If you're looking for an affordable dress watch, Seiko offers dozens of models that will undoubtedly fill your needs. The Seiko SGF204 and SGF206 are very popular among watch collectors for their elegance and simplicity.
Fortunately, the Seiko SGF line is still in production as of today, which means you can get a brand new example for a decent price. Even so, you might want a bit more info about this timepiece before forking out over a hundred dollars. This article will give you everything you need to know and more.
Seiko watches are known for their beautiful but small dress watches and the SGF204/206 is no exception to the rule. The case diameter, without the crown, measures a measly 35.5mm. This is the perfect size for men with small to average wrists (5.5'' to 7'').
Considering its quartz movement, the watch is only 8mm thick, which is perfect if you plan on wearing it with a tight dress shirt, as it will go under without a problem. Also, the 20mm lug width is pretty standard, if you ever need to replace the bracelet.
The quartz movement can be quite a surprise for some since Seiko is famous for using their in-house automatic movements. This is the case for the Seiko SNXJ line, which is the mechanical cousin of the SGF204/206.
The 7N43 quartz movement used in this watch is also built in-house by Seiko, so you can expect their legendary Japanese reliability. You can count on it to keep time as good as your average quartz movement, which will be about +-15 seconds per month.
If you owned Seiko watches before, you're probably acquainted with the Lumibrite lume that's applied on the hands and indices, which is bright and durable. The Hardlex (mineral) crystal and 30m water resistance are also expected from entry-level Seikos.
The Seiko SGF204/6 is a piece of art that can be worn on your wrist every day. The fixed dented bezel is the first aspect of the watch that will catch the eye; it is uncommon to see such a pattern, but the SGF pulls it off extremely well.
The lugs are both long and wide, sticking out from under the bezel. This gives the timepiece a bit more size, so it wears larger than its 35.5mm diameter would make it seem. Attached to the lugs is a 8.5'' stainless steel bracelet.
As is expected from a sub 150$ watch, the bracelet is a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the timepiece. Common complaints include sharp band links and small unbuffed imperfections.
Since the Seiko SGF line has been in production for several decades (under different monikers), you can be assured that the styling is timeless. Also, some collectors claim to have owned theirs for over 15 years with barely any fading of the gold-tone finish.
The dial is totally uncluttered: there are no numerals and very few writings, except for the Seiko Quartz logo at the top, and the minuscule ''Mov't Japan 7N43'' inscription at the bottom.
The case back is nothing to write home about, it is a very simple screw-down case back with a few engravings. This is disappointing as we're used to creative and beautiful case backs from Seiko, such as the ''Great Wave off Kanawaga'' engraving.
For every hour mark, you get a black rectangle indice with a gold tip. The 12 o'clock mark is a bit more special, with a double rectangle indice. The same color scheme is found on the rectangle hands, which are beautiful but simple.
The day-date display (situated at the 3 o'clock position) is easily set using the push/pull crown, also situated at the 3 o'clock mark. The display is pretty standard, featuring two different languages, based on the market it's sold in.
Some watch enthusiasts consider the SGF to be a Rolex Datejust homage, but I don't think that's justified since there are quite a few differentiating features such as the day display and the lack of cyclops lens.
The SGF204 is the most popular of the Seiko SGF line according to online sales numbers. It's the most desirable one because of its elegant styling that doesn't try too hard, but remains original.
The iridescent grey dial is the centerpiece of this watch. It will change of color depending on how light hits it, going from light to dark. Also, the dial is very reflective, so it looks nice under the sun.
The bracelet is also understated, as it only features gold-tone finish on the middle link, as opposed to the whole bracelet. You get the same gold-tone color on the bezel, crown and day-date display. This gives the watch a luxurious look, without trying to copy solid gold watches.
The Seiko SGF206 is the flashiest watch of the line. On this model, the bracelet is now fully covered in gold-tone color, as well as the dial and lugs. If you plan on buying this model, you need to know that it will bring a lot of attention to your wrist.
While this timepiece isn't for everyone, some people love the image it gives off. The following Amazon reviewers sum up exactly what I mean:
"They put great detail on this product and people are mistaking it for a Rolex which is always a great compliment."
"I get a lot of compliments on this watch. More so than any other watch I own. I highly recommend it."
As you can see, SGF206 owners love the attention they get from wearing this watch, and you can be assured to get your dose of compliments when wearing it.
The Seiko SNXJ90 and SNXJ94 are the only mechanical alternatives you should consider for the SGF line. These two models are almost identical to the SGF204 and SGF206 (respectively) except for the mechanical movement.
Instead of the 7N43 quartz movement, you get the classic Seiko 7s26 automatic caliber in this variation. Unfortunately, the SNXJ line was discontinued by Seiko back in 2014.
This means you'll have to search the pre-owned market to get either of those timepieces. This task can be easier said than done, as the SNXJ line developed an occult following over the years and is now quite rare.
If you want to learn more about these models, head over to my "Complete Seiko SNXJ Review", which goes into all the details.
The Seiko SNE098 can be considered the cousin of the SGF204. While it strongly resembles its kin, the SNE098 has lots of distinguishing features that make it a very desirable watch.
For instance, this timepiece is solar-powered, which means you'll never need to change a single battery. Also, solar-powered movements are known to last for a long time, the SNE098 is no exception with its 10 months power reserve.
The case is a bit bigger, with a 39mm diameter, so this watch is perfect if the SGF is too small for you.
Additionally, the SNE098 beats the SGF on certain points. For example, the water resistance is 100m, allowing you to take it for swimming and even snorkeling. Also, the solar-powered variant is the cheapest watch presented in this article.
If you're looking for something similar to the Rolex Datejust, but don't want a plain old replica, the Seiko SGF204/SGF206 is perfect for you. This watch has its unique touches that make it original enough to develop a huge fanbase.
Since the styling has barely changed in the last 20 years, buying this timepiece if a perfect way to own a traditional-looking watch with modern reliability and warranty. It is certain to get you compliments, even from long date watch collectors.