Friday, July 8, 2016

SEIKO Presage SARX019 Enamel Dress Watch - Simple and Elegant, A Review (plus Video)

After searching for an enamel-dial SEIKO in Tokyo, I finally found one in Narita Airport Terminal One South Wing. The MSRP was YEN80,000 but I got it for YEN72,000 (not a good discount but can't complain much).

The SARX019 is a dress watch with three hands and a date window. It is made out of 316L stainless steel and paired with a crocodile leather strap with folding clasps. The watch is part of Seiko's Presage line and is a JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) piece. This wristwatch is one of the most difficult pieces to find as it is always sold out. The sole reason behind its popularity is its beautiful enamel white dial at a very unbelievable price point.

The enamel dial is the singular point of interest for the watch. Made by baking, the cast iron based enamel dial is smooth without any hint of imperfection. Easier said than done, such perfection requires a very tedious baking process. Generally, having this material would jack up the price considerably. However, Seiko is still able to price this watch one tenth of a Swiss made equivalent.



The dimensions of the SARX019 are 40.5 mm wide with a thickness of 12.9 mm. The lug-to-lug length is 47.8 mm. The dial is protected by curved sapphire crystal. It has a display case-back which allows you to see the 6R15 caliber. Accompanied with an elegant glossy leather strap and a folding clasp in steel, the whole package weighs in at 87 grams.



The dial has two scales. Right on the edge of the dial is the minute scale with sub-markers for every fifth of a second, primary-markers for every complete second and Arabic numbering for every five seconds. The inner scale is the hour reference in Roman numerals. The Roman numeral “III” has been made smaller to accommodate a date window.



There are four rows of text on the dial. The biggest is the brand name on the Northern half of the dial. The word “Automatic” in italics is next followed by “23 JEWELS”. The final row is the manufacturing origin as well as production codes in very small font size.

The date window of the SARX019 has curved corners. The curvature is due to the way the enamel is deposited on the cast iron during the baking process. The cut has to be made prior to the baking process. Trying to cut after the process can easily shatter the dial as enamel reacts in similar ways to fragile porcelain. The aperture is framed by a rectangle black frame to give some clear delineation. Due to the way the enamel is deposited around the date aperture, leaving the date window as it is may not be wise as the consistency of the deposit especially on an angled surface cannot be guaranteed. Meanwhile, the date disk uses a white background to be consistent with the main colour of the dial.



The enamel dial is brilliant white. The markings on the dial were done perfectly and I can’t find any print smudges at all on my example. Quite happy with the dial inspection as printing on enamel is rather difficult due to the nature of the material for paint to stick to.

The three hands on the watch are of vintage design and flamed blue for that permanent blue tinge. Against the white dial, the blued hands are an excellent contrast for referencing. The counter weight on the seconds hand is a crescent moon which reinforces the classic nature of the overall design. As this is a dress watch, there is no luminous paint on any part of the dial, markers or hands.



The crown is located at the 3 o’clock position and is a simple straight sided cap design with grooves on the side and a large letter “S” stamped at the top. The crown can be pulled out in two stages. The first stage allows adjustment to the date while the second stage allows adjustment to the time. During stage two, the seconds hand stops (hacking) moving. When the crown is in the safe position, it engages the main springs and twisting the crown will power it up.



The dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal. Protected with AR coating, it gives a clear window to the enamel dial.

The curved lugs are 20 mm wide. There is no pass through pin hole in the lugs to facilitate quick strap replacement. Nevertheless, there are could strap options to choose from many aftermarket strap outfit.



The SARX019 has a display case-back. Protected by a flat sapphire window, the crystal is also protected with AR coating to give a clear view of the automatic movement powering the watch. The 6R15 automatic with manual winding mechanism is made with 23 jewels. It has a stop second hand function and has been rated with an accuracy of -15 to +25 seconds per day. In reality, the accuracy of the 6R15 straight out of the box is generally much better: in fact, closer or even exceeding the COSC standards. It operates at 3 Hertz or 21,600 BPH. It has a date module attached and has a power reserve of approximately 50 hours with the use of the Spron 510 mainsprings. This gives it a limited magnetic resistance capability. The water resistance level of the watch which stands at 10 bar (100 meters) is also etched on the circumference of the case-back.

The SARX019 is paired with a dark blue crocodile leather strap with deployant clasp. It has a shiny coating on the leather that reinforces the dress watch genre for the watch. The deployant clasp is made out of stainless steel with the brand stamped on the lip of the clasp.

The watch weighs in at just 87 grams.

The metal parts of the watch are polished. However, I must say it is not to the glass finish that you would find on a Grand Seiko. Nevertheless, the level of polishing is exceptional as good if compared with other makes or brands.

The Wearing Experience

The leather strap was soft straight out of the box. There was just a tinge of stiffness in the leather which was a surprised since the strap has never been worn and kept flat in the watch box.

Sizing the deployant clasp was not a problem. I would suggest that you keep it tight when you get it on for the first time. After 24 hours of continuous wearing, the strap is sort of like a second skin to your own. It loosen somewhat and it should now fit your wrist perfectly.


Another interesting point to note on the deployant clasp is its alignment. Typically, the tail of the strap would wrap the backend of the wrist. In the SARX019 case, the tail wraps the frontend of the wrist. This is the preferred style by Seiko as it is considered rude to expose the tail to others.

This watch is a handsome looking watch. I love the way it reflects light from the dial and through the domed sapphire crystal. Viewing the dial from the top the hands looks black. Only when you start to view the dial from an angle where the blue on the hands becomes visible. The size is just nice for a dress watch and most people should be comfortable wearing it. The blue in the shining dark blue crocodile leather strap becomes more noticeable in natural sunlight.

I realized that this is my first non-European watch with Roman numerals. Honestly, I don’t find Roman numerals effective time markers on watches due to the inconsistency of the how numbers are represented. If given a choice, simple rectangular hour markers would be more appropriate.

Overall, I do like the watch despite my reservation on the Roman numerals. Below is a short video showing the watch on my wrist.




The Reveal

The SARX019 is packaged in a long rectangle watch box. Protecting the watch box during storage and handling is a white cardboard box with the “SEIKO” brand printed in black at the top of the box. This packing box is deeper than the watch box as it also doubles as the storage box for the manual and guarantee documents.

The watch box is grey and hinges at the back. Inside it, the watch is the only thing on display, spread lengthwise and clipped in place.

A special tag in Japanese with instructions on handling and maintaining the crocodile leather strap was also included in the package.



Photo Gallery








SARX019SARX019



2 comments:

  1. The hands are painted blue, not "flamed".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believed it is flamed blue. See: http://www.malaysiawatchforum.com/index.php?topic=12353.0

      Delete

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