With so many military/field watches in Seiko's lineup, it can be easy to get lost. Not only do they offer several military watches at different price points, but they also have automatic, kinetic, quartz, and solar watches, which can get confusing really fast.
In today's article, I'll cover the Seiko SNE327/329/331, one of the cheapest military watches in the company's collection. After reading this, you will know everything about the SNE3xx and what makes it different from other military Seikos. Let's get into it!
The Seiko SNE3xx is a mid-sized watch that will look good mostly on men with medium to large wrists. Although the 43mm case isn't enormous, the lugs protrude a bit more than your average Seiko watch.
Indeed, the 51mm lug-to-lug length of the SNE3xx is a measure that better describes the heft of this timepiece. In my opinion, men with smaller wrists (<6.5'') should avoid the SNE3xx and look for a smaller military Seiko like the SNK809.
Another important measure is the 11mm thickness. The SNE3xx has a slim profile thanks to its quartz movement, which makes it easy to slide under your cuffs. It also helps the piece feel more comfortable throughout the day.
100m / 10 bar
Being part of Seiko's entry-level offering, it's no surprise to see that the SNE3xx is a quartz watch. However, it doesn't use any kind of quartz movement, it uses Seiko's V158 caliber, which is a solar-powered module.
This means that your SNE3xx will be charged up by any source of light (including home lights), and keep its power reserve for upwards of 10 months. This is much more convenient & eco-friendly than the battery-powered competition.
The SNE3xx's also packed with cool quirks & features such as the energy depletion forewarning (ticks every 2 seconds to let you know it's running out), quick-start, and overcharging prevention. Like most quartz movements, you can expect +- 15 seconds/month accuracy.
Although it's part of no "official" lineup, the SNE3xx shares a lot of similarities with the Seiko 5 Sports collection. For instance, you get 100m of water resistance, a flat Hardlex (mineral) crystal, and a day-date display. It only lacks an automatic movement, which would allow it to join the Seiko 5 Sports series.
Technically, swimming with your SNE3xx shouldn't be a problem, but I'm always cautious with push-pull crowns. With no crown guards and a pretty big crown, the SNE3xx is particularly prone to accidental pulling underwater, which could ruin the movement.
I'm rarely disappointed by Seiko's lume, but I must say that the SNE3xx's luminescence is unsatisfactory. The formula itself (Seiko's Lumibrite) is pretty bright and durable, but there's not enough on the dial.
As you can see above, Seiko only applied lume to the hands and triangle indices. The 12 o'clock index is pretty big, but the 3/6/9 o'clock triangles are so small that they're barely visible. It's pretty disappointing to have huge numerals that are lumeless.
However, it's understandable since Seiko wants to keep the SNE3xx at the +-$100 price range, so cost-cutting is inevitable.
The coin-edge bezel is something that left me confused. From the 12 o'clock triangle index, one would guess that it is able to rotate. However, the SNE3xx's bezel is fixed to the case, making the arrow somewhat pointless. This reminds me of the fake exhaust tips trend in the automotive industry.
Military / Field
Batons & Numerals
In general, the Seiko SNE3xx's styling is nothing to write home about. It's a pretty bland concept that doesn't stand out from the lot, but it's surely functional and simple.
However, there are a few features worth noting about the dial. For instance, it has a nice sunburst finish that's pretty rare on military watches. Also, I like the line that goes through the oversized 3/6/9/12 Arabic numerals. It's the first time I've seen such a pattern on a Seiko dial.
It's good to note that the dial is very similar to the Seiko Prospex land. This is a much more expensive watch that gets a lot of praise.
The sword hands of the SNE3xx are straightforward and good-looking, but I find them a bit small compared to the large Arabic numerals and indices. With their dull color and tiny size, these hands get lost quite easily in the darkness of the dial.
Visibility is also a problem with the day-date display; it's small and the negative color pattern makes it disappear in the dial. Furthermore, it has a weird placement (cuts into the 3 o'clock numeral).
Finally, the canvas strap that comes with the Seiko SNE3xx is pretty decent for this price point. It will feel stiff at first but will get molded to your wrist once you wear it a couple of times.
The Seiko SNE327 is the only watch in this collection that comes with a bracelet, and that's not a good thing. Bracelets on cheaper Seiko watches are always disappointing, and they're on the limit of being unwearable.
If you like the contrast of white numerals on a black dial, you definitely should get the SNE327, but account for a third-party strap in your budget.
The Seiko SNE329 is the blue-dialed version with a blue canvas strap to match. While it's technically the most colorful watch of the lineup, the dark blue dial looks almost black in a low-light setting. In my opinion, this one is the most versatile when it comes to third-party straps.
The Seiko SNE331 is definitely the watch with the most character in this collection. For instance, this one has beige numerals that match the canvas strap, a yellow arrow on the bezel, and a PVD-Coated case.
This gives a cool gunmetal color to the case, but it should also add a bit of scratch-resistance. In my opinion, this is the best-looking Seiko SNE3xx, but it will also be the hardest to find.
As I mentioned earlier, the Seiko SNE327's OEM bracelet is basically worthless. A great alternative is a third-party leather band instead. Above, this owner went for a brown strap to complement the black & white dial of the SNE327.
This is a great way to add a bit of class to an otherwise very casual watch, which makes it wearable in a business environment.
Just because the SNE329 & 331 come from the factory with a canvas strap doesn't mean you can't upgrade it. For example, the Reddit user above opted for a Barton sailcloth strap in copper orange.
This is a great way to add a touch of uniqueness to your SNE3xx without losing the comfort provided by a canvas strap.