Ever since wearing the Seiko Alpinist on my wrist for the first time, I knew that it would be part of my watch collection for a lifetime.
While Seiko is known for making lots of watches, quite a few of them have become a classic throughout time. Before actually buying this watch, I doubted their quality. But after wearing this watch, I can say that Seiko makes quality watches with budget-friendly prices this good.
So in this review, we will be looking at the latest version of Seiko Alpinist and will help you decide if buying this $450 watch is worth the price. And if spending this amount of money matches with the value provided by this watch.
We will be starting with the current alpinist watch style and will discuss its discontinuation in 2019.
Secondly, we will discuss its design and overall aesthetics in detail. These will be broken up in several pieces such as its face, case, fit, movement and strap etc.
Finally, we will move on to it’s pro’s and con’s and then a conclusion.
Where To Buy?
Seiko Alpinist SARB017 Technical Specifications
Seiko Automatic 6R15
200 meters or 660 feet
Approximately 50 hours
Is it discontinued in 2018?
At the start of 2018, Seiko announced that it would be discontinuing several models. This, unfortunately, included the Seiko Alpinist and Seiko Cocktail time.
However, love for this watch by new consumers fueled the demand for this watch. And that is precisely why you will find many grey market places and sellers selling these versions. Famous market places include Amazon and eBay.
One should note, however, that these sellers provide you with the original versions of the watch and not any replica.
Since the discontinuation announcement by Seiko, retail prices Seiko Alpinist has fluctuated a bit. However, you can still find this timepiece at an affordable price.
Thus, if you are looking for a budget-friendly watch with this much value, then beating this watch is tough.
Given the price range and the ongoing demand for this watch, the Seiko Alpinist is one of the few watches that may appreciate over time.
Seiko Alpinist SARB017 Overall Design & Aesthetics
A quick tip: The photos you will see on Amazon or any other website will be different then what Seiko Alpinist SARB017 looks in reality. (P.S real-life feel is way better).
What I first got to see about Seiko Alpinist SARB017 and what I saw on Amazon are different. The watch, in reality, is more beautiful and is aesthetically appealing.
Starting with the face dial, it is what catches the attention most. The green dial reminds us of the high alpine trees. It also resembles the sun green colour quite well. The green dial features gold-tone hands and numerical along with its compass.
At the back of Seiko Alpinist, we have the shiny case. It is perhaps the most looked feature in Seiko Alpinist SARB017. The way the case reacts to light and refracts the light is to be observed. This effect makes this budget-friendly watch seems worth many grand.
Coming to the fit, the watch is small. Standing at a width of 38mm, it might not be the perfect fit for big people. While the Seiko Turtle has a greater diameter, the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 has a small diameter.
Included in this timepiece is the 6R15 movement, which is also found in medium to high tier watches which provides time precision.
Talking about the crown, it has a signed (“S”) crown at the 3 o’clock position and an unsigned crown at the 4 o’clock position. And they look beautiful.
Lastly, let’s talk about the strap while the calf leather strap may not be the most appealing thing about this timepiece; it’s just normal — nothing great, nothing inferior. We will discuss this in more detail below.
It serves a minimal design. And if you are more interested in minimalist design watches then head over to this article where I discuss the best minimalist watches that you should be considering.
Design & Aesthetics
Sunburst Green Dial
Shiny Light Refracting Case
38mm dial (Generally Small)
Signed Crown At 3 o’clock, Unsigned Crown At 4 o’clock
Calf Leather Strap (Normal Quality)
Seiko Alpinist Design & Aesthetics (In-Detail)
The dial alone is enough to draw attention towards the Seiko Alpinist SARB017. The sunburst green dial and the alpine feel is eye-catching. However, the exact colour of the dial is difficult to photograph as it slightly changes as light falls on it. Under intense light, no manufacturing faults were found. Seiko did a great job in this. The hands glow a green colour which makes time reading fairly easy.
The most astonishing feature about this timepiece is the case back. You would be amazed by the way this watch interacts with light. It refracts light brilliantly. This feature makes this budget-friendly watch looks worth tens of thousands of dollars. However, as per our experience and previous customer reviews, the case tends to scratch easily. But these scratches could be removed by a polishing cloth, and that would not be much of a hassle. And at the back, we do have a steel engraved plate.
When compared with the rest of the watches in the market, the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is a small watch. Standing at 38mm wide and 12mm tall, this watch can be serious trouble for some fat, or tall people. The largest watch (by diameter) that Seiko has produced is the Seiko Turtle, and when compared with that, the Alpinist is the smallest. Someone with a larger wrist should consider twice before purchasing this timepiece.
Inside the Seiko Alpinist SARB017, the 6R15 movement is used. This type of technology can be found in medium to upper-tier versions of Seiko watches. The technology is an upgrade to the 7S26 version though it comes with added benefits such as hacking, hand winding and 50-hour power reserve. As far as time is concerned, this watch will not gain more than 25 seconds per day, nor will it lose 15 seconds per day. Additionally, the timepiece features a Diashock system which will enable the movement to absorb any impact or fall.
Seiko Alpinist SARB017 has two crowns. One crown is positioned at the 3 o’clock and is signed with an “S”. While the other one is placed at 4 o’clock and is unsigned. The signed crown is what separates the Alpinist with the rest of the watches in the market. You can set the time and the date with the signed crown. Both of these crowns are manufactured with excellent quality. The “S” in the crown is engraved profoundly and is polished.
The strap might be the most disappointing feature of this watch. The calf leather strap is old fashioned and isn’t comfortable to wear. The leather feels like plastic. At first, it is stiff, but it moulds gradually onto the wrist. Also, the strap is comparatively smaller for a case diameter of 38mm. The strap surely needs a replacement for something better and good quality.
Featuring a sapphire glass and built with stainless steel, we can safely expect the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 to be strong and rigid. While many were concerned about the lugs and bezels, I would like to add that these areas can be polished afterwards just in case theses wear off.
Case, Dial & Crystal
Starting with the dial, the dial is fantastic, and under intense light and microscopic testing, we were unable to find any manufacturing scratches.
The case has mixed well with the polish. Very minute hairline scratches can be seen; however, you will have to have to scan your eyes to see the scratches. You would not be able to see those scratches on the images though.
Talking about the durability, the watch is very durable. After wearing the watch for straight 30 hours, it had given me confidence in its strength.
Featuring a sapphire glass, the dial of the watch is always protected. The glass is flat and touches the end of the dial.
Strap & Buckle Closure
The brown calf leather bands tend to be stiff at first, but after some usage, the band will mould as per your wrists. The strap is smaller as compared to the 38mm case that this watch initially comes in.
For some users, this strap is comfortable to wear while for the rest, the leather band is a nightmare. While the majority of the users agree that this is nor the most high-quality leather band, you will have to change the leather band as time passes by eventually.
The buckle closure also has excellent finishing. It would have been great if there was some sort of signature by Seiko. That would have added much of great branding and premium design to the Alpinist.
Why You need one
Where To Buy?
The Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is retailing at around $480. However, Seiko as a brand is delivering probably more valuable than the cost of this watch. It is far better than some of the entry level Swizz watch brands which in some case are more expensive than this price point. With so much of time accuracy (accurate to 4 seconds per day), Seiko Alpinist SARB017 has won all of our hearts.
The style and manufacturing of this watch are flawless. The dual crowned as well as the signed crown along with the alpine sunburst colour is unique looking, and this is what catches everyone’s attention.
This watch can also be used for outdoor purposes (vacations only) and not hiking etc. If you are more interested in outdoor activities, then head over to this article. While there must be many more watches will be delivering more value then their price, I would be researching such watches and will be making reviews and hands-on experiences.
As far as our Seiko alpinist review is concerned, I would rate Seiko Alpinist on 4/5. The only point that is lost is due to the calf leather band that is of poor quality. Other than these, every component of this watch is just excellent.
Seiko Alpinist SARB017 is a gem. It is good to wear, looks fantastic and is versatile. It could be worn even after decades, and you along with other people would still admire it.
Advantages & Disadvantages
And Now A Video!
Conclusion: Is This Watch For You?
Seiko has hit the nail on the head with the Seiko Alpinist SARB017. While there is virtually no one to compete against the looks, feels, and aesthetics of this timepiece within its niche, the watch is worth the price and value. There might be other dress watches or other field watches, but as far as I know, none compete against the Seiko Alpinist. It’s unique design, facedial and the crown are the great features that attract most of the eyes towards this watch. The only minor drawback about the watch is the strap, and usually many customers end up changing it. The advantages and features mentioned above make me recommend this watch to you. You can still buy this watch today and use it for years to come.