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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I know that on paper the sarb is clearly the winner. that said, this is my first watch having never really worn a watch in my life and i'm thinking that the sarb might be overkill for what i'm after. 2 weeks ago i didn't even know what hand winding or hacking was.

what i'm after is a good all round watch that i will wear casually on brown leather strap 90% of the time and more formally on a black leather strap the rest of the time. i'm in post-grad studies so i'm still a year or two away from wearing business attire every day, hence me being in jeans and a shirt 90% of the time. given this, i don't think i'll be buying another watch for a year or two, although down the line i can definitely see myself owning a nice little collection.

personally i think the black dials on these specific watches appeal to me a little more and seem a bit more casual, so it's essentially a contest between something like a SNKL45:


or a SNK795


and then the SARB033


i've read about the sarb, and i understand it's reputation as one of the best value for money buys in this price point. it certainly looks amazing in photos, and they say it's better in person.

having said that, i am still a student, and so as great as the sarb033 sounds it's also $200 more. (the seiko 5s are on amazon for ~$70, the sarb033 for $275 on rakuten global) so it's more like sarb033 vs seiko 5 AND a new wallet AND nicer straps and clasp AND strap changing tool AND at least $50 more in my pocket.

the sarb033 display sounds like it will be a little better, the movement is obviously nicer, it looks superior, but coming from not wearing anything i feel like i'll still be reasonable happy with the seiko 5 and extras.

you guys are more experienced on the matter than i am however, so just curious if anyone has strong opinions one way or the other.
 

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Amazon has both the snk795 and the sarb033 for sale. Both are prime eligible and both offer free returns. Why not order both and see for yourself. You can then decide if the Sarb033 is worth the extra money, since whether the sarb033 is "worth it" is highly subjective.
 

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The SARB033 is so much more watch. It looks expensive as opposed to "it's alright". Much better mov. with hacking and hand winding. The dial is perfect(day is a turn off for me-too casual). The extra money spent memory will last a short time. The feeling of not getting what you really wanted will haunt you forever. My cheap ass has done it many times.

Don't play the fool man!
 

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Get the SARB, for sure. The Seiko 5s are reasonably priced. The SARB is good value. It's better finished in every way.
 
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Unless you have puny wrists, or really like tiny watches, the Seiko 5 will become tiresome very quickly. It was one of my first purchases when I got here (some 5s were ~$45 on Amazon on some sale) and while I liked it "okay," it was too small, the crown too hard to use, and the movement just not nice enough. But then again, I also already had a Hamilton Jazzmaster, so I had a different point of reference.

There are people here who love these value-driven 5s; I just wasn't one of them. As a grad student/postdoc, money is probably very tight. But the 33 will sell on the used market for ~$250 if you don't like it. So you wouldn't be out that much.

I vote SARB.
 
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Since you have researched it this much you may all ready be hooked on watches. If that's the case you might want to jump to the sarb. However, part of the fun for many folks is changing straps and such and you'll have much more cash and fun-for-buck with the seiko 5. My personal collection has a mix of nicer pieces and fun, inexpensive stuff. If you are budgetary conscious then you run the risk of getting into 'i can't put this sarb on a cheap strap' and falling down a rabbit hole that your finances might not tolerate. That said, if you have the self control to not be tempted to outspend your budget then by all means get the sarb and roll with it. Many on this forum got their start with something rather nice and survived to tell the tale. :)

Either way, enjoy!
 

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how do you feel about day/dates? or the '5' on the dial?

seiko 5's are pretty much all that, a 'dressier' seiko is date only

some people love 'em, others can't stand day/date, so think on it before pulling the trigger
 

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Given that you're on a budget, new to watches, and haven't worn one regularly I would say go for the Seiko 5 plus extras.

Is the SARB the better piece mechanically? Absolutely. But I think that a reliable watch with a few straps (I'd throw a nylon one-piece strap or two into the mix for warm-weather casual wear) and some money in your pocket is a much better way to start off in watches on a budget than getting one great piece that stretches towards the edge of what's economically feasible. Leaving options open is always a good idea, whether those options are another watch (it's sometimes hard to stop at one, especially if you hang out here,) an unexpected expense, or a nice dinner out.

My collection started off with a Seiko 5. It was my daily wearer for several years before I got a few more pieces in my collection. Even now I consider it to be one of my most comfortable watches to wear; it's light and effortless on the wrist in the way that a bigger watch isn't.
 

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Get the SARB. The Seiko 5's at 37mm are really small watches, the movement is not as good, the stock strap will be crap, and the finishing isn't even comparable. The SARB033 will also come with a steel bracelet which will be nice to have for the change when you get bored of the brown leather strap and useful for waterproof activities. Considering the fact that you are getting a daily wearer with which you'll have many memories, get the best one watch you can comfortably afford at this point. On the other hand, if you want to have multiple watches with some variety, and feel that you may succumb to buying more :-d then its best to spend as little as possible and try a couple of styles before spending big.
Looks like we have the same birth year (or same wacky reason for putting 89 in the nick).

However, I would pick an Orient Mako/Ray above both - for a daily 'casual' watch not for office wear - a sporty watch will always be more versatile than a dressy watch.
 

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Seiko 5's are excellent for the money.

Its true that the Sarb is more watch, but it also costs more because of that. Have a look at those features and decide if you want them or not. If your just after a nice looking everyday automatic watch i would go with one of the seiko 5 options, and leave the SARB until later on.

If you really want the SARB then save for it, there's no point in spending money on the 5 if you don't actually like them that much.

Tonyuk
 

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You might think the SARB is overkill given what you didn't know two weeks ago, but you can look at it the other way and think what position you might be in in 6 months time. The SARB series are great quality watches and very good value. Nothing wrong with a Seiko 5, but soon enough you might be wondering why you didn't just spring for the SARB in the first place.
 

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I'll go a different way. Why not something in between the two? These are two very different price points, and you can always get a watch for under $100 in pretty much any style and quartz. If you're looking for an automatic, but don't want to break the bank and are into this style - which is great btw - you could look at Orient. Very similar to Seiko, especially when you look at the Mako/SKX threads. However, I've heard a ton about the Bambino. I don't own one, but I do have the Mako and Orient makes a great watch. My Orient is by far my favorite watch - great looks, cool movement, nice finishing and at a price that was much less than both my Bulova and Seiko quartz watches. Remember though, if you like this style, and you purchase one, you probably won't need to purchase it again later. So if you're for sure certain about this style (which is classic, dressy and can be worn casually), then I'd spend a little more money. Like some of the others said, once you're certain on a style, I'd go w/ quality and spend a little more and get the SARB and you'll be happy. If it's your first watch, unsure of how much you're going to wear it, don't want to break the bank, want something that you can wear in a lot of different settings and looks good on different straps, and you love this look, then I'd suggest a Bambino over the Seiko 5.

Also comes in white or Roman numerals
 

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I was in your position once, and went with a Seiko 5 but mainly because of budget and that there was no blue dialed SARB in production. I really don't think you can go wrong with a 5, especially if you've never owned an automatic; with a SARB it's a more expensive lesson if you find out you can't stand a few seconds of inaccuracy per day or that you don't wear your watch enough to keep it wound. If the latter case sounds more likely, the Seiko 5 has a shorter power reserve while the SARB has a 50 hour power reserve and handwinds if you don't feel like shaking it for a few minutes.

FYI my 5 gets almost no wrist time these days, still love it but my tastes have shifted to dive watches.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
thanks for all the replies everyone, even if there doesn't appear to be a clear consensus :p seems there's good arguments for both options so if nothing else i don't think i'll be making a wrong decision which ever way i go.

i'll admit that i'm quite drawn to the sarb but having never worn a watch i don't necessarily think i'll regret my decision if i go with a seiko 5. i think the display back, even if it isn't as decorated, will still be quite the novelty for me, and things like the '5' and day/date on the dial certainly don't put me off. (especially if having the day on there makes it more casual, that's probably a good thing for me right now) i'm well aware that 6 months down the line that might change but i highly doubt in 6 months time whether i'll honestly care about the $70 and i should be in a position where i'm more willing to spend $300 on a watch.

and given i'll be switching to a leather strap for most of the time the bracelet quality isn't a huge factor.

to those who have made a few other suggestions, i do actually have kinda puny wrists haha, 6.25", so i would definitely start on the smaller end than bigger. i'm personally not very drawn to divers for some reason, and i've absolutely spend a lot of time looking into alternatives such as the bambino (which i think looks awesome). but at the end of the day, having to order online and not having worn a watch before, i'm very reluctant to go with anything that's 40mm or larger, especially given some of these styles can tend to wear a little larger.

However, part of the fun for many folks is changing straps and such and you'll have much more cash and fun-for-buck with the seiko 5. My personal collection has a mix of nicer pieces and fun, inexpensive stuff. If you are budgetary conscious then you run the risk of getting into 'i can't put this sarb on a cheap strap' and falling down a rabbit hole that your finances might not tolerate.
i think this is a very good point too. i know i want to get a decent brown leather strap, and probably a black one too, and if i start factoring in the accessories and tools and what not then the sarb033 quickly becomes quite expensive.

at this point i'm going to look at the budget one final time and see exactly what i'm working with. if the sarb is getting a little too close to stretching the budget beyond comfort then i'm probably going to go with one of the 5s i posted in the OP. i still think they look really decent (better than what i currently wear! :p) and it will be a great introduction to watches for me. that being said, if it seems feasible i'll go with the sarb for sure. and then probably start saving for a white dial watch. the orient star classic EL05003W looks a nice option... maybe next year :p

thanks again all
 

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Interesting topic. I just got myself a Seiko 5 SNKM47. It looks more like the SARB than the other 5 models you posted as it has the crown at 3 o'clock and the seconds hand matches the other hands in colour (silver not red). I'll be putting it on a dark brown leather strap and replacing the mineral crystal with a sapphire crystal. Good luck with your decision!

 

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You won't want to keep swapping the strap. If you really need two color straps, you are going to buy two watches.
 
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