Throughout prestigious watch forums, Seiko has emerged as the No.1 candidate for the title of “The best affordable diving watches producer”. Such recognition didn’t come from clever marketing, but years of painstaking to bring inexpensive high-quality products to customers. Although Japanese watches are still not as coveted as their Swiss counterparts, Seiko is second to none when it comes to technical innovation. From producing the first prototype quartz wristwatch in 1967, to inventing solar-powered movement in 1977, Seiko has established their reputation as the undisputed leader in quartz timekeeping.
To represent their tireless innovation, I think the Seiko SSC017 – a light-powered quartz dive watch for men, is most appropriate. Solar-powered watches used to be dainty looking as toys, but Seiko has revamped their styling as well as technology overtime to make the heritage models aesthetically appealing. Okay! Enough of lauding Seiko the Innovator, we go straight to the SSC017 review now!
- Well-constructed case
- Active & sturdy look
- ISO6425 – certified
- LumiBrite technology
- Inappropriate 20mm metal bracelet
- Hard-to-push start & reset buttons for chronograph function.
Here’s a short video review of the Seiko SSC017:
Design – Full of Seiko’s imprint
At first glance, I couldn’t mistake SSC017 for any other brands but Seiko. This timepiece holds a bold look of a fully featured tool watch, but not too boisterous to use as a casual daily watch.
Despite the watch’s approachable styling, the dimensions are quite substantial for a diminutive wrist. The lug-to-lug distance is exactly 51mm, combines with a 14mm case thickness, it forms a quite big watch.
The 4mm guarded screw-down crown at the 3 o’clock position and the 2 pushbuttons add much to the watch’s sporty look. Seiko also raised the pushbuttons to ensure comfort for over extended wear. It’s a plus!
With the standard 3 subdials in the lower half, the watch face doesn’t look too visually crowded. Functionality comes via the second displaying dial at 9 o’clock position, the 24-hour dial at 3 o’clock and the third subdial in the center is the minute totalizer. It’s worth noting that the 24-hour indicator can’t be independently adjusted, which means displaying a second time zone is out of question! The central stopwatch seconds hand has the same color with the minute indicator in the third subdial as they work in sync with each other to perform chronograph function.
The black dial contrasts very well with stark white hour marks. I personally prefer sword hands of Orient to Seiko’s chunky ones, but to be honest, they are better matched to the dash, dot, key-stone shaped hour markings.
Most of Seiko dive watches have their hardlex glass installed slightly lower than the bezel frame to avoid unexpected collisions, and the SSC017 is not an exception!
The beveled ratcheting bezel can only be anticlockwise rotated, it’s perfectly normal for standardized dive watches. It’s a 120-click bezel which offers more precision than a 60-click. The bezel is quite easy to grip and turn, unlike the stiff bezel frames on Invicta pro diver watches. I’m intrigued by the small sky-blue portion on the Seiko SSC017’s bezel. If you want a unicolor bezel, you could opt for the SSC021 instead.
Japanese spirit always is always showed Seiko timepieces. For dive watches, it is the case back which does all the talking. The “breaking wave” logo on the back of each Seiko dive watch is actually inspired by a masterpiece of Katsushika Hokusai – The Great Wave off Kanagawa. This logo indicates the water resistance, more detailed means higher water resistance rating.
The bracelet is 2mm smaller than a standard 22mm band which normally goes with a 42mm case. However, Seiko is known to narrow down their lug width for better case accentuation. Unlike Rolex, who makes their dive watches look boxy on purpose, Seiko tries to smoothen the lug-to-bracelet transition as much as possible to maintain a balanced styling for the SSC017.
What actually unbalanced is the bracelet, its polished inner links are much wider, thicker and more angular than the brushed outer ones. It’s a matter of taste, as I prefer the bracelet style on the SKX007 (jubilee) and the Orient Ray (Oyster’s triple-row style). If you don’t like metal band, go for a rubber strap or try to find a fabric NATO with a suitable decoration. I found out that Seiko SSC models are very well matched to striped nylon NATO straps, which can be bought easily online.
V175 Caliber – A light -powered chronograph quartz movement
Needless to say about the quality & craftmanship of Japanese quartz movements, even a 10-buck caliber from Miyota or Seiko can operate over years without any problems.
The V175 is certainly accurate to the most minute of seconds, but what’s worth noting is its way of charging the battery. According to Seiko, you should expect your watch to be usable up to 6 months after a full charge. When the SSC017 is out of energy, its second hand will tick in 2-second intervals to inform you of a new charge.
The V175 is very dependable and has all the features of a typical chronograph movement (up to 60 minutes of measurement with 1/5 second resolution). While the Seiko SSC017 is built to last, it still needs maintenance service every five years to perform at its best.
ISO-certified dive watch with long-lasting lume
When it comes to dive watches standards, Seiko is among the few makers who get the ISO certification for their watches. This means their products should be regarded as “real” dive watches, not just mere waterproof timepieces. Of course, this process will increase the fabricating cost and users should expect to pay a premium for this bit of luxe, but it’s worthwhile, isn’t it?
The Seiko SSC017 is well-constructed for underwater adventures, it meets all the standards for a dive watches, including the lume! While most affordable dive watches tend to have dim lumes, the LumiBrite technology can be considered Seiko’s unique-selling-point. This fluorescent luminous paint can glow much brighter and last longer than conventional luminous paints. According to Seiko, a dive watch with LumiBrite can maintain a bright lume up to 5 hours after being exposed to a strong light source for 10 minutes. Much better than conventional luminous paints!
The Seiko SSC017 has a wide range of variants for you to choose from. This solar-powered chronograph watch is not cheap, but still economical for a diving piece. As Seiko is the most prestigious watchmaker in Japan, you need to pay some extra money for the brand name, but it’s just a few bucks compared to what you have to pay for Swiss brands. The SSC017 exudes Seiko’s characters: sturdy original styling, aesthetics, reliability. It’s a real dive watch for a pro diver!
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