Seiko SARG009 Review – The Japanese Explorer

Seiko SARG009 Review

The Seiko/Japanese Explorer – A Seiko SARG009 Review

Welcome to the Seiko SARG009 review. In this post, I’m going to cover this Seiko watch dearly called the Japanese Explorer due to its numeral markers and watch design.

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.

Rolex Explorer I

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.

Seiko SARG009 Review

 

In A Hurry? >> CLICK HERE To Get Your Own Seiko SARB009

 

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 (Click link below)

 

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.

 

Seiko SARG009 review

 

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.

 

Seiko SARG099 Lume Shot

The lume on the Seiko SARG009 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 Seiko 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.

 

Seiko SARG009 dial close up

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 Seiko SARG009 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 Seiko SARG009 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.

 

Seiko SARG009 on hand review

The style can be easily changed just by using a different strap. Look how casual the Seiko SARG009 look 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.

 

Seiko sarb033 lug curve

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 Seiko 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 watch inside the SARG009 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.

 

Seiko SARG099 Open Caseback

There is an exhibition caseback at the back of the Seiko SARG009 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.

Seiko SARG009 review on hand

 

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 Seiko 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

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Can be too small for some people’s wrist

 


Watch this video to see the Seiko SARG009 up close

 

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. Click the link below to check it the latest price on Amazon.

->Click Here To Check Seiko SARG009 On Amazon<-

 

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.

Cheap, but still full of value. The SNK809 and SNZH53 are some of the models of Seiko 5 with great design and high value for money.

 

Final Thoughts

Seiko 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.

Without a doubt, this is a good value for money watch, just like how the other JDM watches (SARB017, SARB0033, SARB035, SARB065 etc) from Seiko has been.

 

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SARG009 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!
Isaac

Seiko SARB035 Review – White Version Of The Popular SARB033

Seiko SARB035 Review

The White Seiko SARB035 Review

In this article, I’m going to write about Seiko SARB035 review, which is the white version of the highly popular Seiko SARB033. The Seiko SARB series of watches is one of the watch world little known secret. High quality automatic wrist watch with exquisite fit and finish, gorgeously designed but comes at an unbelievably affordable middle price range.

And that’s just what the Seiko SARB035 is – a good looking dress watch, with quality case craftsmanship and the robust 6R15 automatic movement. And all of these in  an affordable price range, much cheaper than what the Swiss will charge for the same quality of watch =)

Without further ado, let’s look a the Seiko SARB035 review and you guys will surely understand why I give it such good words.

 

Seiko SARB035 Review

Seiko SARB035 Specification

Diameter: 38 mm
Thickness: 11.2 mm
Lug To Lug Width: 45 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Case: Polished and brushed stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel braclet

Dial: Creamy white dial with date display
Watch Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Hands: Dauphine hands with lume
Markers: Index markers with lume

Movement: Seiko Caliber 6R15 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Specification: 23 Jewels, 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second, Manual wind, Hacking feature
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Accuracy: +25-15 seconds per day

Water Resistance: 100 m or 330 feet
Other Features: Date display at 3 o’clock, Exhibition caseback, Non-screw down crown, Luminous hands and markers

Where To Buy: Amazon

 

Before we get into it, let me give some primer on what the “SARB” actually means. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this part to go to the main review.

 

Or Just Check Out The Watch Here >> CLICK HERE To Check The Price of SARB035 on Amazon

Seiko SARB Series

The SARB, SARG, SARX series are highly unknown in the world of watchmaking, and for good reason. Seiko are a very  productive company with thousands of models. It’s a good thing but when some of their products are quite similar to each other, it’s quite hard to differentiate which is which.

They are very popular with their Seiko 5s models – very cheap automatic watches, cheap quartz models and their top of the line Grand Seiko (will set you more than $5000 a piece). But the middle range watches are largely absent from our mind and eyes though.

And this is what the SARB line is: the middle range watches from Seiko. Typically priced at $300 to $500, they are the highly regarded for their crisp and detail craftsmanship (on both dial and case). Not to mention it’s also very good looking and have the robust 6R15 in-house automatic movement by Seiko.

Some people even went so far as to say the SARB models can even beat Swiss watches double their price! Now that’s a huge good value for money. Just take a look at two other models that I’ve reviewed (SARB033 and SARB016 Cocktail Time) and I’m sure you will agree to this.

Another Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Watch

A big reason why they are not popular is because they are JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) models, meaning Seiko only produces these watches to be sold in Japan. Now that’s a big loss to us right?

I really don’t know what they are thinking. If they will just flood the whole market with SARBs helped by some aggressive marketing, Seiko would be far more successful worldwide not just for cheap watches, but also for automatics and collectors worthy watches. Just like the Quartz revolution, Swiss brands will be wiped out completely again (at least the lower priced ones…).

Fortunately, the advent of online shopping has made it easier to buy stuffs from other countries. Because of this, the SARB models are more accessible than before to every Seiko fans all over the world.

 

Seiko SARB035 Review

 

The SARB is not the only model line up by the Japanese brand that isn’t marketed worldwide. The SARG (such as the simplistic beauty SARG009),  SARX (e.g the matrix looking SARX015) and some Seiko Perspex diver’s watches are exclusively made for Japan market only.

Seiko SARB033 Is Simple But Has Highly Detailed And Elegant Dial

The Seiko SARB035 has a traditional and classic look in its dial. It’s very simple, clean and not cluttered – perfect for those that prefer a watch like this. But despite that, it has the elegance and sharpness to it, contributed by the clean cut stainless steel dauphine hands and index markers.

The dial is white with a subtle hint of yellow-cream colors. I really love how pretty the dial color is. It got a brightness and the creamy color is very pleasing to the eyes.

The hands are sharp, with lume applied on top of it. Same as the index markers, a bit of lume is applied at the end pointing towards the center of the watch. The use of lume makes the watch usable in dark, and a bit sporty with more casual look.

I also really like how the index markers got some little ridge at the center. This detail adds some texture to an otherwise boring markers. Minute markings are placed at the edge of the dial for accurate time reading while date display is positioned at 3 o’clock.

 

Seiko SARB035 Review - Lume

Lume shot of the Seiko SARB035. Nothing to shout about the lume but it give a bit of practicality in low light situations

 

What I love the most about the SARB035 (and also SARB033) is the sapphire crystal. I’ve talked in length about various watch crystals and how sapphire is the best to keep off any scratch from your watch glass.

So it’s very nice to see Seiko moves away from their Hardlex crystal (which is still a mineral crystal that can be scratched easily) to the more expensive but undoubtedly superior sapphire crystal.

Overall, the dial is very gorgeous to look at, thanks to the beautiful application of cream white color on top of it as well as the laser cut hands and markers. It’s very simple and elegant to look at. Very dressy but also a bit casual look due to some lume on it.

Baby Grand Seiko?

Again, like the Seiko SARB033, the SARB035 watch also borrows inspiration from the Grand Seiko which is a very beautiful watches. Don’t believe me? Take a look below:

 

Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 White- similar to SARB035

Shown above is the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat, a very beautiful watch by Seiko. It’s less sporty and more dressy to me though – there is no lume and the lugs are straighter than the Seiko SARB035. Nevertheless, the similarity in the dial design is very prominent until it is being dubbed “baby Grand Seiko”.

 

Beautifully Crafted Stainless Steel Case

The 38 mm diameter stainless steel case of the Seiko SARB035 is beautifully crafted, and very sturdy to hold too. It has an 11.2 mm thickness with lug to lug width of 45 mm. The lug width is a 20 mm, and fits a stainless steel bracelet.

The big and wide lugs are curving downwards, as if to hold the wrist in place. This gives it a very unique look and sleek looking. It’s also very comfortable to wear too!

A very astonishing fact about the watch case is how the detailing and finish is done. Seiko makes the top of the lug brushed, while the top of bezel and sides of the watch highly polished. The multi-layered brushing and polishing finish of the case is very pretty, not to mention how detail the craftsmanship of these Japanese are.

Adds on with a nicely done Seiko “S” engraving on top of the non-screw down crown, this is a watch with very high level of detailing done by the watchmaker.

 

Seiko SARB035 Review Lug

Just like the SARB033, the lug of this Seiko SARB035 also is curving down to hug our wrists for more comfort and greater fit

 

The big lug makes the watch a bit more sporty though. It’s not a totally sleek dress watch, but a hybrid which is very good as people can use this watch for almost all function and events.

To make it sweeter, the watch also comes with 100 m water resistance and an open caseback to view the automatic movement from the back.

To sum it up, the watch case is a product of great craftsmanship with beautiful and detailed finishing. For this price, it’s totally unbeaten.

 

Seiko SARB035 Review open caseback

Exhibition caseback of the Seiko SARB035 features an un-decorated Seiko Caliber 6R15 automatic self wind movement

Seiko Cal. 6R15 Automatic Self Wind Movement

The automatic movement inside this watch is Seiko’s own in-house movement, the 6R15 caliber. It’s the middle range automatic movement by the company and is typically used in their SARB line. A great thing about this movement is that it is also used in Seiko’s mid-range diver watches.

That shows how robust and tough the movement is. If it’s good enough to be fitted into a watch that’s designed to be used in rough condition, I’m definitely sure it will be up to task with the more mild environment that future SARB035 will use it for.

The movement has 23 jewels with 21,600 vibrations per hour or 6 beats per second. It’s a slower beat movement than most Swiss watches that usually comes with 8 beats per second. This results in it having a less smooth sweeping second hand compared to the Swiss.

But on the other hand, this lower beat movement gives it a higher power reserve (50 hours – compared to 38-40 hours of Swiss ETAs) and a longer service period.

It also comes with manual winding and hacking features, which are very helpful (and some sort of compulsory for any movement in this modern age).

Side by side comparison of the SARB035 (top) and SARB033 (bottom)

Seiko SARB035 Vs SARB033

So which one is better – the SARB035 or the SARB033? The match up between these two “twins” cannot be avoided. This is a very common questions among watch lovers and the comparison that I have written below is my personal view of both watches. If you guys  don’t agree with it, feel free to let me know in the comments section below =)

Both of the watches are basically the same. The internal working mechanism and case construction is totally alike. But it’s apparent the only difference between these two watches are the colors of the dial.

The SARB033 is the one with black dial while SARB035 has a white creamy dial. All others (case, dimensions, hands, markers, movement) are basically the same.

In my opinion, the white dial of SARB035 is dressier while the SARB033 with black dial is more versatile and can be used in more casual places. Not to mention how sharp the SARB033 with black dial looks. It’s just truly amazing and so elegant.

This by no means the SARB035 is inferior though. It is the dressier watch of the two and I really like how the white creamy dial and the stainless steel markers/hands just sort of blend in with the dial. It reminds me of another great dress watch which is the Tissot Visodate.

To sum it up, SARB035 is dressier and will do much better in black tie events and such. But for versatility of use and style, it is the win of SARB033 and its sharp black dial.

What do you guys think about these two watches? Do you agree with me? Let me know what you guys think by commenting below.

 


Above is an excellent side by side video comparison of both watches.

 

 Seiko SARB033 (Black Dial) Seiko SARB035 (White Dial)

Thinking Of Getting the Seiko SARB035? Buy It From Amazon!

As a JDM watch, it is hard to get a hold of it unless you are buying from internet. But being a JDM watch also has its perks – there is a high chance that you are the only one wearing it in your town. The only way to get your hand on a JDM watch is by going to Japan to buy it yourselves, or buy from a reputable online store.

Most online retailers has Seiko SARB035 in it, but I’ve found Amazon to usually give the best price. Click the link below to see the best deals on Amazon.

 

->Click Here To Check The Best Prices Of Seiko SARB035 At Amazon<-

SARY055 – A Cheaper Version Of SARB035

If you like the SARB but feel it’s a bit expensive, you might want to check out the Seiko SARY055 (I’ve written a review of the watch HERE) for less than $300. It also is a dress watch, in fact it’s a truer dress watch than the SARB since it does not have any lume on it.

The dial is also white in color, with sunburst metallic effect on it. Not only that, it also has day date window which gives a great functionality as compared to the SARB035 that only has date window.

 

Seiko SARY055 watch face

Seiko SARY055 – the cheaper version of SARB035

 SEIKO SARY055

The SARY055 and SARB035 also differ in watch size. While the SARB is a more classic size, the SARY055 is more modern at 41 mm which also makes it more casual watch.

So why the difference in price between these two watches?

The answer lies in the 4R36 movement inside the SARY. While it’s a good movement, it’s still not up to the 6R15 in the SARB. It also only 41 hours power reserve compared to the 50 hours in the 6R15.

And of course, the finishing on the SARY055 is not as good as on the SARB035.

 >> For More Info, read my full review of the Seiko SARY055 HERE

 

Conclusion

An absolutely gorgeous watch. That’s my personal view of the Seiko SARB035 and I’m sure many will definitely agree with me. What more can be said of the captivating creamy white, simply stunning dial design. It’s really great to look at, just like the Grand Seiko look that it’s based on.

The case is meticulously fabricated with inter-layering of brushed and polished finished. The dedication to detail for this watch is really outstanding, and put forth again the high quality craftsmanship of the Japanese.

 

 

I hope you guys enjoy this Seiko SARB035 review. Feel free to drop your comments on this watch and subscribe to my site by entering your email in subscribe section at the right sidebar.

Drop your comments at the box below and don’t forget to subscribe =)

I’m looking forward to hear from you guys. Till next time then.

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-leather

Also 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

 

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

 

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

How Accurate Is Automatic Watch

Automatic watches are outstanding inventions. Hundreds of combinations of minuscule parts such as gears, springs, screws etc. work together to produce a timekeeping device. Since it’s all mechanical moving parts, there is no way that it can be totally accurate. Are automatic watches accurate then? How accurate is automatic watch? The relevance of these questions varies between people. Some people can live with a not so accurate watch, as long as it’s automatic and looks great while there are people that really obsess with accuracy and need their watches to be really accurate.

A general rule of thumb that I’ve taken for accuracy of automatic watches is +-25 seconds per day. This means the watch should only gain or lose 25 seconds between two days. This is actually consistent with most watch manufacturers published accuracy of their movements. So if your watch is gaining or losing more than 25 seconds per day, get it checked! That could mean some serious problems with your watch.

This accuracy is only for normal automatic watches and its fairly accurate (25 seconds/ 86,400 seconds in a day = 0.03% inaccuracy. So about 99.97% accurate). But there are those who seek the perfect accuracy either due to work (divers, military personnel, etc.) or for self pleasure. For those people, a Chronometer watch is most suitable. Chronometer is a watch with almost perfect accuracy (-4 or +6 seconds per day).

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

A Breitling NavitimerChronometer

Automatic Watch Accuracy Standard

Chronometer is a name to indicate that a watch has been tested and certified to be a truly accurate timepiece based on some standards. Generally, automatic watch accuracy standard is referred to the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and the ISO 3159 standard. Japan companies also has their own accuracy standards with Seiko (the Grand Seiko line of watch) and Citizen have their in-house testing. Here, I will only explain on COSC/ISO standards as the Japan’s standard is more or less the same as the COSC.

Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres aka COSC is a non-profit organization set up to measure, test and certify accuracy of watches. Watches that are certified are granted “Chronometer” status – the highest prestige a watch can have. It is a mark that means the watch is of highest accuracy among the millions of automatic watches in the world, a symbol of pride for the owner of the watch. I should also clarify that “Chronometer” is not the same as “Chronograph”. Chronograph is a function in watches (automatic and quartz alike) that can function as a stop watch.

The testing of COSC is based on ISO 3159. All Chronometers will have a unique serial number from COSC and is typically engraved on the watch. The movement is tested for 16 days, whereby 15 measurements are taken after each day. It is then put in different positions (horizontal face up, face down, vertical etc.) and subjected to different temperatures (8, 23 and 38 degrees celcius). The movement then is judged according to 7 criteria in which it has to pass all. The COSC Chronometer testing criteria and its permissible (maximum) variations in timekeeping are below:

 

COSC Chronometer Testing Criteria:

1. Average Daily Rate: -4 or +6 seconds/day
2. Mean Variation In Rates: 2 seconds/day
3. Greatest Variation In Rates: 5 seconds/day
4. Difference Between Rates In Horizontal And Vertical Positions: -6 or +8 seconds/day
5. Largest Variations In Rates: 10 seconds/day
6. Thermal Variation: +-0.6 seconds/degrees celcius
7. Rate Resumption: +-5

From what we can conclude from the criteria above, a Chronometer should be accurate and consistent in its timekeeping. It must also be able to be accurate at different temperatures. Since gravity plays a role in accuracy of movement’s parts, a Chronometer should be able to be accurate at any position either horizontal (watch face up or down – as in when you take it off at night) and vertical (when you are wearing your watch).

Only about 3% of Swiss watches are certified Chronometers and most of them are very expensive and costs thousands (think your usual Rolex, Breitling, Tag Heuer and Omega). This is because it is very expensive to manufacture a Chronometer movement as the parts need to be of the highest quality. It also need to be assembled by hand and sent to testing. This all adds up to the cost of the watch. Now you know why that Rolex will cost you at least $5000.

I would like to add that a non-certified watch can also have a Chronometer like accuracy. Movements such as ETA 2892A2 (in Hamilton Intra Matic), ETA 2824-2 (in Tissot Le Locle), Seiko’s Cal. 6R15 (in Seiko SARB065) and Citizen’s Cal. 9010 (in Citizen Signature Grand Classic) are reported to have Chronometer-like accuracy in normal condition. Bear in mind the COSC testing standard is quite rigorous encompassing various positions and temperatures. A non-certified fine movements listed above can achieve the -4+6 seconds/day accuracy in normal usage conditions just fine, as long as the owner take care of them well. No need to pay those thousands of dollars then eh?

Are Automatic Watches Accurate?

Rolex GMT Master II,  certified Chronometer. Rolex holds the record as the most COSC certified Chronometer movements.

Factors Affecting Automatic Watches Accuracy

There are a few factors that can affect the accuracy of automatic watches. Some of the major factors that I believe are important for all automatic watch owners to know are:

1- Temperature
Using your watch in environments that are too cold (less than 8 degrees celcius) or too hot (around 38 degrees celcius) can really affect your watch accuracy. This happens because when it’s too hot (hotter than normal room temperature) metal parts inside the watch will expand, and when its too cold, the metals will contract. The expansion and contraction is not much, perhaps only a few millimeters that you can’t detect with you own eyes. But even that is enough to disrupt most of automatic watch’s movements from functioning properly. As a rule of thumb, your watch will lose time in hotter weather, and will gain time in cooler temperatures.

2- Magnetism
Watches are also sensitive to magnetism. They are steels parts remember? Any magnetic objects as well as electronic objects that can become magnetic such as phones, PC, television etc. should be avoided of any direct contact with your watch.

3- Shock
Any shock to the watch may also damage or move some of the internal parts. Your watch might be able to run like normal after that big fall on the ground but it might not be as accurate anymore.

4- Manual Winding For Full Mainspring Energy Reserve
Automatic watches are meant to be used without any manual winding for it to function properly. Yes it is functioning properly but how about its accuracy? Most automatic watches (based on my watches and some reviews I’ve read) would become very terrible at timekeeping accuracy if you don’t wind it manually (by rotating the crown). You can read a blog by Bernardwatch.com here <<LINK that shows how even a Breitling (certified Chronometer) will have bad accuracy if not wound manually.

5- Interval Service

It is recommended to have interval servicing for your watch to examine it, oiling and cleaning of its internal parts. The service interval vary between manufacturers. For example, Seiko recommends for 3 years, while Tissot recommends 4-5 years. This will depend on the exact model though.

 

It is very important to know that our automatic watches are very delicate and need proper care for it to function properly and keep accurate time. Please remember these tips well next time you want to throw your Tissot PRS 516 carelessly into your table.

 

What Is The Most Accurate Automatic Watch?

That’s a very tough question. For me, the Chronometer certified watches are all very accurate. It’s very tough to find a watch that can rival those slim tolerance levels. Though some would say the Japanese standards are stricter, but it’s definitely very hard to say that with certainty. For me, it is important to know that we have to live with this inaccuracy in timekeeping as that is part of the charm of automatic watches. If you want higher accuracy, buy a Quartz then =p.

 

*************************************************************************

I hope you have learnt a lot from my post here. Do keep in mind on the factors that affect your watch’s accuracy. Those are very important things to remember. If you have any thoughts, please drop your comments below. Till next time then. Cheers!