Seiko is no stranger to creating dive watches with comfortable dimensions, attractive styling, and that are affordable. Recently Seiko has been pushing themselves upmarket with the newest Prospex divers, but that doesn’t mean they are leaving the rest of us looking for a dive watch under $500 in the wind. The recently launched Seiko Solar SNE series took a lot of people by surprise with a 38.5mm case width, an array of color options, and a price tag of around $400 (street price).
There’s more to this watch than dimensions and a value proposition. We buy watches like this to live up to a task that we have in our daily lives. For some people that is legitimately diving with the watch and for others it is functioning as a simple desk diver. My purpose for this watch took on a different task, heading to amusement parks. Is this watch the ultimate watch for an activity that most of us do but pay no attention to the watch best suited for it? Let’s find out.
On the Ride
You were expecting On the Wrist weren’t you? We’ll get to that, but let’s get to why we’re even talking about amusement parks. I have 1- and 3-year-old daughters that are little balls of energy and love being outside. We live in an area that has 4-5 amusement parks within a 2-hour radius. These parks are relatively cheap, easy for day trips, and allow our kids to expel all their energy in a few hours.
You’ll be riding on roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars, water rides, and kiddy rides (if you have kids). Your watch is going to get bumped, scraped, flung from side to side, and get wet (and possibly submerged). While you certainly could, I don’t recommend bringing your Calatrava to the amusement park anytime soon.
The Seiko SNE585 is perfectly suited to take on these extraordinary tasks of outdoor fun in the sun. It is small on the wrist at 38.5mm wide and with a wrist-to-crystal of only 9mm, the chances of dinging it on the exit gate after being disoriented on Possessed at Dorney Park are slim to none.
After we’ve had some fun on the roller coasters, you must give the kids a chance for some fun too. The options for kids are limited to the kiddie rides that are scattered about most amusement parks. As I help the kids on and off these rides, I contend with buckles and straps, small spaces inside cars meant for tiny people, and grubby toddler hands. The SNE585 is up for all of this and more. After you plop the kids on the ride and evacuate the area before the Whip starts, a glance at the watch tells me that we have 15 minutes until I can stuff my face with pizza at Oasis at Knoebles.
One thing I never considered when wearing a watch was holding my kids in my arms. A simple, everyday task that can become extremely uncomfortable when wearing the wrong watch. When I strap on the SNE585, I opt to ditch the terrible bracelet (more on that in a bit) and go for a Mankey Hook Strap. The elastic is comfortable and expands and contracts with my wrist. Best of all, it doesn’t dig into my wrist when holding my kids.
Seiko SNE585 Specs
Seiko V147 Solar
Dial-in the Fun
The SNE585 isn’t breaking any new ground in the design department. The hands will be familiar to anyone who has looked at an SKX and the simple markers keep the dial clean. With the limited dial space in a 38mm watch, this isn’t a dig at Seiko. The SNE585 is easy to read and the blue sunburst is exactly what you want in a summer watch.
If you take a close look at the dial in the right light, you can see the solar “panels” under the dial. The first time I noticed them I thought it was a reflection before I realized the perfect crosshair they made.
Seiko always knows how to impress in the lume department. LumiBrite is no joke and the application on the SNE585 is heavy. If you find yourself in the dark corridors waiting for a haunted mansion ride and want to know what time it is, the lume will shine brightly enough to tell you, no matter how long you’ve been in line.
The case of the SNE585 is classic Seiko in terms of finishing, design, and execution. The main benefit of the quartz solar movement when it comes to the case is the profile it allows for. The mid-case feels almost as thin as the bezel and with the gentle turndown in the lugs, this watch sings on the wrist.
There is a downside to this watch and that is the bracelet. The design doesn’t seem to fit the watch and as with most modern Seiko bracelets, the clasp is obnoxious for daily wear. Therefore, especially for summertime activities, I swap the bracelet out for almost any other strap. As I said above, this watch has been living almost exclusively on a Mankey Hook Strap.
Time to Head to the Car
A day spent in the sun at the amusement park with toddlers is filled with sunscreen smears, sweat, spilled drinks, crumbs, and the occasional tears from waiting in line too long. Any watch built for diving is going to be able to handle these things without a second thought. Call me crazy, but I always had the imagined panic of losing a watch like my Speedmaster or Black Bay 58 at an amusement park. Watching it fly off as I corkscrew on a roller coaster is a scenario I’ve had swirling around in my mind plenty of times.
This isn’t to say I don’t have to worry about losing the SNE585, but I would feel less bad about it. Who knows, maybe it would even survive the fall from the top of the coaster (probably not, but we can dream). All of this is what you want you want in a watch like this for activities as I’ve described in this review. You don’t have to worry about it; the watch is carefree. When we’ve finally packed the kids in the car, I can glance at my wrist, give it a quick wipe and start our journey home.
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