Seiko SARB033 — cheap and cheerful timepieces

I came across the Seiko SARB033 awhile back when Massdrop had a great deal on them, and I wanted a dress watch that was practical, smart, and wouldn’t make me wince when I’d inadvertently bump it into something nasty.

My love affair with Seiko watches dates back to the early 2000s, when I picked up my first Seiko, a diver’s watch, which I believe was a 7002 on a jubilee bracelet strap. It was one tough bastard of a watch, and kept time flawlessly for years before Seiko Singapore decided they couldn’t service it.

Over the years, I picked up several more Seikos, with a recent acquisition being the Seiko Monster in orange (SRP309K1, 2nd gen) after dropping off my Omega Planet Ocean Co-Axial (gen 1) in Singapore for a proper service and conversion to a bracelet strap.

Somewhere in between, I landed myself a standard issue SKX007 with the Pepsi bezel (blue and red), which has run flawlessly over the last 10 years or so, save for the bezel which is now a light blue and pink (and I have no idea where to get it replaced)

So, enter the SARB033.

Powered by a hacking/winding/self-winding 6R15 Seiko in-house automatic movement, the SARB033 boasts a 50-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal, in a 38mm stainless steel case. Most of my watches tend to be in the 42mm size, so I was a bit worried that the 38mm case would be a little small on my wrist.

Fortunately, my worries were unfounded, as it fit perfectly as a dress watch should — subtly elegant.

As it turned out, I wasn’t such a huge fan of the bracelet strap as it gave the watch a rather utilitarian look, which I quickly corrected with an order from for an original Seiko leather strap with deployment strap and some basic tools for strap replacement.

My SARB033 didn’t come alone either. In the same drop, I ordered the SARB035, similar to the 033 except for the white dial instead of black. The Yin to the Yang. I’m currently on the lookout for a nice brown leather strap to pair with the SARB035, and stepping cautiously into the world of custom watch straps.

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