Seiko SARZ005 Review

Seiko SARZ005 Review – The JDM Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch

 

Hi guys! Today, I’m going to write a review about the Seiko SARZ005, one of the models in the Seiko 5 Sports lineup.

So, what’s so special about the Seiko SARZ005? For a start, it has a unique design (very different than the other Seikos out there) and is an affordable automatic watch. It’s also a Seiko JDM watch.

 

Seiko SARZ005 jdm watch

 

For Seiko fans, I’m pretty sure you guys are well aware about what JDM or Japan Domestic Model means.

It’s basically a watch made in Japan and is regarded as having a higher quality than Seiko watches made elsewhere (China, Southeast Asia, etc.)

It’s also not normally sold outside of Japan, for reasons that still perplexes me till today (if any of you know the reason, feel free to share it will ya!).

One of the easiest way to spot a JDM watch is the kanji/Japanese characters used in the day wheel.

Due to this, JDM watches are often in high demand and can command a higher price than other non-JDM Seiko watches. And this Seiko SARZ005 is one of the coveted JDM watches.

 

Seiko 5 Sports Watch – A Brief Introduction

I believe a quick summary of the Seiko 5 Sports lineup is needed to make this review more compelling and complete.

(For those that are not interested in this, you guys can just jump ahead to go to the Seiko SARZ005 review section below)

In the year 1963, Seiko introduced its Sportsmatic 5 watch with the intention of marketing an affordable and quality automatic watch to the masses. The “5” corresponds to the five attributes that Seiko believes an automatic watch need to have.

 

 

The five attributes in Seiko 5 are:

1- Automatic movement
2- Day and date display in a single window/place
3- Water resistance
4- Recessed crown at 4 o’clock (not strictly followed in most Seiko 5 models)
5- Durable case and strap

 

As you can see, Seiko emphasizes some basic items that a good automatic watch need to has. The Seiko 5 Sports has all the same characteristics but with a more sporty look (e.g dive, aviator, sports watch etc.).

As one of the only remaining “true” watch manufacturer, Seiko’s above list is something that we all can learn from though not strictly followed. I know some people that dislike day/date display and prefer a clean dial look.

Putting that aside, the water resistance and durable case/strap are two of the most important thing that an automatic watch (heck, all watch) should has.

Next, let’s go in-depth on Seiko SARZ005 review shall we.

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005 Specification

Diameter: 41 mm
Thickness: 12 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Watch Crystal: Hardlex crystal

Dial: Black dial
Hands: Dauphine hands
Markers: Index markers

Movement: Seiko Caliber 4R36 Automatic Self-Winding movement
Movement Features: Japanese made in-house movement, 24 Jewels, 21600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Hacking, Manual winding
Accuracy: +- 15 seconds per day
Power Reserve: 41 hours

Water Resistance: 100 m
Other Features: Lume on markers and hands, day and date window, exhibition caseback

Seiko SARZ005 Manual: Click HERE to download the user manual

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

Classic + Sporty Black Dial

The Seiko SARZ005 has a pitch black dial that has a classic feeling to it. And yet, it does have a sporty look befitting of a Seiko 5 Sports model.

On top of the dial is slim dauphine hands with little lume on it. The seconds hand is the real catch here as it has a very unique look, something that you’ll never see on any other watch.

 

Seiko SARZ005 dial

 

The seconds hand is white in color and has a very long tail. The tail, surprisingly, is triangle shaped and can be easily mistaken as the tip. But on closer look, you’ll notice that the tip is the longer end of the hand.

Coupled with a sweeping motion characteristic of an automatic watch, the seconds hand is simply my favorite on the watch.

Slim index markers are used in this watch, with the 12 o’clock marker having a different shape to differentiate it in the dark.

On the edge of the watch are minute markings that can help with telling the time. We can see how the dial shifts from a clean center towards a busy and complicated outer edge with this design.

I also likes how the “Sports” signature is painted in red at the middle of the dial. Since it’s red in color, it’s not so much popped out of the black dial but you really have to look at the watch face to spot it.

In my opinion, it’s something like an easter egg that only those wearing the watch will notice it lol!

 

Day And Date Display In The Same Window

One of the characteristic of a Seiko 5 model is the day and date are displayed in the same window. This might be common nowadays but back in the 1960s, most watches usually put the date at the right and the day on top of the dial

 

(You can google Rolex Day Date to find out how it looks like)

 

But Seiko had a different opinion on this trend. They have the opinion that putting the day and date display next to each other at the same location (3 o’clock) is better in terms of legibility and telling day/date.

And I couldn’t agree more.

Having the day and date together means we only need to focus on one location only to figure out the current day/date. Less work for us right?

 

Seiko SARZ005 black dial

 

For what’s it’s worth, I always recommend a watch with day and date display for those looking for a beater watch to be used for work everyday.

It’s more useful and very practical for a working men/women in this current modern age that requires fast and prompt action.

That shiny dress watch? You can wear it after work or during weekends =)

Average Sized 41 mm Stainless Steel Case

Seiko SARZ005 on hand

 

The Seiko SARZ005 has a more traditional sized case at 41 mm diameter and 12 mm thick. It’s definitely very wearable even for those guys with smaller wrists.

Well, this is after all a watch made for Japan market and the smaller Asian wrists.

The watch has a good 100 m water resistance and an exhibition caseback for its owner to peek at the automatic movement inside it.

 

Seiko SARZ005 exhibition caseback

 

Unique Bezel Design

The case is stainless steel and what I like the most about it is the bezel design.

As you can see, there is no rotating bezel or tachymeter scale on it. But Seiko ingeniously designed the bezel with some unique styling in the form of 12 holes (at each hour) and a small ridge from 12 o’clock to 4 o’clock.

The result is a unique bezel design that’s very rare and different than other watches out there.

It also works perfectly with the busy outer edge of the dial, creating a continuity from it onto the bezel/case.

 

Hardlex Crystal For Extra Protection

On top of the Seiko SARZ005 is a hardlex crystal to protect the watch from any impact directly onto it.

For your information, hardlex crystal is Seiko’s proprietary technology that improved the toughness of a normal mineral crystal.

As a result, the hardlex is more impact resistant than normal mineral (which means it will take lots more impact from breaking).

But it’s still a mineral crystal and is not as scratch resistant as a sapphire crystal.

Despite that, we need to remember that we are talking about a low budget automatic watch, so some trade-offs is to be expected lol…

For what it’s worth, the hardlex will do the job fine. Just make sure to keep the watch away from abrasive surfaces (bricks, concrete, steel, etc.)

 

Stainless Steel Bracelet Or Leather Strap?

From the factory, the Seiko SARZ005 is coupled with a stainless steel bracelet on its 20 mm width lugs.

The bracelet is nothing to scream off – it’s normal Seiko bracelet the one that you can expect.

The absence of solid links at the lug connection will make the bracelet to have some rattle, though it’s not so much as to be a deal breaker.

And of course, due to its black watch face, a black leather strap is one of the most favorite aftermarket straps to be used on the watch.

In my opinion, a black strap (either leather or nylon) will work wonders with a black watch face such as this.

 


Check out this awesome review of the Seiko SARZ005 where the watch is strapped on a leather band

Seiko 4R36 Automatic Self-Winding Movement

The one thing that makes the Seiko SARZ005 a special watch is its Cal. 4R36 automatic self-winding movement.

This alone sets it apart from the numerous other quartz watches out there (which also makes it more expensive lol!).

Having an automatic watch is definitely something unique that no quartz watch can give. Inside an automatic watch is decades research and innovation from the first time when men made the first mechanical watch.

It’s also giving to life the sweeping seconds hand motion thanks to the 6 beats per second 4R36 movement. Speaking of which, it’s much pleasing to the eyes than the tick-tock movement of quartz watch.

The Seiko SARZ005 4R36 movement has 41 hours power reserve that is recharged by the rotor inside it whenever the watch moves i.e when we are wearing it. Hence, the automatic/self-winding name.

The low power reserve (a bit short of 2 days) is one of the disadvantages of using a low budget automatic watch but using it every other day will keep the power reserve from depleting completely.

In addition, the 4R36 can also be manually wind by rotating the crown clockwise and so you can keep the watch running even when not wearing it.

Changing the day and date is very simple. At the first position after pulling the crown, rotate the crown clockwise to change the day and counter-clockwise to change the date.

Be very careful not to change the day/date around 9 pm to 4 am as the gears are connected at this point.

What I usually do is to advance the time first and then change the day/date afterwards.

Yep, It can take a lot of work to change the time/day/date in these analog watches but that’s the price to pay to enjoy such beautiful mechanical timepiece =)

Anyway, I’ve included the link to Seiko SARZ005 4R36 movement manual below for those that want to learn more about its technical specification.

 

(Click HERE to download the user manual)

 

Seiko 5 Sports SARZ005 Common Complains Or Problems

Being an affordable automatic watch, the Seiko SARZ005 is not free of complains or problems found by its owners.

While some of these are minor and is actually what we will get for the price that we pay, some are quite major and need to be looked seriously.

Below are 4 of the most common complains/problems on the Seiko SARZ005.

 

1- Not Enough Lume

 

Seiko SARZ005 lumeThere’s only a faint lume on the Seiko SARZ005 for added legibility in low light condition. But it’s nowhere near Seiko’s legendary lume on its dive watches

 

Perhaps one of the most common complain is the less than stellar lume on the watch. Seiko put only some lume on the markers and hands to make it usable in the dark but apparently it’s not enought to glow brightly.

This is because the lume applied area on the markers and hands are small, so it won’t glow as bright as those diver’s watches.

Not to mention Seiko don’t use their LumiBrite on this watch (for cost saving I believe) which is why the lume is less astounding than their diver’s watch models.

But in my opinion, since this is not a diver’s watch, then the not-so-brigth lume is still acceptable as the lume is an added bonus to this watch.

What’s not acceptable is a diver’s watch with little to no lume as it’s integral to the usefulness to the watch for divers.

 

2- Low Power Reserve Less Than 41 Hours

If you feel the Seiko SARZ005 watch does not have sufficient charge, this might be due to the watch does not get the sufficient hand movement to recharge it.

It will take a few hundred turns of the rotor to charge it to full, and unfortunately wearing the watch while doing a desk job won’t cut it.

Most automatic watches need a large swing of the hand (e.g walking etc.) for the rotor to effectively spin and recharge it, and why most of them always have low charge even with constant use.

Fortunately the solution to this problem is very simple. Thanks to the manual winding capability of the Seiko SARZ005, periodically manual wind it once a week is enough to make sure it’s always in full power.

 

(Check out my article here on how to manual wind a watch)

 

3- Accuracy Problem

The published accuracy for a Seiko Cal. 4R36 is +-15 seconds per day, and if your Seiko SARZ005 watch is making worse than that, it could be due to some problems in the movement.

Some common causes of accuracy issue are:

– Too high or too low temperature
– Accidentally knocked the watch too hard
– Exposure to very strong magnets

If your watch is affected by all of these, quickly bring it to a watchmaker to check the internal condition of the watch.

Demagnetization can be done easily with the right tool but a broken jewel due to hard impact will cost some money to repair. Lastly, taking the watch away from extreme temperature should return its accuracy to original.

 

4- Moisture Inside The Watch

The Seiko SARZ005 watch has a 100 m water resistance but since it does not has a screw down crown, I’d be wary to use it underwater for swimming or diving.

In theory, the watch can be used for those activities but I always like to be on the safe side.

If water does seeps into the watch, moisture could form and fogged the watch crystal. At this point, only a trip to your local watchmaker can save it.

Another thing to be wary about is to not use the watch in a sauna or anywhere with high water vapor.

The Seiko SARZ005 is water tight but not air tight, so water vapor can actually seeps into it causing the same moisture problem.

So guys, do remember to take off your watch when you want to get into that hot sauna.

 

Last but not least, if you feel that you got a lemon unit i.e you’ve taken care the watch as good as you can but problems still persist – proceed to claim warranty from the seller as soon as possible.

Some note: Amazon has a great and fuss free return policy for watches sold by them 

 

Who Is This Seiko SARZ005 Watch For?

Anyone wanting a good looking automatic watch that’s sporty and casual should look into this Seiko SARZ005. It’s a great combination of classic Seiko 5 elements with sports touch.

Not to mention the meticulously designed dial, hands and case (especially the bezel) is something that is usually found in the higher priced watches.

For a stylish timepiece that you’ll want to wear everyday to work, the Seiko SARZ005 fits the description nicely.

 

Who Should Not Get It?

While the Seiko SARZ005 is a good looking watch, it’s a bit too rugged to be worn for dress or formal events.

For these purposes, I’d recommend for a true dress watch such as the Seiko SARB033 (or the white version SARB035), Tissot Visodate and the Hamilton Jazzmaster.

 

Seiko SARZ005 Pros and Cons

Pros:

  1. Good looking and well designed watch
  2. Has lume for visibility in low light condition
  3. Impact resistant hardlex crystal
  4. Unique bezel design
  5. A JDM model which is usually regarded as having a higher quality among Seiko watches
  6. Day and date display adds to its functionality

Cons:

  1. No screw down crown

 

Like This Watch? Buy It Cheapest On Amazon!

If you guys like this Seiko SARZ005, look for the best deals of the watch on Amazon. Amazon usually has the cheapest price that you can get out of the other online retailers (as this is a JDM, online shops are the only way to buy it). Click the link below to check out the price on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To Check Out The Seiko SARZ005 On Amazon<-

Final Thoughts

The Seiko SARZ005 is truly one outstanding watch in the Seiko 5 stable. It’s design is unique and it’s hard to find something like this among other Seiko 5 watches.

Besides, its low price for an automatic watch means it’s perfect as a watch for everyday use. Working, gardening, etc. – all those activities that you’d never do with that expensive Swiss watch can be done while wearing this “cheap” watch.

For an everyday automatic beater watch that’s also looks good, the Seiko SARZ005 is the one to go.

 

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I hope you guys like this Seiko SARZ005 review and find it interesting. Let me know if you guys have any questions or comments on the watch.

I’d love to hear from you guys =)

Cheers!
Isaac

4 thoughts on “Seiko SARZ005 Review – The JDM Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch”

  1. How would this watch look for a formal occasion or a personally important one like a wedding?
    I would appreciate an elaborate answer.

    Reply
  2. Hi Isaac,
    YOUR Seiko SARZOO5 Review is really interesting. However in this digital and technological age, whereas everyone’s taste differs, isn’t the combo watch gaining in popularity? My definition of ‘combo’ would be one which also acts as a radio/computer/ tv at the same time. By the way, perhaps I missed it, but isn’t there some warranty on the Seiko SARZ005?

    Reply
    • Hi Vincent. Yes, I do agree that combo or smartwatches are in trend nowadays. But I don’t really like it because even though it can do many things (such as picking calls, read emails etc.) it can’t do those things efficiently because of the small screen size on the smartwatch. 

      And since most of us already have a smartphone that can do the exact same thing but with hundred-fold increase of efficiency, why bother getting those smartwatches? 

      My preference is to wear an “antique” watch such as these because it can give me a really unique and highly characteristic purely mechanical device that we never really encounter in this modern age =)

      Cheers!

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