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If you’re an automatic watch aficionado, kudos to you – some am I!
I’m glad to say that after the industry-shaking Quartz Revolution of the 1970s, mechanical and automatic timepieces have again been enjoying lots of attention in the last couple of decades. The strong pull of complex movements and a higher level of workmanship seems to be again overtaking the need for usually better accuracy provided by quartz watches.
The number of watchmakers offering hand-wound timepieces is ridiculously big. Hence, it’s important to choose one that is likely to deliver years of hassle-free use and stellar performance.
And who else to trust, if not one of the oldest hands in the industry with some of the biggest industry-enhancing innovations to its name? Despite being solely responsible for the beginning of the Quartz Crisis, Seiko is one of the most recognizable manufacturers of automatic watches worldwide.
Unlike some of its biggest competitors, such as Citizen, Seiko focuses strongly on its automatic watch collection. Hence, the number of options we can pick from is really huge. These watches can differ greatly in style and pricing, so everyone can find something they need.
If you’re willing to go for a mid-budget model and love the minimalistic design of watches, the Presage collection is probably your best bet. In today’s article, we will have a close look at two of the best-selling models from the line. The Seiko SARX033 vs SARZ055 debate has been going on for quite some time so let’s try to settle which model provides better value for money and why.
SARX033 vs SARX055: The Comparison
There’s this gold saying that two things remain irretrievable: time and first impression. Hence, we will begin the comparison by discussing the exterior of both watches. You have to say, at the first glance, it looks very similar.
Both watches boast a minimalistic yet incredibly stylish and refined design. The pair should be considered by folks who are not seeking feature-packed and attention-grabbing dials or giant case sizes but instead believe that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Now, let’s move on to discussing all the watch parts separately.
Both watches come with unified case sizes.
The cases measure 41mm in diameter and 11,5mm in thickness, with just over 46mm lug-to-lug length. Such dimensions don’t make the cases overly big but they can’t be described as particularly petite either. For the best appearance possible, both watches are probably more suited for folks with mid-to-large wrist sizes.
Style-wise, such sizes mean both these watches can be considered hybrids of dress and casual timepieces. For sure, they will look excellent both during everyday wear and more formal occasions. The case is big enough to turn heads while wearing a short sleeve on a hot summer day but also slim enough to easily slip it under a cuff.
Whereas at first sight the cases look identical, there’s one crucial parameter that differentiates between the two:
- Seiko SARX033 model uses a stainless steel case
- Seiko SARX055 comes with a titanium case
Whilst it’s difficult to distinguish between the two without actually touching or wearing these watches, there are some differences that are worth pointing out:
- titanium cases are considerably lighter than stainless steel counterparts. The case of Seiko SARX055 is about 25% lighter than that of the SARX033 model
- titanium is considered three to four times more durable than stainless steel, but…
- …it’s easier to scratch
In this case (no pun intended), which model is best will depend massively on your needs and preferences. If you value premium material that’s lighter on your wrist, go for Seiko SRX055. On the other hand, if you’re prone to damaging watches like I am, the SRX033 model is probably a safer bet due to its higher scratch-resistant properties.
To aid the protection against water-related damage, both watches come with solid, screw-down casebacks and push/pull crowns. The crowns have a pretty standard location at three o’clock.
Both Seiko SRX033 and Seiko SRX055 come with extremely elegant, minimalistic dial designs.
Starting with the SRX033 model, the watch boasts a snow-white background and blued hands for hours, minutes, and seconds. The way the hands have been designed makes them appear to change color depending on how the light hits them – ranging from bright blue to pretty dark tone.
The dial has a classy chapter ring with printed five-minute and seconds markings. The finish and attention to detail in all elements are first-class and polished with great care. Going clockwise, at three o’clock you will find a nicely-framed date window display, at six the “Automatic” label whereas at noon o’clock there’s the engraved Seiko name.
Seiko SRX055 comes with a similar-looking dial with some minor tweaks here and there.
The dial also has a white background and a three-hand configuration but the hands are in a different color. Out of the three, only the tiny second hand is painted in blue. The remaining two are silver-tone. In terms of the level of polishing of both the hands and indices, it’s just as flawless as in the SRX033 model.
And, speaking about the indices, these also include five-minute and second markings.
When it comes to other elements included on the face, they’re positioned in the exact same places. At three o’clock you will find a date window, at 6 o’clock the Presage collection label with “Automatic” and finally, at 12 o’clock, the Seiko logo.
Arguably the most appreciated part of these watches is the glass quality.
The pair uses sapphire crystal glass. The material is considered the most enduring and scratch-resistant type of glass out there and is an ever-present element of all the top brands in the industry such as Rolex, Omega, or Patek Philippe.
Furthermore, both Seiko SARX033 and SARX055 use the highly-marketed Super Clear Coating approach. Whereas it’s not uncommon for brands to throw weird-sounding buzzwords to market their products, in this case, the moniker lives up to its name.
Seiko watches with the Super Clear Coating label come with superb quality anti-reflective coating on the crystal. Whilst all watches with sapphire crystal provide us with excellent protection against cracks and scratches, not all are easily readable. The anti-reflective coating used in both SARX033 and SARX055 means the crystal is pretty much invisible and allows for easy time-reading in any light.
Bracelets of both watches are material-coordinated with the cases, meaning:
- Seiko SARX033 comes with a stainless steel bracelet
- Seiko SARX055 boasts a titanium bracelet
Again, the choice here will depend on what you value more: scratch-resistant capabilities of stainless steel or the more enduring titanium which weighs considerably less.
Matching the excellent craftsmanship level of other watch parts, bracelets are just as well executed. If we include the end links, both models use a five-link design, and both measure 20mm in width.
When it comes to clasps, Seiko SARX033 uses a clasp with a two-button release mechanism whereas the SARX055 model comes with a deployment clasp. Bear in mind that neither of the two straps includes micro positions which in some cases might make the perfect wrist adjustment a bit more difficult.
With so many similarities between the two, it’s hardly a surprise that the two excellent timepieces share the same caliber too.
Naturally, both watches run on automatic movement. In other words, they’re powered by the kinetic movement of your wrist. So, in order to show the correct time, they need to be worn. Apart from the bigger complexity of such movements when compared to quartz watches, another massive positive is that you can save some money on battery replacements.
The caliber used in SARX033 and SARX055 models is Seiko’s in-house 6R15. It’s a 24-jewel movement that beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. The movement has a 50-hour power reserve and provides an accuracy of -15/+25 seconds daily. The movement is considered one of the most reliable types used in the mid-budget Seiko models.
Aiding the protection against damage from shocks, the movement is equipped with a Dia-Shock system.
Both models offer a water-resistance rating of 10ATM/100m, meaning it’s absolutely safe to use them while swimming. Aiding the protection against corrosion are screw-down casebacks and crowns. On the other hand, diving is a big no-no.
Because of the titanium stainless steel and bracelet, Seiko SARX055 will set you a few hundred bucks more than the stainless steel SARX033.
Depending on where you do your shopping, the SARX033 can be snatched for between $800-$1,000 whilst the Seiko SARX055 model is likely to cost you at least $1,200.
Such price tags mean the watches are in the mid-to-high price (and quality) range of Seiko collections.
Seiko SARX055 vs Seiko SARX033: Conclusion
Sometimes two watches can look nearly identical at first glance but once you have a closer look, there are many notable differences. Summing up the Seiko SARX033 vs SARX055 comparison, I think it’s fair to say that this doesn’t relate to this particular pair of excellent Seiko releases.
The two models are very akin both in terms of the beautifully crafted exterior, as well as other aspects including the reliable automatic movement.
If you’ve been mulling over which one to pick and now knowing that there’s not much difference between the two, ask yourself the following question:
Am I content with stainless steel watches or would I like to get a premium titanium model?
The case and bracelet material are indeed the only notable differences between Seiko SARX033 and SARX055 and the final decision on which to choose should depend mostly on the answer to that question.
Remember that the premium tag associated with titanium watches is because of their higher durability and being 3-4 times lighter than stainless steel counterparts. At the same time, keep in mind that titanium isn’t as scratch-resistant as stainless steel. Do you want a lighter watch or one that will be free of scratches?
If the SARX033 vs SARX055 comparison has made the task of picking one of these two excellent Seiko Presage models easier, I’m glad to hear that. Feel free to share your pick in the comment section below!
Also, you might be interested in comparing some other popular Seiko models with another popular Japanese watchmaker, Citizen. You can do it here.