Seiko SARX055 Review: The Baby Grand Seiko Snowflake

The Seiko SARX055 is referred to by some as the baby Grand Seiko Snowflake due to its similarity to the Grand Seiko SBGA011. However, at approximately 1/5th the price of the Grand Seiko, the SARX055 is a much more obtainable watch. However price is relative. This watch can be obtained for just shy of $1,000 which for me was a doozy of a price tag. That being said, it was something I really wanted so I started saving up for it. When the money was saved and the time came to purchase it, I almost balked. It was only with encouragement from my then fiancee (now wife) that I was finally able to pull the trigger. So, was the money worth it for the Seiko SARX055? In short, yes. For the many reasons why, please read on.

Seiko SARX055 Titanium Case: The Magic Metal

Weight is often associated with quality. This can make titanium watches polarizing because they are much lighter than their stainless steel counterparts. This lack of weight might make the watch feel cheap or perhaps flimsy. The Seiko SARX055 weighs 106g on bracelet. For comparison, the very similar Seiko SARB033 weighs in at 136g on the bracelet. The first time I picked up the SARX055 my brain definitely did a double take – you expect it to weigh more than it does! In practice however, this is actually a wonderful feature of the watch. I love wearing watches on bracelets, but some heavier watches are not very comfortable to wear for the entire day. The lightweight of the SARX055 eliminates this problem.

The finish of the Baby GS Snowflake’s case is excellent. The sides are polished to a mirror-like surface. There are razor sharp transitions into satin brushed surfaces that surround the bezel. The finishing is so good, it is easy to forget this watch is titanium (which is notoriously hard to finish) and not stainless steel. The push pull crown is a nice size, easy to operate, and signed with the Seiko “S.” The SARX055 case is 41mm in diameter, which I think is large for a dress style watch. However, it is saved in part by the short 46mm lug to lug length. What also helps is that this watch is only 11.5mm thick. The SARX055 will definitely serve as a dress watch slipping under a cuff, but because it is on a bracelet, it also has a sporty side. I wear this watch in more casual clothes and it works very nicely.

That Baby GS Snowflake Dial

One of the biggest draws to this watch, especially in advertising photos, is the dial. However, I was very underwhelmed by the dial when I first received it. Since this is a JDM model, I never had a chance to see it natural lighting conditions. Most of the photos online (and most of the ones in this review) are taken under studio lights that exaggerate the dynamic nature of the dial. In natural lighting conditions, the dial is less dramatic, and occasionally you won’t notice the texture.

That being said, my initial disappointment in the dial was immediately replaced fascination thanks to two other features of the watch: the anti reflective (AR) coating on the crystal and the absolutely flawless finishing of the hands and indices.

First off (and this is something you can’t fully appreciate from pictures), the crystal of this watch is basically invisible. If Seiko advertised this watch as just using a force field, I think I would have believed them. After a bit of research, I have discovered the anti reflective coating Seiko used on this watch is known under the marketing moniker Super Clear Coating. While there is a lot of weird buzzwords thrown around in marketing, this one is aptly named. The AR coating is so good that after obtaining this watch I entered a brief period where I decided I hated all of my other watches because they didn’t have this level of AR coating.

The second underappreciated part of this watch is the finishing on the hands and indices. The hands and indices are honed to a razor’s edge. In combination with the super clear coating on the crystal, light dances across the both the hands and indices in mesmerizing ways. After 7 months of owning the Seiko SARX055, it still takes my breath away.


 

Overall the dial is well laid out. There is an applied “Seiko” under the 12, a nicely framed date window at the 3, and Presage and Automatic at the 6. The script, Presage and Automatic, seem to float on the textured dial. The chapter ring is silver and the color match to the dial is very good. Finally, the blue second hand adds a welcome dash of color to the otherwise monochromatic dial. One complaint I have about this watch is the minute hand is a tad too short. While the second hand reaches all the way to the chapter ring, I wish the minute hand was a tiny bit longer.

Bracelet

On theme with the rest of the watch, the bracelet is also very well executed. The majority of the bracelet is brushed, but the center link’s outer edges are high polish. The center link also has a shape that is distinct from the rounded outer links. This angular edge on the ends of the center link give the bracelet a lot more visual interest.

The clasp is a departure from the usual pressed/stamped metal you find in many Seikos (even more expensive ones). Here we have a milled clasp with double push deployant. Additionally, the clasp closes perfectly flush with no gap showing. The only downside is there are zero micropositions. This can be very frustrating for finding the right fit while sizing the bracelet. There are half links close to the clasp that you can add and remove. I was lucky enough to find a nice fit without the micro adjustments, but keep that in mind if you are considering purchasing this watch.

Movement

  • Caliber: Seiko 6R15
  • BPH: 21,600
  • Stated Accuracy: +25/-15 sec a day<
  • Power Reserve: 50 hours

One of the complaints about the SARX055 is the 6R15 movement. Seiko’s 6R15 is a 21,600bph, 50 hour power reserve movement with a stated accuracy of +25/-15 seconds a day (although Seiko is very conservative with these specs, I get closer to +/- 5 seconds a day on this watch). This is the same movement you can find in watches like the SARB033, which at one time was only about $300 to purchase (it has subsequently been discontinued and is slowly creeping up in price). While I can understand wanting a better movement in a watch at this price point, in the metal it is very clear that the majority of the cost of this watch is in everything but the movement.

Moreover, for Seiko, there are not a lot of other options out there at this price point. Seiko does have a higher beat 6R25, but doesn’t seem to be using that movement in current models. There is also an upgraded 6R15 known as the 6R35, but that is essentially a 6R15 with a longer power reserve. Finally, the Seiko SARA015 has the very rare 6L35. A much thinner, more accurate, and higher beat movement than the 6R15, this movement is undoubtedly more expensive to produce, and is reserved for some of the “nicer” presage models (I will avoid trying to comprehend or explain Seiko’s marketing segmentation, therein only lies madness). Just suffice it to say, I don’t think you will find a 6L35 in a sub $1000 seiko (but I would love to be proved wrong).

Final Thoughts

The only major complaint I have about this watch is the size. I really wish the case diameter was 39mm. As discussed above, the short 46mm lug to lug makes up for the larger case diameter, and it still looks good on my 6 ¾ inch wrist. However, I think at 39mm this could potentially cover the entire dress side of a two or three watch collection. My only other minor complaint is the minute hand being a tad bit short. Other than that, I was blown away by this watch.

Often times when you are purchasing budget watches, you will hear the criticism, “just save up for something nice.” I don’t agree with that sentiment. I think there are many, many watches that you can enjoy for less than $100 dollars. Also, for many people, they could save up for a “nicer watch”, but do they really want to spend that much money on a luxury item? With those caveats out of the way, if this watch falls into a price point you are comfortable purchasing in, I would say this watch is definitely worth the price.

Featured Insights
 

• 41mm x 46mm x 11.5mm
• Titanium case (w/ Dia-Shield)
• Sapphire crystal (w/ Super Clear Coating)
• 100 meters water resistance
• 6R15 Movement (50 hour power reserve)
• Price: Approx. $1,000 when you shop around (Seiya | Gnomon)

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