Seiko Superior SSA059 Review

Featured | Review | 06.19.2013

It’s hard to argue with a good Seiko. Affordable, well built and generally cool looking; they sort of define value in mechanical watches. Typically, we’ve reviewed watches from the Seiko 5 series, which range from absurdly affordable to incredibly affordable. Today, we’re going to take a look at a Seiko Superior, which is a couple of rungs higher on the Seiko product ladder. Coming in at $250, still quite low in the scheme of things, the Seiko Superior SSA059 is packed with features, looks wild and is a limited edition of 2500.

SEIKO_SUPERIOR_SSA059_DIAL3

The SSA059 caught our attention for a few reasons; one was the intense look of the watch. With a black case and dial accented with acid green markings, interesting layering, texturing, compass functionality and a rugged nylon bund strap, this is a robust watch with a very aggressive attitude. It also is fitted with internal and external bezels, which is fairly uncommon. Lastly, is that this uses the relatively new Seiko 4R37A automatic movement, which we were simply curious to see in action.

SEIKO_SUPERIOR_SSA059_FACE1Case: PVD Steel
Movement: Seiko 4R37A
Dial: Black
Lume: Yes
Lens: Hardlex
Strap: Nylon and Leather
Water Res.: 100M
Dimensions: 44 x 48.75mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 7 x 5 mm screw down
Warranty: 2 Years
price: $249

Case

The beefy, tank-like case of the SSA059 has a complex design with lots of interesting guards and cutouts as well as an asymmetrical design. It’s a large watch at 44 x 48.75 x 13mm, though the black PVD and chunky shape make it look falsely compact. Looking at the watch from above, the case is dominated by the large external bezel, which is faceted and textured in various ways. The two large crowns, one for movement adjustment and the other for the internal bezel, jut out of the right side, which along with their respective crown guards create a large mass of black metal on one side.

SEIKO_SUPERIOR_SSA059_CASE1

The lugs then are relatively short, but quite thick. One very cool detail is that the lugs are connected by a sort of bridge that follows the edge of the case, which rises above the edge of the bezel. This basically creates the effect of the bezel being partially sunken into the case, giving it a solid and protected feel. Looking at the watch from the left reveals another great and functional detail. The side of the case has a turret shape, with panels going in and out. These line up with the knurled grips of the external bezel making it easier to grasp and turn the bezel as well as align it to the mark.

The bezel itself has a 120-click uni-directional mechanism that is good quality. It’s tight, snappy and seemingly lines up. That being said, it’s hard to determine where the mark is since the numerals on the bezel are so large and the internal bezel can be aligned to anything. So, by aligning the grips on the side of the bezel with the grooves on the side of the case, you get a quick reference that you can both see and feel.

SEIKO_SUPERIOR_SSA059_BEZEL1

Jumping to the other side of the case, you have the two crowns I mentioned before. Both measure 7 x 5mm, but have very different designs to distinguish them and their functions. The crown at 2 is used to wind the watch as well as set the time. This crown is a straight cylinder with a knurled texture, making it easy to grasp. I was surprised to find that it was not screw down considering this is an automatic watch and the style of the watch leans towards over-built and sturdy. Nevertheless, the quality of the crown is substantial and given the guards, I doubt it would accidentally dislodge. The second crown, located at 4, has a simple toothed design with a line of acid green cut into it, which designates it as being used with the internal bezel. The action of the internal bezel, which is bi-directional, is reassuringly tight.

Despite the fact that the watch comes mounted on a bund-style strap, it does have a display case back. The 4R37A movement inside is plain looking, with no discernible decoration, though it’s always enjoyable to be able to see the movement. The details that would normally be around the display window are instead screened onto the window, with an emphasis on a large “limited edition” at the center. The edition number is then etched in very small numerals on the back itself.

SEIKO_SUPERIOR_SSA059_BEZEL3

The SSA059 is fully PVD coated, except for the steel portion of the display case back. It’s a rich black coating that is well applied, as would be expected. On all surfaces except for the tops of the lugs, which are lightly brushed, the PVD is over polished steel, giving it a deep but shiny appearance. I’m not sure if this was the best choice for this watch, which is clearly very rugged with some military/tactical influences. The shininess makes the metal have a plastic quality and also picks up fingerprints very easily. That being said, it’s a cool looking watch in black, which I believe is exclusive to the limited edition model.

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  • http://research2dotzero.blogspot.dk Giulio Ungaretti

    What about some pictures with a different strap ?

    • http://www.sagen.us Paul L

      Huge 2nd on that. The OEM strap doesn’t seem to do it justice.

  • http://www.teeritz.blogspot.com.au teeritz

    I love this brand! Another winner. So much detail on the dial for such a low price. Thanks for the write-up, guys.

  • http://URL korben

    THANK YOU for listing the dimensions in A x B x Cmm. I don’t know why this isn’t standard; case diameter is hardly a good measure of how a watch will wear. I find myself hunting for lug-to-lug measurements (which are probably the best indicator) all the time.

  • http://URL Alex

    Usually not my thing but I dig this Seiko. I think it’s a good alternative to a black Casio G-shock or some other sport watch which is primarily used for looks rather than function.

  • http://URL Brian Hershey

    I’m sure it’s a nice watch but I’m not a fan of the styling. It does look very Casio G-Shock (which I don’t think is necessarily a good thing). The Mountain Dew green color is a bit extreme and a Seiko Orange Monster is about as Extreme as I get. Call me old fashioned I guess. I’d like to see a second version with a more traditional flair. I think that would be a real winner!

  • http://wornandwound.com/2013/06/19/seiko-superior-ssa059-review/ Toni

    I’ll preface this with the fact that I’m a big Seiko fan.

    Nice feature set – love the 24 hr secondary dial, nice compass bezel, and I like the more discrete numbering on the outer bezel. I also like the texture on the dial and the little bevel cut on the 9 o’clock marker – the sword hands work for me. Has a great movement too.

    However – the black band overpowers the watch – no spare Nato straps Zack? Not a deal breaker as straps are easily changed.

    The neon green colour scheme – not my style. Also don’t like the useless arrow below the 12 – seems silly.

    • http://www.zachstarrweiss.com w&w

      Hi Toni,

      I added some details on other models I found with the same basic design but more tolerable colors, so check those out.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t have any 22mm NATOS with black hardware that looked right or would fit, otherwise I would have tried it.

      -Zach

    • http://wornandwound.com/2013/06/19/seiko-superior-ssa059-review/ Toni

      Zack – you cracked me up with your “it looks like it was designed for some Space Marine” comment – you called that one perfectly.

      The other colour combinations are really attractive – especially the green, blue and black faces. It is odd that the hour hand has the special trim colour on those, rather than the more traditional minute hand with the unique border.

      Thanks for the update. Really nice watch.

  • http://URL Brian Hershey

    Thanks for updating with the additional models. The black and white faced versions on the stainless bracelets are very handsome and much more my style.

  • Gary

    Thanks for your review. The table in the review says the watch has a screw down crown, but in the text you state that it doesn’t have a screw down crown.

    I just bought an SSA051. I’m anxious for it to arrive.