Isn’t it frustrating to find a cool watch stored away just because its battery has run out? Sure, there are ways to get them back up and running again but it could be too much of a hassle when, most of the time, you just want to quickly slip your wristwatch on and go.
Wouldn’t you want instead to invest in a water-resistant wristwatch that can be stored in a box even for decades (yes, not just years) and still functions when you want to use it again? That’s the beauty of a solar-powered watch.
Plus, solar-powered watches are stylish, can be worn for practical purposes, and are helpful for people who love outdoor activities. These watches can convert light from about any energy source and then just store it in their tiny solar cells/ solar panels.
And when it comes to solar watches, Seiko has been the leader for the past 40 years. In fact, the first patent application associated with the solar-powered watch was made by no other than Seiko itself!
In today’s post, we will be reviewing the popular Seiko Men’s SNE039 Stainless Steel Solar Watch, from its case to its band and even its movement to help you find out whether it’s worth buying or not!
TLDR: Seiko Solar Watch – SNE039 Review
Matching functional aesthetics with professional quality, the Seiko Men’s SNE039 Stainless Steel Solar Watch is one of the best solar-powered watches in the market today. I mean, just consider Seiko’s high material quality and legendary reliability.
- The SNE039 Seiko Solar wristwatch has a 10-month power reserve and leaving this watch for a few hours in direct sunshine can already charge it for several months.
- It houses the V158 Japanese quartz movement.
- Its classy dial doesn’t look like traditional light-powered watches.
- While it may not be as good as other dive watches, like Casio G shock, it is still water-resistant for up to 30 meters.
- It has a timeless design that never goes out of style.
- One caveat, though, is that the bracelet or watch band is not the best quality compared to other solar watches.
- Another part I wish there’d be an improvement to this model is its luminescence. I hope it will glow better once improved by Seiko. But if you’re someone who doesn’t mind nocturnal legibility, then this is just as good as it is.
- Some users also said they find it hard to adjust the day and date window or calendar.
- Just like other Seiko solar watches, this is powered by light energy so no battery change is necessary
- Nevertheless, this SNE039 model has become a staple in today’s watches and is more affordable than other dress watches/ light-powered watches.
Is it worth it?
Produced by a century-old brand, I can say that Seiko solar watches, especially this SNE039 perform in the best possible way. It is worth buying and its solar power technology functions well with the quartz movement in lessening battery consumption, which helps lengthen the lifespan of this watch.
In-Depth Review of the Seiko Solar-Powered Watch
Model number: SNE039
Model Year: 2016
Item Shape: Round
Dial window material type: Hardlex
Display Type: Analog
Clasp: Push Button Deployment Clasp
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Case diameter: 37 millimeters
Case Thickness: 9.6 millimeters
Band Material: Stainless Steel
Band length: Men’s Standard
Band width: 19 millimeters
Band Color: Silver
Dial Color: Black
Bezel Material: Stainless Steel
Bezel Function: Stationary
Special features: Solar
Water-resistant depth: 99 Feet
Quality and Durability
Design – Dial, Case, and Band
At first look, the SNE039 Seiko solar wristwatch may look like other classic solar watches in the market today. But make no mistake as it actually makes a stylish and great everyday timepiece. It is classic in design and is equipped with innovative technology. I’ll discuss more of that later.
As for its case diameter (37 millimeters wide), it’s quite slim and not too big either. It’s also not bulky on the wrist. So, if you prefer those trendy large wristwatches, keep looking.
That being said, this Seiko Solar wristwatch is around 9 millimeters top to bottom. It has a thin case so this solar-powered watch can easily slide under your cuff.
The bezel is unadorned, giving it a more casual and solid vibe. Now, as for its dial, you’ll notice a striking black sunburst design that makes it stand out vs. other solar-powered watches. Take this out in the sun and you’ll notice how it shimmers brilliantly.
While I read reviews, where some SNE039 users don’t particularly like the white date and day display at the 3 o’clock position, saying it’s a distraction from the watch’s classy dial, I think otherwise. In fact, I like how the white display stands out.
The band is a simple fold-over clasp and there’s a two-button release. Of course, when compared to luxury watches, Seiko solar watches may not quite hold up in terms of their stainless-steel bracelet but it is an overall beautiful watch that can be worn on formal occasions and casual events.
But if you prefer a blue sunray dial from the Seiko brand, I recommend you check out the Prospex Diver. Its water resistance feature is 200 meters/660 feet and has a self-winding movement.
Movement and material
Now let’s proceed to the most interesting and important part of the watch: the movement.
The silver color SNE039 houses V158 quartz. This caliber number V158 maintains accuracy of +/-15 seconds per month at normal operating temperatures of about 5C to 35C or 41F to 140F.
While it lacks the vintage appeal and sophistication of a mechanical watch movement, a quartz watch is reliable. In fact, one of the main advantages of quartz watches over mechanical or automatic movement (uses energy from the motion of the user’s wrist) is accuracy.
The bracelet is made of stainless steel and it uses proprietary Hardlex crystal (dial window material). It may not be as scratch-resistant as a sapphire crystal (more expensive), the Hardlex crystal of Seiko watches is still durable.
An additional feature that you don’t often see in quartz watches is the Lumibrite, which is a luminous paint that allows the numbers and hour hand markers to glow in the dark.
Honestly, though, I observe that the Lumibrite lasts only for a couple of hours and gradually fades. I think other Seiko solar watches perform better than this.
Seiko Solar-Powered Watches vs. Citizen Eco-Drive Technology
The feature that is worth mentioning, of course, is the solar movement. This is comparable to the eco drive tech from Citizen eco-drive watches.
While the two watch brands stand out in the watch industry and have evolved over decades, we will try to compare here Seiko solar movements to Citizen eco drive and help you decide which one is worth investing in.
The Citizen eco drive was designed with the same idea as the Seiko solar feature. That is, to create energy even from artificial light or dim light and yet enable the wristwatch to function for months without charging.
Both the Citizen eco-drive and Seiko solar-powered watches use photovoltaic cells, where light is converted into electrical energy that will be stored in a rechargeable cell. The difference lies in the placing of the solar cells.
Seiko keeps them below the opaque dial while Citizen eco-drive is on the ring, particularly on the outer periphery of the dial.
Citizen watches are known for atomic timekeeping. Atomic clocks receive radio calibration signals from an extremely accurate atomic clock. However, both Seiko and citizen eco drive have improved in terms of battery life and power reserves.
If you ask me, both the Seiko solar movement and Citizen eco drive tech are not close to ordinary and are reliable timepieces. On the financial side, eco-drive is less expensive in most cases compared to Seiko solar as the difference lies in the craftsmanship.
Once you’ve registered the Seiko solar SNE039 upon purchase, you will be covered with a 1-year warranty. If you’re in the USA, here’s a link to where you can register Seiko solar watches.
Upon visiting their website, they automatically collect user personal data about the user’s electronic device and computer but only to the extent required and permitted under applicable laws. They guarantee to implement organizational and technical security measures to protect these personal data from their customers.
Don’t worry as they procure user consent prior to any collection or disclosure of personal data. You also have the right to withdraw your consent anytime. For instance, you prefer to opt out of Seiko’s marketing messages.
Who is it Best for?
This SNE039 is best for office workers and men who enjoy going outdoors. This also makes an ideal timepiece for pairing with casual wear, a black tie, or cocktail attire.
Are solar-powered watches any good?
If you ask me, are solar-powered watches (like this SNE039 ) any good? My answer will surely be yes. Not only are they environmentally friendly timepieces, but they are also low maintenance and reliable.
The technology behind solar watches is truly extraordinary and you can expect that it will continue to improve as years pass.
What Do People Say About it?
Enjoying above-average ratings on Amazon, many customers left positive reviews about the Seiko solar SNE039 model.
One Amazon customer highlights the scratch-resistant feature of this new watch and its basic functionalities. He wrote, “I’ve been wearing this watch every day for almost 10 months now. It’s exactly as advertised, and what I wanted.
The glass is still unscratched. It kept time perfectly, with its seconds staying synchronized with my institution’s digital clock for months. The battery has never failed me so far. The watch still worked after keeping it in a dark locker for three weeks once.”
Another buyer from Amazon reviewed, “The second hand on my sample was erratic out of the box. Sometimes tracking slightly behind and sometimes between the second marks. It appears to be getting better though.
[Still,] the watch keeps accurate time despite the erratic second hand.”
After using the SNE039 Seiko solar watch for six years, EdwardInTX said he never had to change the battery and it’s still running.
He even shared on YouTube that “at six years old, you can see it’s got its fair share of scratches, but at the same time it looks pretty good. [There’s] no scratch at all on the glass itself.” He was referring to the scratches on the stainless steel case and buckle. “I’ve never worn this underwater, but on some humid days, what I’ll notice is that some of the condensation and the fog will show up on the glass itself,” he added.
In a Seiko watch review by Ross Wrist Watch Love, he wrote on the description box that SNE039 is the “one watch IMHO [ in my humble opinion] everyone should own… The hardlex crystal and [there’s] luminous silvertone on the second marker and mini markers around.”
A Reddit user shared in one thread, “The black watch is a new Seiko I got. It’s Solar-power[ed]. It’s the Seiko SNE039. I’m pretty sure it’s a dress watch but it also could look good as a casual watch.”
In another thread about the stylish solar-powered watch (SNE039), one commented, “I love this watch. It is a Seiko Solar Quartz [watch] and it is 37mm. It’s a pretty small dress watch I would have preferred 38mm but it’s okay. It’s really affordable for someone who wants a black dial dress or casual watch.
It matches pretty much everything. I am a Brooklyn Nets fan so this matches when I wear their jersey. I don’t think the lume is the best, or maybe I need to charge its light better.”
Alternative Seiko Solar Watches for Women
If you’re looking for a good alternative Seiko watches for women that also uses solar technology and with a timeless design, I would recommend you to check out these light-powered watches:
1. Seiko Women’s SUT222 Ladies Dress Solar-Powered Two-Tone Stainless Steel
The Seiko Women’s SUT222 Watch has a gold-tone bezel material and has a stainless steel case. Like SNE039, it features scratch-resistant hardlex dial window material and houses quartz watch movement.
It has a 33ft (100m) water resistance feature, making it suitable for snorkeling and swimming, but not for scuba diving. Many users of this watch would almost always comment on the beauty of the gold-tone, silver-tone combination colors of this SUT222 women’s watch.
However, the power reserve of this SUT222 Core Ladies Eco-Drive Watch is only for two months.
2. Watch Seiko Women’s SUP176 Swarovski Crystal-Accented Watch
If you prefer an elegant-looking gold-tone watch, then I recommend the Seiko Women’s SUP176 Swarovski Crystal-Accented Watch.
It keeps time accurately right from the box and there’s no need to change its battery. It’s easy to read, beautiful, and comfortable on the wrist. It features sparkling crystal accents on lugs and bezel.
This watch also has a water resistance feature of up to 99ft or 30m, meaning it can withstand brief immersion in water or splashes but not really for swimming. Its power type is a Solar battery and the dial sports a mother-of-pearl design with Arabic numerals and gold-tone hands.
Overall, watches from women provide the best value for money, are giftable, function properly, and use Seiko Solar movements.
FAQ: Let’s Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the Seiko SNE039 solar watch last?
This solar-powered watch can last for 10 months after a full single charge, reducing the need to replace batteries. With its 10-month power reserve, you don’t even have to wear this solar-powered watch very often to retain the charge.
Why does my Seiko solar keep stopping?
When the hands of your SNE039 watch keep stopping or have completely stopped, it’s possible that the rechargeable battery is out of charge. You can simply expose it to sunlight or put it in a window for 5 to 6 hours before using it again.
Can you overcharge a solar watch?
Solar-powered watches, like SNE039, are designed with overcharge protection so that the battery is not damaged even when it’s already fully charged.
Final Thoughts: Should You Buy It?
Seiko makes some of the best affordable timepieces in the world and when it comes to sheer practicality, investing in SNE039 is a good decision.
This Seiko watch model won’t break your budget (affordable price than expensive watch brands), looks quite elegant, has that ageless appeal, and keeps accurate time.
Although it may not have the same state-of-the-art and handy features as Casio G shock solar-powered digital watches, it has a lot of power reserve that is mostly used when there’s no other light source. Plus, it’s water-resistant too!
If the time comes when you want to change the stainless steel band, you can always have it replaced with a leather strap.
You won’t even have to worry about its battery replacement since the SNE039 Seiko solar watch is equipped with photovoltaic cells (miniature solar panels that are not visible to the human eye) underneath the dials. This allows the watch to gather light (even from artificial light) and that renewable energy source provides precise timekeeping.
Sunlight truly is king with this SNE039 from Seiko!
If you liked this review, you might want to read out other reviews at EvesWatch.com
My name is Eve Acosta and I’m the person behind this site. Watches are what get me ticking ;).
No, but seriously, I just love watches, I have over 30 myself. It’s an obsession of mine, which is why my husband recommended me to put my hobby into some good use and build this site – so I did.
My passion for timepieces came from the fact that my parents own a small chain of shops selling timepieces. I’ve worked at the shop since I was 11 and fell in love with the merchandise.