The Seiko Automatic Alpinist SARB017 Men’s Watch, in picture, looks just okay; nothing fantastic. Wear it and expect your expectations to go for a toss. Seiko has made many good watches so far; but an excellent one at this price point? Most probably not!
The first thing about the Seiko Automatic Alpinist SARB017 Men’s Watch that you are going to notice is what you order and what you get are two different things. It is astonishing the way the same watch looks so different in picture and in real life; there are not too many watches that impose this stark difference.
In a single word, the Alpinist is stunning! It is surprising the way that drab; mediocre look vanishes when it’s right in front of your eyes making striking look like just an understatement. The interaction of light with the case forms multiple ‘silky ribbons’ that softly wrap around the entire case. It is decidedly an upscale effect that’s very hard to come by in inexpensive watches.
It, practically, brings in that ‘few thousand dollars worth’ look! It is chiefly because the case is mostly curved and refracts light instead of merely reflecting it, going all the way down to the brushed lugs and wrapping around the finely polished, gleaming bezel. The sides of the lugs too gleam; bringing a very subtle, two-tone scheme and imparting a classy touch. In short, it is just the right balance between brushed and polished surfaces.
The case-back might give rise to mixed feelings i.e. while an exhibition case-back reveals horological beauty to the fullest with the up-close view of the movement inside, the case-back of the Seiko Automatic Alpinist SARB017 Men’s Watch is solid, with its unique logo and model specs engraved into it. Now, even that’s quite a show!
The Seiko Lord Chronograph SARB017 Men’s Watch features a second crown (at 4 o’clock) to rotate the internal chapter ring bordering the dial. It makes the Alpinist readily recognizable while the engraved 3o’clock crown is a screw-down type. With this, you wind the watch and set date and time. Both the crowns are dead-on precise; finely machined and grooved and might remind you of the kind of refinement that goes into crafting the vault doors. The deep S engraving is brushed inside to bring the contrast against the polished finish and make it instantly visible.
The sunburst-green of the dial is just vibrant (in lack of a better word) with gold hour-markers and Squelette-style hands; the hollow parts filled intelligently with excellent lume. It’s a brilliant combination, to say the least.
The flat sapphire glass covering the dial proves to be ideal for the Seiko Automatic Alpinist SARB017 Men’s Watch, for it is not meant to sit within the comforts of home. It is raised just a touch over the bezel, which gives the watch a fuller appearance.
The strap is made from brown crocodile-grain leather, which is tough at first but mellows down within no time and moulds to the wrist without leaving any gap. A comfortable fit and that’s not just a way with the words. The stainless clasp holds to its position like a trained biter dog, willing to let go only upon its death.
It’s plain and simple, with minimal detailing.
Lastly, it’s the movement. Inside the Seiko Mechanical Automatic SARB017 Men’s Watch ticks the 23-jewelled 6R15, which is the calibre 7S26 reincarnated with higher specs. It’s rugged and adds some welcome additions; unlike its predecessor, it allows hacking the seconds; manual winding and a 50 hour power reserve, which is 10 hours more than in the 7S26.
Beating at 21,600 bph, the second-hand has a smoother tick and it does so in an absolutely silent manner, unless you are pressing it hard against your ears. Officially, it has been rated to stay within +25 seconds, but in real life, it hardly goes above 15 seconds on either side.
With all that said, if you are to go for the Alpinist, it’s only for the style and the craft Seiko has put into it.
It’s definitely a value for the money and is an easy equation to solve.