Seiko introduced the Alpinist wristwatch in 1961 with the intention of it becoming a reliable timepiece for Japanese mountain climbers and other sports enthusiasts alike. This watch’s production was vital because it was the first real attempt at making a sports watch by Seiko. Seiko Alpinist watches started being produced in 1961 and inspired by Yama-Otoko, Japanese for mountain men. Mountains cover much of the Japanese landscape. The mountain men who worked or spent time in the mountains during their free time were supposedly the inspiration of this line of Seiko watches. These men required excellent gear that could handle the rugged terrain and depend on accuracy.
|Seiko Prospex Alpinist Core Green Ref. SBDC115 / SPB155
Fast forward to 2006, Seiko released the Alpinist Green Ref. SARB017, along with another two that were often forgotten, the SARB013 (Cream white) and SARB015 (Black dial) variants, instantly succeeded. The popularity of the SARBs was due to the diversity and uniqueness of the watch. It can be worn in any situation, business or casual.
The green dial SARB017, with its gilt markers and one of a kind case design, has hit home-run for many watch enthusiasts for almost a decade and a half until it is about to run dry.
Did Seiko eradicate such a purposeful everyday sports watch due to its long run? At first, that’s what many of us have beliefs and not hoping for. Still, Seiko surprised us again with the new Seiko Prospex Alpinist range last year in 2019 and modern case size and construction. Now, after a year with these new sportier Alpinists model, Seiko has once again coalesced the 2006 SARB series and carrying the Alpinist baton, the Alpinist Core Green SBDC115/SPB155J1 now in the “sweet-spot” dimension, while equipped with their latest 6R35 caliber and several upgrade features.
|Original Alpinist hour markers and hands set
Let’s start with the prominent upgrade of the new Alpinist Core. The old Alpinist SARB017 used the 6R15 automatic movement during its launch. Well, since the 6R15 produced in 2005, the Seiko Sumo range adopted this movement since day one, and have relied on it until 14 years later, where Seiko decided that they should refresh the collection with the latest engine- the 6R35.
The newest Alpinist Core joins the pioneers (along with the new Sumos and Presage) to have a new movement; powered by Seiko’s latest automatic caliber, 6R35, an upgrade from the workhorse 6R15. It still operates at 21,600 BPH (3 Hertz) with hacking and hand winding capabilities. Its main updates are the increase of jewels to 24 and a power reserve of 70 hours from 50 hours on previous versions.
True to the original dimension of the SARB017 Alpinist, the new Alpinist Core has a new diameter of 38mm, a 46mm length from lug to lug, with a 20 mm lug width. Quality is excellent. The case beats the previous SARB series and other competition in the same price category, hands down.
|The stainless steel case carries the Alpinist’s baton
The wristwatch wears just how comfortably on any wrist sizes. Seiko enthusiasts might once again experience the SARB series vibe on this watch – being not too thick and appearing too modern like the 2019 Alpinist collection. And at just over 12.9 mm in thickness, the look befits as a daily-beater with any outfits thrown at it.
Like the SARBs, the Alpinist Core gets a much durable sapphire crystal that’s flat in construction, allowing the best readability no matter viewed from which angle. We do not exaggerate how useful a sapphire crystal can be, as if it’s almost a must to be worn daily.
The stainless steel case carries the Alpinist’s baton, bearing a unique smokey forest green dial with warm “patina” tone indexes and matching gilt hands (a red-tip for its second hand). The beautiful grain textured dial is one of the most striking features of this watch, which has an easily recognizable as a fumé appearance where the green gets darker gradually from within and towards the periphery, lending a total black tone at the brim of the dial. Notably, the grained texture allows a well-defined matte style for a retro yet practical look. All that being executed compellingly and the beauty you got to admire in person.
|Seiko luminous glows brightly in the dark
Since the new generation of professional tool watches in the Prospex line gets the “X” emblem on the dial side, the Alpinist Core is included. Seiko placed it at 6 o’clock, replacing the previous “Diashock 23 jewels” wordings to not throwing off the dial’s entirety. A date display can be seen at 3 o’clock, a must for the Alpinist range.
The main traits of this the “Japanese Explorer” have to be the dismiss of its internal compass bezel, which has been replaced with a mid-century railway-styled minute track that complements the cathedral handset and markers.
Lastly, The Alpinist is paired with the 20mm sports bracelet fitted on a single-lock mechanism that allows for easy removal. Overall the clasp locks with a reassuring click sound and provides a balanced fit on the wrist. The finishing on the bracelet, as with its case, are improved with much refinement – it is sturdy and reassuring.
Seiko’s Caliber 6R35 automatic
Summing things up, the all-new Seiko Alpinist Core came a long way since 1961, springing up from the ever modest beginning as an entry-level sporty explorer watch to become a concurring horological marvel in continuation with the livery today. Although with the replacement of its compass bezel, this new timepiece does not lose any of its all-rounder charms, even though it’s seemingly more toned down. It’s also not difficult to understand where Seiko took the inspiration from, greenery of Japan’s mountain range, in line with the Alpinist concept with the much-needed upgrades that all of us in agreement terms of its value proposition. As it is, the Alpinist Core is a perfect watch for the price and a being a great one that fits within our everyday life.