Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 Review – Affordable Aviation Watch

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review

A Full Aviation Watch – The Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 Review

Fancy a full aviation watch complete with chronograph and various scales and measurements? Then you might want to look at this Seiko FlightMaster SNA411.

A bit of disclaimer: this is not an automatic but a quartz watch. I’m not really a quartz guy and prefer automatic movement (if you don’t really know what’s the difference between this two, you can read my post on the comparison of automatic/mechanical vs quartz movement here).

But an automatic chronograph will be quite expensive and usually retails for more than $400-$500. The SNA411 on the other hand can be gotten at much lesser than which is a very good bargain for such an amazing tool/utility watch.

Best affordable chronograph and aviation watch? That claim might not be too far off. Without further ado, let’s take a look at this Seiko Flightmaster SNA411 review.

 

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review

 

In A Hurry? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SNA411

 

Seiko FlightMaster Watch SNA411 Specification

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug Width: 21 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet

Dial: Black chronograph dial with aviation scales on the edge
Dial Window: Domed Seiko’s Hardlex crystal
Subdials: 3 subdials showing moving seconds hand (left), Minute counter for chronograph (top) and Alarm or second timezone clock (bottom)
Bezel: Bi-directional rotating bezel with rotary slide rule

Movement: Seiko Quartz movement with split time chronograph
Water Resistance: 200 m or 660 feet
Other Features: Split , Screw down crown and pushers, Alarm, Luminous markers and hands, Second timezone clock subdial, Date display, Rotary slide rule for various calculations

Best Place To Buy: Amazon (Click The Link Below To Check Its Price)

 

Seiko SNA411 FlightMasterSeiko SNA411 FlightMaster

 

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review

A Very Busy Dial – Introducing An Aviation Watch

The dial of the Seiko FlightMaster Watch SNA411 is a very busy dial. At first glance I can’t even see where is the markers and hands lol! But this is the face of an aviation/flight watch.

Outer edge of the black dial is full of scales of rotary slide rule that can be used for many calculations important for a pilot (I’ve explained a little bit about this below).

Being a chronograph also made the dial busier. The 3 subdials definitely take lots of space at the center of the dial until there is no free space at all.

The top subdial is for minute counter of the chronograph while the left subdial is for showing the running seconds hand.

The main second hand (with the popping yellow color which is something that I really like) is only moving when using the chronograph.

The bottom subdial is for showing the alarm (this watch actually has one!). It can also be used to set for a different time zone which is truly useful during traveling.

The bezel is black in color and has many scales on it for the rotary slide rule. It can be rotated both ways (clockwise and anti-clockwise) and is quite thick which made the watch appear smaller than it is.

The hands are normal hands with lume applied on top of them.

The markers are very small – just some small dots on the dial which are also applied with lume. Unless you are new to analog watch, this will not be a problem.

But if you are a first watch user or currently wears a digital watch, then you might have problem to tell the time because of the small markers.

Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 really has a very distinct dial design which you will either love it or hate it. It’s super busy and will turn off lots of people.

But for those that know how useful those small markings on the bezel and dial are for a pilot, they will surely appreciate what the Seiko SNA411 can do and might love this watch.

 

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review

 

Stainless Steel Case With 200 M Water Resistance

The Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 is encased in a 42 mm diameter stainless steel case with 13 mm thickness. It has a 20 mm lug width which is fitted with stainless steel bracelet.

It is totally sturdy and solid – typical for any Seiko watch. The Hardlex crystal has a slight dome to it that is a very nice detail.

One thing that really astound me is the water resistance of the watch – it is 200 m water resistant! It’s not even a diver watch and yet it has a very high water resistance.

To achieve this, Seiko uses screw down on the watch’s crown and pushers. It does not really make any sense to give an aviation watch a 200 m water resistance rating but who cares right?

This means you can just wear this watch when swimming or scuba diving without the need to change to your diver watch. How cool is that? But of course for very deep dives I would recommend an ISO 6425 certified diver watch for your own safety =p

 

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review-leather-strap

The SNA411 on a plain brown leather strap will shift all attention to the watch itself

 

One thing that you will notice is how the stainless steel bracelet seems not matching well with the watch. The thing is the watch dial is very busy with lots of things on it.

It’s actually much better to suit a busy dial watch like the SNA411 with a simpler strap to dress it down. Straps like Nato strap, rubber strap or leather strap (plain leather, not the alligator printed ones) will work wonderful with the watch.

In my opinion the stainless steel bracelet is not a good companion to the SNA411. Fortunately a replacement strap is very easy to find nowadays. Just go to any online stores (Amazon, Ebay etc) and you can find many sellers selling these straps at very affordable price.

 

seiko-flightmaster-alarm-chronograph-sna411-review-nato-strap

It also looks good in this brown Nato strap right?

 

Want Your Own FlightMaster? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SNA411

 

Chronograph With Split Time Function

What is an aviation watch without a chronograph? An incomplete aviation watch. This Seiko FlightMaster watch has a chronograph to complement its duty as a fully functional tool and utility watch for a pilot.

The two pushers at the right side (top right and bottom right) are used to operate the chronograph. The top pusher is used to start and pause the chronograph while the bottom pusher can be used to reset it.

This watch also has split time function which is very useful for any sporting events.

What is split time chronograph?

It basically is used to help people to record time of events that is happening continuously like to record time of laps done in a racing event.

The top pusher will be used to start the time. Then at the moment when you want to record the time, push the bottom pusher.

This will not stop the time but just merely stop the seconds hand at that location so you can take your time to manually record the time on paper. The chronograph actually is still running in background.

Pushing the bottom pusher again will make the seconds hand to catch up to the time. I doubt most of SNA411’s owners will use this in their daily life but one thing for sure the sweeping motion of the seconds hand catching up to the time is very beautiful.

 


Watch this great review of the Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 for hands-on look on it. The split time chronograph function is also explained and demonstrated in this video (though the reviewer mistakenly call it fly-back)

 

Rotary Slide Rule? What Is That?

Before the creation of electronic calculator, slide rule is the most widely used tool in mathematics, science and engineering for making quick calculations.

It was invented in 17th century and comprises two logarithmic scales. One of these scales can be moved or slide – hence the name slide rule. It is used for various calculations such as:

  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Square root
  • Exponential
  • Logarithms
  • Trigonometric functions

 

slide-rule

A typical slide rule popularly before the invention of digital calculator

 

It becomes obsolete after the creation of electronic calculator which is why most people don’t know about it except for old folks that used it during their youth (I also only know about it when researching for the slide rule on this watch lol!).

Aviation watches recreate this slide rule to assist pilots make complicated calculations using their watches. I think it’s much more easier to use compared having to punch in a calculator when flying thousands of feet above ground right =p.

A slide rule on aviation watches is named rotary slide rule because its circle in shape (compared to normal slide rule that is bar in shape like normal ruler).

 

seiko-flightmaster-rotary-slide-rule-sna411

A diagram showing the various scales on a typical Seiko watch with rotary slide rule

 

The rotary slide rule on the Seiko SNA411 is more elaborate than other normal slide rules due to many scales on it. As a result, you can use the SNA411 for many calculations.

It also uses its bidirectional rotating bezel as the sliding rule (some watches has a rotating inner bezel at the outer edge of the dial – like the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist).

 

On top of the SNA411 bezel, there are:

  • Conversion scale
  • Utility bearing compass scale
  • Logarithmic scale

The outer dial has two other scales namely:

  • Logarithmic scale
  • Time scale

 

How To Use Rotary Slide Rule?

By rotating the bezel, various navigational calculations can be made (in addition to normal slide rule calculations listed above) such as:

  • Calculate time, speed and distance (unit on the watch is mph but interchangeable with kph)
  • Fuel consumption rate per hour
  • Fuel quantity required for a length of flight
  • Remaining time of flight based on fuel consumption rate and fuel in tank
  • Climbing altitude, rate and time
  • Unit conversion:
  • Distance – nautical mile, statute mile and kilometer
  • Volume (fuel capacity) – US gallon, Imperial gallon and liter
  • Weight – kg, pound
  • Speed – mph, kph
  • Direction (North, South, East, West)

 


Above is a great video showing how to do multiplication and division using the Seiko Flightmaster SNA411.

 

It’s totally easy when you know the “rules” to do these calculations. One tips that I need to tell you is that the decimal place (how many 000s after the number) is not really clear from the dial unlike digital calculator.

So you got to already roughly know the answer beforehand. You can read this awesome manual on Seiko’s rotary slide rule (CLICK HERE to Download) for examples of doing these calculations.

Seiko SNA411 FlightMasterSeiko SNA411 FlightMaster

Keep in mind these calculations are only approximate and not as accurate as any calculator. It is intended only to ease the calculation process and not for really exact values. For that a calculator is better as it is more accurate.

In case you don’t know what logarithmic scale is, you can read on this wiki page here for more info.

An easy way to tell a logarithmic scale is the reducing space between the numbers (10 to 20 to 30 and so on). The scale on the watch starts with 10 btw.

 

 

 

Utility Compass Ring

Another great feature that the Seiko SNA411 has is the utility compass ring scale. By using this ring, we can know roughly the directions (North, South, East, West) from our location.

 

compass-chapter-ring-Seiko FlightMaster Alarm Chronograph SNA411 Review

 

Simply point the hour hand to the sun direction. Then rotate the bezel until the South indicator sits between the hour hand/sun and the 12 o’clock marker. The direction on the bezel (N,S,E,W) is the direction from where you are standing.

This is for when you are located in Northern hemisphere. For those in Southern hemisphere use the North indicator instead of the South indicator.

 

Quartz Movement From The Creator Of Quartz Watches

The Seiko SNA411 uses quartz movement. I’m not really a fan of quartz actually (that’s why the name of this website is AutomaticWatchesForMen.com.

But as stated above, automatic chronograph watches are typically much more expensive. At just $200, there is no way we can find a fully functioning chronograph aviation watch.

Which is why I had to make an exception to this Seiko Flightmaster SNA411 – it’s so darn cheap and have all the bells and whistles in an aviation watch.

Even the poster boy of aviation watch, the great Breitling Navitimer does not have every function that the SNA411 can offer! Now that is very good for money (the Navitimer retails for upwards of $5000 btw).

 

breitling-navitimer-cosmonauteBreitling Navitimer Cosmonaute. A very gorgeous aviation watch indeed and has a rotary slide rule and chronograph. But it loses to the Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 in terms of usefulness as it does not has the compass ring and some unit conversion (weight and volume)

 

The Seiko SNA411 runs on battery, which will require replacement after a few years (depends on how often you use the chronograph).

This is one of the major disadvantage of quartz watches in my opinion.

But with a very beautiful and most complete aviation watch you can find, the SNA411 is a very good choice for those starting out and would like to own their first aviation watch – before you move on to the more expensive brands =p

 

Where To Buy Seiko FlightMaster Watch? Get It On Amazon!

Looking to buy Seiko FlightMaster watch SNA411? Look no further than Amazon. Amazon currently lists the watch at a low prices. Click the link below to check out this watch on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To Check Out The Seiko FlighMaster SNA411 On Amazon<-

 

Conclusion

Seiko FlightMaster SNA411 is a complete aviation watch, for a great price of just around $200. It is one of the most affordable aviation watch nowadays.

Sure, the very busy dial is definitely not for everyone. But for those looking for a real utility watch, then this is it.

It has all the conversion scales, rotary slide rule, compass ring, chronograph and tachymeter scale making it the only tool you ever need for your maiden flight or outdoor adventure.

With outstanding water resistance of 200 m, this wrist watch can even accompany you for scuba diving, and it even looks good to be worn to office or casual events.

 

 

Hope that you like this Seiko SNA411 review. Drop your comments or questions about this watch down below. I’ll try my best to answer any questions. Till next time.

Cheers!

Isaac

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Review – The Seiko With A Green Dial

Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Review

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.

 

seiko-sarb017-alpinist-review

 

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 Amazon.com)

 

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.

 

seiko-sarb017-alpinist-review-yamaotoko-mountain-man

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

 

seiko-sarb017-alpinist-review

 

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.

 

seiko-sarb017-alpinist-review

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-review-bracelet
Seiko SARB017 Alpinist on stainless steel bracelet. You can buy this replacement bracelet that fit it from Seiyajapan.com (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

 

Conclusion

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.

Cheers!

Isaac