty classy, textured blue with embossed brand name, a cute little pillow for the watch, paperwork, etc., everything you need.
The watch is a solid piece of work, right up there with my old Seiko 7002 divers watch, a classic piece. The polish and lines are excellent and the bezel is snug, not too loose and the "starfish" design is "not as bad as the pictures lead you to believe." I really like the dial. The orange is muted, not at all garish, and subtle enough for my tastes. I wanted something easy to see at a glance and this does very well. I like the black lines contrasting between the orange and white. The luminescence is outstanding, just as I remember my older watch, probably better.
The bezel was a deciding factor. Photos don't do it justice. The "white metal" - stainless, shiny and bright - reflects light and shadow in interesting ways. In person the sculpted metal transforms in appearance depending on what angle you view it from. The scalloping actually aids in gripping the bezel when you turn it; my old 7002 is not easy to turn. No, this not a traditional look - as with most divers which are homage to the Omegas and Rolexes - but it could be a classic given enough time.
The size is comparable to my old 7002 and my ten year old Victorinox Swiss Army Officers watch. I look down, can tell the time immediately and I like how it looks on my wrist. I'm keeping the original rubber band at present - if I get restless I'll get a stainless bracelet, but since my other two watches are already so fitted, I see this one staying with the original. It may be mundane in some circles, but it's well suited in my neck of the woods.
And finally, I look forward to seeing how the solar feature works. From what I gather from this forum it's nothing to fret over. My Victorinox needs a battery every few years - I just changed it this spring - and the 7002 was losing five minutes a day, down from the gaining of three minutes per week when I brought it home from the war back twenty some years ago.
The only thing I would change is to put the crown -- which has the classic shoulders like my old watch, yay! -- at the 4:00 position instead of 3:00. Of course, that's just being picky.
FYI, I flipflopped over this purchase several times between this and the other models everyone recommended. I don't need a chronograph (as cool as they look) and simplicity in reading the dial makes me happy. Since I already have an automatic the longevity of solar appealed to me. The only non-Seiko I really liked was the Tissot Seastar 1000 in black with orange numbers, but at $600+ it was not for me. I am practical (translation: cheap) and want something that is bulletproof, reliable, looks good and easily repaired or replaced. If it's precious and I'm afraid of losing or scratching it, I won't wear it, so why have it, right? The SNE109 fit my preferences and so there we are.
I also recommend my favorite online vendor, Amazon. The price is right and the delivery and service first rate, blah-blah-blah. What more do you ***want?
*** July 24, 2014 UPDATE ***
I've had the watch for nearly two years now and so far, so good. I've been wearing it regularly, switching with my old 7002 automatic every week or so depending on what I'm doing, where I'm going, what kinda mood I'm in. Some days I like the vintage black on stainless look, some days the modern orange on stainless.
The only mod I've done is dumping the original rubber strap in favor of a selection of Nato and Zulus. Unlike some reviewers, I found nothing wrong with the original; I just like the variety and practicality of the fabric straps. I've two five ring Zulus for the SNE109, one black and one khaki (tan). I wear the black most often and the brushed stainless hardware looks pretty cool with shininess of the Solar Seiko. The khaki strap I wear when I'm doing yard work and other manual tasks where sweat and grime are inevitable. If I get too nasty I just put on the black strap and rinse the khaki in the sink, wipe it off with a towel and leave it to dry.
I also have a custom leather Nato on order. It'll be dark burnished brown with orange wax stitching. Should look pretty cool with its stainless hardware.
PROS: Scratch resistance and durability is pretty good. I've banged it around here and there and only have one or two tiny little bitty lines that you really have to look for. The Hardlex crystal looks like new. Also, I've dropped it a couple of times and there has been no noticeable change in function.
Accuracy is superb. I sync it with my cell phone and it never wavers. I change the date whenever the month requires, but that's pretty much it. No winding, no shaking or wiggling like my old automatic. Just put it on and let the sun shine. No worries.
The style and ergos are excellent. Most of my friends and colleagues can't tell a Rolex from a Timex, so I'm the only one I'm trying to impress. The shiny bezel, which features both mirror and satin polishing, never fails to catch my eye. It's a fine contrast to my old black and stainless 7002, giving me just enough variety to change with my mood.
Oh, and the orange face? Love it! It's easy to read, distinct and interesting to the eye. Lume is still strong and resilient, just as good as new after two years.
CONS: If I have any complaints (or suggestions)it would be make the strap 22mm instead of 20mm. Why? Well, why not? My old 7002 diver has the wider strap and I like the way it feels and looks. Ain't that a good enough reason? Plus, I could share straps betwixt the two.
Also, if I was in charge, I'd put the crown at the four o'clock position, not three. Yeah, that's a cool look, but it's also practical, preventing the crown from digging in the back of your hand. Form following function is a pretty good philosophy, n'est ce pas?
And finally, if I squint really hard, I have to admit that the second hand doesn't quite 100% land squarely on the tick marks for each and every second. It wasn't a big deal until I read some reviews and sat down and stared at it for about five minutes. For some portions it looks fine, on others it's a hair off. I think. Frankly, it's still not a big deal. Unless I sit and stare at it. Which I'm doing ... right ... now.
CONCLUSION: All in all, you get a lot of watch for your money when you buy the SNE109. Accurate, durable, no maintenance, good looking and as practical as it is distinctive, it makes me happy, which I guess is about as good as you can do if you're a watch, huh? I plan on keeping it and swapping duties between it and my older watch.