Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Review – The Seiko With A Green Dial

The Beautiful Watch With Green Dial – A Seiko Alpinist Review

Today’s review is about the Seiko SARB017 or better known as Seiko Alpinist is a very popular automatic wrist watch among Seiko fans and it’s not hard to understand why.

It has a very distinctive sunburst green and gold dial with unique design which won it many fans around the world.

The Alpinist model line has a long history as Seiko sport watches specifically designed for those going for hiking or camping in the mountain and woods. This particular model, the SARB017 continues that spirit in the modern generation.

Let’s get on with Seiko Alpinist review and get a closer look at this watch and to see why it has been a favorite among Seiko’s fans worldwide.




In A Hurry? >> Get The Seiko Alpinist SARB017 HERE


Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Specification

Diameter: 38 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Case: Stainless steel (polished at sides/bezel and brushed on top of lugs)
Lug to Lug: 46 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Strap: Brown calf leather strap with pin buckle

Dial: Sunburst dark green dial with gold accents
Watch Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Hands: Gold hands with lume
Markers: Gold numeral markers with lume pips
Inner Bezel: Bi-directional rotating inner bezel with compass chapter ring

Movement: Seiko Caliber 6R15 Automatic self-wind movement
Movement Specification: 23 Jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Able to be manually wind, Hacking feature, Diashock absorber
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Accuracy: +25-15 seconds per day

Water Resistance: 200 m or 660 feet
Other Features: Date display at 3 o’clock, screw down caseback, screw down crown, Luminous hands and markers, compass chapter ring on inner bezel, Diashock absorber inside movement

Where To Buy: Amazon (Click link below to check its price on


Seiko Alpinist SARB017Seiko Alpinist SARB017

Seiko Alpinist History

This Seiko SARB017 Alpinist wrist watch was designed with the Japanese mountain explorer in mind. In Japan, these mountain climbing gentlemen were called yama-otoko. They are explorers who would traveled between cities in Japan’s mountainous terrain.



A Japanese art showcasing the yama-otoko


Seiko produced the Alpinist with them in mind. All Alpinist line of watches are designed to be used in rough environment, with high water resistance (you could get soaked in rain while hiking you know), lume on the hands and markers for visibility in night and some of them have compass bezel.

The first Alpinist was released in 1961, and 5 generations have followed it since then. The latest version is released in 2009 and featuring the SARB059 & SARB061. However, the most popular model is the SARB017 (the previous 5th gen – the one we are reviewing here) for a very simple reason – it has the unique green and gold dial.

This particular model was released in 2006 with a few other models. It’s been 10 years and the SARB017 is still going strong though. I believe it is here to stay just like the SKX007 and SKX009, though the company do have a history to stopping popular models.

There’s been some talks in watch forums about how Seiko is going to stop producing their beloved SARB line of watches (SARB033, SARB035, SARB065 etc.).

So if you like the Alpinist, make sure you get it as soon as possible before Seiko pulled the plug on it (for whatever damn reason….) >>CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko Alpinist


Read this awesome story of the Seiko Alpinist line here




Gorgeous Green And Gold Dial

It’s hard to miss the green and gold dial of this gorgeous wrist watch. The green dial actually has a sunburst effect i.e the dial will reflect different lights if looked from different angles.

This effect can’t be seen from pictures though. You can watch the video below to see it for yourselves.

It’s not hard to make the link that Seiko chose green to reflect the greenery of the mountainous range of Japan, in line with the Alpinist concept.

Regardless whether this is the truth or not, we just can’t deny the green dial looks absolutely fantastic on the watch.

On top of the dial are numeral and index markers with gold in color which beautifully contrasts with the green dial.

There are some small lume pips on top of the markers. A calendar date display is located at the right, at 3 o’clock position. The hands are bulky and also in gold with lume generously applied on top of them.

One thing for certain about Seiko’s lume is they are good and this one is not an exception. The hour hand is uniquely designed with mercedes like pointer while the minute hand is sword shaped like.

I really like the design of the hands as they are truly unique and one of a kind. With the exquisite dial and hands, what I can say is the amount of detailing that Seiko put inside this watch is ridiculous.

One thing for sure is the design is more towards dress watch than a rugged utility watch the Alpinist line should represent. It is after all designed for mountainous expeditions right? So why does Seiko designed it to be so pretty?

This is one of the questions raised by Seiko enthusiasts. For me, it is a bit out of place for an utility sports watch to be so dressy but we have to remember not all the people buying the watch will actually go for a camping.

It’s the same like not all people buying that gorgeous two-tone Rolex Submariner will actually go scuba diving with it.

So Seiko designed a very beautiful watch but still make sure the watch can withstand the harsh environment of a mountain.


Watch this awesome youtube review by minitwatch to see the sunburst green dial and lume of the Seiko SARB017 in action=)


Solidly Built 38 mm Stainless Steel Case

The case of this Seiko Alpinist has a diameter of 38 mm excluding crown and about 41 mm including crown. It has a 46 mm length from lug to lug, with 20 mm lug width. The wrist watch is not too thick, at just over 12 mm in thickness.

A major complain is that the watch is too small and won’t fit in. But then we have to remember that this watch is a Japan Domestic Model (JDM) which is supposed to be sold exclusively in Japan.

So for sure the sizing will be based on average Japanese/Asian wrist size which is smaller than western people.

Personally for me, 38 mm should be fine for most people, unless you have a huge hand. This small diameter is what gives the watch a much more dressy look than a real tool watch. The lugs are curving down beautifully which is typical of the SARB line by Seiko.

It is intended to “hug” the wrist and giving a more comfortable feel while wearing it. The case is highly polished on the sides and the bezel (the bezel is empty) while perfectly brushed on top of the lugs. On the back of the case is the mountain logo engraved on the screw down caseback.



The back of the watch. Notice the engraving of Alpinist mountain logo on it


Compass Chapter Ring On Inner Bezel

One tool that the Seiko SARB017 has is the compass chapter ring on its inner bezel which is put on the watch with such great detail.

The inner bezel ring is quite small (you have to really zoom in on the area just at the edge of the bezel) and is operated by rotating the second crown at 4 o’clock.

What is it used for? It’s used as a fast way to know the direction (north, east, south, west) of your location provided you can see the sun.

In the morning, we can know the direction by pointing our hour hand towards the sun. Then rotate the compass bezel until the South indicator (if you are in the northern hemisphere. If you are in the southern hemisphere use the North indicator) is between the hour hand and 12:00.

At that moment, the direction indicated on the compass ring is the correct direction.

On afternoon, just repeat the same process. But you will notice the hour hand is now at the right side of the watch (1pm to 6pm) instead of at the left during the morning (6pm to 11 pm). Just be reminded that this is just a rough indication of the direction.

Always bring a working compass with you for any mountainous expedition. For some great illustration, you can refer to this site here.

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Review

The inner bezel of the Seiko Alpinist has a compass chapter ring which can be used by rotating the lower crown to find your direction (North, South) based on the sun location


Seiko Caliber 6R15 Movement With Diashock

Just like the SARB033 and SARB065 Cocktail Time, this watch also features the Seiko Cal. 6R15 automatic self-wind movement inside it. This movement is an ubiquitous movement in most of Seiko’s low to mid range of watches.

It has 23 jewels with 21,600 vibrations per hour which gives a 6 beats per second movement. It can be manually wind, hacking and has a 50 hours power reserve.

What I like about this movement is how robust and low maintenance it is. This same movement is used in many Seiko Prospex diving line – the kind of watch that will be used for lots of action in the sea. And that same movement is used in this watch.

That means you are getting a very tough movement in a normal watch which really gives you a peace of mind. The accuracy is within +25 /-15 seconds per day, which will improve once the watch is worn regularly.

Another added bonus on this watch that is not in other SARB line watches is the Diashock absorber. Being a watch to be used in rough environment, the diashock will provide addition absorber protection to the movement from falls, drops or any moderate impact.

It’s certainly very reassuring to have this feature in the watch that’s for sure.


Seiko SARB017 Alpinist on stainless steel bracelet. You can buy this replacement bracelet that fit it from (the bracelet is actually made for another Alpinist model, the SARB015. So it should fit in nicely with the SARB017)


Put The Alpinist On Bracelet Or Leather Strap?

Seiko Alpinist SARB017Seiko Alpinist SARB017

This wrist watch comes with a brown calf leather strap with alligator pattern and pin buckle out of the box.

But just like most low-middle range Seikos, the strap is just not up to the high standard of the watch itself.

Due to this, you can always see many people changed out the leather strap for stainless steel bracelets or higher quality leather straps.



seiko-sarb017-alpinist-review-4-black-leatherAlso looks great on black leather strap!


Where To Get A Seiko SARB017?

Looking for Seiko SARB017 Alpinist for yourself? Unfortunately, as with most SARB watches, the Alpinist is not on sale in most Seiko boutiques.

You might be lucky to stumble upon one but why bother going the distance if we can easily get one from online stores?

The Alpinist is also on Amazon and they usually has the lowest price for Seiko watches. Click the link below to check the best deals of Seiko Alpinist on Amazon.


Seiko Alpinist SARB017Seiko Alpinist SARB017



The Seiko SARB017 Alpinist is a great looking watch with gorgeous sunburst green and gold dial. It’s just too beautiful to be called a sports watch – even though that’s what the Alpinist line should be about.

It also has a compass chapter ring and Diashock which make it perfect if you want to actually use it for your mountainous adventures.

Inside, we get a robust and well regarded 6R15 automatic self-winding movement in it. At is price, it is truly one of those Seikos that is well worth for money due to the high quality craftsmanship and detailing put on the watch by Seiko’s watchmakers.


Hope this Seiko Alpinist review helped clear some questions regarding the watch. Feel free to ask any question to me about this watch. I’ll be glad to help you guys out. Don’t forget to subscribe to my site.




28 thoughts on “Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Review – The Seiko With A Green Dial”

  1. Great article,

    I was amazed by the intricacy of the review. It truly increased my knowledge.

    While I completely agree that this masterpiece is a classic watch that will last your wrist for years if not decades, it still has a mix of pros and cons. Also, since it’s production was discontinued by the Seiko brand, it is short in the market.

    Keeping all the data and information in my mind, I have written an extensive review of the Seiko Alpinist SARB017.

    Here is the review of it:

    I would be happy for any suggestions.

    • Hi Faraz. Yes indeed, it does have its pros and cons (one of them being green in color as not many people like green…). The discontinuation of the Alpinist is indeed surprising given how popular it is. But if the Cocktail Time watch is any indication, there is a good chance that Seiko will reintroduce the Alpinist at a later time with much more color choices! (read what I think about the newer and more variations of the Cocktail Time watches here).

  2. Hi Isaac. I really like this watch because it’s something that’s truly unique and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this before. As you’ve mentioned, the green dial and gold accent works fantastic in creating a truly unique to the Alpinist.

    I just would like to ask your opinion on the compass ring. In this time and age, do we still need this feature? I just think that it’s just for show and no real functionality….

    • Hi Mike. I’d say the compass ring don’t really serve any real purpose since most people will just buy a cheap real compass that can anytime (the compass ring needs the sun to be visible to work with).

      But even then, you do agree that the compass ring do make the watch busier and cooler right?

  3. How often should this watch be serviced? What is the typical cost of servicing it, and what questions should I ask the serviceman so that I know he is legit? Thanks!

    • Hi Clayton. Generally automatic watches need to be serviced once every 3-5 years. The cost of servicing varies and depend on where you do it i.e Seiko’s service center or independent watchmaker. You can contact the Seiko center at your country for more information on this.

  4. One little detail,
    To use the compass to determine the direction you split the difference between the hour hand and 12’o clock placing south at that midpoint or north if in the southern hemisphere, also subtract an hour if observing daylight savings time.

  5. Hi Isaac,

    Thanks for this review. Very interesting. I never new about the history of the Alpinist. It made me want to own one.

    How does someone who hasn’t worn a watch for 15 years get back into the habit of wearing one again?

    Since the advent of mobile phones, my old watch has lain in a box somewhere.

    A beautiful looking watch, the Seiko Alpinist.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Paul. Thanks for visiting my blog. Well, it’s easy to start wearing a watch again. Like what Nike said – “Just Do It”. In short, just wear your watch!

      I can say there are a few advantages of using a wrist watch instead of a phone to tell time. For a start, our watch will not run out of battery. It’s also very easy to check time by a simple twist of your wrist. This is much better than having to unlock our phone every time =)

  6. Hi Isaac,
    I’ve just recieved my SRAB017 from vendor.
    Please, tell me the best way to use this watch.
    Many thanks for your great review.

    • Hi Siamto. So how does the watch looks like in person? In my opinion, the watch looks best with a casual wear. The green dial is too unconventional to be used as a dress watch. In the end, you choose how best to wear the watch to reflect your own character and style.


    • Hi Gerald. It should works fine but I’m not entirely sure since the case of SARB017 and SARB033 is not exactly the same. If you are buying the bracelet new, you might want to make sure that you can return it in case the bracelet won’t fit. Otherwise, consider getting the bracelet sold from SeiyaJapan .


  7. Wow Great Review Isaac!!! I have to admit I am partial to Seiko Warches myself as both of my parents wore them. I have been searching for a great wrist watch that is durable and dependable as I am always outside and on the go. Your breakdown of this watch has really peaked my interest, I truly didn’t know the amount of detail that goes into building one of these time pieces. Thank you sir for the valuable information.

    • Hi Matt. I’m happy that I’ve been able to help you understand more about this watch. Let me know if you have other questions. I’ll be glad to help.


  8. Oh I am in love with the Seiko Alpinist.I haven’t seen a watch as nice as it in a while and the price ain’t bad.Would the sapphire Crystal be scratch proof on this watch?Also I love the fact that it has a compass.This is handy when going on hikes in the mountains.

    • Hi Trev. It’s a true beauty right? The green dial is also something unique so much so this is the only watch that I’ve seen having a green face.

      The sapphire crystal is scratch proof – read my post on introduction to watch crystals HERE about the different types of crystals.


  9. Wow! What a beauty! I’d like to buy one. Especially because it is SEIKO. I like the brand very much. And these green and gold… Ahhh…

    What concernces me, is it’s accuracy. The review says that it will improve over time but does not tell how much. Still, 25 seconds… per day – isn’t that a bit much. It’s about a minute per day and 3 minutes per week.

    Way too much, in my opinion. Or did I understood something wrong here?

    Otherwise… Awesome!

    • Hi Egon. Thanks for visiting by and reading my review. 25 seconds gain/lose per day is the published accuracy of this Seiko SARB017 (it uses the 6R15 in-house movement by Seiko).

      It might seem a bit too much but this is the maximum accuracy they have tested. The usual day to day accuracy will be much lesser than that. If the watch gain/lose more than half a minute, it’s better to return it back to the vendor as it could be a lemon unit.

      This kind accuracy is actually fairly standard across all automatic watch manufacturers (Swiss, Japs, Germans, US etc.). Only COSC Certified Chronometer watches has very good accuracy of maximum 6 seconds gain/lose per day. But these watches can easily be worth more than $1k though =)

      Automatic watches are not the most accurate watches there is. Quartz is much more accurate (up to +-10 seconds per MONTH). But to me, the real attraction of automatic watches rests on its uniqueness and mechanical moving parts that’s foreign with our current world of electronics nowadays =)

  10. Hi Isaac,

    Ever since I was a kid, watches have always been something which interests me. Since then, I have owned many Seiko watches and they have all given me great service.

    Tha Alpanist is a handsome looking timepiece and its good looks appear to be supported by great features, thanks to your review.

    Definitely worth thinking about!


    • Hi Stephen. Great to know that you also love those Seikos. In my opinion, Seiko watches are the best value for money among other brands. Swiss watches on the other hand has the advantage of century-old heritage and among the first people to build a functioning mechanical watch.

      The Alpinist surely is a handsome watch. Thanks for visiting =)


  11. Honestly i like watches and am a great fun of them but i should admit that these are classics, on top of the game. so absurd that am just out of the festive season and am quite broke but i’d really love to get one for myself…

    • Hi Mugabi. I totally agree with you. I too also love watches and thing that they are a great piece of vintage technology, something that our digital world (think smartwatches and wearables) still cannot beat.

      I’ve had enough of my phones, laptop, tv, car and everything else that just have too much electronics. A certain piece of “ancient” technology is something that I crave =)

      Totally understand your situation with the festive season. I can say I’m also in the same situation lol. Thanks for visiting buddy!

  12. I love this watch. It has a great look. I love the story you mentioned. It attracts me to read the post. I learn that this watch is designed for extreme mountain environment. But, it is a masterpiece more than a sport watch. Is it a mechanical watch that runs without battery?

    • Hi Billy. Many thanks for the compliment. I kinda love watches that have a rich history (such as this Alpinist line from Seiko) and would like to share it with people. I’m glad you love it too.

      Yes it’s designed for extreme conditions but it’s looks is more dressy so I would say it’s kinda a hybrid between these two. But if anything, this will ensure the watch can withstand anything its owner throw at it =)

      The Seiko Alpinist is an automatic/mechanical watch that runs without battery.

  13. I myself am a fan of watches so when i came across this i found it good interesting read. i like how you’ve bullet pointed the specification so that readers know all the details they need to know about the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist watch. the post is well laid out and is a good fluent read.


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