The Seiko SARG009 is a watch well-known for being similar to the Rolex Explorer and is even called as the Japanese Explorer. However one question frequently surfaces – is the SARG009 a mere copycat or is it worthy to buy?
In my opinion, the Seiko SARG009 is a great budget alternative if you love the simply Explorer kind of dial. I don’t think it’s a copycat as although the style is similar, Seiko did put a lot of their own design into it to warrant it as an independent watch on its own. It is also a well-built watch with a tried-and-tested Seiko in-house movement inside it.
Interested? Continue reading this Seiko/Japanese Explorer SARG009 Review!
Looking at the watch, it’s no wonder why many people will mistook it for being a Rolex Explorer or even a Tudor Ranger. It has that numeral and index marker combination so famously associated with the famed Rolex on top of a deep black dial.
With a not overbearing watch size, the Seiko SARG009 is very much keeping true to the Rolex. One thing for sure, Seiko does not copy Rolex.
Instead of blatantly copying famous watches, Seiko put some effort in order to make the design totally theirs. Looking closely, the Seiko and Rolex/Tudor are similar, but not alike.
The famous Rolex Explorer I
Some changes can be clearly be seen between them. For instance, the numeral markers on the Seiko SARG009 are at 2,4,6,8,10 and 12 (basically at each even number) while the Rolex Explorer numeral markers are at 3,6 and 9. This is just one of the main difference between these two similar good looking watches.
The end result is a handsome watch that looks as good as the Rolex Explorer, but at a fraction of the latter’s price.
I certainly won’t say the SARG009 can beat the Explorer in terms of fit, finish, movement, and material quality, but at the very least, this Seiko enables fans to own their “Explorer” without taking expensive mortgage =)
Without further ado, let’s go to the Seiko SARG009 review and have a closer look at the watch.
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Seiko SARG009 Specification
Diameter: 40 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Lug To Lug: 47 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Dial: Black dial
Watch Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Hands: Sword style hands with lume
Markers: Numeral markers with lume
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: 100 m / 330 feet
Other Features: Date display, Explorer dial, Exhibition caseback
Where To Buy: Check the watch on Amazon for the best price
A Simple Yet Elegant Explorer Style Dial
As mentioned above, the dial (or watch face) is styled after the famous Rolex Explorer. As a result, the Seiko SARG009 has that simple yet handsome dial on it.
The watch face is deep black in color, with minimal signatures on it. There’s also a date window at the right for some functionality.
The markers are numerals markers (at each even numbers) and index markers (at each odd numbers except 3). They are over-sized markers which means there is no legibility problem at all.
These big white markers on top of that black dial really stands out and give this watch its signature look.
The lume on the dial is very satisfying to look at, thanks to the over-sized markers that gives lots of lume real estate
Its hands are also made with the same size proportion. The hour and minute hands are sword style shaped with generous lume applied on it. Lumes are also applied on the markers too.
With Seiko’s LumiBrite lume technology, the lume of this watch is not just brilliant, but also unique because of the generous lume on top of the numeral markers.
Great Amount Of Details
Another thing that I love about the SARG009 dial is how much detail is put into it. The “SEIKO” signature at the middle top is not painted but seems to be a piece of stainless steel glued on it. It gives a very nice 3-Dimensionality to it.
Looking closely, you can also notice that at the middle of the watch the 3 hands circular attachment to the stem are stacked nicely on top of each other giving a very nice pyramid look.
Notice how the “SEIKO” signature is glued on top of the dial instead of painted like what other watches do. The center connection of the hands are designed to make a circular pyramid. These are some of the easter eggs that the SARG009 has =)
Overall, the watch is a handsome and elegant watch. It’s heavily influenced by the Rolex Explorer, but it also has its own personality to it.
Very great as a casual and even a dress watch for sure. The usage of little details on the dial are so easy to miss, yet it shows just how much effort is put by the Japanese on it. Thumbs up to Seiko for this gorgeous watch!
Solidly Built 40 mm Stainless Steel Case
The case of the watch is a nice 40 mm diameter size. Depending on your taste, it can mean that it’s the perfect size for your wrist, or too small for your liking.
It’s indeed a bit smaller than typical 44 mm watches nowadays but that’s the whole point of the design – to make a small and elegant watch.
The style can be easily changed just by using a different strap. Look how casual it looks on a leather Nato strap
In addition to that, the stainless steel case has a 12 mm profile which is not too slim nor too thick. Its lug to lug width is 47 mm, with 20 mm lug width that’s coupled with a brushed stainless steel bracelet.
The lugs are small and short. And with the thin bezel, these accentuates the deep black dial making it more prominent on wrist. There’s more dial real eastate on this watch, and with a great dial like this that’s a really good thing to have.
Instead of the modern and elaborate case design at the sides of the watch (like the Seiko SARB033 above has), the SARG009 opted for a more traditional case design
Like most Seikos, the case finishing is a combination of brush and polish. The top of of the bezel and lugs are brushed while the sides are polished.
The sides are normal with little curvature, devoid of any spectacular edge design like what the SARB033 has. While the SARB033 sides and case is more modern, I think this SARG009 is more refined, kinda like what vintage watches had.
Scratch Resistant Sapphire Crystal
A great element that this SARG009 has is the sapphire crystal on top of it. The slightly domed sapphire is the best choice in terms of scratch resistance and longevity.
Seiko typically put their Hardlex crystal (which is a hardened Mineral crystal) on their mid-level watches so the choice to put sapphire on this one is a great relief.
Read this introduction to watch crystal that I’ve written for more info about types of watch crystals and its pros and cons.
On the crown is an “S” engraving signalling Seiko, a normal detail on their mid-range watches. The crown is not screw-down type though. Even then, the watch has 100 m water resistant for peace of mind.
On the back of the watch is an exhibition caseback that’s showing the back of the 6R15 automatic movement inside it.
Seiko Cal. 6R15 Automatic Self Wind Movement
Running the timekeeping mechanism inside the watch is the ubiquitous Caliber 6R15 which is an in-house automatic self-winding movement by Seiko.
This is one of the unique trait of all Seiko watches – the movement engine are develop and manufactured by the company itself, something that not all major watch brands can brag about.
It surely gives a different feeling to wear a watch that you know is built almost completely by the company itself.
Going back to the movement, it has 23 jewels inside it and designed to beat 6 times in a second. Not a high beat movement for sure, but Seiko says this design will greatly reduce the stress on the movement by 25% as compared to the typical 8 beat movements that Swiss watches has.
There is an exhibition caseback at the back for its owners to look at the automatic movement
The result is longer service life and more robust movement. Well, Seiko is well known to be making workhorse watches that don’t need to be serviced for years. With the 6R15, it surely looks like they are taking that route again.
Inside the 6R15 is also the proprietary SPRON510 mainspring which gives it a great 50 hours power reserve. It’s truly a step up against the ETA 2824-2, the other ubiquitous movement from the Swiss which only has a meager 38 hours.
Accuracy wise, it’s not the most accurate with published gain/lose time of 25 seconds per day. But most owners of the 6R15 movement reports higher real life degree of accuracy of up to +/-4 seconds per day.
Some Note About Accuracy Of Automatic Watches
One thing about non-Chronometer watches are that they are not designed to be accurate at all positions of the watch (such as dial up, dial down, vertical, left side up, right side up, etc.) and are usually set to one or two positions only. So the published accuracy rate is the maximum gain/lose time at its worst position.
One way to ensure an automatic watch keeps great time is by keeping notes of how it fare at different positions. There are lots of apps that can help with this (simply search “watch accuracy”).
Test the watch at different positions using the help of the app and you will know what’s the position that gives the best accuracy for the watch. Then, simply use that position a lot (i.e if the dial down is the best, then store your watch dial down etc.). This will make sure the watch is the most accurate most of the time.
Who Is The Seiko SARG009 For?
So who should get this watch? I think those that want a Rolex Explorer but are held back due to its price tag can get the SARG009 as a cheaper alternative. It has a great style and character of its own that won’t lose to the Rolex in my opinion.
Even for those that never know what the Explorer is can get this watch solely for its good looks and more classical size. It has a great fit and finish on it that’s just great value for money.
Additionally, it also has a date window and superb lume on those big markers/hands that’s just very functional to have – for example, a well charged Seiko’s lume will glow throughout one movie showing.
Who Should Not Get This?
In my opinion, those that prefer bulky watches might not find this Seiko SARG009 to be that attractive. It has a 40 mm diameter which is the smallest size nowadays for men’s watch. Those with very big hands might find the watch to be dwarfed on their wrist, which is just not a good thing to do.
As much as the watch is gorgeously designed, a fitting watch to the wrist size is a more important aspect just like how a designer brand suit won’t look as good if its fit on the body is not correct.
Read more about the things to consider when buying yourselves a wrist watch here.
Pros and Cons Of The SARG009
- Elegant and simplistic Explorer design watch with Seiko’s own touch
- Great visibility due to over-sized markers and hands
- Substantial lume performance
- Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
- Open caseback
- Huge 50 hours power reserve
- Can be too small for some people’s wrist
Smitten by the SARG009? Where To Buy It?
Feels like the simple and elegant Explorer dial of this Seiko SARG009 is the one you’ve been looking for? Well, you can get it now from Amazon. Amazon usually has the cheapest price of Seiko JDM watches among all other online stores.
Note: Amazon can be a bit confusing sometimes. They list the SARG009 as a Seiko 5 Sports, which I believe is not accurate. Seiko 5 Sports is the cheapest grade of automatic watches by the Japanese brand, as compared to the SARG line which is at mid-level grade.
The SARG009 is a great looking watch for sure. It’s simple, and yet handsome with that contrasting black dial and white hands/markers. It’s similarity to the famed Rolex Explorer is telling, but with touches by Seiko to fully claim the design their own.
With great craftsmanship and detailing both on the dial and the case. In addition, it has a full fledged automatic self-winding movement.
I hope you guys enjoy this review. Drop your comments and feedback of the watch down below will ya. I really love to hear what you guys think about the SARG009.
Share this post on social media if you enjoy it. That will really help me out =)
Till next time. Cheers!