Seiko SARB 033 Review: Hype & Value

Seiko Sarb 033 Close-Up
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In the world of horology, few watches have garnered as much hype and acclaim as the Seiko SARB 033. Once hailed as one of Seiko’s best watches under the $500 mark, this timepiece captured the attention of watch enthusiasts globally. But is it still a worthy investment, or has its value faded over time?

Design of the Seiko SARB 033

The Seiko SARB 033 boasts a sleek and versatile design that has captivated watch connoisseurs for years. With its handsome black dial and stainless steel sports/dress watch construction, it exudes an undeniable charm on the wrist. The sharp dauphine hands for the hour and minute, paired with a tastefully designed second hand, create a visual symphony that adds to its allure.

Specifications of the Seiko SARB 033

Measuring at a modest 38mm diameter and 11mm thickness, the SARB 033 sits comfortably on the wrist. Its 20mm lug width and 44mm lug-to-lug make it a delight for wearers with small to medium wrists, presenting an elegant dress watch aesthetic on larger wrists.

Constructed from stainless steel, the watch case encases a dial protected by a Sapphire crystal, a notable feature considering Seiko’s penchant for hardlex in some mid-to-upper range models. The bracelet, an improvement from the Seiko 5’s, not only feels comfortable but also enhances the overall aesthetics. However, the limited micro-adjustments in the bracelet may pose a fitting challenge for some wearers.

Despite this, the watch’s versatility shines, especially when paired with different straps.

Powered by the Seiko 6R15

Equipped with the Seiko 6R15 automatic movement, the SARB 033 boasts manual winding, hacking, and an impressive power reserve of 50 hours. A movement commonly found in Seiko’s mid-to-upper range watches, it once contributed to the watch’s great value proposition when it was more readily available.

Is the Seiko SARB 033 still worth buying?

The once attainable price tag of the SARB 033 has soared, altering its value proposition. Purchased at £365 (around $460) brand new from Japan, it was considered a great deal. Today, the market tells a different story with some units fetching exorbitant prices. While sensible sellers may still offer a good deal, alternatives like the Tissot Gentlemen or Citizen Tsyosa could be more attractive in the same price range.

As the prices climb and hype surrounds the SARB 033, the question of its worth as an investment arises. While it may fetch a profit for some, buying it solely to flip might not be the most prudent choice. The watch’s value lies in its exclusivity and discontinued status, but only if acquired at the right price. Patience is key, as paying over £500 might lead to missed opportunities for more satisfying timepieces, such as the Tissot PRX with the Powermatic 80 movement.


In the evolving landscape of watch collecting, the Seiko SARB 033 remains a symbol of past glory. Its aesthetic appeal, once synonymous with great value, is now tempered by inflated prices. If you desire a piece that is both exclusive and discontinued, and you can secure it at the right price, the SARB 033 may still find a place in your collection. 

However, for those exploring alternatives in the same price range, there are newer, more compelling options that promise a better blend of style, functionality, and satisfaction. Ultimately, the decision to invest in the Seiko SARB 033 hinges on acquiring it at a price that justifies its place on your wrist.

Alternatives to consider

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