With the ever-increasing price of watches, it gets harder and harder to find a good bargain. While Seiko can be considered a safe haven for affordable watch collectors, all you seem to hear about is their mechanical timepieces.
Seiko's quartz/solar division also produces great watches, often much cheaper than their mechanical counterparts. The SNE seems to be Seiko's most popular solar collection, but does it deserve all this hype? Let's find out!
The Seiko SNE has great dimensions that will look good on most men. In my opinion, the 39.60mm case is optimal for people with wrists ranging from 6'' to 7.5''.
Also, the quartz movement used in this watch makes for a very slim case, which is easy to slide under your shirt cuffs.
100m / 10 bar
Push & Pull
The technology used in the SNE-series is amazing: you get Seiko's solar-powered V158 quartz caliber.
This movement, which oscillates at a 32,768 Hz frequency, will be fully charged within 2 minutes of being exposed to sunlight. Once it is charged, you can count on your V158 to keep track of time for a full 10-months period (which resets every time you charge it).
The V158 caliber also comes with cool quirks & features, such as the overcharge prevention function and the quick-start function (starts running within seconds of being under sunlight.)
The best function, in my opinion, is the energy depletion forewarning. The watch will let you know it is low on power by ticking every 2 seconds instead of every second.
As is the case for the majority of quartz movements, you can expect your V158 to keep time as accurately as +-15 seconds per month. Also, you get the seconds-hand halt, to set the time perfectly.
Like any entry-level Seiko watch, your SNE will be equipped with their proprietary Hardlex crystal. This mineral composite will be a bit more scratch-resistant than average, but you can't expect it to remain flawless over the years.
The flat configuration of the crystal helps the SNE stay nice and slim for people who like to wear it with long sleeve shirts.
The 100m water resistance rating of the Seiko SNE is very good and quite impressive for a push & pull crown. This rating means you should be able to take your timepiece for a swim, and even for recreational snorkeling without a problem.
The crown's polished face, as well as the coin-edge pattern around it, gives the SNE a truly distinctive look that you won't find on other cheap Seikos.
Having high functionality and polyvalence in mind, Seiko deemed necessary for the SNE to have lume.
Both the hands and pips (inner extremity of the hour marks) are covered with a nice layer of Seiko's proprietary Lumibrite application. You can expect this one to last for multiple hours from a full recharge.
Leather or Steel
The dial of the Seiko SNE is simple, clean, and modern. No matter which color you choose, you will get an iridescent finish that changes quite a lot depending on the lighting.
The only scripts found on the dial are the applied Seiko logo at the top and the painted "Solar 100m" at the bottom. Also, you get a framed day-date display at the 3 o'clock position, which adds to the functionality of the SNE.
Like the dial, the Seiko SNE's hands & indices are simple, yet elegant. The hour marks are denoted by applied baton indices, while the minute marks are painted around the outer ring of the dial.
The sword hands are nothing out of the ordinary, but they fit really well with the modern look of the SNE. Both the hands & indices will differ in color depending on which model you get.
The Seiko SNE's bezel undoubtedly looks great, but there's a small disappointment when it comes to the mechanism, or lack thereof.
Indeed, the arrow and indices of the bezel would lead you to believe that it is a 60-minutes rotating bezel.
In fact, the SNE sports a fixed bezel. This is not that big of a deal, but it reminds me of the "fake exhaust tips" trend on cars. At least, the bezel has an amazing polished finish which gives it a high-quality look.
The shape of the case is certainly a big part of what makes the SNE so popular. Unlike conventional round cases, this one gets chamfering, beveling, and thick crown guards. In my opinion, this gives a robotic "Transformers" feel to the watch, which I like a lot.
As for the finish, the top of the lugs are brushed and the sides of the case are polished.
Depending on which iteration you get, your Seiko SNE will either be equipped with a leather band or a stainless steel bracelet. The leather band is incredibly stiff and has a cheapish crocodile-like design.
The bracelet is rattly and lightweight, but will be comfortable on your wrist. As is the case for any cheap Seikos, the band/bracelet is always the weakest link, so I suggest buying a third-party strap.
The Seiko SNE093 is one of the least popular watches of the collection. This is quite surprising considering it has a polyvalent black dial/silver case look.
While it doesn't have the most original styling, the SNE093 is still great if you're looking for something that goes well with any type of clothing.
Some people might think that the silver case/bracelet/trims combination is a bit overwhelming, which explains why the two-tone models are more popular.
The Seiko SNE098 is perfect if you're looking for something a bit flashier than the SNE093. On this model, you get a gold finish on the bracelet, bezel, indices, hands, and crown.
Also, the dial is grey, which can go from light to dark depending on the lighting. The gold trims ease the transition between the silver bracelet and the grey dial, and the result looks amazing.
The Seiko SNE100 is equipped with the same iridescent black dial as the SNE093, which can almost look blue under certain lightings. On this model, everything from the case to the bracelet, bezel, and trims are covered in gold paint.
If you're looking for a watch that will bring attention to your wrist, the SNE100 is certainly the way to go.
The Seiko SNE102 is by far the most popular watch of the collection. The large range of colors displayed on this model all seems to come together to form an amazing unique piece.
The brown leather band paired with the silver case, blueish dial, and gold trims make the SNE102 stand out from its peers while remaining classy and tasteful.
The Seiko SNE104 is extremely elusive. Even though it appears on tons of retailer's websites, all of them are out of stock. Even on the pre-owned market, it's harder to catch than a rare Pokemon.
Simply put, the SNE104 shares the same colors as the SNE102, except for the white dial and black leather band.
Even though most Seiko SNE models are equipped with leather bands from the factory, it's always a good idea to spend some extra cash to get a high-quality strap.
As you can see above, the brown strap is the most popular choice for the Seiko SNE. On the left, this SNE102 owner chose a top-grain leather strap from Nato. In the right picture, the SNE093 owner chose a lighter brown with a lustrous finish.
Even though the Seiko SNE102 already has a distinctive look, a cork strap is a great way to make it even more unique.
Not only will it look good, but the cork strap will also be very comfortable if you buy it from a reputable brand.
Even though you can get a Seiko SNE that's already equipped with a stainless steel bracelet, a custom bracelet is a good way to adapt your watch to your personal styling.
For instance, the Seiko SNE102 owner above went for a mesh strap, which improves both styling and comfort.
In conclusion, I think the Seiko SNE is a great collection filled with watches for every type of collectors.
The SNE really shines when used as a beater watch that you wear everyday for several years, and maybe decades.
If you're still unsure whether or not this is the right watch for you, I invite you to look at the pros & cons list below.