Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Seiko Presage SARW025 (or SPB041J1) – A great design, with reliable and efficient movement and nice finishing, this watch has the recipe of success written all over it, A Review (Plus Video)

The Seiko Presage SARW025 was launched in time for the 60th anniversary of Seiko’s first ever automatic mechanical movement. This dress watch is a JDM model with the reference SARW025 (Japan market reference) or SPB041J1 (international market reference).

I am fortunate that I was able to source the watch here in Malaysia. The MSRP here is RM4,144.60 (inclusive of GST). However, I was able to get it for RM2,950. After comparing with internet merchants and taking into consideration the current volatility in foreign exchange rates, it was actually a good deal (MSRP in Japan YEN97,200 (with tax) or RM3,700; MSRP in Europe EUR900 (without tax) or RM4,208 @22 December 2016).

If anyone is wondering why I am getting this watch, it is because of it formal nature, the dial colour as well as the movement. As highlighted in my earlier postings, I am drawn to formal or dress watches after years of coveting dive and sport watches. I am also into white dial watches. Also, I don’t have in my collection a watch with the 6R27 movement.

Sixty years ago, in 1956, Seiko launched its first automatic watch called (rather simply) the Seiko Automatic (see photo below). From this genesis, the brand started to build a legion of fans which sustained the franchise ever since.

The Presage SARW025 is a dress watch made out of stainless steel. The case measures 40.5 mm diameter and 13.1 mm in height. Its lug width is 20.0 mm while it lug-to-lug length is 47.8 mm. It has an overall polished finish. The sapphire crystal is slightly domed and both the bezel and display case-back have some height to them. This makes the watch rather tall.

The watch is paired with a brown alligator strap and a folding buckle. The strap was initially stiff straight from the box but it gets quite comfortable and soft once worn for a couple of days. When closing the buckle, the firm click that you want to hear when the latch catches on the locking mechanism does not come easily. You have to push on the leather, just about where the release buttons are located (rather sharply) to get it lock with a resounding click. I think the locking mechanism is too stiff. It would be best to press the release button to catch the latch instead. This combination puts the watch at 97 grams at the scale.

Going to details, the screw-down crown has a diamond shape with the “S” symbol stamped on the top surface. Located at the 3 o’clock position, it is well balanced and appeals to my sense of symmetry. Size wise, the crown is bigger than normal watches but smaller than pilot watches. Just the right size in my books; it is easy to manipulate.

The watch has two complications. The power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and a date sub-dial at 6 o’clock. The surface of the sub-dial and power reserve scale has a pearl white clear surface whereas the rest of the dial has a weaved-like texture which looks pretty wicked at different angles. Meanwhile, all five hands on the watch is blued and shaped somewhat traditionally.

There are two sets of timing scales on the watch. The outer scale is a minute scale with combination Arabic and line markers. Smaller sub-markers denotes a fifth of a second. The inner scale is an hour scale with Arabic numbering. The font used is classical and in black, similar color with the outer scale markers except for “12” which is in red. It is a pity that a part of the number “6” is covered by the date sub-dial.

There are only three lines of text on the watch. The upper half has the brand name as well as the word “AUTOMATIC”. The third line is at the bottom of the dial is extremely small font that denotes where it was made as well as some production coding.

Via the sapphire crystal case-back, you can see the Seiko caliber 6R27 movement in action. This is a self-winding watch with manual winding and hacking capabilities. It features a number of Seiko originated technologies such as the Dia-Shock anti-shock system, the efficient Magic Lever Winding system and use of the advanced Spron 510 alloy in the springs. It has 45 hours of power reserve with 29 jewels. It operates at 28,800 BPH or 4 hertz. The manufacture list the movement’s accuracy at +25 seconds to -15 seconds per day.

The casing is rated to 10 ATM or 100 meters of water pressure.

The Wearing Experience

The Presage SARW025 resembles more like the Rolex Explorer 1 than a true-blue dress watch i.e. sportier. Its ability to perform in a less formal environment is a positive element to its flexibility. A simple replacement of the leather strap to a NATO nylon strap completely changed its personality. What is good about the transformation is that it is not just a visual change but it also has the capability to handle the outdoors such as the 100 meter water rating as well as the shock absorbing system built into the casing and movement (Dia-Shock Technology).

In reality, the SARW025 is similar to another classic Seiko, the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist (Please refer to this link for a review on this particular watch: http://easternwatch.blogspot.my/2013/10/seiko-sarb017-alpinist-very-refined.html). The Alpinist was catered to please a special group of customers – the gentlemen outdoorsmen i.e. more educated to watches, more into dress watches, more into collecting, yet rugged in the pursuit of adventure. To this end, the SARW025 fits the bill perfectly.

As highlighted earlier, the watch is comfortable to wear and sits snugly on one's wrist. Although the width is acceptable for most people, some may find it an issue with the thickness or height. It is visually appealing and the use of the power reserve indicator is very useful. In fact, I could still accept the watch if the date sub-dial was eliminated or replaced with a more useful indicator, say, a Sun & Moon sub-dial instead.

If you are into the hobby of watch collecting, the increasing price of watches is always a concern. The Presage line by Seiko has always been able to give fans of the brand, the latest technologies in the higher end series, in small bites, at a price that is affordable. This could be, by far, the legacy of the Presage line. The SARW025 is no exception. Its price point is way lower than a comparable Swiss watch. Coupled with a great design, with reliable and efficient movement and nice finishing, this watch has the recipe of success written all over it.

Below is a video of the watch on my wrist.

Photo Gallery



  1. Chanced upon your blog as I was just starting my research of Seiko watches. Going to the land of the rising sun for the first time ever this coming April, and like you, I plan to get a JDM Seiko to commemorate it. However, noticed that you got an absolute deal locally as well for this particular watch (Mid Valley is just 5 mins away from where I stay). Will you recommend to buy locally than to buy during a visit to Japan, from the point of value and warranty. Do let me know your opinion on this.

    1. You can get JDMs in Malaysia. However, the pricing is slightly on the premium side.

      If you have the opportunity to travel to Japan, it is good to get it there. Bring your passport along when you are at the shops as the Japanese will refund the sales tax immediately provided you have your passport with you.

      Note that like in Malaysia, it is still possible to bargain (not at the big departmental stores though). The past two trips to Japan I was able to get a number of JDMs at really good prices.

      As for warranty, not an issue as Seiko's is international coverage.

      Good luck in your hunt in Japan!

  2. Hi. Where exactly did u manage to get such a good deal for this watch? Was thinking abt ordering from Higuchi. Really want a 28800 beater from seiko

    1. Got this in Malaysia. Somethings the price in Malaysia is better than in Japan. Sometimes is the other way around. Despite that, need to shop around. Nevertheless, Higuchi is highly recommended. Bought a number of watches from him.

  3. I'm interesting of this watches since early of 2017. Appreciate u can share the shop or location where to source it?

  4. I got mine from AWG. However, you can go to any authorised SEIKO dealer and get them to order thru Thong Sia. Good luck.

    1. Many thanks bro! May I know what is AWG? :-)

    2. Many thanks! Just went to seiko boutique in sunway piramid to checked the price. After discount is rm3316.00. I planned to get it by next month. Appreciated your sharing with so much a photo bro!

  5. What's the strap size? Also, what do you think will it be too big for a 6.15 inch wrist?

  6. It really is a stunner!
    I got my SARW025 from www.seiyajapan.com/ for $742 USD in April last year.
    Love Seiya and have bought several JDMs from him.


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