Seiko SNZF17 Review – The Seiko Sea Urchin

Seiko SNZF17 Review

Seiko 5 SNZF17 or The Sea Urchin

Hi guys. Today I’m writing about the Seiko SNZF17 review, or the so-called Seiko Sea Urchin watch.

It’s also widely known as poor man’s Rolex Submariner for its Submariner-inspired design – and no, I’m not talking about the Invicta 8926 here.

While the Invicta blatantly copied the Submariner design, this Seiko SNZF17 injects Seiko’s own design characteristics (specifically Seiko 5 Sports design) to make their own dive watch style.

This is one of the reasons why Seiko (and other Japanese watch brands) are respectable in this field. Their willingness to ensure their products have identity and not just a cheap copycat of a popular watch is commendable.

Look at the comparison between the Seiko SNZF17 sea urchin with the Submariner below:

 

Seiko SNZF17 Sea Urchin

Above is the Seiko SNZF17 – Sea urchin

 

In A Hurry? >> CLICK HERE To Get The Seiko SNZF17

 

Rolex Submariner diver

And here is the Rolex Submariner

 

The end result is a watch that looks like the real thing but at a very affordable price (for an automatic watch that is).

And I can’t praise enough how it still has its own identity. For me, that’s the paramount aspect that a watch need to have.

And being affordable (usually can be had for less than $150 online), it’s perfect as a beater watch and for those just entering into the automatic watch world =P

 

Why Does The SNZF17 Has The Sea Urchin Nickname?

First things first, why the Seiko SNZF17 is dubbed the Seiko Sea Urchin?

Frankly speaking, I’m also not sure why this is so. But from what I can gather, the watch is called as such because of its resemblance (somewhat) to the sea urchin.

 

Sea Urchin

Above is a your normal sea urchin. Hmm.. See any resemblance to the Seiko SNZF17?

 

I mean both are black in color, and the Seiko SNZF17 has that white marker lines that looks just like the spike coming from the sea urchin LOL.

Let me know if you feel this explanation is the best for the nickname. Otherwise, do let me know the real reason in the comments section below =)

 

Without further ado, let’s go to the Seiko SNZF17 review shall we.

 

Seiko SNZF17 Sea Urchin Specification
Diameter 41 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 22 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 46 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel bracelet
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Black dial
Hands Sword styled hands with lume
Markers Index markers with lume
Style Dive
Movement Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 23 jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking movement, Cannot be manually wind
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per month
Power Reserve 41 hours
User Manual Click HERE to download from Seikowatches.com
Water Resistance 100 m
Other Features Unidirectional rotating bezel, Exhibition caseback
Rating 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)
Quick Summary A good value for money automatic watch with resemblance to the iconic Submariner – with Seiko’s own identity of course. With such price tag, it’s own of the more affordable auto watch that can be bought making it perfect for those wanting to try the magnificence of automatic watch.
Where To Buy? Amazon (Click the link to find out more)

 

 

Iconic Rolex Submariner Watch Design

There are many watches out there that has the iconic diver’s watch look of the Submariner. Well, we can’t blame them.

Index markers, unidirectional rotating bezel with minutes on it, black and white color scheme, stainless steel case, lume applied lavishly on the hands and markers – these are the elements that’s perfect for a diver’s watch.

In fact, some of these (such as the rotating bezel and lume) are the requirements for a watch to comply with the ISO diver’s watch specification.

Which is why if you ask me, it’s quite impossible to make a good diver’s watch without making it look similar to the Submariner.

Practically almost every major watch brands have one of these and Seiko is no exception.

Their line up of diver’s watch such as the SKX007, SBDC033, SKX173 and SRP777 have their own distinct design.

But this Seiko SNZF17 is the one watch that closely resembles the Rolex Submariner, albeit with slight changes to incorporate Seiko 5 Sports’ identity in it.

 

Sea Urchin, But With Submariner-Like Dial Design

 Seiko 5 SNZF17 or Sea Urchin

The most glaring similarities between these two watches are the index markers, bezel and dial signature.

The index markers of the Seiko SNZF17 are a combination of circular and rectangle markers.

Rectangle markers are used at the 6 and 9 o’clock positions while the 12 o’clock is using a trapezoid shape marker.

The bezel of the SNZF17 is a unidirectional rotating bezel type that’s common with diver’s watches.

For those that are not familiar with it, it means the bezel ring (the one with the 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 markings) can only be rotated counter-clockwise.

 

This is so that it can be used to time dive duration easily (read my guide on how to use these HERE).

As you might have noticed, the bezel markings are almost similar to the Rolex in terms of its placement though the font is bigger.

Lastly, the dial signature design on the Seiko SNZF17 somewhat resembles the Subs due to the placement of texts at the bottom of the dial.

I never see any Seiko 5 with this placement design, so I guess Seiko did do it in purpose to mimic the Rolex LOL!

 

But The Seiko SNZF17 Also Has Its Own Identity

Similarities apart, the Seiko SNZF17 do have its own identity, characteristics taken from Seiko 5 Sports line up.

For instance, we can see that the hands of the watch are bulkier than the Rolex. Its big stature and design of the hour hand reminded me of the Seiko SBDC033 (I started think those are the actually exact same design. Hmm..)

It’s the same with the rectangle markers which are slightly wider than the Subs. In effect, these make the watch look sportier and has more lume applied on it.

 

Seiko SNZF17 on hand

 

Another thing that greatly differentiates the Seiko SNZF17 from the Subs is the presence of day date display at the right side of the watch.

The Rolex doesn’t has the day, instead having a bigger date window with a magnifying glass.

The day date display on the Seiko SNZF17 is better in terms of practicality and usefulness as we don’t have to check our smartphones if we can’t remember what day or date today is (happens to me a lot as I grow older LOL).

 

Elegant Rolex Submariner, Casual Seiko SNZF17 For Beater Watch

Even though both watches look similar, I found that the Rolex Submariner is a bit more elegant than the Seiko SNZF17.

I think the Swiss watch’s smaller elements (e.g hands, markers, bezel font, etc.) make it more pleasing to the eye, looks simpler and yet very attractive.

Well, what can you expect from the watch with such a reputation. It’s the hallmark of great design after decades of innovation from the company.

The Seiko SNZF17 on the other hand is sportier (it’s a Seiko 5 Sports watch after all) with the bigger hands, markers and font.

The day date display, though is very useful, seems to disturb the dial. This makes the watch look busy and make it less pleasing.

 

Seiko SNZF17 lume

 

Which is why I have the opinion that the Seiko SNZF17 is more suited for an everyday beater watch, watch that you can use practically anywhere and anything.

Be it yard work, going fishing, carpentering, all those tough works – these are the situation where you’ll never even think of using that precious Rolex and the Seiko SNZF17 is just the right candidate for that =)

 

Want to know about its price? >> CLICK HERE To Check The Price of Seiko SNZF17 on Amazon.com

 

41 mm Stainless Steel Case

The Seiko SNZF17 has a more traditional size of 41 mm made from stainless steel case which I found to be the best size for an average guy’s wrist.

It’s not too big and can easily fit onto any wrist, unless of course, you have very gigantic hands.

The thickness of 13 mm is not definitely not a thin one, but since this is a sports watch, I think this is acceptable.

On top of that, the moderate size makes the Sea Urchin not too heavy to be worn, as compared to other 44 – 45 mm sized watches.

The lug width or strap width is 22 mm, a bit wider than the 20 mm straps that I prefer for such a watch.

On top of the watch is a hardlex crystal, Seiko’s own version of hardened mineral crystal.

 

Seiko SNZF17 on hand

 

But my experience with this type of crystal is it’s a bit better in terms of scratch resistance, compared to the usual mineral crystal.

Some online websites will list that it’s scratch resistance or scratch proof but this is simply not true. Only sapphire crystal can be said to be scratch resistant.

Even so, it’s not that hard to keep the watches from deep scratches as long as you follow the basic rule of avoiding contact between your watch and any metal or hard surface.

 

A few rules that I always follow to avoid scratches on my watches are:

  1. Don’t keep your watch in a pocket that also contains coins or keys or any other metal
  2. Don’t put your watch face down on the table
  3. Be wary while walking next to a wall to avoid direct contact between the watch face and the wall surface

 

I’m sure that if you follow these simple rules, your watch’s pristine crystal will not be suffer from any deep ugly scratches =)

 

Don’t Like the Black-White Dial? There’s A Pepsi Version Too

Apart from the traditional black and white dial design, Seiko also produces the Seiko SNZF15 which is basically the sea urchin but with a blue dial and and pepsi bezel colors.

It’s a more funky timepiece that’s perfect for casual and outdoor use. Check out the side by side comparison of both sea urchin siblings below. Which one do you prefer? Do let me know in the comments section below =)

 

 Seiko SNZF17 (Black) Seiko SNZF15 (Blue Red Pepsi)

 

100 m Water Resistance, No Screw Down Crown

Even though the Rolex Submariner is a diver’s watch, this SNZF17 sea urchin is not exactly a full fledged diver’s watch.

It has only 100 m water resistance, and without any screw down crown. The latter caused me to think that this is more to a general purpose sports watch instead of diver’s watch.

It’s a bit of a let down but then we need to remember that at this price, it’s quite hard for Seiko to make a real diver’s watch (such as the Seiko SKX007).

The strap of this watch uses a stainless steel bracelet that’s built good and sturdy. I like how it comes with a double lock clasp with Seiko signature printed on it.

 

Seiko SNZF17 side

 

The use of double lock clasp gives more assurance as we know the watch won’t fall off accidentally.

But on thing that I don’t really like is the use of hollow end links on the bracelet.

It’s the connecting piece of the bracelet to the watch that is built of thin plates, instead of solid stainless steel.

I found that this hollow end links tend to rattle and create faint metal touching noises when we are moving out hands around. Well, such drawbacks are to be expected for a watch in this price range.

 

Robust Seiko Cal. 7S36 Automatic Self-Winding Movement

Inside the Seiko SNZF17 is the legendary Cal. 7S36 automatic self-winding movement. It’s one of the brands movement that’s has been proven to be robust and reliable.

The movement has 23 jewels with 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It’s accuracy is fairly average, at +- 15 seconds per day. The power reserve of this movement is about 41 hours.

 

(Download Seiko Cal. 7S36 movement user manual here)

Older Generation Movement – Non-Hacking and Non-Manual Winding

Even though the 7S36 movement is a good with proven track record, it’s undeniably an older generation movement from Seiko.

The newer movements from the brand are the 6RXX movement (for the higher priced watches, such as the SBDC033) and the 4RXX (inside SRP series watches such as the Seiko Monster).

The 7SXX movement series originated from a few decades ago but due to its effectiveness, it’s still around until today.

What I don’t particularly like about it is it’s non-hacking and cannot be manual wind. Non-hacking means the watch seconds hand won’t stop when we pull out the crown to adjust the time.

For some, this is considered unacceptable since they can’t precisely set the time accurately.

 

Seiko SNZF17 caseback

The Seiko Cal. 7S36 automatic movement can be seen from the exhibition caseback of the SNZF17

 

But for me, it’s not a very big deal as a minute or two inaccuracy is acceptable (at least to me LOL).

It is the manual winding feature that I really miss in the movement.

That feature enables us to recharge/tighten the movement’s mainspring, increasing its power reserve just by turning its crown a few times.

This makes it easier for us to keep the watch running especially during those times when you just can’t wear it such as wearing your more expensive watch to a formal event.

Without this feature, we are left with having to wear the watch to keep it alive.

Or the other option is to use watch winder which can actually has the same cost as the watch itself LOL.

Problem To Keep It Accurate?

One of the main complaints about the Seiko SNZF17 is its accuracy. Some of its owners complain that the watch is not a good timekeeping device and has accuracy problem.

Well, in my opinion, automatic watch is already quite well known to not be as accurate as a quartz watch.

But again, this is something that not all people are aware of (especially those starting to learn about watches in general), which is why this complains surfaced.

Even the most accurate automatic watch, the COSC Chronometer watch can has a +4 or -6 seconds per DAY deviation.

Meanwhile, a quartz watch has +-10 seconds per MONTH accuracy.

Granted, automatic watch’s accuracy is its weakest point. But the main thing that make it unique is the centuries old movement that’s full of mechanical goodness.

There’s no electricity used in there – just gears, springs, rotor etc. to keep it running.

And the fluid seconds hand movement as well as the exhibition caseback are the elements that you can’t never get from a normal quartz watch.

But should your Seiko SNZF17 has a problem to keep it’s accuracy, say it’s gaining or losing almost one minute per day, then please bring it to your watchmaker to get it adjusted.

It won’t take a long time to do, depending on your watchmaker schedule though.

Sometimes, the watch can be magnetized which caused it to lose its accuracy. This can happen if you let the watch get too close to a magnetized source, such as speakers, fridge, TV, etc.

 


Watch the video above to see the Seiko SNZF17 up close

Who Is This Seiko SNZF17 For?

Fancy a Rolex Submariner but don’t have the cash or don’t feel like splurging it on a watch?

Then this Seiko SNZF17 sea urchin is definitely for you. It’s not like other watches that imitate closely (ehem, Invicta..) but it has the elements with some styling unique to Seiko 5 Sports, making it a watch on its own.

It’s affordable price makes the watch a good candidate for those wanting to buy his/her first automatic watch.

And since it’s Seiko, you’ll be guaranteed of a good quality timepiece to own.

 

Where Can We Buy The SNZF17 Sea Urchin?

 Seiko SNZF17 (Black)Unfortunately, the SNZF17 is quite hard to find at watch stores.

The issue lies with Seiko. They only officially import their higher end models (such as the Prospex, Presage, etc.) to overseas.

Luckily, we can still buy the Seiko SNZF17 with online retailers.

Of these retailers, Amazon usually has the cheapest price for the sea urchin. Click the link to check out the latest price of the sea urchin on Amazon.

 

 

Who Should Not Get The Sea Urchin?

Anybody looking for a real diver’s watch might want to skip this Seiko SNZF17. Even though it has a fully functioning unidirectional rotating bezel and lume, but that’s as much as it gets in terms of diver’s watch.

The 100 m water resistance rating is not bad too, but the lack of screw down crown is what makes me feel it’s not a good watch for diving.

You can read my list of the best 10 automatic dive watches under $500 to see various dive watch alternatives for the SNZF17.

If you don’t prefer the dive watch look, check out this list of the 10 automatic watches under $200 where I’ve also included other types of watches in the list – all for not more than $200.

 

Seiko SNZF17 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Good looking watch with resemblance to Rolex Submariner
  2. Full lume on its hands and markers
  3. Day date display
  4. 100 m water resistance
  5. Very affordable for an automatic watch

 

Cons:

  1. No screw down crown
  2. Older generation movement with non-hacking and no manual winding

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko SNZF17 or the sea urchin is a one of the best affordable automatic watches around. It’s a good solid watch with nice design.

And I have to say its affordable price makes it a great choice to be used everyday as a beater watch for any usage.

And not to mention its resemblance to the Rolex Submariner makes it a nice substitute.

But unlike the Rolex, this is a watch you can use for any activities. Now that’s a very good value for money timepiece =)

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SNZF17 review. Let me know what you guys think about this Seiko sea urchin watch.

Drop your comments or questions down below =)

Cheers!
Isaac

Citizen Promaster Diver Review (BN0151-09L) : A Good Value For Money Solar Powered Diver’s Watch

Citizen Promaster Diver Review BN0151-09L

Good Value For Money Watch – A Citizen Promaster Diver Review (BN0151-09L)

Looking for a good value for money diver’s watch? Then this Citizen Promaster Diver (model no. BN0151-09L) might just be the one for you.

A full fledged analog diver’s watch with ISO 6425 standard compliance, real good looking blue dial, solidly built casse – all for less than $250!

With this watch (and the Ecozilla for some extent), Citizen seems to be challenging Seiko and Orient on the affordable diver’s watch segment.

 

(Read my list of the 10 best automatic diver’s watches under $500 and you guys will see what I mean)

 

Let’s go to the Citizen Promaster Diver review and find out what makes this watch a great watch for your next diving trip.

Citizen Promaster Diver Specification (BN0151-09L)

Diameter: 44 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance: 49 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Dark blue polyurethane strap with No-Decompression table
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal

Dial: Dark blue dial (with solar panel underneath it)
Hands: Oversized arrow shaped hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume

Movement: Eco-Drive E168
Movement Features: Citizen’s Eco-Drive quartz movement with Solar/light powered
Power Reserve: 180 days

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Date display, Unidirectional rotating bezel, Screw down crown, ISO 6425 diver’s watch standard compliant, Signed crown

Best Place To Buy: Amazon (click below to see the cheapest price), MSRP is $295

 

Sublime And Handsome Dark Blue Dial

The first thing to notice on the Citizen Promaster Diver is the dark blue theme which is on top of the dial, bezel and the strap. It reminds me of my Seiko Sumo which also has the same dark blue matte dial.

And I can say they both look extraordinarily handsome! This type of matte dial is the best when it comes to diver’s watches as it’s not very showy such as the sunburst dials.

The dark matte dial gives the vibe of strictly business and that’s what the Promaster Diver is – a real diver’s watch.

 

Citizen Promaster Diver on hand

 

At the 4 o’clock, a date display is located which adds to the functionality of the watch. This placement seems to coincide with the crown which is also located at the 4 o’clock. Nice touch there Citizen!

The hands and markers are oversized, true to diver’s watch fashion. The markers are index markers with stainless steel linings around them.

The top 12 o’clock marker has a different shape so that it will be very visible in dark when the lume is glowing.

It’s hands are arrow shaped hands with different design and colors. The hour hand has a silver lining while the minute hand has an orange outline. This makes the minute hand pop out to be very visible.

Well, Citizen has been known to play with colors on their watch dials (such as their Altichron watch) so this is not so weird for me.

For a watch that looks perfect for casual and sports use, this Promaster Diver is the one watch to get.

 

Great Diver’s Watch Lume

One of the things that a diver’s watch need to has is great lume. Lume is the unique point about diver’s watches that no other watches has. Besides, a brightly glowing watch lume looks super cool =)

On this BN0151-09L is has just that – a super cool lume thanks to the oversized hands and markers. The luxuriously applied lume paint make for a very glowing watch in the dark.

 

Citizen Promaster Diver lume

 

Citizen opted to use a blue colored lume for the hands and markers which is a nice complement to the blue dial. At the top of the rotating bezel is a lume pip with green colored lume so that divers can still use the bezel in the dark.

 

Solidly Built Stainless Steel Case

This watch also has a solid stainless steel case, befitting of its 200 m water resistance rating. The watch is 44 mm in diameter with 12 mm thickness which is quite an average size nowadays.

The lug to lug distance is 49 mm and I’m quite sure most guys can pull this off (unless you have a very small wrist). It’s nice and sturdily built, something that you will be confident to bring underwater.

 

Citizen Promaster Diver side

 

On top of the dial is a unidirectional rotating bezel that is used to time dives. It has a minute markings at every minute which make the bezel a bit busy. At the sides of the bezel are threads to help users grip the bezel when using it.

 

(Read my article on how to use rotating bezel for more info)

 

The bezel is connected to the mineral crystal at the top which protects the watch from impact and water ingress. The usage of mineral crystal is not something that I like since it scratches easily. I prefer sapphire since that thing will be kept pristine for years to come.

But then we need to remember that this is a watch that’s prices below $250. So it’s quite understandable that Citizen can’t afford to spend the top dollars on the watch specification.

 

(For info on watch crystal types, read it more in my article HERE)

 

The 20 mm lug width of the watch comes with a blue polyurethane strap that seems to match the dark blue dial. On the is a No Decompression (or N.D) table that basically shows how long a human diver can stop at any given depth without having to make decompression stops when ascending.

 

Citizen Promaster Diver on hand

 

It’s quite a long subject to go into so for those that is interested in it, I’d suggest to read this Wikipedia page on the matter for more info.

 

 

ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch Compliant

One of the great features of this watch is the compliance to ISO 6425 diver’s watch standard. As I’ve written in my past article HERE, this ISO standard is used to make sure diver’s watches are fully competent to be used underwater.

The Citizen Promaster Diver complied with this standard which means it’s a great choice for real divers to use. For non-divers or the so-called desk divers, the ISO compliance means this is a tough watch that can withstand any kind of activities you throw at it.

If it is good enough to be used underwater, it’s surely sufficient to be used for that gym/ jogging/ hiking/ camping activities.

 

Eco-Drive E168 Movement

At the heart of this watch is the Eco-Drive E168 movement, Citizen’s own in-house solar powered watch. Well, solar powered is not quite right since the watch can also be recharged by any kind of light.

Underneath the dial is a solar panel that will absorb any light and turn it into electrical charge to be stored in its battery. But of course not all light is the same.

Sunlight has highest intensity (illuminence, as measured by the Lux unit) at 100,000 lux and the watch needs to be exposed to this for only 3 minutes for it to function normally one day. 35 hours of exposure is needed for full charge of 180 days.

On the other hand, normal fluorescent light bulb or lighting in the office/home has only 500 lux and will require up to 4 hours to charge the watch just for one day of use.

As you can see, solar powered watches are quite hard to be charged to full unlike automatic watches that only need a few round of manual winding.

But as long as we are exposing the watch to lights long enough, I don’t think there is any issue in this. I’d think only those that work night shifts will be affected as they won’t get as much night time as other people.

Accuracy wise, the Eco-Drive movement uses quartz as its time keeping mechanism. Being a quartz watch, it’s accuracy is among the best at only +-10 seconds per month. That’s much better than the usual +-15 seconds per day of automatic watches at this price range.

 


Watch the above video to see the Citizen Promaster Diver closely

 

Who Is This Watch For?

I’m sure that professional divers will take a liking to this handsome diver’s watch. The Citizen Promaster Diver is truly befitting its name. The ISO 6425 compliance with solidly built case makes it a good watch for diving.

Not to mention its more affordable price compared to other diver’s watches. I don’t think those that have Rolex Submariner will use their watches for diving and will use a cheaper watch (like this Promaster Diver!) instead lol!

 

Citizen Promaster Diver front2

 

And with a handsome design, it’s also something that non-divers could wear casually and for any sports/outdoor activities. Being a diver’s watch, it’s versatility is its strong point and will look good in almost all settings.

Having an Eco-Drive solar powered movement makes it easy to use without having to change any batter every few years.

For a watch that’s look great, with good specification and easy to use, the Citizen Promaster Diver is the one to get.

If you like the watch, get it cheapest from Amazon (click the link below). The watch MSRP is $295 but usually it can be had for less than $250 on Amazon which is a really good deal to me =)

 

=>Get The Citizen Promaster Diver Here

 

Who Should Not Get It?

Those wanting a more refined and dressy look might not want to get this watch. It’s dial is very simple and sporty with the oversized hands and markers. I’d limit this watch to casual and sports, with occasional office use with the right strap such as leather or bracelet.

For black tie events, it’s better to go with a more simple and elegant watch such as the Seiko SARB033 or Citizen’s Eco-Drive Titanium.

 

Citizen Promaster Diver Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Beautiful dark blue dial
  • Solar/light powered with Eco-Drive technology – no need for battery change for a long time
  • Very long power reserve up to 6 months
  • Solidly built case
  • Great lume effect
  • High visibility due to the oversized hands and markers
  • ISO 6425 diver’s watch compliance
  • Date display is a plus for funtionality

Cons:

  • Mineral crystal is not scratch resistant, but understandable at this price range

 

Final Thoughts

The Citizen Promaster Diver is a good looking watch with its brilliant dark matte blue dial and overall solid craftsmanship. Not just a handsome toy, it’s also a full fledged diver’s watch with an ISO 6425 diver’s watch compliance.

The Eco-Drive movement ensures that the watch is fully charged using solar/light and has a great 6 months power reserve.

And all of that in a watch that costs less than $250. Now that’s what a good value for money is. If you guys are looking for a watch that looks good, has high specification and affordable, this is the watch to get.

 

 

I hope you guys love this Citizen Promaster Diver review. Let me know if you have any comments or questions on the watch.

I’d love to hear from you guys =)

Till next time.
Cheers!

Seiko SKX013 Review – Smaller Version Of The Famous SKX007 Automatic Diver’s Watch

Seiko SKX013 Review

A Review Of The SKX013 – My Favorite Lightweight Automatic Dive Watch

In this post, I’m going to write in-depth about Seiko SKX013 review, which is a watch that I’ve owned happily and gets lots of wrist time. Check out my SKX013 below:

Seiko SKX013 black dial

I’ve had the watch for some time and I’ve gotta admit it’s definitely a gem and I can definitely see why it’s such a popular timepiece.

The dial design of the watch is traditional diver’s watch look, which is evergreen and simply good looking. The case is well constructed, beautifully made and very comfortable on wrist (thanks to it being a lightweight).

What’s my verdict of this watch? A watch that you have to get, especially if you want a lightweight classic dive watch. But first, let me tell my story of how I got this watch.

 

A Bit Of Story On Why Did I Buy The Seiko SKX013?

I’ve been using my trusted Seiko 5 and Sumo almost everyday prior to this. While both watches a good looking and great watches, it’s taking some toll on my wrist.

The thing is I’m using computer A LOT. Either at my work or at home, I’m glued to my seat working on my computer. And if you’re like me, a big 44 mm watch (the diameter of the 5 and Sumo) with the heavy weight is a nuisance when using the computer to type.

In addition, I like a dive watch that can be used almost anywhere: work, hanging out, gym etc. etc. A one-watch-for-all to be honest.

After searching for sometime, the Seiko SKX013 is the one I went for. It’s 38 mm diameter size (smaller means it won’t disturb my typing so much) and lightweight (based off user reviews) won me over.

Besides, it has the classic SKX design that I absolutely adore (the SKX013 is the smaller edition of the famed SKX007). In addition, these Seiko SKX watches are famous for its workhorse 7S26 automatic movement that can go on years without service.

 

My Verdict Of The Seiko SKX013?

Without a doubt, the little timepiece has won me over. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my other watches but the SKX013 has always hold a soft spot by virtue of being very different with the small ligthweight case.

And yes, I really dig the classic look of the watch =)

Enough about me. Let’s get on with the full review of the SKX013 shall we.

 

>> Check The Latest Deals Of Seiko SKX013 On Amazon.com

 

 

 

Seiko SKX013 Specification
Diameter 38 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 44 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel jubilee bracelet or rubber strap
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Black dial
Hands Arrow shaped hands with lume
Markers Circular index markers with lume
Style Dive
Movement Seiko Caliber 7S26 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 21 jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Non-hacking and Cannot be manual wind
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 41 hours
Water Resistance 200 m
Other Features Screw down crown and caseback, Unidirectional rotating bezel, Comply with ISO 6425 diver’s watch standard, Date and day display, Lume
Rating 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)
Quick Summary An evergreen dive watch with timeless design. It’s actually the small version of the hugely popular classic Seiko SKX007. If you think the SKX007 is too big for you, then the SKX013 might well be the one!
Where To Buy? Amazon (For the best deals of the SKX013)

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Seiko SKX013 in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

Matte Black Dial With Traditional Diver’s Watch Design

The dial of the Seiko SKX013 has the same design at the SKX007, which is traditional diver’s watch style with matte black dial background.

Sure, it’s very simple and not as eye-catching, but the design works. This watch is, after all, a true diver’s watch and function comes over form when Seiko designed it.

It has a very simple layout with minimal signatures for the great legibility. The hands are big and oversized, so as the index markers.

On the dial is of course the much-loved lume, a compulsory feature on any diver’s watches. While the lume is strong, I feel that it is not as good as Seiko’s newer models such as the Sumo.

 

Seiko SKX013 Lume Shot

Above is the lume shot of the SKX013. What’s better than seeing a dive watch with full lume on it right =)

 

From my experience, the lume need to be exposed to longer duration of light before it will glow. In comparison, my Sumo only need to be exposed to a short duration of light.

And even in a mildly dim condition, I can see a faint green light coming out of the Sumo. With the SKX013, it’s only plain white there.

Granted that the Sumo has Seiko’s proprietary LumiBrite paint on it (which make it more expensive) but it will be nicer if Seiko use the same paint on the SKX013.

Day And Date Display For Extra Functionality

On the right are the day and date displays, which make the watch an excellent choice as a beater watch – the one you can wear to work day in day out.

Having day and date is greatly beneficial as it makes an analog watch more useful with the extra information.

The crystal on top of it is hardlex crystal, a better type of crystal than mineral but still is scratch-able. So please be very careful in handling your watch or else the crystal face will have some deep and unsightly scars.

One unique thing about the crystal is it has a some sort of thickened or beveled crystal edge that distorts light when looking from an angle. This makes there appears to be extra markers when viewing the watch from sides.

 

Seiko SKX013 crystal

Viewing from side, the dial appears to have extra markers. This is a unique visual effects on the SKX013 (and also the SKX007) due to the beveled crystal.

 

I can’t say how surprised (in a good way) when I first noticed this.  It looks amazing and provide a bit of an Easter egg as I can’t keep track how many times I’ve glanced at the watch just to catch this little effect LOL!

By the way, this effect also can be seen on the lume which is something that I absolutely love as a lume lover.

 

Seiko SKX013 lume from side

The picture of the SKX013 lume when viewed from side

 

Overall, the matte black dial of this Seiko SKX013 is definitely a traditional diver’s watch design but I find it to be versatile – well, most diver’s watches are versatile.

You might think the watch is suitable for outdoor use only, but it’s actually handsome to be used for other activities: work, casual hang out, dinners, for about anything that’s not too fancy.

Small 38 mm Diameter Case – Lighter Than Normal 44 mm Watches

One thing that separates this Seiko SKX013 with the other watches right now is the stainless steel case which is quite small. It has a 38 mm diameter – smaller than the typical 40 – 44 mm diameter of watches nowadays.

Often times I’ve had questions about will a watch fit into a guy with small wrist, and this watch might just be the answer to all those. At 38 mm diameter, it’s one of the smallest watch in the market right now for guys.

 

Seiko SKX013 worn on hand

 Me wearing the SKX013 (please don’t mind the excess bracelet links LOL). Will the SKX013 be too small on your wrist? Yes, if you have a very big wrist size. But for most, it’ll be a good and classic watch size.

 

While the current trend is big oversized watches which looks manly, small watches also has its charm. In my opinion, a smaller watch looks more refined, perfect for those that don’t want to show off.

The diameter of the watch is 38 mm with a lug width of 20 mm. With this typical lug width, there is no problem at all to find a replacement strap if you don’t like the look or feel of the jubilee or rubber straps it comes with.

Another positive thing about small watch case is it’s much lighter than a bigger watch. For example, I can totally feel the difference between my SKX013 and my SBDC003 Sumo (44 mm).

The Sumo, even a very beautiful watch, is much heavier on the wrist which can pose a problem to those new to wearing a watch.

So if you’re just starting out to buy your first automatic watch, do look for those with smaller case size. Once you’ve adapted to the weight, you can slowly buy a bigger watch.

One disadvantage with this small size is the bezel can be a bit difficult to grip and rotate since it’s smaller than bigger watches. I do find it hard to operate the bezel because of this.

In addition, the smaller dial might be an issue with those already accustomed to bigger watch as the dial area is smaller.

Indeed, the hands and markers are smaller but the effect is not major as it contrasted with the black dial.

 

Beautifully Polished Case And Bracelet

One thing that I love about my SKX013 is how gorgeous the case and jubilee bracelet are. It’s stunningly beautiful with all the polishing on it.

I admit, I’m a sucker for glowing watches because it looks so nice and radiant, especially when the case reflects light at different angles.

I know some guys might not like it but what I can say is you gotta see the watch for yourselves and decide if it’s something gorgeous or not.

Here are some of the pictures of the case of the watch from different angles for your viewing pleasure =)

 

Seiko SKX013 polished case side

 

Seiko SKX013 side case polished

 

 

Seiko SKX013 caseback

 

 

>> Check The Latest Deals Of Seiko SKX013 On Amazon.com

 

Equipped With Hardlex Crystal On Top Of It

 Seiko SKX013K2

To protect the watch from the top is a hardlex crystal, Seiko’s own formulation on mineral crystal. It’s a good shatter resistant crystal for sure, but I found it less scratch resistant from sapphire.

Why Seiko didn’t put the sapphire on this watch?

For one, they would like to make sure the SKX watches are good and tough – hardlex is a great shatter resistant crystal – befitting what it’s actually intended to be used.

Another reason is simply about cost. You can’t never ask too much for a watch at this price point and Seiko’s decision is rightfully so since this watch is one of the cheapest auto dive watch in the market for its quality.

Just remember guys, treat these hardlex crystals with care or you’ll end up with some unsightly scratches on it.

Or, you can also modify the watch and replace it with sapphire crystal – check out some watch forums or youtube to learn how =P

 

How To Adjust The Jubilee Bracelet On Seiko SKX013?

Another thing I love about the jubilee bracelet on the SKX013 is it can be adjusted perfectly to my wrist size because the link size is small – compared to normal oyster bracelets.

In addition, the small sized links also conform to our wrist better than a standard oyster bracelet with wide links.

Out of the box, the SKX013 jubilee bracelet will need some adjustment by taking out some links from it.

What I normally do is:

  1. Try to wear the watch and gauge how many links to be taken out from both sides of the clasp. We cannot take out the links from only one side as this will lead to the clasp not positioned at the center of our wrist (which is not really comfortable and don’t look good)
  2. Use a watch link remover tool (get once from amazon here) to take out the pin following the arrow marks on the links. The links are joined together by pins and the tool helps to take out the pin easily. Don’t ever try to use a needle or anything as it won’t work (trust me on this…….)
  3. 2 pins need to be taken out from each side (total 4 pins) so that we can take 2 parts of the links.
  4. Join the bracelet links together using 2 of the pins. This step is fairly simple as you just need to put back the pin into the bracelet hole. It’s basically a reverse operation and don’t require any special tool.
  5. If you get stuck, ask me about it or better yet, search it on youtube!

 

eiko SKX013 resize bracelet

Use the watch link remover tool to easily push out the pins from the links

 

Seiko SKX013 bracelet pin

This is how the pin looks like. It consists of only a pin with bigger head and there is no “cap” for the pins (unlike other Seiko watches)

 

ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch Standard Compliance

As with other Seiko diver’s watch, this SKX013 also comply with ISO 6425 diver’s watch specification.

 

What is ISO 6425?

 

It’s basically an international standard on how a diver’s watch should be; both physical look and underwater performance. (read more about diver’s watch in my post here).

The watch case is a sturdy one, with 200 m water resistance rating. This high rating means it’s suitable for any kind of swimming or scuba diving.

 

Seiko skx013 nato on hand

 

Having a screw down crown also gives some peace of mind that water won’t get into the watch from the crown’s minute opening.

 

Seiko SKX013 screw down crown

The screw down crown at open position

 

The bezel is a unidirectional rotating bezel which is used as tool to track elapsed time during diving. But we can also use it to track time for anything.

I’ve personally used it to track time for cooking, traffic congestion, commute to work, exercises, you name it! It’s basically another tool that you can use for any purpose. You just need to be creative with it =)

A Good And Robust 7S26 Automatic Movement

Powering the Seiko SKX013 is the workhorse 7S26 automatic movement built and designed in-house by Seiko. It’s a fairly old movement but has lots of testimonials of great usage throughout the years.

The automatic self-winding movement got it’s name due to it’s ability to continually recharged its power reserve by hand movement while wearing it.

A rotor inside it can rotate when the watch moves while in use, and thus tighten the mainspring which holds potential energy for the watch to move.

End result is a watch that don’t need any battery change in its life (yay!). Another great thing is the automatic movement has the signature sweeping second hand that is not present with any quartz watch.

The sweeping second hand of the 7S26 movement has 6 beats per second, which is not totally smooth but good for watch longevity. It also has 41 hours power reserve and maximum accuracy of +-15 seconds per day.

But Without Hacking And Manual Winding..

The only flaws with this movement is it cannot be hacked and manual wind (I did say it’s an old movement right?).

This means the second hand will not stop when setting the time (non-hacking) and the power reserve can’t be increased by rotating the crown (manual winding).

It might not be a big deal for some, but others might find the absence of these two features to be a deal breaker. I’d say it’s totally up to you guys on how you are using your watch.

One gripe that I’m having is not having the ability to perfectly time the watch to my watch accuracy checker app. It’s quite a bother but otherwise, the movement works perfectly.

If you’re afraid that the watch will be hard to start after idle since there’s no manual winding, I can say there is no need to fear that.

I can swear that the seconds hand moves just with small shake of the watch. It’s miraculous how the 7S26 can moves just with a small movement. That shows the efficiency of self-winding movement in it.

What I usually did was to take it up and set the time. Then I give it a few shakes and immediately wear it. And it will works well throughout the day without any issue.

Just make sure to always give it some good shakes before wearing. While the self-winding movement is good enough, I find that it’s a good practice to shake it up a few times in order to recharge its power reserve.

That way, we will reduce the possibility of the watch dying on us (because of low power) while at the same time increasing its accuracy (all automatic watches are most accurate when it has high power reserve).

What Is The Seiko 7S26 Movement Accuracy?

Aesthetic aside, accuracy of the watch is another important aspect that most people put in the highest regard. I mean, a watch has to be accurate right?

For the Seiko SKX013, I found that its accuracy to be good – in fact the 7S26 movement in it is much better than what I expected.

Below is the screenshot of the accuracy test on the SKX013/7S26 taken using the app “Watchcheck“.

Seiko SKX013 7S26 Accuracy

 

I’ve taken this test over a 3 days period. I tried to make sure the test is done within a good usage cycle to represent the “normal” usage of the watch by desk divers such as me.

As you can see, I took two readings everyday :

#1 in the early morning (around 6 – 7 am) when I picked up the watch and wear it; and

#2 at the end of my working day (5,6,7 pm) before I lay off the watch.

 

To my surprise, the SKX013 actually is more accurate when I was wearing it : the 3 readings of+1.4, +2.5 and +1.5 seconds per day are totally out of this world man! It beats chronometer specs all the way!

The readings when I was laid down (I always put my watches dial up to avoid scratches on the crystal) are less enthusiastic at +5.9, +4.7 and +6.1 seconds per day.

I swear I initially thought the dial up position will have the best accuracy but I was wrong.

And I was really pleased when the average rate of the 7S26 movement shows it has an accuracy of just +3.8 seconds per day, better than chronometer specs!

How about that for a sub-$250 watch! I forgot to mention that my SKX013 is a month-old baby and it’s movement is fairly new and I believe this readings will go down as I’ve used it quite a bit along the way.

Of course, this readings are not universal and I’ve found that some watches will have different accuracy even if it have the same movement. It actually depends on your luck sometimes.

Just remember that if your 7S26 movement (either in this SKX013 or SKX007 or others) have a horrendous accuracy of greater than half a minute per day, it’s due time for a visit to your watchmaker.

And if it’s a new watch, you definitely have to ask for refunds or replacement as something could be wrong with the watch.

Seiko SKX013 vs SKX007 – So What’s The Difference?

From a glance, both of Seiko SKX013 and SKX007 really looks alike. There are small differences in the dial design if you really observe them, though it’s not so much of a big deal. The biggest difference is the size, with SKX007 being the larger watch.

 

Seiko SKX013 vs SKX007

A side by side comparison of the Seiko SKX013 (left) and SKX007 (right)

 

Let’s find out what’s the difference between SKX013 and SKX007:

1- Diameter: SKX013 (38 mm), SKX007 (42 mm)
2- Lug to lug distance: SKX013 (44 mm), SKX007 (46 mm)
3- Lug width: SKX013 (20 mm), SKX007 (22 mm)
4- Second hand: SKX013 (arrow hand), SKX007 (straight hand with lume pip on its tail)
5- SKX013 has more cramped dial than SKX007 and with smaller hands
6- SKX013 is lighter than the SKX007

 

The you have it. Like I said, there is not much difference in the design except for the smaller case size (SKX013) which is very important. Some people like their watches small while some like it big.

But apart from aesthetics, I want to highlight that the bigger watch is also a heavier watch. Without a doubt, the SKX007 is heavier than the SKX013 and this an important thing to consider for anyone deciding on these two timepieces.

 


Watch this great video to see the side by side comparison of Seiko SKX013 and SKX007

 

 Seiko SKX013K2 Seiko SKX007K2

So Who Is The Seiko SKX013 For?

In my opinion, anyone wanting a good diver’s watch can use this. As I’ve said before, smaller watches will make the wearer look more refined and has classic look, as compared to bigger, more rugged style of watches nowadays.

Women also will find the Seiko SKX013 to be perfect for them since they usually have smaller wrist than guys. It’s still bigger than normal women’s watches, but much smaller than the SKX007.

 

Where To Buy The Seiko SKX013?

If you like this Seiko SKX013, then the only way to get it easily is with online retailers such as Amazon, Ebay, etc.

The SKX013 is considered an older model and is not present in any official Seiko boutiques. So you can imagine that it’s quite hard to get a hold off. You might be lucky to stumble upon one in a watch shop though.

Fortunately, with the boom in online retail, buying older model watches like this is easier than ever. You can order one on Amazon from the comfort of your home. Click the link below to check the price of the Seiko SKX013.

 

>> Check The Latest Deals Of Seiko SKX013 On Amazon.com

 

Jubilee Bracelet or Rubber Strap?

You can also pick whether you want the jubilee bracelet (SKX013K2) of the rubber strap version (SKX013K1). My recommendation is to go for the jubilee bracelet as it’s more durable compared to the rubber strap.

Straps can easily worn out with frequent use. Not to mention the rubber might get “sticky” after sometime in the storage box.

On the other hand, stainless steel bracelet is miles better in terms of durability and longevity. And don’t forget that it’s usually more expensive to buy an aftermarket bracelet vs. an aftermarket strap =)

Who Should Not Get It?

While I really enjoyed the petite and more classic size of the SKX013, some guys might prefer a bigger watch for the more masculine look.

For this, I’d suggest to check on the SKX007 instead as it’s basically the same watch but with a bigger case.

If you don’t prefer the dive watch design but still want the automatic movement, you might want to check my post on the 10 best automatic watches under $200 for some of the best bang for buck watches in the market right now.

Seiko SKX013 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Simple and traditional yet handsome diver’s watch design
  • Automatic self-winding movementno battery change is needed
  • Small case size suitable for smaller wrists
  • Very useful day and date displays
  • ISO 6425 diver’s watch compliance
  • Much Lighter than a typical 43-44 mm diameter dive watch

Cons:

  • Non-scratch resistant hardlex crystal
  • Non-hacking and non-manual winding 7S26 movement
  • Lume is not as good as Seiko’s recent models with LumiBrite

Final Thoughts

Seiko SKX013 is definitely a great diver’s watch. Even though it has a simple no-frills traditional look to it, it’s strengths is in the very functional design. Not to mention the black dial is very versatile and can be used almost everywhere (except for black tie events of course).

It can be regarded as the little brother to the SKX007 since it’s actually the smaller version of it. There are also some differences between these two watches in the dial, but I think those are too small to really bother with.

At last, it comes to how big is your wrist, and which do you prefer: the bigger more manly look of SKX007 or smaller, classic and more refined look of SKX013.

 

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SKX013 review. Let me know if you guys have any questions regarding the watch.

Drop you comments below. I’d love to hear what you guys think about the watch =)

Cheers!
Isaac

Seiko Sumo Review (SBDC033) – The Unique Dive Watch

Seiko SBDC033 Review (Sumo)

A Tale Of The Watch That I’ve Owned For 3 Years – The Seiko Sumo Review

Today I’m going to write about Seiko Sumo SBDC033 review, or better known as the Blue Sumo (or “Blumo” lol!). This watch is part of Seiko’s Prospex line up.

What makes this watch special is it’s one of my favorite watches that I’ve had for the past 3 years. I’ve been guilty of giving it lots of wrist time for the simple fact that it’s such a beautiful watch – even though it’s supposed to be a diver’s watch!

 

Seiko SBDC033 front

 

My Swimming Hobby And How I Was Introduced To The Seiko Sumo

I was just into swimming a few years ago. One of the things that I had problem with is how to keep track of how long I was in the pool.

I had some watches in my collection at that point of time (some Seiko 5) but none was an actual dive watch. My Seiko 5 with a 100 m water resistance was my go-to watch to swim. But as it’s a more casual type of watch, it’s quite hard to look at while swimming (I wear glasses so when I swim I take it off).

It was by chance I had been introduced to dive watches. Being an automatic fan, Seiko dive watches was the first ones that I encounter as it was wildly popular on the internet. The Sumo was constantly on my face whenever I searched for “good dive watch” either on google, youtube or watch forums.

I love the design. It looks masculine while at the same time very functional and lovely. The huge markers will make it very easy to tell time with.

Not only that, it comply with ISO 6425 dive watch standard with a huge 200 m water resistance. Definitely a winner to me! A few days later after more research on it, I placed my order on the watch.

 

My Thoughts On The Seiko Sumo

I still remember how happy I was when I got the Sumo. It’s a heavy watch – and heft is a good indicator of quality for me.

Everything is just like what a real dive watch is: solid high quality case feel with thick bracelet. I immediately know that this is a watch that I can use for my swimming.

In addition, the Sumo has beautiful design, superb movement (more on that later) and astonishing LumiBrite for very bright lume. The dressy feel also makes it my favorite watch for casual and work.

Truthfully, I can’t be happier with my purchase. It has been with me for 3 years (and counting). I’ve used it for lots of activities – activities that I won’t dare do with my other watches. That’s how reliable it is.

If you’re looking for a middle range automatic dive watch (something prettier than the SKX watches for example), I can’t recommend the Sumo more!

 

>> GET Your Own Seiko Sumo HERE

 

 

 

Seiko Sumo Specification
Diameter 44 mm
Thickness 13 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 53mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel oyster bracelet with pushover clasp
Watch Crystal Hardlex crystal
Bezel Unidirectional rotating dive bezel
Dial Dark blue dial
Hands Sword hands with lume
Markers Circular index markers with lume
Style Dive
Movement Seiko Caliber 6R15 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features Seiko In-house movement, 23 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 50 hours
Water Resistance 200 m
Other Features Unidirectional rotating bezel, Screw down caseback and crown, Anti-magnetic case, Seiko’s LumiBrite lume, Date display, ISO 6425 Diver’s Watch Compliant
Rating 4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Where To Buy? Amazon

Why Is It Called Sumo?

Perhaps some of you wonder why the Sumo nickname?

It seems the nickname came from the appearance of the watch case which is designed to look wide and big, different than normal watches (it’s a 44 mm diameter watch) likening it to a sumo wrestler. But truthfully, I don’t think it’s that big.

Thanks to the curved lug case design, the watch hugs our wrists making sure it’s still wearable even for those with smaller wrists.

 

Seiko SBDC003 vs SBDC033

The one that I have is the SBDC003 which was discontinued and replaced with the SBDC033.

So what is the difference between SBDC003 vs SBDC033? Well, in truth, not so much. The first Sumo is the SBDC003 (the one that I bought way back in 2014).

But sometime around 2015, Seiko wanted to promote their Prospex lines (Professional Specification, more on that later) and included this watch and many other automatic divers inside it.

This called for a slight change to the dial to include the Prospex “X” logo on it, which is what the SBDC033 has currently.

Apart from the minor dial change, the SBDC033 also purportedly has an updated LumiBrite which supposedly gives the watch a better lume.

The older version Seiko SBDC003 (top) that I have and the newer version SBDC033 (bottom). Not really much change except on the dial’s signatures

 

And that’s it. The other aspects: case, design, bracelet are the same. As for me, I like the older one (SBDC003) better as the dial is less busy as compared to the newer SBDC033.

And what makes the watch more special is the fact that I personally own the previous version of this Blumo (the Seiko SBDC003) for 3 years now and I absolutely love it (an owner’s bias? lol!).

 

Seiko’s Prospex Line Up?

What is this Prospex line? It’s actually Seiko’s own “Professional Specification” watches designed for the most extreme conditions, be it sea, land or air.

All the watches in the line up are designed with full functionality for the convenience of the user. Notwithstanding that, the watches are also beautiful to look and wear, such as the case with this Seiko SBDC033.

Seiko Prospex

Seiko’s Prospex logo to signify a watch designed for professional use – this “X” is featured in all of their newest watches, including the Sumo

 

The Sumo SBDC033 Has A Very Beautiful Dark Blue Dial

 

Seiko SBDC033 Sumo side

Just look at that deep blue dial on the Seiko SBDC033.. So simple yet gorgeous and beautiful!

 

On top of the SBDC033 is a matte dark blue dial which is so enchanting to look at. As with any other diver’s watches, the dial is simple to help diver’s tell time underwater.

The index markers are big circle with triangle marker at 12 o’clock. The use of big markers definitely help to make the watch legible.

The sword hands are also big and bulky – for the exact same reason as the markers. All of these have surfaces fully applied with Seiko’s LumiBrite luminous material on top of them for bright glowing green lume.

Seiko’s lume is very famous for its brightness and long lasting lume. In fact, I don’t have any problem to make it last for at least one movie screening – provided you give them sufficient time to absorb light beforehand.

 

Seiko SBDC033 Lume shot

Great lumevery bright and legible. What I love about it is how easily it start to glow even in a somewhat dim room/condition =)

 

On the dial also is a date display window which is make it a very functional watch for work. I found the lack of day display sorely missing from the watch, but then not having the day display do make the watch more elegant.

The signatures are not too obstructive, though the new version of sumo (this SBDC033) has the Seiko Prospex “X” logo on top which seems to make the watch busier.

All in all, the dial of this blue sumo watch is very beautiful, thanks to the simple layout and gorgeous deep blue dial. I’ve used this watch for 3 years and has never fallen out of love of it =)

 

The Sumo Also Comes In Black Color

The Sumo also comes in black color (model No. SBDC031). In my opinion, while the black is very stylish, the blue dial is more unique and beautiful – which is also why I went with the blue sumo before.

Check out both watches side by side below and let me know which one you prefer!

 

 Seiko SBDC033 – Blue Sumo Seiko SBDC031 – Black Sumo

 

A Very Useful Unidirectional Rotating Bezel

Another characteristic of a diver’s watch is the unidirectional rotating bezel.

 

What does the unidirectional bezel means?

 

That means the bezel can rotate only one direction which is anti-clockwise. It’s originally designed as a way for divers to keep track of time underwater which is why the bezel has minute markings on it.

Well, I’m not a diver but I’ve used the bezel for many other purposes – timing my workout and swimming time, waiting time for cook/baking, elapsed time in traffic congestion and many more!

Truthfully, any watch with a rotating bezel can do the trick, but I just want to let you guys know there are lots of possibilities of usage with the bezel on this sumo.

 

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo Dial

The Sumo with a matching blue rotating bezel that has many usages.

 

In terms of construction, the bezel is designed with 120-clicks which gives a very satisfying bezel action. You can hear the clicking noise as you turn the bezel, and its very loud and crisp.

I can’t count how many times I’ve rotated the bezel just for the sake moving it and hearing it clicks. And trust me, its so addicting too =)

 

Exquisite Case Construction

One of the things that Seiko is very good at is in case design and construction. Like the SARB033, the SBDC033 also has the distinctive and gorgeous case design with contours and curves all around it.

There are 5 surfaces on the lugs from top to bottom and each of them has very sharp transitions with impeccable layering of polished and brushed finishes – which is just surreal!

 

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo case side right

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo case side left

Just like other Seikos in the SARB line (SARB035 and SARB033), the Sumo also has that curved case that make wearing it soo comfortable

 

 

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo caseback

Above: the tsunami logo on its caseback

 

 

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo crown

Above: The Sumo also has a signed crown!

 

The effort put down into machining the case is really shown here. Apart from the gorgeous dial, the case is one of the things that I always found myself to look at, for no apparent reason lol!

 

 

Curved Lug Design To Fit Many Wrists

In terms of sizing, this Seiko SBDC033 is 44 mm in diameter, 13 mm thick and 53 mm lug to lug distance. Yup, it’s not a small watch for sure.

 

Seiko Sumo Lug Curve

Notice how the lugs curving down? It’s one of the best things about the case which hug the wearer’s wrist comfortably

 

You can see from the pictures that due to the elaborate lug design, the lug is quite long which contributes to the long lug to lug distance.

 

But will it fit a small wrist?

 

Unless your wrist is very very small, then my answer is yes. This is due to the lug which is curving down to hug the wrist.

I also has a tiny wrist with a wrist diameter about 2 inch, which is just about the same width as the lug to lug distance.

 

Seiko Sumo on hand

My wrist is not big at all (same diameter as the watch) but the watch sits on top of it easily. It might look over sized, but since the actual dial is small (the bezel is quite wide), it still looks great, at least to me =)

 

With any normal watch, it’s totally not possible for me to wear it but having the curved lug make the watch able to fit on my wrist easily. And it’s very comfortable too!

More pictures to show you guys how this Seiko Sumo fits onto my wrist perfectly

 

Want Your Own Sumo? >> GET Your Own Seiko Sumo HERE

 

Oyster Bracelet With Diver’s Extension

As a traditional diver’s watch, the SBDC033 Sumo comes with an oyster bracelet. There is nothing fancy about the bracelet to be honest. It’s a normal bracelet with solid end links.

A good thing about it I can feel the weight of the steel as it’s quite a thick bracelet. It’s definitely a great complement to the sturdy watch.

 

Seiko sumo side hand

The oyster bracelet that this diver’s watch comes with

 

I used to wear my Sumo with a rubber strap but in recent times I’ve changed it back to the original bracelet. I think it depends on your mood and preference at that time.

Being a diver’s watch, the bracelet comes with two extra things: double lock clasp and diver’s extension.

I really like the double lock clasp as it gives an extra protection to the watch from accidentally unlocking it. While I never use the extension before, I found it a cool feature to have lol!

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo dive extension 1

Seiko SBDC003 Sumo dive extension 2

The bracelet has double lock clasp and diver’s extension to be used with wetsuit (which frankly I never use lol!). To use it, simply push up the extension to disengage it from the bracelet (pictures above)

 

Trustworthy 6R15 Automatic Movement

 Seiko SBDC033 – Blue Sumo

Inside the Seiko SBDC033 is the workhorse 6R15 automatic movement. It’s definitely the Japanese brand’s answer to ETA 2824-4 in terms of movement quality.

The movement has 23 jewels, and 6 beats per second. The lower beat count as compared to Swiss ETA with a typical 8 beats per second, make the sweeping second hand less smooth.

But on the other hand, the lower beat movement has the advantage of lower stress cycles in it and thus require longer maintenance interval (and life?).

 

It’s a modern movement with the standard hacking and manual winding features. I can’t stress how convenient manual winding has been for me to keep my watch running even when I’m not using it.

Accuracy wise, the movement has a published rate gain/lose of 25 seconds per day. But throughout my use, I found the watch to have a higher degree of accuracy, sometimes up to +-4 seconds per day with the dial face up to be the most accurate position.

Bear in mind that COSC chronometer has a maximum of +-6 seconds per day, so I’m thoroughly happy with how my 6R15 is performing. And the good 50 hours power reserve is very useful as I like to lay down my watch for the weekend =)

 

Watch this video to look at the Sumo up close

 

So What Happens With My Old Sumo or SBDC003 After 3 Years?

I’ve been very happy with my Sumo for the past 3 years. I’ve used it for everything: work, exercise, travel, parties and many more. The great thing about diver’s watches is how versatile it is.

Not to mention I have no worries about using it for exercise since it’s already designed for excessive hand movements of divers while swimming. So an hour of workouts would not do it any harm.

But, not everything is perfect. The Sumo is still a $500 watch (the price I paid 3 years ago) and it does come with its sets of flaws.

For instance, the watch crystal uses Seiko’s Hardlex crystal, which is an improved version of mineral crystal. It’s tough and resistant to impact, but I found it is not scratch resistant.

Scratches, big and small are present on top of my crystal. I’m not sure if it’s because I’d bang them into concrete walls clumsily many times before, but for Seiko to not put a sapphire on a watch at this price is quite hard to understand.

 

my Seiko Sumo SBDC003 hardlex

Hardlex crystal is still a mineral crystal, and it’s not as good as sapphire to protect our watches from scratches. Notice also the chippings on my Sumo’s bezel insert…

 

Next, I found the aluminum insert on the bezel is not durable as what I’d expect. The bezel insert is easily damaged if you hit it with a hard material.

But to be fair to Seiko, this problem also affects other brands as well. Perhaps the latest ceramic bezel by Rolex is the best solution to this old-age problem.

Lastly, the stainless steel case and bracelet are also not scratch resistant and would pick up grazes once in a while. Again, it’s not Seiko’s fault as this is a universal problem with all stainless steel watches.

The reason why I shared this flaws are to ensure that this review is authentic for my readers. I also want to make sure you guys are fully aware of the shortcomings that a watch will have so that you will know what’s in store with them.

 

How About Seiko 6R15 Movement Accuracy After 3 Years?

Moving on to the automatic movement inside my Sumo, the Caliber 6R15, especially on the question of accuracy.

When I first got it, it kept superb time. It consistently making less than 5 seconds deviation per day, which is truly outstanding especially for a non-Swiss movement. Not to mention that’s on par with chronometer specifications =P

In terms of power reserve, the 6R15 got through 50 hours just fine, though this is not something that I ever measured. All I know is the watch is still ticking come Monday morning, just in time for me to go to work.

But fast forward 3 years later, I found the accuracy had dropped off which can be attributed to various factors such as magnetized, adjustments etc.

To be precise, I’ve used the WatchCheck app (on Google Playstore) to easily measure its accuracy. I measured it for 2 cases:

1- Normal weekday use of the Sumo

2- Normal weekday use of the Sumo but with daily manual winding

 

Below are the results:

Seiko Sumo 6R15 accuracy test (1)

 

Seiko Sumo 6R15 accuracy test (2)

The first picture shows that the average rate of the Sumo/6R15 is +34 sec / day for the normal use case.

On the other hand, the second picture for the daily winding case shows the average rate is +21.5 sec / day.

The reason for this 2 cases is I want to show that manual winding really helped in terms of an automatic watch accuracy – which was right judging by the result.

By the way, there’s no reason to fear that daily winding will break the Sumo as Seiko had stated on its instruction manual that daily winding of the 6R15 is fine. Below is the excerpt from the manual:

 

6R15 manual winding everyday

 

Obviously, I’m not quite happy with such accuracy results but it’s totally within my expectations. Nothing can last forever, and that’s really true for mechanical watches where its accuracy depends on it being in the perfect condition.

The only way to ensure its accuracy to be perfect after all these years is by keeping it pristine inside my watch box. But that’s totally unacceptable for me =)

Why would I not use a watch that costs hundreds of dollars? The joy of owning a watch is using it and these are the results of using the watch for its intended purposes.

 

So what can I do with the Sumo?

 

A visit to my watchmaker is in due course. Since it’s still less than 5 years old, I don’t think I need a full service to be done on it. I believe an adjustment would do just fine to restore the 6R15’s accuracy back to its former glory.

Again, I need to emphasize that I’ve used this watch for many physical activities (swimming, jogging, gym sessions, etc.) which I believe contributed to its current state of accuracy.

Bear in mind that out of the box, the Sumo’s accuracy is unbelievably good and I’ve been a very happy owner for years.

 

What Is My Verdict Of The Sumo?

Even though it does not have a sapphire crystal and it’s accuracy had worsen over the years, it’s definitely a very good value for money watch. It’s super sleek and gorgeous.

Plus, the robustness of a Seiko diver’s watch make me feel comfortable using it for almost any activities.

I’ve done exercises, went to gym, ran and of course, swam with it. I never had the opportunity of testing the 200 m water resistance (because the thought of diving scares the hell out of me LOL!) but suffice to say, the water resistance is good enough for normal people with some water activities here and there.

To me, the Seiko Sumo is a very dependable automatic watch for everyday use.

My only regret is that I did not take better care of it. If only I’d be more careful while using it, I might be able to preserve its beauty and avoid those ugly scratches…..

 

Who Is This Watch For?

So who is this Seiko Sumo for? I believe divers would do well with this. Just like other Seiko divers, the SBDC033 also is ISO 6425 diver’s watch compliant and will definitely be a great tool.

But if you are not a diver, then this watch is an excellent watch because of its versatility which enables you to wear it for any functions and events, except for black tie events of course.

The Sumo is definitely a good value for money diver’s watch.  And lastly, if you like blue color, you’ll definitely love this watch!

While the Sumo’s MSRP is around $600, the watch can be had for lesser than that on Amazon (depending on shopping seasons and availability, of course). Check out Amazon on the current price of the Sumo (click the link below to know more).

 

>> GET Your Own Seiko Sumo HERE

 

Who Should Not Get It?

Those who want a true dress watch should not get the Sumo as it’s a bit sporty and won’t look as dressy.

You might want to check out the other dress watches such as Tissot Visodate, Orient Star Retrograde or Seiko SARB033 and Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time for more dressy watches.

 

Seiko SBDC033 Sumo Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Beautiful design with gorgeous dark blue dial
  • Solid and exquisite craftsmanship
  • Bright and long lasting lume
  • Curved lugs to comfortably hug wrist
  • Great bezel design and action

Cons:

  • Hardlex crystal is not scratch resistant
  • Solid stainless steel in a 44 mm watch can be a bit heavy for some people not used to the extra weight

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko Sumo is a famous watch among Seiko fans due to its more traditional look, as compared to the other Seiko divers such as Seiko Monster and Turtle watches.

And even with a traditional style, Seiko managed to make it look gorgeous, and coupled with great craftsmanship plus affordable prices, they have a really good value for money automatic watch here.

I’ve used the older version of this blue Sumo for 3 years and while I find the non-scratch resistant Hardlex crystal to be very annoying, I still love how beautiful the dial and case is. It’s definitely a watch I’m going to keep for a long time.

 

 

Hope you guys find this Seiko SBDC033 review to be helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions about this watch.

Drop your questions below and don’t forget to subscribe to this site =)

Till next time. Cheers!
Isaac

Orient Ray II Review – An Improved Orient Ray Diver Watch

Orient Ray II review

Affordable Automatic Dive Watch – An Orient Ray II Review

Today, I’m going to write about Orient Ray II review, a follow up of some sort to the review of original Ray I made sometime ago (you can read my review of the original Orient Ray HERE).

Back then, I was impressed with the beautiful design, day date function and the fact that its a very affordable automatic watch.

But the main disadvantage of the original Ray is the outdated movement (non-hacking and non-manual winding), a problem that the original Mako has too.

Luckily, Orient was very sensitive to its fans needs and released this new improved version – the Ray II (along with the new Mako II) that comes with updated movement.

The use of modern automatic movement in this second generation Ray is very welcomed, and I’m not the only one that is happy about this.

Now, let’s get on to the Orient Ray II review shall we.

 

Orient Ray II Blue

Update: I’ve recently featured the Orient Ray II in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

In A Hurry? >> Get Your Own Orient Ray II HERE

 

Orient Ray II Specification

Diameter: 41.5 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Dial: Black or blue dials
Watch Crystal: Mineral crystal
Hands: Sword shaped hands with lume
Markers: Circle index markers with lume
Bezel: Unidirectional rotating diver bezel with 120-clicks

Movement: Orient Caliber F6922 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: Japanese made in-house movement, 22 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 40 hours

Water Resistance: 200 m
Other Features: Luminous hands and markers, Date display, Day display, Screw down crown, Unidirectional rotating diver bezel

Where To Buy: Amazon (usually less $200, than Click the link below). It’s MSRP is  $335

 

Sporty Diver Watch Dial

The look of the Ray II is a typical normal diver watch – but executed perfectly. It’s what people will call the modern dive watch with the customary circle index markers and minute markings on unidirectional rotating bezel.

Unidirectional rotating means the bezel can only be rotated in counter clockwise direction. This is a standard for all dive watch because the bezel is used to time diving time so the bezel. So a unidirectional bezel is used to avoid divers accidentally rotate it as this could spell trouble.

 

Orient Ray II Blue

 

The dial comes in two colors, either black or blue. The black is matte black but the blue on the other hand has this majestic sunburst metallic effect to it. It’s really beautiful to look at seriously. The old Ray has a more darker sunburst blue dial by the way.

So if you like a watch that catches people attention, I recommend to get a watch with sunburst dial like this. People are surely going to complement about it =)

Apart from the traditional circle markers, this watch also has the customary big bold hands of diver watches. The hands are sword shaped like, with the hour hand having a two-tier design which is a nice little Easter egg in this watch.

 

Good Looking Lume On The Dial

 Orient Ray II Black

 

Both the hands and markers have lume applied on it substantially giving the watch a nice lume performance.

The seconds hand is stainless steel with a red painted tip.

On thing that I love is how Orient went to great lengths to apply a small amount of lume on the tip.

This level of detail is very surprising, especially for a watch costing $200.

 

 

 

Orient Ray II lume shot

 

Day Date Display For Convenience

A great thing about this watch is the inclusion of day date function. To have these two features are very beneficial, especially if the owner intends to use it as a daily beater watch for work.

It will give a higher level of convenience to the wearer. There is no need to ask around or check our smartphones for what is the date of today. A glance at our wrist is all it needs to know the date.

Overall, the dial design of the Ray II is almost the same with the original Ray, just a brighter blue shade of sunburst dial.

It has a diver watch look, with all the elements done perfectly. The watch is moderately proportioned and not too busy. The usage of day and date brings the watch to a higher level of functionality.

 

orient ray ii on hand

 

A Diver Watch Case

The watch case of this Ray II is almost exactly the same as the original Ray. It has 41.5 mm diameter which is a very nice size for any men’s wrist. It’s not too big or too small in my opinion.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about 6 things to consider when choosing your wrist watch, a suitable watch for the size of your wrist is a must. Just like a fine tailored suit, a watch with the perfect size to YOUR wrist will look much much better compared to an over-sized watch (no matter how expensive it is).

It’s also quite thick at 13 mm. With all of this, the watch is by no means light. This will be good for those that prefer heavier watch. It’s certainly feels more rugged and sporty.

The lug width is 22 mm and attached to a stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is nice, but comes with hollow end links to the lugs. This gives it some rattling noise. But for this price point, the bracelet is quite passable. Orient certainly took pride in their products as they engraves their logo on the bracelet clasp.

 

Want The Ray II? >> Get Your Own Orient Ray II HERE

 

Orient Ray II Nato strap

If you don’t like the bracelet that the Ray II comes with, a Nato strap can also be paired with the watch. With today’s booming online shops, these cheap Nato straps are just a click away.

 

The case also is rated to 200 m water resistance, thanks to the usage of screw down crown and caseback. But there are many complaints of how there are some water ingress into the watch just by swimming in a pool or showering.

For me, I’ve swam a watch with only a 100 m water rating without any screw down crown and it’s still ok. I believed those that got water into their watches don’t tighten the screw down crown properly.

But still, since this watch is not an ISO rated diver watch, I’d stay away from any deep dives. Leave those to the real diver watch such as the ISO rated Seiko SKX007 and SKX009.

Another thing to add is this watch uses mineral crystal. For those of you that don’t know what is that, I suggest you read my article on types of watch crystals (the glass on top of the watch if you may) HERE.

Mineral crystal is the cheapest but it’s not the strongest to resist impact, and can be scratched easily. So I would suggest anyone that has this watch to really be careful on what you do. A deep scratch on your watch glass can be very painful – to your heart and also your wallet.

 

3 Styles To Choose From

Orient has produced 3 different variations for the Ray II: Black dial, Blue dial and Black dial with gray IP coated case and bracelets (also known as Orient Black Ray Raven II). The IP coated version will costs more since it require a special method to coat the stainless steel with gray color.

In my opinion, the Ray II Blue is the most distinctive with the glowing sunburst dial, followed by Black Ray Raven and lastly the black dial version. Below are side by side comparison of these 3 watches.

 

 Orient Ray II Black Orient Ray II Blue Orient Black Ray Raven II

 

Shown above from top: Orient Ray II Black (FAA02004B9), Orient Ray II Blue (FAA02005D9) and Orient Black Ray Raven II (FAA02003B9).

 

Updated Orient Caliber F6922 Automatic Self-wind Movement

A celebrated update from the old Ray is the new Caliber F6922 movement. This movement is updated from the older 46943 movement.

The old 46943 movement is a very basic automatic movement without any hacking (stops the second hand/time when setting the time) and manual winding (able to recharge the mainspring by rotating the crown. Read my guideline on how to wind a watch here).

The day change also is not built inside the movement, hence the need to have an additional pusher just for the sake of changing the day display.

With the new F6922 movement, these flaws are all corrected. Orient has made it hacking and manual winding. They also incorporated the day change into the watch too.

The result is a modern automatic watch movement. In doing this, the jewel count in this movement has increased from 21 to 22 jewels. They kept the beats per second the same, at 6 beats per second. The power reserve is also comparable, at 40 hours.

On accuracy, the published rate is +- 15 seconds per day though most Ray II owners will report that their watches gives a higher accuracy, some as little as +- 5 seconds per day.

But these accuracy are not always come right out of the box. It will normally take some time until the movement can “break in” and become more accurate.

Also as I’ve pointed out in my article of accuracy of automatic watches, it will surely help to manual wind our watches to give it a full power reserve once in a while. It will definitely help in increasing its accuracy.

 

Comparison Of Orient Ray Vs Ray II

So how did the new Ray II compare to its older brother? Let’s find out!

Side by side comparison of the black version of Original Ray (top) and the new Ray II (bottom)

 

Dial: The dial of these two watches are basically similar. The Ray II just take the design without changing it – which make total sense because if it’s ain’t broken, don’t fix it =). A difference is on the bezel where the Ray II has 120-click bezel while the original Ray has only 60-click bezel.

 

Case: The biggest difference is the pusher at 2 o’clock that Ray has. It’s purpose is to change the day display. Ray II got rid of it by incorporating this function into the movement/crown itself. The other aspects of the case is almost the same.

But I have to say the pusher actually gives the Ray a more unique look, a different character. Ray II has the more normal diver watch look to it, while the original Ray is distinctive and out of ordinary.

 

Movement: This is the part where the biggest difference is. As I’ve mentioned above, the F6922 movement is used inside the Ray II while Ray has the older 46943 movement.

Both movements are in-house made by Orient but the F6922 is more modern with hacking and manual winding features. The result is a better movement technical wise.

 


A video review of the Ray II plus a comparison with the original Ray

 

So which one is better? The original Ray or Ray II? In my opinion, the Ray has a very distinctive look, unlike the Ray II with normal diver watch design.

It’s definitely more unique and very different than other countless automatic diver watches out there.

But the Ray II has a better technical specification with the new movement. The manual winding is just so beneficial and functional. For this, I would have to go for the Ray II purely on the better and more modern movement.

Plus, last time I checked the prices of Ray is higher than the Ray II – most possibly because of reduced production or what not.

So for those undecided between these two great watches, that’s another incentive to get the Ray II, a cheaper and better (technically) watch =)

 

Like This Orient Ray II? Check Out Orient Watches For Sale At Amazon!

If you like this Orient Ray II, you might want to take a look at Amazon. Currently, Amazon lists Orient watches for prices lower than its MSRP.

The MSRP for this Orient Ray II is about $335 (source: Orient’s website) while at Amazon you can get it for around $150 to $200. That gives up to 40% discount! Click links below to check out these Orient Ray II deals on Amazon.

Orient Ray II Black (FAA02004B9)

Orient Ray II Blue (FAA02005D9)

Orient Black Ray Raven II – Gray IP Coated Stainless Steel Case (FAA02003B9)

 

Conclusion

Are Orient watches any good? Well, I have to say they are. And many people also have the same opinion. The previous Ray version has a lot of character, but its not a really really good automatic watch for me (no hacking, manual winding). It’s still looks good though and is high value for money.

But this new Orient Ray II has improved it much more with the new F6922 movement. With a classic diver watch look, 200 m water resistance and very affordable price for an automatic, this is a great watch that’s hard to pass by.

 

I hope this Orient Ray II review has been very helpful to you guys. If there is any question or comments on the watch, feel free to drop it down below. Till next time.

Cheers!
Isaac.

Tissot Visodate Review – Gorgeous And Affordable Swiss Dress Watch

Tissot Visodate Automatic Men's Watch Review

Tissot is one of the older Swiss brands. It got into business in 1853 making the mechanical watches back then. In terms of brand history, it’s definitely up there with the best of the best in horology.

So what’s my review of the Tissot Visodate watch? The Tissot Visodate watch is a beautiful dress watch with classic styling, and having the reliable ETA 2824-2 automatic movement inside it.

It’s one of the most beautiful watch that I’ve owned and I’m very happy with it. The delicate creamy white dial is a pleasure to look at. It’s highly polished case is a wonder.

I’m totally in love with the domed sapphire crystal. So majestic! The 40 mm diameter size is also a bit on the classic sizing which I absolutely dig.

If you want a stylish dress watch WITH automatic movement AND Swiss made, I can’t recommend any other watch. The Tissot Visodate is the one to get.

Tissot Visodate Watch Specification
Diameter 40mm
Thickness 11.6 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 46 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Brown leather calfskin strap with butterfly clasp
Watch Crystal Domed sapphire crystal
Dial White creamy dial
Hands Silver Dauphine hands
Markers Silver index markers
Style Dress
Movement ETA Cal. 2836-2 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 25 Jewels, 28800 Vibrations per hour (8 beats per second), hacking feature
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 38 hours
Water Resistance 30 m / 100 feet
Other Features Day and date display, Exhibition caseback
Rating 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Where To Buy? Amazon

Tissot Heritage VisodateTissot Heritage Visodate

The Tissot Visodate that I’m going to review here is one of the low-mid automatic watch, which I have to say is one of their best value for money offerings. And I should mention that I’ve had the Tissot Visodate for some time now, so all the opinions that you read in this review is from an owner’s perspective.

As part of the Swatch Group of companies, Tissot focuses on low to mid range of watches, from automatic to quartz to sports. Among Tissot men’s watch, the Visodate model is among the most popular, for a number of reasons.

It brought forth Tissot’s classical styling, with the old fashioned logo/signature. In addition, it’s one seriously good looking watch with domed sapphire crystal. Not to mention it’s an  affordable automatic watch (it is among the cheapest of Tissot’s automatic watches). 

Tissot Visodate on hand

Here’s A Story About How I Got Into The Visodate

I sincerely believe every guy need to have a dress watch. And every guy need to own at least one Swiss watch. Prior to buying the Tissot Visodate, my personal collection is filled with Japanese watches (Seiko, Orient, Casio). And it’s predominantly dive or sports watches.

It was then when I learned more about horology that I found the world of watches is more than just the Japanese. They are very good value for money, but one can’t say he is a watch enthusiast without a Swiss in his collection.

Around the same time, I find I’m lacking in dress watch – the beautiful watch that is the ONLY one you’ll wear for a formal events. I was invited to my friend’s wedding at one time and while I’ve got the whole thing correct (jacket, belt, bally shoes, etc.), I realized I lack one thing – a dress watch!

Tissot Visodate : My First Dress Swiss Watch – And Why You Should Get It For Your First Swiss Watch Too

So with those two reasons (needed a dress watch for my friend’s wedding + needed to own a Swiss watch), I scoured the internet for a suitable watch.

I stumbled upon the Visodate by chance, while scrolling through some threads on WUS. It blew my mind away, not just because of how good it looks, but also because how affordable it is.

In fact, I dare say it’s one of the most affordable Swiss watches around.

I read some more reviews, and was completely sold on it. Placed my order for the watch and voila! My new Swiss dress watch arrives in time for my friend’s wedding.

 

Tissot Visodate Box
Tissot Visodate watch inside box

I really like the box of Tissot watches with the big bulky dimension. It looks great and exclusive in my opinion – a great way to welcome its owners.

 

Clean And Simple – Stunningly Stylish White Dial

It’s very hard not to fall in love with this wrist watch at first glance. It has a white silver dial, which is complemented perfectly by the silver stainless steel case.

The stainless steel index markers and dauphine hands also added to the exquisiteness of this watch.

The applied markers and hands are not illuminated and looks very sharp with pointy edges showing precision in craftsmanship – which is something that I totally love.

The choice of silver markers and hands on a white dial is not the best in terms of legibility. But you can’t deny how seriously good looking the watch is with this combo.

Tissot Visodate white dialThe Tissot Visodate uses a clear white dial with silver markers and hands – to accomplish a really stylish dress watch.
Tissot Visodate applied markersThe use of applied markers make the dial more impressive to look at.

It also does not have anything too fancy on it. On the dial is just the Tissot logo, “Visodate” and “Automatic” signature. There is also the very convenient day and date display, and that’s it.

Very clean, simple dial and yet it looks so stunning. The phrase “less is more” is totally applicable here.

You’ll also notice the signature of Tissot is a bit unsual. Actually, this watch uses the older Tissot logo because it’s an incarnation of the previous generation Visodate watches by Tissot, made in 1950s. That’s why you’ll see some retro design elements in the watch (but with modern styling too of course).

 

Tissot Visodate Vintage 1957

Vintage Tissot Visodate 1957 – Notice the white clean dial design is reincarnated in the latest version of the Visodate

A Continuation Of Visodate Legacy

This watch is actually a homage to their famous Visodate model from the 1950s. It is their first model to feature a date function on their watches.

The function first emerged from Rolex with their Datejust model, so Tissot like many other Swiss watchmakers are catching up to that new technology.

Homage watches is certainly a good idea as it enables the current generation to own an updated version of a popular watch from previous decades.

I’ve featured some homage watches such as the Hamilton Intra Matic , Hamilton Khaki King and the Victorinox Infantry Vintage. They all have that vintage style but with some update to cater to the younger generation’s taste.

This Tissot Visodate automatic watch is no different. As you can see, the designer takes the dial design from their 1950s model. The watch got that round white dial and the clean simple dial.

But they changed the index and hands to give the watch a sharper and cooler look. The addition of day function is a very nice touch as I’ve always love watches with day and date.

Tissot Visodate on hand (1)The Visodate continues the legacy with its retro styling – and I can say with certainty that’s one of the biggest selling point of this watch!
Tissot Visodate caseA closer look on the dial. Notice how the Tissot logo is different than the modern logo.

No need to take a look at your smartphone to know what day/date today is anymore. A glance at your wrist is all you need =).

This watch is also bigger, at 40 mm diameter with 11.6 mm thickness. The vintage one got a smaller diameter, around 36-38 mm I think.

The trend now is for bigger watch and I like how Tissot make it bigger, but not too big. 40 mm diameter is perfect on my wrist btw (though it will vary from people to people).

There is almost no bezel on the watch, thus making the watch looks much bigger than it actually is.

Beautiful High Polished Case

The case of the Tissot Visodate is stainless steel that is polished all around. The highly polished case complements perfectly with the white dial, silver hands/markers and the domed crystal (more on that later).

The result? A stunningly beautiful watch that just shines whenever you look at it.

It’s truly is an outstanding sight! Some of my friends say the watch is a bit hard to tell time with, which I don’t really agree as I never had that problem.

Delicate and stylish – this is one of the best automatic dress watches around.

Tissot Visodate polished stainless steel caseThe Tissot Visodate’s highly polished case shines brightly and complementing its white dial. Beautiful!
Tissot Visodate curved second handIf you look closely, you’ll see that the second hand is curving down a bit at the tip – presumably to be in line with the domed sapphire crystal. 

Excellent Craftsmanship With Calfskin Leather Strap

The Visodate has an interesting case design with slightly tapered down from the top, giving the look of a triangular or some sort.

The tapering is very sublime, in fact it’s quite hard to get this on photo! You might be able to catch a glimpse of this from the top photos. I really dig this because it’s very different than what the other watches have.

It is also quite slim, at just 11.6 mm thickness. Not the slimmest watch in the market (well, automatics are infamous for being tall) but in my case, there’s no problem to tug it inside my cuff.

Lug to lug width is 46 mm – a typical size for current modern watches. Without a doubt, it’s very wearable even with small wrists.

Tissot Visodate beautiful dress watch (1)The Visodate is coupled with a dark brown leather strap which accentuates its white dial
Tissot Visodate butterfly claspThe leather strap comes with butterfly clasp without buckle which helps to ensure its longevity. Just be sure to take it off wrist gently as the claps didn’t come with push button (it needs to be manually pulled to open).
Tissot Visodate clasp signatureThere’s also a Tissot’s signature on the clasp

A calfskin leather strap with butterfly clasp comes with the watch. The clasp has Tissot’s logo on top of it. There’s no push button for the clasp – which is a real downer though.

The 20 mm width lug is curved a bit to better hold the wrist and reduce any gap between the wrist and the lug.  On the crown at 3 o’clock, there is the “T” engraving on it.

Curved Sapphire Glass Dial Window

Another unique feature of this Tissot Visodate is the curved sapphire glass dial window. As you can see on the pictures, the curved sapphire glass is very visible from the side. It gives the watch a nice look from the sides as the watch will appear to be curved, instead of the usual flat watches.

I really love this design as it makes the watch very unique and interesting. Not to mention it looks very stylish too! There’s a concern that since it is curved, the dial window will be at the top and unprotected from any scratch or impact.

But I don’t think it will be scratched as sapphire is a very scratch resistant material. But a very high impact will surely break it and I highly recommend that the watch is only used for normal indoor activities and not outdoor activities.

Tissot Visodate sides domed sapphire crystalA look from the side will show the domed sapphire crystal
Tissot Visodate domed sapphire crystalThe domed sapphire crystal from a different angle that will show it more clearly. It looks gorgeous, unique and easily is another reason why I love this watch so much!

One small flaw of the dial window is there is no anti-reflective coating on it, again to keep the costs down. But even without the anti-reflective coating, I’ve never had any problem with glare while looking at the watch.

In fact, it was the silver markers and hands that give a small legibility problem as it don’t have much contrast with the white dial (though it absolutely look stunning!).

 


A video showing the Tissot Visodate up close 

 

ETA Cal. 2836-2 Movement Inside The Tissot Visodate

Inside the watch is the ETA Cal. 2836-2 movement, a sister movement to the venerable ETA 2824-2 that is used in many Swatch Group’s watch brands such as the Tissot Le Locle.

The difference between the 2836 and the 2824 is the addition of the day function in the 2836, and some minor structural differences.

But in general, both ETAs are regarded as similar and function exactly the same.

The movement has a 28800 vibrations per hour or 8 beats per second which will theoretically give it a smoother sweeping second hand compared to Japanese autos (though it’s only minimal I can say).

The movement has 25 jewels in its construction that can be seen through it’s exhibition caseback.

As with any modern automatic watch, it has hacking feature to set the time perfectly. The hacking feature will stop the second hand when the crown is pulled out to set the time.

Tissot Visodate ETA 2836-2 movementThe ETA 2836-2 automatic movement can be seen from the Visodate’s open caseback

In addition to that, it also has self-winding feature to fill up the power reserve in the mainspring barrel by rotating the crown manually.

Just be sure to not do this everyday as ETAs are generally not designed for frequent self-winding. In terms of winding and operating the movement, all I can say is the feeling is quite different than Japanese movements.

Winding the ETA makes a high pitch screeching sound while winding a 6R15 from Seiko will produce a sound just like when we rotate a gear in a wooden car toy.

Not really sure about you, but I do feel the 6R15 is more naturally sound (like turning a gear!) and less annoying than the high pitch screeching sound.

One thing that I absolutely love about the ETA is how the day and date window changes at exactly 12:00.

The 6R15, on the other hand, will change its date gradually from 10 pm onward, which is quite typical for an automatic watch. In my opinion, the abrupt change of the day/date in the ETA is much nicer compared to that as we don’t have to look at a half date during the transition period.

Below is a picture of my Seiko Sumo showing just that….

Seiko Sumo 6R15 changing date

 

38 Hours Power Reserve

The power reserve is a modest 38 hours, which I admit, is not much. What I always recommend is to use the same automatic watch for a few days at a time, instead of picking a different watch every single day.

That way, the power reserve in the watch is filled by the everyday usage – just like how it was designed to be used centuries ago!

Since the movement inside is the base level movement of the ETA 2836-2, it only has an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per day.

But in my experience, this accuracy is usually beaten with the watch registering greater accuracy.

Glimpse of the ETA 2836-2 Movement From The Open Caseback

The Visodate also has an exhibition caseback where you can take a peek at the ETA Cal. 2836-2 movement. 

At the entry level price the watch is in, we can’t really expect elaborate decoration on the movement. But it was clear that Tissot had made an effort in trying to make the movement pleasant and presentable to its owners.

We can see the rotor and some wheels are plated with gold color, a nice contrast with the other parts that are silver in color. We can also see some engraving on top of the rotor  with Tissot’s signature on it.

Tissot Visodate open caseback (3)The movement is decorated, albeit minimally – befitting its entry-price level. Personally, I love the gold plated rotor and gear wheels. It complements beautifully the silver colored parts in the movement.
Tissot Visodate open caseback (2)Another photo of the exhibition caseback with the rotor placed at the other side (just want to show you the full movement LOL!)

Tissot Visodate Automatic Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve listed all the pros and cons below for your easy reference.

Pros:

  1. Stylish, sleek and gorgeous looking dress watch
  2. Moderate 40 mm diameter is perfect for most men’s wrists
  3. The non-existent bezel will make the modest 40 mm diameter looks way bigger than it is
  4. Domed crystal gives the watch stylish retro design
  5. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
  6. Day and date function are very convenient to have
  7. Fine details are included such as signed crown and signatures on rotor

Cons:

  1. No anti-reflective coating on the crystal will make the watch harder to see from some angle

 

Wanting To Buy Tissot Visodate Automatic? Buy It From Amazon!

I get my Visodate from Tissot’s boutique – frankly a big mistake as it costs me about $550. When I check the watch online, I consistently find the watch retailing for way less than that!

If you are looking to get your hands on the Tissot Visodate automatic watch, check out Amazon where you can usually get the watch at an amazing offer. Click the link below to go to Amazon for more details.

Conclusion

Tissot Visodate on hand (1)

The new Tissot Visodate has captured the essence of its 1950s Visodate model perfectly, with modern update to cater to the new age’s taste.

A subtle looking, simple and clean dial design has proven to be evergreen. It is well loved in the 1950s and it still is 60 years after.

I really love the domed sapphire crystal and simple design. It looks sleek and stylish!

With a trusted ETA 2836-2 movement that comes with a very convenient day and date features, the watch comes with robust and well-regarded movement in the industry.

Not to mention, it is very affordable too – for a totally Swiss Made automatic watch. Without a doubt, it is the perfect choice for those just starting out in automatic watches and would like to own their first Swiss automatic.

I hope this Tissot Visodate review has helped you gain some information on this beautiful watch. Drop your comments below if you already own this and would like to share what are your thoughts about it. Feel free to ask question too. I’ll be really glad to help as much as I can.

Cheers!

Isaac

 

Seiko SARB033 Review : A Hands-On Review Of The Great Value For Money Dress Watch

Seiko SARB033 Review

A Review Of The Seiko SARB033 – An Affordable And Stylish Dress Watch

Seiko SARB033 worn hand

Today I’m writing about the Seiko SARB033 review, a watch that I’ve owned and enjoyed greatly.

The watch is intended to be dress watch and have taken its design cues from the Grand Seiko line – which says a lot of why it’s so good looking.

Simple, elegant and understated. Those are the three words that can be used to describe this watch.

 

 

How I Met My Seiko SARB033

I first encounter this watch a few years ago from watch forums and facebook groups. I still remember how impressed I am with the watch back then from photos shared by others. It was hugely popular and I can clearly saw why.

I didn’t pull the trigger back then. It was until I needed a more decent watch for work that I revisited the SARB033.

The thing is, I was mostly a dive/sports watch kind of guy. It’s versatile and can be used practically anywhere. But then, I sensed that it’s not a good fit to my image (had moved up the ladder in my company that time).

Thus, I needed a new watch, a watch that’s good looking and exudes professionalism.

And that’s how the Seiko SARB033 came to my attention again.

 

What I Feel About Wearing The SARB033

Now, I’m a proud owner of the SARB033 and I still am constantly wowed by the watch every single day.

It’s perfectly sized (my small wrist fits 38 mm diameter watches like a charm) and the deep black dial is just stylish and looks far more expensive that it actually is.

And the best part is it’s packed with so much feature at such an amazing price (sapphire crystal, automatic movement with open caseback, 100 m water resistance).

Long story short, if you’re looking for a stylish dress watch with an automatic movement inside it, you should seriously consider the Seiko SARB033.

 

>> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

 

 

Seiko SARB033 Watch Specification
Diameter 38 mm
Thickness 11.2 mm
Lug Width 20 mm
Lug To Lug Distance 45 mm
Case Stainless steel case
Strap Stainless steel brushed bracelet with folding clasp
Watch Crystal Sapphire crystal
Dial Black dial
Hands Sword style hands with lume
Markers Index markers with lume
Style Dress
Movement Seiko Caliber 6R15 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features 23 Jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Able to be manually wind, Hacking feature
Accuracy +/-25 seconds per day
Power Reserve 50 hours
Water Resistance 100 m
Other Features Date display at 3 o’clock, Exhibition caseback (Hardlex crystal), Luminous hands and markers
Rating 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Where To Buy? Amazon

 

As with the Seiko Cocktail Time, the SARB033 is also a Japan Domestic Market (JDM) model that is not available outside of Japan.

Luckily, there are a number of watch sellers online that we can use to get our hands on it (Amazon is a good choice). It only retails around $350 to $400, and in that price range, it is definitely unbeatable. A truly good value for money watch.

 

Seiko SARB033 black dial

A close up view of the watch face of the SARB033. Very simple dial design, but elegant and sharp at the same time. I totally dig the laser cut sharp hands and markers!

 

Simple And Understated Design

The SARB033 has the traditional look of a dress watch. It is small (around 38 mm), has Seiko SARB033 frontblackdial, has sword shape hands and index markers. It has a date display at 3 o’clock. The hands and markers has some lume on it for added functionality.

The index markers are quite unique as it has some indentation at the center causing it to have some sort of play with different angles of lighting.

The 12 o’clock marker has double indices to separate it from the other markers. At the outer edge of the dial are minute markers for more accuracy when telling time.

One thing that surprised me is the application of lume on the markers and hands. I did mention that it makes the watch more functional in the dark but it’s still interesting for Seiko to put it on a dress watch.

If you’re wondering if it’s a great lume as in Seiko’s diver watches, I’m afraid to say that is not the case with this watch.

Check out the picture of my SARB033 below and you’ll understand what I mean. (by the way, forgive me for the horrendous photo. That’s the best my photography skill with my phone can deliver LOL!)

 

Seiko SARB033 lume

While it has lume, don’t expect it to be as good as its dive watch siblings. It did give some help telling time in dark places though.

 

Simple Design Reminiscence Of The Rolex Datejust and Grand Seiko

Looking at the design, it is just so simple and clean. It reminds me of the Grand Seiko Hi-Beatand the Rolex Datejust due to the simple dial design.

Sometimes, simpler can be better and it is just true with watches. This Seiko SARB033 is not an exception in this regard.

Just look at both luxury watches below and you’ll understand what I mean.

Comparison between the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat (top) and the Rolex Datejust (bottom). Two top-of-the-line watches with simple dial design. No wonder the Seiko SARB033 has the nickname of “Baby Grand Seiko” as it has almost the same look, but of course with lower craftsmanship and movement quality.

 

Want Your Own SARB033? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

Excellent Craftsmanship by Seiko

Even though this watch only costs less than $500, we can see some serious effort by Seiko to Seiko SARB033 side 1make it look great. The case is made from stainless steel and is beautifully crafted. If you notice from the picture below, the lug is slightly curving down.

It’s a typical case design of Seiko for some of their watches and it just looks beautiful, not to mention it is very comfortable to wear. I have a Seiko Sumo (a diving watch SBDC003) with the same case/lug design and I can attest to how the watch just sits and grip my wrist perfectly.

Ask any SARB033 owner and they’ll agree that the strongest point about the watch is the exquisite craftsmanship, namely the case.

The case is mostly brushed, but it is polished in detail at some part of the case – namely the small space between the top of the case and the case’s edge.

Such attention to detail and effort poured into it is starkly different than what other watchmakers will give, at this price point.

The layering of brush an polish surfaces is very beautiful to look at. I can’t count the number of times when I had gazed on the exquisite case.

It’s truly a beauty!

 

Bracelet and Crown

The lug width of 20 mm make it easy to find another strap to suit it with. It’s very interesting to see how a watch will look like with different straps on it.

I’m a part of many watch groups on Facebook and the creativity of how the owners of the SARB033 never fails to astonish me.

They strapped the watch on leather, Nato, in various colors, – and everytime the watch turns out great. A good thing about black dial is how versatile it is with various straps and this is truly the case here.

There is also the Seiko logo “S” engraved on the crown. These small but satisfying application of details is very astonishing, not less because this is a low-middle range watch from Seiko.

 

Seiko SARB033 Review

Notice how the lug of the Seiko SARB033 beautifully sloping down as if to provide a grip to the wrist. Very comfortable and give a sleek design aspect to it.

 

A Lot To Be Desired From The Bracelet

As with any Seiko at this price range, the bracelet can be said to be it’s weakest point, and the same can be said for this SARB033. The stainless steel bracelet is solid and tough though, don’t get me wrong.

But what I’m talking about is that Seiko does not put as much effort on the bracelet, as it has done for the watch/case.

 

 Seiko SARB033

The bracelet is brushed, and have a small deployment clasp which looks modern. The Seiko sign on the claps is a nice touch too.

But the finishing of the bracelet could have been better in my opinion but then again we need to understand that Seiko had to cut corners on the bracelet to maintain a low price for this watch.

Another small mishap in the design is the gap in-between the clasp and the top bracelet links. But this should not be a huge issue, at least for me.

Sizing the bracelet is a tad bit difficult though as Seiko opted to use a pin and collar design. I’d suggest to check out Youtube (here is a great tutorial) on how to remove links and size the bracelet.

Fortunately a replacement strap is very easy to get and for some few dollars, one can get a beautiful leather strap online for this watch and it will look stunning too.

 

Seiko SARB033 clasp bracelet

Seiko SARB033 clasp

Yes, I like to wear my watch tight =)

Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal

A great thing about the watch is the sapphire crystal on top of it. It can be said to be the best type of watch crystal to be used on a watch due to its great scratch-resistant properties and longetivity.

Sapphire sits at the top of the hardness scales, only beaten by a few materials such as diamond. I never tested this myself though but it should withstand scratches from normal materials around us such as bricks, metals and such.

I’ve owned some mineral and hardlex crystal watches and I dare say those scratches easily. But with this baby, not so much as a scratch is there after some good use!

This makes the watch a totally huge value for money, as it’s quite hard to get an automatic watch with sapphire crystal at the kind of price the SARB033 is in.

 

Seiko SARB033 side 3

 

Want Your Own SARB033? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

The Trusted Seiko Automatic Movement Cal. 6R15

Inside this watch is the Automatic Self-wind movement Cal. 6R15, Seiko’s trusted movement in Seiko SARB033 open caseback

the middle range watches (this is also the same movement in the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time).

This is a very solid and robust movement from Seiko. I would like to point out that Seiko’s diving watch range (the Prospex line) would typically use this movement – a testament of how the 6R15 is so tough, that it can be used for even the harshest condition underwater.

The Seiko Cal. 6R15 has 23 jewels and vibrate at 21,600 vibrations per hour (or 6 beats per second). Since the beats are not high, the smoothness of the sweeping second hand is not as good as a normal Swiss ETAs movement.

But in return of that, Seiko claims the 6R15 will be able to go without service for much longer as its “mileage” is lower. Which is kinda true. If we think about it, an 8 beat movement has about 30% extra movement than a 6 beat (2/6 x 100%).

By this, the Swiss 8 beat movement will have 30% more mileage on them (versus a 6R15 movement) and would require services sooner and more frequent in its lifetime.

By the way, I’ve also owned the Seiko Sumo SBDC003 which has the same movement as in this SARB.

One interesting thing that I noticed is the winding sound in this SARB is a bit “loud”, akin to some ETAs that I have handled before.

On the other hand, the winding sound in the Sumo is more quiet. Not very sure whether it’s the extra steel on the Sumo (it is a bigger watch at 44 mm diameter) which have reduced the sound.

 

 

A Good 50 Hours Power Reserve

Another important thing to add about the 6R15 is it’s able to last for 50 hours, thanks to SPRON510, a proprietary mainspring by Seiko (read this article for in depth explanation of how an automatic watch work to understand this).

50 hours power reserve is a good power reserve for an automatic, and much better than a Swiss ETA 2824-2 (another common ETA auto movement) that only has 38 hours. Of course, there are other watches will more power reserve (such as the Tissot Powermatic 80 with 80 hours) but a 50 hours is good enough to at least lasts for a weekend =)

It also has hacking feature (meaning the second hand will stop when you want to adjust the time) and can be wind manually via rotation of the crown. You can also peek at the movement through the exhibition caseback of the watch.

 

Seiko SARB033 Review
There is an exhibition caseback on the Seiko SARB033 to allow you to marvel at the Cal. 6R15 automatic movement.

 

It has a published accuracy range of +25/-25 seconds per day. But from my own experience (as well as countless others review of Seiko lovers around the world), the accuracy can be as high as +-5 seconds per day which is just within COSC Chronometer range.

One thing about this movement is that you need to wind the movement manually at least once a day for it to keep perfect time, even though you are using it everyday. This is because all automatic watches is at their best accuracy when it’s fully charged.

 

How About Seiko SARB033 Accuracy?

What’s a watch review without discussing its accuracy? To my great relief, my watch is performing miles better than what Seiko specified for the 6R15 movement (which is +25/-15 seconds per day).

Over a period of 5 normal working days, I’ve averaged +4.5 seconds per day.

There’s some spikes here and there but on the big picture, yes, the SARB033 did beat COSC chronometer specification by 1.5 second (COSC +6 sec/day – 4.5 sec/day).

 

Seiko SARB033 Accuracy 6R15

 

But I need to note here that the COSC chronometer is tested for 5 different positions of the watch in 3 different temperatures. This is definitely a more extreme test encompassing a wide range of conditions.

Whereas my testing of the SARB033 is more towards real-life usage with just two main conditions of use: a) put the watch dial up in a box overnight; b) pick it up for work the next morning.

Without a doubt, if the SARB033 and the 6R15 inside it is tested for COSC chronometer, the result might not be pretty.

On the other hand, I fail to see if other guys would use the watch any differently than how I use it (unless you are involved in outdoor activities and such.. but then again you SHOULD NOT wear a dress watch like this for such activities LOL!).

The point I’m trying to make here is how important COSC chronometer watches are anymore? We can get a pretty accurate watch in the SARB033 (which actually beat chronometer accuracy spec) without spending thousands for chronometers.

Just a point to consider when looking at those chronometer adverts =). Let me know what you guys think about it!

 

Seiko SARB033 (top) versus Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time (bottom). Two beautiful and affordable watch. But which one is better?

 

How Does Seiko SARB033 Compare To Seiko SARB065 (Cocktail Time)?

I’ve covered the Seiko SARB065 Cocktail Time before (you can read the review here) and it is just a stunning dress watch. It has a sunburst guilloche dial that is so mesmerizing to look at. But how does both of these watches compare to each other? It is truly a difficult thing to ask.

Technical wise, both have the 6R15 movement inside. The Seiko SARB033 has a simple and traditional black dial, as opposed to the flashy sunburst dial of the SARB065.

Some people might not agree with me but I believe that the SARB065 wins over the SARB033  aesthetically for the dress watch category. With its beautiful dial, it will surely caught people’s attention. I also love the blue second hand and also the detail on the markers and hands – they are so well executed. It’s just a gorgeous watch for when you are dressing up for the occasion.

But for other more casual activities, the SARB033 will be my pick. The not-so-flashy-and-simple dial would work better when going out with friends, etc. Plus, the curvy lug will ensure you are comfortable wearing it for long time. I’m for sure won’t be wearing the SARB065 when going to the beach or taking a roadtrip as it’s just not the right watch for those activities.

 

-To sum it up, get a SARB065 for a perfect dress watch. For a more versatile watch that can be used casually, the SARB033 is one to go-

 

A video showing the SARB up close

 

Seiko SARB033 Automatic Wrist Watch Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summed up all the advantages and disadvantages of this watch below for your easy reference:

Pros:

  1. Traditional and simple styling is very beautiful and elegant to look atSeiko SARB033 in box
  2. Good quality watch for low range price. Great value for money
  3. Seiko automatic movement cal 6R15 is very reliable, accurate and robust
  4. Luminous hands and markers as well as 100 m water resistance make it a functional watch as well
  5. Exhibition caseback allows us to peek at the movement inside
  6. Sapphire crystal dial window for an extra scratch protection for your peace of mind
  7. It is versatile can be used for any function or activities

Cons:

  1. The understated styling could turn off some people that loves flashy design for their watches
  2. In this age of oversize watches, a 38 mm diameter watch might be deemed too small and not everyone’s cup of coffee
  3. Shipped with a good but definitely could have been better bracelet

 

Impressed with its simple and understated elegance? Get this Seiko SARB033 From Amazon!

Seiko SARB033 worn hand

As with any other JDM watches, there is no possibility at all to see this watch at our local watch shops. The only way to get it is by going to Japan and buy it there, or buy it online.

If you are looking to buy the Seiko SARB033 automatic watch, look no further than Amazon. Amazon usually has the lowest price for this watch. Click the link below to check the latest deals of Seiko SARB033 on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

>> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB033

 

 

 

Update March 2018: It seems that Seiko will be discontinuing some SARB watches including this SARB033. If you really want it, I suggest to quickly get it NOW!

 

Conclusion

The Seiko SARB033 automatic wrist watch is a simple, elegant and understated watch that is just so amazing. Built with quality in mind by Seiko, this watch is definitely a great value for money given its solid construction and minute details in its craftsmanship.

With a Seiko automatic movement Cal. 6R15 inside it, you are getting a reliable and accurate movement that is used in Seiko’s diving watches intended to be used in tough environments.

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy my Seiko SARB033 review. If you have any questions or comments on the watch, feel free to ask me.

Let me know in the comments below =)

Share this on your social media if you loved it. I really appreciate it =P Don’t forget to subscribe to my site for more awesome stuffs in future. Till next time then.

Cheers!
Isaac

 

 

*Update: I’ve recently reviewed the Seiko SARB035, a white version of this SARB033 which comes with a snowy white dial. Check out the review (click HERE) where I go in depth on the watch plus a side by side comparison with the SARB033. Below is the picture of that beauty =)

 

Seiko SARB035 Review