Review: Seiko SARB017 Alpinist Yamaotoko.

First of all, let me start by saying that I'm new to watches and watch collecting. I googled so many different watches in the affordable range before deciding on this one. It was more of an impulsive decision but one that I have not regretted since.

I was looking at the SARB range and reading/watching youtube reviews. At the end of the day, I was undecided between the SARB033, SARB065 and SARB017. However, something about the sunburst dial green and many instagram pictures that capture the beauty of this watch made me take the jump.

I have had this watch for almost half a year and it started as a surprise to now, something that I cannot imagine being without. I have other watches in rotation but so far, this one gets the most time.

The Seiko Alpinist line was introduced in 1961 for mountain climbers. I think it is similar in concept to the Rolex Explorer in this case and in many other cases I will explain later especially this latest version. Dubbed the Yamaotoko or simply mountain men, it has a mountain engraving on the caseback of all Alpinist watches. I am also in love with the SARB015, black dial triangular indices alpinist. However, after being discontinued it's price has skyrocketed to something I'm not willing to pay for.

The SARB017 is stated as 38mm but realistically is closer to 39. However, it wears smaller due to the rotating inner bezel. It runs on a 6R15 movement that is rated at +-12-25s if I'm not mistaken but can be regulated to perform better. Out of the box, it is really dependent on luck how accurate it performs. Mine is well within +-10s. With a power reserve of 50 hours, I am able to rotate my watches easily without leaving this on a winder.

Truthfully, the watch doesn't work with a plethora of straps. I find the colors that are good on it is usually, black, brown and green. But on a bracelet, it takes a whole different beauty of its own.

Unfortunately the stock bracelet for the SARB017 costs around RM450-RM500 and I am very unwilling to pay 1/3 of the price of the watch for a bracelet. Luckily, I managed to find a watchmaker near my area who is able to custom make the bracelet out of an omega speedmaster lookalike bracelet. As soon as it is on a bracelet, it rarely leaves my hand. I no longer have to worry about moisture or sweat and treat it like a real TOOL watch.

Overall, this is definitely a piece I would not leave or sell. In fact, if Seiko announces that they will discontinue this model, I would most probably buy another one just as a backup.

Aesthetically, except for the black dial and inner rotating bezel which shows the North (there are tips online on how to use this function but please be careful as the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere has different methods of calculation), the watch is quite similar to the explorer.

I wouldn't use an Explorer as a toolwatch because I'm not THAT rich yet. But the SARB with it's sunburst green dial is very distinctly Seiko and truthfully, I much prefer the design of the Seiko. Obviously it lacks the ability to dress up due to the green dial unlike the Explorer but one can't hope for perfection in this range.

Oh, and if anyone sees a SSAF limited edition QUARTZ Alpinist at a good price, do tell me. :)
April 7, 2017


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