Have a glance at the currents state of the solar-powered quartz watches market and you will quickly realize why Seiko leads the game. Their SNE031 stainless steel model is a perfect example of a low-priced classic that offers quality across many categories, under $100.
Sleek, reliable, and honestly, quite elegant to look at, this simplistic model has that all-steel timeless look that can be paired with almost any style. Suitable for casual and more formal occasions, SNE031 is a great little runner. Inside, a trustworthy movement powered by the light; outside a shiny exterior with a crisp black and white dial that is just lovely to look at.
The Simplistic, Cool Design
The dial itself features a minimalistic style with nothing more than the words Seiko and solar written on its face. You will also find the simple black markers with standard arrow-shaped hands next to a rectangular day and date window in the usual 3 o’clock spot. The fixed casual bezel surrounding the dial is perfectly circular and shines in a silver finish, just like the fixed crown.
With a width of only 37 mm, the case might be deemed small by some but is in fact reflective of the watch’s classy nature and an almost vintage aura. The case is 10 mm thick, or thin, if you like, and is a great pick for all those who are in search of neat and petite shell. The quartz movement is what allows it to be so thin in the first place as the parts don’t require much space for installation. Therefore, it allows this dressy timepiece to fit perfectly under your sleeve without feeling to importunate on your wrist.
The Long-Lasting Movement
It is not only the elegance and simplicity of its design that account for the success of this watch, however. Its movement is astounding considering the price point. Not only can you forget about replacing the battery on a SNE031, but you can rest assured that its accuracy will remain high and precise even as years go by. After a full charge, the watch runs 1 second forward every three days, which is an admirable result even among the watches in a $1000 price range. This Japanese-made movement is set to last you a long time and doesn’t even require much light to begin with.
It is important to note that watches from the Solar family don’t derive power from only the Sun. The movement runs on power generated from various sources, with the brightest ones usually providing the fastest charge. This means that living with Seiko SNE031 will be similar to a life with any battery-powered watch, unless you live in bat cave conditions. The Solar family also offers plenty more flexibility in terms of styling as recent developments mean distancing from semi-transparent dials that we used to associate light-powered watches with.
As for the downsides, the movement, although trustworthy, isn’t automatic, as found on the higher-end dress watches. This lack of a smooth seconds hand motion is what deprives this quartz-operated watch of its sophisticated appeal.
Moreover, the bracelet, featuring a simple, two-button clasp, comes across as a bit clumsy and has that flimsy feel to it. I know this is to be expected from a watch of this price, but it still makes the whole watch feel less desirable. Should you so wish, you can replace the band by using pushpins to remove the band pins out. It is just a shame that the metal band doesn’t provide much adjustability in the first place.
Also, day and date can be challenging to set up at first as the mechanism requires resetting for months that are shorter than 31 days. However, there is plenty of support available through online tutorials and it only takes seconds to change the settings once you get used to it.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a great everyday runner that won’t break your bank and doesn’t require you to replace the battery every few years, consider picking the SNE031. The Seiko Solar family offers a wide variety of design styles unlike the traditional light-powered watches and are a great fit for those looking for slightly smaller timepieces. The calendar is not perpetual, and the strap might not strike your fancy, but the watch still packs plenty of amazing features.
The lifespan of this watch should be close to your own lifespan assuming you don’t break it or it doesn’t malfunction. This is incredible keeping in mind that the price doesn’t even exceed a $100 threshold. On a full charge, the watch can last for months without light and it keeps time with great accuracy. Put all those qualities in a classy silver shell and what you end up with is a Seiko SNE031.