Review: The SGG731was probably one of the best kept secrets of Seiko

#seiko #quartz #titanium

The word value is often mentioned during discussions about Seiko. Either it’s claimed that the brand’s models sold today don’t offer the value they did in the past or pointing to the discontinued SARB line to prove that Seiko did offer a lot of value and it continue to do so with its newer 5 series. But the SGG line is usually not mentioned, perhaps because it’s a quartz or maybe because Seiko was never serious about selling them.

If there is one word suitable to describe the SGG7631 it must be quality. In short, it’s a 3 hands thin 38mm diameter watch housed in an all-titanium case. Nothing extraordinary there until a deeper look at the watch reveals some hidden and not so hidden features.

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As previously mentioned, the case is an all-titanium affair. It’s only 8.5mm thick, thus demonstrating one of the advantages of using a quartz movement, it has a fixed bezel and is topped with a flat sapphire crystal. Nice but no big deal, but then you notice the complexity of the design with its lugs that don’t flow from the case body and are instead slightly raised with a downward angle and distinct shape. There are quite a lot of angles and surface transitions for such a small watch, and they are all crisp and well defined. The level of polish and finish is also exceptional, the titanium is finely brushed on top, but the sides have a high polish finish, which made me wonder how they managed to accomplish that if Titanium is as difficult to polish as I was led to believe.

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The dial is deceptively simple, but then the indices are applied, faceted, and polished. The day/ date complication is framed, and the Seiko logo is applied. All these elements are well finished, perfectly aligned, and gives the appearance of a watch that is more expensive than it really is.

The dial itself is matte dark grey with a finely printed track running along the edge and between the indices. On many quartz watches that is a source of frustrations but not on the SGG731 because the second’s hand hits every marker straight on. There is also some lume on the dial and hands, it’s not exceptional but it’s still perfectly serviceable.

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The bracelet is also made of titanium, with thin links that also combine brushed and polished sections and it’s closed with a short, pressed titanium clasp.  Surprisingly, it also has female end-links, although they are of the folded and not solid type. All this result in a watch weighting just a bit over 60gr, which combine with its thinness makes it practically disappear once its worn and be very cuff friendly.

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Are there any downs to the SGG731? Well yes, some. First being made of titanium means that it will scratch more often than steel and mine managed to accumulate quite a few over the sides, the bezel, and the clasp. The crystal is made of sapphire, but has no AR. The clasp only has two micro adjustments, and the end links are hollow. The water resistance is rated to 100m only and it doesn’t have screw down crown. Oh, it’s also obviously a quartz watch.

What is less obvious is how everything on the SGG731 was done to the highest quality level that could be done for a watch that was sold at around 100-200USD. It’s really showing how great Seiko are when they decide that they care enough to be proud to make the best watch they can for a specific price target. I wish that all Seiko models were like that. Scratch that – I wish all the watches were like that.

Review: The SGG731was probably one of the best kept secrets of Seiko

5.0
Yes No
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
5/5
  • Excellent fit and finish
  • No QC issues at all
  • Classy looking
  • Materials, construction and overall quality
  • No AR on the sapphire
  • Folded end-links on the bracelet
  • Not enough micro adjustments on the clasp
  • No longer manufactured

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Ooooh, you have one of these! Something that I really like about the case from the photos I’ve seen is that it looks like an angular and flattened cornes de vache design. That goes really well with the titanium and the matte dial too.

I have imagined that as a great platform for a Breitling-Aerospace-like ana digi watch. Think putting those black bar screens on it (by also removing the day and date window). For me that would be amazing and much better than the Aerospace, which I both love in its stealthiness nature, but dislike for what I feel are overly complex indices.

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It's become quite a thing to bash Seiko, and I can see why Seiko fans can get upset. This is mainly being driven by the rise of Chinese watch companies like Parnis and San Martin, where the specifications are higher (solid end links, sapphire crystal) for less. 

Until recently, you could argue that Seiko had the edge when it came to quality and finishing, but the Chinese companies are upping their game every year, and the differences are not so large. I still think China has a way to go, but you can see Seiko are not trying to compete in that space and are instead trying to go upmarket with all their lines. 

So will watches like these start to phase out as Seiko tries to escape the advancing Chinese competition? I hope not. They still have a huge part to play in the value end of the market, and this watch is a good example of it. 

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roberto

Ooooh, you have one of these! Something that I really like about the case from the photos I’ve seen is that it looks like an angular and flattened cornes de vache design. That goes really well with the titanium and the matte dial too.

I have imagined that as a great platform for a Breitling-Aerospace-like ana digi watch. Think putting those black bar screens on it (by also removing the day and date window). For me that would be amazing and much better than the Aerospace, which I both love in its stealthiness nature, but dislike for what I feel are overly complex indices.

Yes you are correct, the lugs are very distinct from the case and from some angles looks either like horns or fangs.

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Richierich

It's become quite a thing to bash Seiko, and I can see why Seiko fans can get upset. This is mainly being driven by the rise of Chinese watch companies like Parnis and San Martin, where the specifications are higher (solid end links, sapphire crystal) for less. 

Until recently, you could argue that Seiko had the edge when it came to quality and finishing, but the Chinese companies are upping their game every year, and the differences are not so large. I still think China has a way to go, but you can see Seiko are not trying to compete in that space and are instead trying to go upmarket with all their lines. 

So will watches like these start to phase out as Seiko tries to escape the advancing Chinese competition? I hope not. They still have a huge part to play in the value end of the market, and this watch is a good example of it. 

I too hope that Seiko will continue to leverage their vertical integration and will continue to produce high quality watches at unbeatable prices. The SGG731 is a prime example of what Seiko can and should do.

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A great review — thank you!