Seiko SSB039 Review
Seiko was founded in 1881 and produced its first watch in 1924. It is one of the largest watch manufacturers on the planet and is the parent company of many sub-brands, the most popular being Grand Seiko, Pulsar, and Orient.
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Seiko is known for producing watches with a lot of value built in, and in that way the SSB039 is true to form. It’s a fairly attractive watch as the vibrancy of the blue face is quite eye catching. It’s let down by the bracelet, which feels flimsy and cheap. Despite that, I wear it often because it pairs well with a variety of styles and is inexpensive enough that it’s not upsetting when it shows the signs of wear.
Seiko SSB039 Technical Specifications
Chronograph, date display
Approximately 3 years
Setting the Time
Setting the time and date display is done via the crown. The chronograph is operated using the two buttons above/below the crown. The button above the crown starts the chronograph when pressed. If pressed again, it will pause the chronograph. The button below the crown resets the chronograph.
How To set the time:
- Pull crown to the furthest position (position 3). Turn the crown clockwise to set the time. Note that the date display will roll over at midnight, indicating AM time.
How To set the Date:
- Pull crown to the middle position (position 2). Turn the crown clockwise to set the date.
Seiko SSB039 Aesthetics & Design
Seiko has made some really excellent looking watches, but the really good looking ones tend to cost a few bucks. In the lower end of the spectrum the designs tend to be subdued. The SSB039 is one of those subdued designs.
Lacking any texture, the hour markers and hands practically jump off of the dial. The effect is compounded by the tachymeter ring circling the dial like stadium seating overlooking the show floor. It’s a nice effect and helps define the simple but attractive look.
The polished steel bezel gives off a nice shine and dominates the exterior. You don’t really notice the rest of the dull case, or even the bracelet for that matter. The bracelet has polished sections on the middle link, but at casual glance they blend into the rest of the strap and become invisible.
The chrome hands and hour markers don’t have anything in the way of lume, so as soon as the light’s out the SSB039 becomes pretty useless.
Seiko SSB039 Build Quality
The SSB039 is lightweight, though it suffers for it. There’s a distinct cheapness to how it feels when worn. It doesn’t give the impression of sturdiness, despite being made of stainless steel.
Crystal, Case, and Dial
Hardlex is Seiko’s version of a beefed up mineral crystal. In my experience, Hardlex is a little more resilient to daily wear compared to a mineral crystal. Case and point, the SSB039’s crystal looks new despite being worn pretty regularly for months.
The dial also looks good, with everything lining up the way it should. If you look at it under zoom you won’t find any imperfections in any of the hands or markers, and everything is aligned properly too.
The finish on the case has held up well to daily wear. It shows some wear, though it’s mostly on the polished bezel.
Bracelet and Clasp
Seiko has used a stainless steel bracelet instead of a nato or rubber. At this price point I think you’d be better served by either of the other options, as the steel bracelet is flimsy.
It wobbles and sways freely. Unless you wear it uncomfortably tightly, the watch always wants to slide around your wrist. The bracelet is very loose between links, resulting in almost no rigidity. The result is that I’m always fidgeting with the watch, moving it back to a comfortable position.
The deployment clasp is also lightweight, though it doesn’t suffer from the same feeling of cheapness extended to the rest of the bracelet. It snaps closed and stays snug.
More About the Seiko SSB039
It’s hard to find information on which quartz chronograph movement Seiko has used in the SSB039. This watch is listed as a “special value chronograph” on Amazon and doesn’t seem to be part of any collection on the Seiko website.
It’s been accurate to within a few seconds per week for the majority of the time I’ve owned it (update January 2016: 3 years now).
Value for Money
The SSB039 does offer a good amount of value, though you do pay for it in some areas. The chronograph is useful, accurate, and quiet.
Seiko wisely chose to keep the styling of the SSB039 fairly universal. This watch looks good with most outfits, though I don’t think I’d recommend it for formal settings. As a daily wearer, it will serve you well.
If you’re looking for something a bit more special, for just a little more you can get yourself into an Orient Bambino automatic- it may not have the chronograph, but it’s a real gem of a watch and it’s price almost the same.
Where to Buy
Seiko SSB039 Review Conclusion
My thoughts If you can find the SSB039 in the $125 range I'd say it's a good buy. It looks good and has held up to consistent wear quite well. Despite the cheap feeling of the bracelet, it looks better than its age would sugest, and it doesn't come loose when worn.