Seiko SBGA029 Spring Drive 200m Diver
FINALLY!! I’ve been hankering after one of these ever since they were released and two weeks ago I finally caved in and ordered one. You don’t see too many of these, even around the watch forums, as most tend to go for the titanium version SBGA031. I’m personally not a fan of titanium watches as to me they just feel too light and when they mark up they look scruffy to my eyes. I’ve always been a “fan” of the MM600 but because it’s only available in titanium and is also huge mine didn’t ever get much wrist time and eventually headed off to a new owner. I did love the dial and hands and the general look of that watch, though so when Seiko announced the SBGA029/31 divers I knew I would eventually own one.
Having now worn mine for a few hours my initial observations are these:
1. It’s nowhere near as heavy as I thought it would be. This is maybe helped somewhat by the fact that the 44mm case just seems to balance perfectly on the wrist so I’m already forgetting I have a watch on. For me, that’s quite astonishing for a watch of this size. The height of the watch is also spot on, something the MM600 could not be accused of.
2. The quality of the dial, hands, indices, case and crown are superb. In this respect it’s similar to my Rolex LV but the SBGA029 sports many more subtle details than the LV, making it feel like a bit more thought overall has gone into the design and construction.
3. I’m not normally a fan of power reserve indicators but on this watch it works beautifully and it does have it’s use, I guess, although I’ve need felt the need to have one on any other watch.
4. The bezel mechanism is a work of art. If you thought the MM300 (SBDX001) bezel was good, the SBGA029 just takes it to a whole new level. Smooth but very precise, just like the movement powering this watch.
5. You need to be careful when watching the second hand moving as it’s very easy to become hypnotised by the smooth, constant movement so periodically you’ll need to slap yourself hard to get yourself going again.
6. The clasp I’m on the fence about. It’s an upgraded version of the MM300 clasp. The mechanism is basically the same but the materials and overall finish are much, much better but it’s still not quite up to the standard of the rest of the watch and it wouldn’t win any competition with the Rolex SubC glide-lock clasp or the DSSD clasp. Still, it’s good enough, does the job and it does look the part..it’s just doesn’t quite feel it.
7. The bracelet is also a work of art with it’s five link construction and small polished links sandwiching the broad centre link. I don’t normally like this kind of bracelet and I didn’t like the MM300 bracelet but this one is different and it’s quality has won me over. One complaint MM300 owners often have with their bracelets is the fit of the end links. SBGA029/31 owners won’t have any complaints, however. The end links are a perfect fit, tight up to the case with no gaps what-so-ever and have been designed to flow perfectly with the lugs. You see Seiko, you can do it when you decide to!!
8. The lugs, like those on the MM300 and MM600 have a fantastic shape to them, a curvature and elegance that you don’t find on a Sub or SD.
Overall, this watch is not just special within the Seiko range, it’s a special watch, period! If you feel the SubC case design is a tad ugly, the standard Sub a wee bit small at 40mm and you don’t feel the need to impress those around you with a Swiss brand name, at £4k this watch should rock your boat nicely.
Decent lume, too!!