Every now and then, a watch pops up that just strikes a chord, and you know you HAVE to have it. Not want it – need it. For me, several factors have to come in to play for this to occur, so luckily it only happens every now and then. I can’t just like it, it has to be priced right, potentially rare or likely to sell out, and aesthetically different in some way. That latter point is the most amorphous as I really only know it when I see. Sure, I have my tastes, but there’s an undefined X-factor that pushes me over the edge. So, long story short, these factors came together recently which drove me to impulsively and, perhaps compulsively, pick up the new Seiko Presage SARX071 Crown Chronograph tribute watch.
Not a type of watch that was specifically on my radar, in that it’s a 40.5mm non-dive, three-hander with a bezel and a metallic dial, when I first saw some Instagram posts and then read Zach Kazan’s intro, I was surprised by how much I liked it. It’s not really like any watch I own or have owned, and the mix of dressy and decorative dial elements with an aggressive bezel and sport case was just uniquely stylish. The fact that it drew on a very cool and somewhat obscure watch from Seiko’s past made it all the more intriguing. Like I said, some watches just click for reasons unknown. But, what really drove home that I needed the SARX071 (nickname TBD – the Green Crown?) was that they started to sell out in front of my eyes.
I guess I was lucky in that I saw an email from an Asia-based Seiko retailer that fateful morning saying the watches were in, because they didn’t last long. In fact, I was first considering the champagne-dial option, and in my, at least initial, indecisiveness, stalled a bit too long only to find it gone when I finally tried to add to my cart. Aghast, I began to scramble, which took me to the green dial version, but that too was gone. Only black remained, and while sleek and stealthy, it just seemed the most normal. Then the hunt began, which took me to a handful of sites I’d trust to buy from. Champagne seemed gone all over, but I found the green and didn’t hesitate. In retrospect, I might have overreacted as there was no telling if the watch was really sold out for good or just for the time being, but here I am now, with the bright green SARX071 on my wrist.
And with that long-winded and likely all-too-familiar story out of the way, with the watch in hand, I think it’s worth taking a closer look. The watch is, after all, pretty different than any other Seiko I’ve reviewed. First off, it’s not a diver, which most of the Seikos that have crossed my desk have been. Second, it’s got a friction bezel, which I literally have never seen on a Seiko before. And lastly, it’s got the new-ish 6R35 movement in it, which boasts a 70-hr power reserve. With a price tag in the neighborhood of $800, which certainly isn’t inexpensive, the SARX071 (071 from here out) is a unique and curious new offering from Seiko.