Seiko holds a very special place in the watch industry. For many, the Japanese brand was and still is the gateway into the world of mechanical timepieces. However, the company is also widely respected among collectors. In this article, we’re taking a deeper dive into the world of Seiko and looking at their five most popular models on Chrono24. Let’s find out which Seiko watches made the cut.
1. Seiko Spirit SARB033
First on our list is the Seiko SARB033. So, what’s so special about this watch? Well, like every Seiko, the value for money with this particular model is incredible. Some enthusiasts have compared the watch’s finishing to that of Grand Seiko timepieces. With a recommended retail price under $600, the SARB033 offers great Seiko style, a 38-mm case size that is comfortable on most wrists, a reliable Seiko caliber 6R15, and superior finishing.
Another reason why this watch is so popular is that Seiko discontinued this model in 2018, and they have yet to introduce a replacement that offers the same value for money. In response, collectors and enthusiasts have made the SARB033 into a must-have watch for most collections. There are no signs that Seiko will release something that offers the same value for money anytime soon.
Furthermore, the SARB033 is special because it is part of Seiko’s JDM collection. JDM stands for “Japanese Domestic Market;” thus, a lot of Seiko collectors outside of Japan are eager to get their hands on these exclusive models. You won’t always find many Seiko SARB033 models on offer, but they are generally available for somewhere between $600-950.
2. Seiko Alpinist SARB017
The second watch on the list is another Seiko JDM model. The SARB017 is part of Seiko’s Alpinist series. It consists of three watches, which were first available in Japan in 2006. The SARB017 quickly became a fan favorite with its green dial and brown leather strap.
The Alpinist series holds a special place in Seiko’s history as the manufacturer’s first sports watches. The original Seiko Laurel Alpinist – as it was called then – debuted in 1961. That’s four years before Seiko launched its great range of diving watches. Thus, there’s quite a bit of Seiko history attached to Alpinist timepieces, making them popular with collectors.
So, why is this particular SARB017 in such high demand? That’s a fair question, especially since the current Seiko Prospex collection contains a Seiko Alpinist (SPB121J1) that looks exactly like the SARB017 but with an updated movement and better specifications. Once again, limited availability and the exotic nature of JDM watches play an important role in its popularity.
Moreover, there is one significant difference between the models: Seiko decided to make the new Alpinist part of the Prospex collection. As a result, the current Alpinist features a Prospex logo on its dial. This is blasphemy for many diehard Seiko enthusiasts because the Alpinist does not belong in what is essentially Seiko’s diving collection. Besides that, many Seiko fans are not fans of the Prospex logo. Thus, they see the SARB017 as the better option. The SARB017 sells for between $600-1,200 today, which is way more than its original list price of under $600.
3. Seiko SKX007K2
Numbers 3-5 on this list are all variations of the same Seiko diving watch. The Seiko SKX series has gained legendary status among Seiko enthusiasts all over the world. Fans praise the watch for its incredible value for money, which made it the best entry-level diving watch on the market. I say “made” because Seiko decided to discontinue the SKX series in 2019, much to the dismay of many Seiko followers.
Before we move on, let’s briefly explain the meaning behind the different number and letter combinations for Seiko SKX reference numbers. So, this watch is the SKX007K2, and number five on this list is the SKX007K1. The difference is simple: The SKX007K2 features a stainless-steel case, black dial, black bezel, and stainless-steel bracelet, and the SKX007K1 is essentially the same watch fitted with a rubber strap.
Seiko first introduced the SKX series in 1996. The secrets to its success are its perfect 42-mm case size, 200 m (656 ft) of water resistance, the incredibly reliable Seiko caliber 7S26, and its affordable price. Despite high production numbers, a new SKX007K2 is not always easy to find. Due to its popularity and subsequent discontinuation, people have jumped on the opportunity to buy one. As a result, they are not available in large numbers, and prices have slowly risen to somewhere between $350-600.
4. Seiko SKX009K2
The Seiko SKX009K2 is another model from the SKX series, with the number 009 standing for a different color configuration. This version features a dark blue dial and a blue and red bezel, also known as a “Pepsi” bezel. If you’re not keen on a solid black Seiko SKX, this is a more vibrant option.
This watch has also become quite popular with collectors. Prices for an SKX009K2 are in the same range as the black version. As far as supply goes, the models are not far apart. There has been a big run on SKX models because Seiko has yet to introduce a proper follow-up to the series. I must add that Seiko has more than enough diving watches in their collection at a similar price point, but none have anywhere near the status of the SKX007 and SKX009.
5. Seiko SKX007K1
As mentioned above, the SKX007K1 pairs a black dial and bezel with a black rubber strap. That being said, you will find quite a few more colorful variants if you search for this model on Chrono24. The reason is that the SKX models are very popular with Seiko enthusiasts who like to modify their timepieces. Over the years, some owners have altered nearly everything about the watch: from replacing the movement to swapping out the hands, bezels, and even dials. This is the ideal watch to personalize. Why? Because it is relatively easy to do.
The SKX007K1 generally demands prices of $300-450, making it slightly more affordable than the version on a steel bracelet. Seeing as straps and bracelets are easily interchangeable, you could quickly transform this option into the edition with a steel bracelet if you happen to find one for sale. Since so many Seiko fans like to tinker with their SKX watches, chances are there are quite a few K1s out there that have become K2s. Modifications are completely normal in the world of Seiko SKX models, unlike other popular watches. Don’t wait too long before buying, though, as these watches will likely see steady increases in price over time.
This concludes our list of the most popular Seiko models on Chrono24. However, I suggest you check out the Seiko brand as a whole rather than just focusing on these watches. There is so much more to Seiko than these five models (though I am personally fond of the SARB017). Happy hunting!