Yeoman's Weblog (Archive)

This blog was migrated from

Seiko Alpinist – Tradition, Concept, Innovation

An Article by

***** Copyright 2006, by *****

SEIKO fans hoped for it – the reintroduction of a stainless steel-cased automatic caliber version of the Alpinist. On November 22, 2006, those dreams will come true when SEIKO releases the 5th generation of this classic steeped in tradition. All three new styles have roots in past incarnations of the beloved model.


SARB013 and SARB015

SEIKO Japan released the first of five generations of Alpinist in 1961. The hand-winding Laurel Alpinist came on a leather strap, and was followed in 1963 by the Dauphine-hand Champion 850 Alpinist. SEIKO then retired the model for 30 years, but it was revived in 1995 with the popular automatic/hand-winding 4S15 caliber version. An instant collectors’ item, it was in production for two years. It featured a Sapplex crystal (more on this below) and Mercedes hands. The 2003 titanium-cased, Perpetual Calendar Quartz Alpinist with red GMT hand was unconventional. The new 2006 stainless steel automatic/mechanical Alpinist returns to tradition and incorporates elements from all previous versions.
There is a type of man known in Japan as Yamaotoko.. This term translates into English as "mountain man. "The Yamaotoko spends weekends and holidays climbing one of many beautiful mountains in Japan. On the peak he sits down and drinks refreshing green tea from a stainless steel thermos, and eats an o-bento ("lunch box") his wife prepared. Having dependable climbing gear is important to him.

Of particular pride is conquering the peaks of the famous Japanese Alps, both the southern and northern ranges. The SEIKO Alpinist was designed with the Yamaotoko in mind.
The third generation Alpinist (1995) had a Sapplex crystal with a Cyclops date window magnification lens. Sapplex is a hard coating applied to a standard watch crystal to make it scratch resistant.
The 2006 Alpinist has a sapphire crystal for greater scratch resistance. The Cyclops lens, which many didn’t like, has been eliminated creating a cleaner design.      
The new release is powered by SEIKO’s in-house 6R caliber movement featuring an improved mainspring with a 50-hour power reserve. The Alpinist is water resistant to 200 meters.
You can order this Japan-only release from

SARB017 with green/gold dial and brown leather watchband.
Note the classic caseback logo.

[Posted with permission. Thank you Seiya-san.]

Click here to read "The History of Grand Seiko written by KSeiya"

9 responses to “Seiko Alpinist – Tradition, Concept, Innovation

  1. Jacqueline 12/10/2011 at 11:45 pm

    Is it true the 4S15-6000 movement on these watches are better if I can find them? I would like to source one. Seiya only has the green and I prefer the almond. Thx., Jackie

  2. MIKER 03/12/2012 at 5:02 pm

    Alpinist Seiko’s are steeped with tradition , now re-introduced for the mountain man . Although am a outdoors guy , i aint climbing mountains too often . But this didnt stop me from getting me a new Alpinist SARB059J , the thought that my Alpinist is ready to climb mountains when i am ready is a nice thought to have “but in reality i will be climbing city building’s / shopping centre stairs more often than not” .
    The SARB057J has the 6R15 Caliber & is rated to 20 bar , its a high build quality watch , that should give me years of realible service .

  3. Pingback: What makes the Seiko Alpinist so special?

  4. Pingback: Other Examples of "Explorer" Watches? - Page 2

  5. Pingback: The enigmatic Seiko 4S movement ….continued | musingsofawatchaddict

  6. Pingback: Seiko Alpinist: Worlds apart | musingsofawatchaddict

  7. Pingback: The Ultimate Seiko Alpinist Collectors Guide - The Spring Bar

  8. Pingback: Seiko Alpinist 6R15 SARB013 | musingsofawatchaddict

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: