Seiko Alpinist Review: 5 Reasons Why It’s An Ultimate Adventure Watch

Seiko Alpinist Review: 5 Reasons Why It’s An Ultimate Adventure Watch

When it comes to choosing the perfect watch for your outdoor adventures, the Seiko Alpinist stands out as a top contender.

This iconic timepiece has captured the hearts of watch enthusiasts worldwide, and for good reason. In this Seiko Alpinist Review, we’ll explore five compelling reasons why the Alpinist is arguably Seiko’s best watch.

Seiko Alpinist Review: 5 Reasons Why It’s An Ultimate Adventure Watch
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Key Takeaways

  • While completing the Seiko Alpinist review, I thought the watch fell into the Goldilocks category (not too big, not too small…just right). Meaning it was the perfect size despite it being 39mm, making it suitable for a wide range of wrist sizes and preferences.
  • The Alpinist stands out for its unique design, featuring a 4 o’clock crown, compass bezel, and distinctive cathedral handset.
  • The Alpinist’s green dial is stunning, with a dynamic appearance that shifts from British racing green and faded olive tones to black to silvery-gray, depending on the lighting.
  • Despite its bold appearance the Alpinist is a strap monster, versatile enough to pair with various straps.
  • The Alpinist offers incredible value for money, with the SARB017 and SPB121 both representing excellent choices depending on your preferences and budget.

Seiko Alpinist watch


  • Perfect 38mm size suitable for most wrists
  • Unique design with 4 o’clock crown and compass bezel
  • Stunning dynamic green dial
  • Versatile strap options
  • Reliable Seiko 6R15 or 6R35 movements
  • Sapphire crystal for durability
  • Rich history and heritage of the Alpinist line

  • Stock crocodile strap is not the best quality
  • Cathedral handset can be polarizing
  • Prices have increased in recent years
  • Some convincing counterfeit Alpinists exist in the market
  • Newer SPB121 has divisive cyclops date and Prospex logo

Reason 1: The Perfect Size

One of the standout features of the Alpinist is its size. Despite how it may appear in photos, the Alpinist is actually quite compact in person.

At 39mm, it hits the sweet spot – not too large, but not at all dainty. For reference, my wrists are 7 and 1/4 in, and I think it wears beautifully. Like most Seiko watches they have their way of getting the perfect fit on any wrist size, so just try giving it a shot.

Even if you typically gravitate towards larger dive watches, the Alpinist might just change your mind. Seiko has a knack for nailing the perfect fit on any wrist size, and the Alpinist is no exception. 

Seiko Alpinist watch
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Reason 2: Uniqueness

In a sea of tool watches dominated by divers, chronographs, and GMTs, the Alpinist stands out as a watch designed specifically for mountaineering. The conventional case design gets a unique twist with the addition of the 4 o’clock crown, which is used to adjust the compass function. Speaking of the compass, it’s a signature feature of the Alpinist. While you may not use it often, it’s a cool complication to have, and who knows – it might come in handy if you find yourself stranded out in the wilderness without your phone.

The cathedral handset is another distinctive element of the Alpinist. It’s a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it feature, but in my opinion, the Alpinist wouldn’t be the same without it. Typically seen on classic military watches, it adds to the rugged, adventurous vibe of the timepiece.

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Reason 3: The Stunning Dial

Let’s talk about that green dial. This color pairing was first introduced in 1995 alongside black and beige variants, the green Alpinist has become legendary. Seiko’s designers were initially told that green dials wouldn’t sell well, but oh, how times have changed. The modern version we know and love today emerged in 2006, solidifying its status as the go-to green Explorer alternative.

The green hue of the Alpinist’s dial is done tastefully. It’s a sophisticated British racing green that leans towards an olive tone. The sunburst effect makes it incredibly dynamic – in low light it can appear black or even silvery gray, while in bright daylight it transforms into a vibrant green. It’s like wearing a different watch throughout the day.

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Reason 4: Strap Monster

Despite its bold green dial, the Alpinist is surprisingly versatile when it comes to strap pairings. The stock crocodile strap is, let’s be honest, not the best. But swap it out for practically any other strap, and the Alpinist shines. Its neutral green tone plays well with a wide variety of straps.

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Reason 5: Price and Value

While the price of the original SARB017 Alpinist has crept up in recent years, it still represents a fantastic value proposition. If you can snag one in good condition for around the same price as the newer SPB121 version, I’d recommend going that route. In my opinion, the Cyclops date and Prospex logo on the newer model doesn’t quite capture the classic charm of the SARB017.

That said, if you’re new to the world of watches, the SPB121 is still a solid choice. With its reliable 6R35 movement, sapphire crystal, and balanced 39mm size, the Alpinist could easily be your one-and-done watch. It’s versatile enough to dress up or down, rugged enough for outdoor adventures, and carries the rich history of Seiko’s legendary Alpinist line. At under $800, it’s a value proposition that’s hard to beat, approaching Grand Seiko territory in terms of quality and charm.

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One word of caution – it wouldn’t be a real Seiko Alpinist review if I didn’t tell you that there are some very convincing Alpinist fakes out there. When buying, be sure to carefully research the seller and watch for red flags to avoid getting burned.

Watch Specs

Seiko Alpinist Watch Specifications
Feature Specification
Case Thickness 13.2mm
Diameter 39.5mm
Lug-to-lug 46.4mm
Material Stainless steel
Crown 4 o’clock position, adjusts compass bezel
Water resistance 200m (20 bar)
Dial Color Green with sunburst effect
Handset Cathedral-style hands
Compass bezel Inner rotating bezel with cardinal points
Lume LumiBrite on hands and indices
Crystal Material Sapphire with anti-reflective coating on inner surface
Movement Caliber Seiko 6R35
Type Automatic with manual winding
Power reserve 70 hours
Accuracy +25 to -15 seconds per day
Jewels 24
Strap Crocodile-embossed calfskin


Final Verdict

Ultimately, what I learned from this Seiko Alpinist review is that it’s a watch that continues to captivate collectors and adventurers alike, and it’s easy to see why. With its perfect size, unique design elements, stunning dynamic dial, impressive versatility, and strong value proposition, it’s a strong contender for the ultimate adventure watch from Seiko.

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Whether you opt for a classic SARB017 or a modern SPB121, the Alpinist is sure to be a cherished companion on all your outdoor explorations. Now if only Grand Seiko would make a field watch this iconic.

Read original article here.

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