Seiko SARB033/035

The affordable DateJust

A true classic

Seiko SARB033/035

There is something very special about these watches. They are respected in the watch community. They are respected in a way that’s usually reserved for more expensive watches. They sell for almost nothing in a community that is more than willing to pay thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars for a watch.

I recently decided that I’d had enough of my Apple Watch. The constant nagging from the Apple Watch was about to drive me insane. I know, there are settings for the notifications. But as soon as I turn of the notifications the Apple Watch turns in to a digital watch. A watch that I have to make a special hand movement for it to even show me the time. The advertised features is for me, as it turns out, the things I can’t stand with the Apple Watch. So I’ve decided that the Apple Watch is from now on, my running watch. I’ve turned off the sound on my phone to. There is just a small vibration for the most important notifications, and nothing at all for the not so important notifications like social media and the likes.

I still needed to tell the time. And I really love mechanical things. So I started to think about the watches I’ve owned in the past. What was the most special, and why? And as you probably have already guessed, it’s the Seiko Sarb033/035. An affordable watch with many similarities to the Rolex DateJust. It’s waterproof and relatively rugged, but at the same time you can wear it with a suit. I’ve owned other more expensive watches, most notably the Heritage Ranger by Tudor. I really liked that watch, but I was constantly worried that I would damage it somehow. I also found it to be a bit big. I eventually sold it.

The most comfortable I’ve ever been is with my old Seiko Sarb033. For some reason I sold it and all my other mechanical watches to get a new Apple Watch. In hindsight I don’t know why I did such a stupid thing.

As soon as I had made my mind up, it was just a question of getting a hold of one. To my surprise I learned that the SARB033 and SARB035 had been discontinued. Luckily I found a seller not far from me who had a new Sarb033 for sale. And after having the 033 on my wrist for a few days I ordered the Sarb035 from a seller on Chrono24. There aren’t that many new Sarbs left for sale so I was very happy to get one. During the summer months I’m using the Sarb033 as my swimming watch, so I keep that on it’s original metal bracelet during swimming season.

I know some of you are screaming at the screen right about now. “You are crazy for swimming with a watch that does not have a screw down crown.” But it says right on the watch: “Water resistant to 10bar.” I choose to trust Seiko on this. I know that if the crown somehow gets poped out, the watch is going to take in water. I’m fine with this. I only use it for a quick dip in the water, no real diving. If the watch breaks, it breaks. This is one of the advantages with this watch for me. It’s not that expensive, so it’s not the end of the world if it breaks. I can simply enjoy my watch and do whatever I want with it. I’ve been swimming with the watch almost everyday this summer and it’s just fine. So for those of you out there worrying about swimming with your Seiko Sarb033/035, don’t. It’ll be just fine as long as you don’t knock it around to much. Enjoy the watch and use it as intended. My feeling is that this is the exakt use case scenario this watch was made for. A dip every now and then, but not meant for diving.

The Sarb035 I keep on a leather strap. I think it really makes the watch come to life. It all of a sudden goes from a white dialed generic watch (on the original bracelet), to a really stunning timepiece with a vintage look.

It’s hard to think that these two watches are the same. The only difference is the color of the dial. To me they feel as two completely different watches.

So what is so special about these watches?

First and formost, it’s value for money. You only pay a few hundred dollars, but you get a watch that has an in house movement that has proven itself over the years as a reliable workhorse, and the service cost is a small fraction of what you pay for a Rolex or equivalent watch. You also get a real sapphire crystal on the front and a hardlex crystal on the back of the watch so that you can see the movement of the watch.

I know, the movement is not a pretty one, so why the display case back? Well, I love to see the mechanical heart of my watch. I oftentimes just take my watch of to look att the movement. It gives me great pleasure.

Another thing about these watches that I love is the fact that they are a bit smaller in size compared to most modern watches. These are just 38mm in size compared to 40–46mm in most modern watches. (Thankfully the big watch craze has settled a bit and the most extreme sizes seem to be a dark footnote in the history of watches.) I personally prefer the smaller sizes as I think they look more proportional and not so much in your face as the larger monstrositys that you see on the wrists on younger men with questionable taste.

I also owned a Seiko Sarb065 (The Seiko Cocktail time) for a short while, and that watch is 40mm in size. I did not like the larger size of the cocktail time. The dial on that watch is to die for, but I could not get used to the size of the watch. All the elegance of that beautiful dial was washed away by the vulgar size. If that watch had been made in a 38mm case it would be perfect.

But I digress.

Another ting that I find really important about this watch is the design. It’s timeless. The white dial (Sarb035) with a brown leather strap is really close to the perfect watch according to me. Understated but beautiful and classic. It looks like a much more expensive watch than it really is. The black one (Sarb033) is also a beautiful watch, but I feel that the black one is more of a discreet watch than it’s white dialed sibling. Both watches can easily change it’s appearance by a simple strap change and both modells can be paired with a number of different straps and bracelets.

I ordered two leather straps from twostitchstraps.com One two stitch leather honey

and one two stitch leather black.

I’ve heard nothing but great things about these handmade straps. I have not received mine as of writing this post, but the look of the straps in combination with the glowing reviews I’m sure I’ll be more than satisfied.

I’m planing on using the two straps on both the 033 and the 035. I’ve tried a cheap brown leather strap on both watches, and they look great. I’ve also seen pictures online with a black leather strap on both watches and that to is an awesome look for both watches.

So all of this, the price, the design, the versatility and the relative ease of witch you can get a hold of one, (that may change soon, now that Seiko has stopped producing them) makes this one of the best watches you can buy without spending a small fortune.

If you can, I would recommend you get one before they start to go up in price.

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