For some reason, as I study Seiko’s SSC139, I keep picturing the T-1000 android from Terminator (you know, the seemingly invincible one who turns into liquid metal to escape injury), probably because of the prominent organic silver swoops on the grey case and bracelet. This watch certainly has a distinctive look that will either appeal to you or turn you off completely. If you are into the dark, techie, masculine vibe, then I imagine the somewhat hefty weight of this timepiece will appeal to you as well. This isn’t a case of style over substance, however, as it also features many useful complications and comes with Seiko’s stellar reputation for reliability.
The SSC193’s 43-mm case is quite the spectacle, with 4 silver-finished crescents on each corner of the fixed gunmetal bezel. It bulges out to meet the large silver crown with gunmetal-finished crown guards. Two silver pushers for operating the chronograph sit on either side of the crown. Made of stainless steel, this is a tough case that should stand up to regular use.
The silver-finished case back is screwed down. Rated as water resistant to 100 meters, you won’t have to worry about removing this watch before swimming or washing the dishes, but it will not hold up to any deep-water activities like scuba diving.
While the overall aesthetic of the SSC139 doesn’t appeal to me personally, I find the black dial is very handsome, with a rather elegant, if busy, layout. The first thing you’ll notice about the dial are the three sub-dials featuring an alarm, a seconds counter, and the 60-minute chronograph timer. One big letdown with this watch is the fact that the chronograph only measures up to one hour before stopping.
I don’t know why a longer timer wasn’t included, as there are plenty of times a longer timer could come in handy. Resetting the chronograph by pressing the bottom pusher will speed the chronograph hand up along its clockwise route until it gets back to twelve o’clock, rather than snapping it back like a mechanical or mecha-quartz movement would.
With so much else going on with this dial, the silver on black date display at the 3 o’clock position can be easy to overlook. Even after you get used to its location, close scrutiny will be required to make out the small, dark number. To the left of the date box, “Solar” and “Chronograph” are printed, with the latter written in a very nice cursive font. Hardlex, Seiko’s proprietary material that resists scratching almost as well as sapphire, comprises the crystal.
The hour and minute hands feature cutouts in the middle of their lower halves and lume within the center of the top halves. While the minute hand is sword-shaped, the tip of the hour hand is a large arrow shape. In addition to the hour and minute hands, Lumibrite has also been applied to the hour markers, so telling time at night should be a breeze. The applied silver hour markers are very shiny, glimmering nicely as the light hits them. Except for the rectangular 12 and 6 o’clock markers, all of the hour markers are bullet-shaped, pointing inwards towards the rest of the dial.
As you would expect, the SSC139’s edgy style doesn’t stop at the bracelet, which picks up the two-tone design right from the case.
The pattern is reminiscent of a silver and grey metal snake, with repeating silver horn-shaped designs swooping inwards across the bulgy gunmetal links. This is one of the more flamboyant bracelet designs you will run across.
Some users have reported issues with the finish rubbing off of the bracelet, so there is a chance it will not hold up to hard use. The 22-mm wide bracelet uses a fold-over clasp with a safety and dual button release.
The SSC139 makes use of the Japanese quartz caliber V172 movement. This is a solar powered movement, drawing power from any type of light source. Once it is fully charged, it is rated to last for 6 months before dying.
The Low Down
Of course, styling is subjective, but to me this watch comes across as trying too hard for that aggressive, edgy look. The design is just too daring, with the bold silver designs racing across the dark gray case and bracelet. While the styling is in-your-face, the maintenance should be very straightforward, with no need to wind it or change the batteries. Assuming the polarizing style draws you in, and as long as you don’t need the chronograph to track anything lasting over 60 minutes, there are few complaints to voice about this watch. I was able to find this model offered on various retailer websites for less than half of the Seiko’s $495 MSRP, a reasonably good deal considering all of the features it packs in.