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on April 15, 2014
This is one top-quality watch. It has a nice heft to it, has a good size, and I love the overall look of the watch face. While I'm partial to automatic watches, I was looking for a cheaper, sporty, well-made outdoors-type watch, and this watch fits the bill. Also, because it is powered by the sun, hopefully this means it will never need a battery replacement (like regular quartz watches) or servicing of the movement (like automatics require). Upon receipt, I wasn't too crazy about the color of the band. It's a well-made leather band but the color was just a little too light for me. I replaced the band with an Orange Breitling Style Rally Stripe Strap 125/85 band width 22mm and also a 22mm Premium Nylon Military Watchband Watch Strap Red/White/Black, both of which I purchased here on Amazon. The watch has 21mm lugs, but the 22mm straps fit perfectly. I've uploaded pictures of the watch with these straps so you can get an idea of what these customizations look like. I can't speak to the long-term ownership of the watch, but I'll update my review if I encounter any problems. I highly recommend this watch for purchase.
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on September 4, 2012
This is one of those watches that I had to have as soon as I saw it. I bought this watch almost a week ago from an Amazon Marketplace seller and have to say I am very pleased with the purchase, no regrets whatsoever. I wanted to check all the functions thouougly before rating, a task which I've finished. First of all, the photo on the website makes it appear the watch has a dull or matte finish. Actually the entire case minus the tops of the lugs are a shiny yet quality stainless steel. Personally I would prefer a matted finish, but it still looks great, the glossy metal will give it a dressier appearance to wear with a suit or whatever.

The watch has two buttons and two crowns. The main crown is for setting the time and date basically as any other analog. The crown at the upper left is only used to move the compass besel directions one way or the other. One negative about this crown is that it won't "lock" into place and cannot be pulled out, it merely spins freely, actually too easily or freely so you will find it moves the compass points around while wearing it. I believe it would have been wiser to have a clicking rotating besel rather than fixed for this function and eliminate the crown. Not a real big deal.

The upper right button is used to start and stop the chronograph. The lower button is used to reset the chronograph and to set the alarm time. The alarm is 12 hour based and is not very loud, it may not wake you but you might hear it if used as a reminder. The alarm graph at the bottom of the face is also used as a duplicate current time, the small minute hand moves, actually "jumps" once every minute, this is a cool function. So, if the alarm is "set" the alarm time will appear, but if the current time is showing the alarm is "off", so you know at a glance, no guessing.

The small graph at the left inside the "9" position is a very small second hand, it's kinda cool but it would be better if it had more reference points other than the top tiny triangle indicating the "12" position for setting with a time tone. The other graph is the elapsed chronograph minute hand that measures up to 60 minutes then stops. What on a conventional watch would be the (large) second hand is merely used as a seconds chronograph, so it's stationary when the chronograph is not working. When it is working it sweeps like a mechanical watch.

The minute and hour hands are luminous as are the numerals, they glow quite well and maintain the lume very well. The hardlex crystal is non reflective and only VERY SLIGHTLY domed, not entirely flat, so distortion from an angle is minimal. The watch is solar and you can't see the solar panels as you can in some solar watches. It is extremely attractive and sporty. The calf skin band seems well made and is VERY water resistant. I held the watch under running water for at least 5 seconds and the band shed the water and never showed it was wet after I towel dried it.

I have rated the watch four stars only because of the compass function by the crown that drifts, the tiny seconds indicators lack of additional reference points and the slightly too quiet alarm function. Other than that I would not change a thing.
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on June 2, 2015
This is my 4th Seiko, and they're all phenomenal watches for the money. For this one, I wanted something I could wear outdoors (hiking, swimming, etc.), so water resistance was critical, but I'm not going diving, so 10 atm is plenty. I didn't want to have to worry about my watch dying when I needed it most, so solar was perfect for that. The lume is fantastic. The compass is a neat value add (I hope I never need to use it, but it's cool nonetheless. And its really not that difficult to understand how to use it, despite some of the ignorant reviews on here). Overall, it's a great watch.

The only complaint is that the leather strap is cheap, but so is the strap on my $500 Tissot, so for $150 it's a worthy compromise. I wore it once, and stretched out the hole with the stock tang clasp (see pic). I wanted a waterproof strap anyways, so I bought a black silicone band that I think takes this watch to a whole new level.

Although the leather isn't the best quality, I do love the color and contrast stitching, so I bought a deployant clasp for $10 (iStrap), and I'll probably switch back and forth every now and then. The tang clasp that comes with the watch is oddly large and looked out of place on the leather strap, but I think it works well with the rubber replacement, so it all worked out pretty darn well. I'm very pleased with my purchase.
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on March 21, 2015
i had been looking for something casual as well as a little formal. This watch is exactly that. Looks great and feels great. Not very heavy and the right size. The strap is a stiff at first but loosens up. That I'm guessing is true of most leather straps. Its a steal for the price.

Have had the watch for some time now. I agree with other reviewers about the compass. The location of the screw that controls the compass causes the compass to shift over the course of the day due to normal hand movements.

Also it just maybe in my case but I find the holes in the strap are a little inconvenient. Going from one notch to the next makes it either too loose or too tight.

Stil a great watch! I would buy it again and would not hesitate to recommend it to others.
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on May 28, 2017
I was worried whfn the watch was not used for few months and it had stopped working.

Two lessons learnt -
1. Keep it in open space as the battery can never run low with that. I had locked it up in dark.
2. Even if its stopped and nothing happens keeping it in sunlight, there is a simple trick.
> Pull the crown two clicks
> press and hold both the buttons on the right side for 5 seconds
> push crown back to normal

It starts working again!!

When exposed to some bright light, glow is excellent!!
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on August 31, 2017
I have to laugh at some of the negative reviews of this watch, and the reasons for those negative reviews. This is a great Seiko solar, with a classic field watch look and the nice addition of the chronograph subdials. Some people are reporting problems with the watch not properly charging in sunlight. That has not been my experience, but I haven't had the watch long enough to tell if it will fail in the future. Seiko has been doing solar movements for a long time now, and although some of their earliest versions had some problems, they have the technology down-pat by now.

The styling of the SSC081 will not be to everyone's tastes. The face is a little busy given that it is a chronograph watch and also has the compass bearings as well. Personally, I like tool watches such as diver's, pilot's, and the busier looking field watches. The leather band it comes with is okay but certainly not great. Seiko is known for putting rather crappy bands on their less expensive watches, preferring to put the extra money into the value of the case and movement. Watch straps and bands are generally fairly inexpensive and very easy to change out. I put all my watches on NATO and Zulu straps so I can change the look quickly, so the low-end leather band the SSC081 ships with didn't deter me.

Some people complained the watch is too big, and others that the watch is too small. The dimensions are given in the product details, so there is no excuse for buying a watch that ended up not being the size you wanted. Come on, folks, a 13mm thick watch isn't going to fit comfortably under a dress shirt! It's not a dress watch, for crying out loud. Other reviewers complained that the second hand just sits there and doesn't move. That's because that isn't the second hand - it's the chronograph hand and moves when you push the top pusher. The second hand is the small subdial at the 9:00 position. Someone else complained that the top pusher just starts and stops the second hand. Yeah, dude, that's what a chronograph does! Jeesh.

Other reviewers complained that the compass isn't an actual floating magnetic compass. Um, you can't put a magnetic compass in a watch case, as it will affect the movement (even in quartz watches; especially so in an automatic). You use the compass feature by lining up the sun's position to the hour hand and then finding the midway point between that and 12:00 (or, if on DST, 1:00). That is more or less where south is (if you are in the northern hemisphere; more or less because the time zones are quite wide and therefore the sun isn't necessarily directly overhead at high noon at any given location). You then dial the bezel to indicate that and the bezel gives you all the other compass bearings. Since this isn't a free floating magnetic compass, there is no need to have a screw-down compass bezel; as soon as you move the watch so that the hour hand no longer lines up with the sun, you have already lost the bearing. Locking down the bezel would serve no purpose anyway.

Lastly, some people complained that the watch is heavy. It's a solar quartz, so it's noticeably lighter than a similar sized automatic. Again, read the description - this isn't a tiny dress watch.

Overall, I love the styling and the comfort of the SSC081. Put it on a different band or strap and you have an awesome watch for the money. The compass bezel is a bit gimmicky to be sure, but I think it adds a nice visual touch to the watch in the same way that a tachymeter or a slide rule add to other watches. No one actually uses a tiny watch slide rule to perform aviation calculations; it just looks cool. But, if you need it, it is functional, same as the compass on the SSC081.
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on August 12, 2016
Love this watch!! Beautiful and stylish. I had my eye on this watch for a couple of months and finally made the purchase. I was worry it wouldn't look as good in person as it does on the internet. I was wrong! The band is beautiful and compliments the black dial face perfectly. Glad I bought this watch!! You will not be disappointed if you buy this watch.
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on May 2, 2016
Good watch, and one that has held up fairly well in the time that I've had it and kept good time. Unfortunately, the band has already fallen to pieces (both small loops broke off after several months) and the leather has become easily discolored in a weird way that I've never seen before on any other leather watchbands I've owned. I'm not particularly hard on my watch and I don't have any kind of job where it would get so worn down through the environment or contact. I think I just got a not-so-good watchband. I'm already shopping for a new watchband, which is a little disappointing considering the price of the watch. Still, the actual look/feel and function of the watch is good enough that I am OK with this watch as a timepiece I'd like to keep and that is versatile/stylish enough to be something I wear frequently, if not every day. Hoping for better luck with the replacement watchband.
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on March 26, 2014
This watch looks much more impressive in person than it appears in the picture. It has a deep dish dial and coin edge machining around the bezel that give it a rich and sporty look. The highly polished case with brushed and polished lugs are well done, but won't be confused with Swiss precision polishing. The lume is very bright, but the markers fade long before the hands. I agree with other reviewers that the rotating inner bezel moves too easily; the crown guard does not extend low enough toward the wrist so any contact moves the bezel. The strap feels and looks good on the wrist, it is soft and supple. So far it is keeping perfect time and, best of all, you never have to change the battery.
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on May 6, 2016
The watch itself is beautiful, but I had to return it for two reasons: First, it's too big for my wrist. I shopped carefully for a good-looking watch in the right size and finally ordered this one. It looks and feels bigger than 42mm and it's VERY thick. Secondly, the band is stiff and uncomfortable. The same watch is available with a canvas band, which would be the better choice for casual wear (or just replace this one with something more comfortable). As I said, the watch is great looking, so if you have larger wrists go for it. I would have gladly spent the money to replace the band if the watch was the right size.
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