The Japanese Domestic Market seems to keep all the best Seiko models for themselves. Indeed, the Seiko SARG005/007 is one of those models that were never meant to leave Japan.
Of course, importers know that Americans have a huge craving for JDM Seiko watches, so they brought it to our market with a big price increase. Now that the SARG005/007 is discontinued (even in Japan), the price gap with the original MSRP is higher than ever.
It's a known fact that the SARG005/007 is a great watch, but is it still worth it now that it sells for $8-900? Let's find out!
Before even talking about specs or styling, it's important to look at the size of the SARG005/007. Indeed, this model is bigger than your average Seiko 5 or even other models in the Seiko SAR collection.
The 40mm case diameter isn't that big in-and-of-itself, but the protruding lugs (48mm lug-to-lug length) make the SARG005/007 feel more like a 42mm watch. With my 6.25'' wrists, this is the biggest size I'm comfortable with.
For people with smaller wrists than mine, you should definitely look at smaller models like the SARB017 or SARB033.
316l Stainless Steel
Before getting into the specs, I must get something out of the way. By getting a pre-owned SARG005/007 for $6-900 on eBay, you're paying for the brand/history, not for the components.
While you do get a sapphire crystal, it's nothing impressive for this price point considering sub-$100 (think Pagani Design) can be equipped with such a crystal. Also, it's important to note that most online sources (Amazon, Long Island Watch, etc..) get this information wrong. Indeed, lots of websites say that the SARG005/7 uses an Hardlex crystal, which is not true.
While the 100m water resistance offered by the SARG005/007 isn't bad, it's a bit disappointing. In fact, the cheaper Seiko SARB017 shares almost the same styling & specs as the SARG, but it comes with 200m of water resistance and a screw-down crown.
Conversely, the SARG uses a push-pull crown that makes it inadequate for any kind of swimming at depths. It might even be a good idea to avoid swimming at all with your SARG005/007 as the crown could be pulled accidentally and ruin the movement.
The 316l stainless steel case of the SARG is one of my favorite parts of the watch. Indeed, the brushed sides and bezel are beautifully finished, and they're separated by a thin line of highly-reflective polish. This is a small detail that adds a lot of class to an otherwise very rugged field watch.
Additionally, the screw-down case back is adorned with an Hardlex exhibition window that allows you to see the 6r15 caliber at work.
Finally, it's important to talk a bit about the lume application of the SARG005/007. Seiko applied their famous Lumibrite formula on the hands and on lume pips at every hour mark.
While the Lumibrite application is durable and bright, it's a bit disappointing to see that Seiko didn't apply lume to the large Arabic numerals.
-15 to +25 sec / day
Hand-Winding, Hacking, ETACHRON
If you're a Seiko fanboy/girl like me, you will certainly be familiar with the 6r15 caliber that's lodged inside the SARG005/007. It used to be the movement of choice for high-end Seikos before getting replaced by the 6r35 in 2019.
This is an accurate and reliable movement that has been tested and proven since its introduction in 2005. This caliber is beloved for its hand-winding and hacking capacities, as well as its legendary Japanese reliability.
The 21,600 bph frequency is lower than the competition (ETA 2824-2, Miyota 9015, etc..) which results in a slight decrease in accuracy and a rougher second hand sweep. However, this lower frequency allows for a higher power reserve (50 hours estimated) and more reliability.
The accuracy isn't that bad, but it seems to be all over the place. Some owners report having incredible +-5 sec/day accuracy, while others have +-25 sec/day. The best way to keep your 6r15 accurate is to regulate it.
With its bulky size and 2-crown layout, the Seiko SARG005/007 definitely gives off a military/tool watch vibe. The 4 o'clock crown is used to operate the inner compass bezel. I can't lie, this compass won't be used by most of us, but it's still cool to look at and operate.
However, if you're someone that loves hiking, geocaching, camping in nature, etc. you will find that this bezel may come in handy. If not, you might still enjoy the style of a 2-crown layout.
The glossy dial is quite crowded, but it's a great example of what Seiko can do when it comes to attention to detail and general finishing. For instance, you get 24-hour Arabic numerals that are painted in a patina-like yellow color. This gives a vintage feel to the SARG007's dial that you will certainly enjoy.
Likewise, the hands of the SARG are beautifully-finished and their syringe shape is reminiscent of old-school field watches. Conversely, the round-tip second hand & applied Seiko logo give a modern touch to the watch, making for a great balance.
If you're familiar with Seiko watches, you will probably have guessed that the leather strap is the weakest link of the SARG005/007. It isn't that bad in-and-of-itself, but it's disappointing when taking into consideration the huge price tag of the watch.
My best advice is to spend $30-$50 on a high-quality strap that will be more comfortable, durable, and good looking.
The Seiko SARG005 is the most versatile of the two watches in this collection. Indeed, the creme dial gives it a small classiness boost, which means you could wear it in a business-casual outfit. Of course, no dial color could help the SARG shake off its military styling, so I don't recommend wearing it with a formal outfit.
Not only is the creme dial stylish and classy, but it also makes the black numerals & hands pop out in a brilliant fashion.
To match the creme dial, Seiko equips the SARG005 with a croc-style embossed brown leather strap. Once again, it's not that great so I urge you to get something of higher quality.
The Seiko SARG007 is a bit less versatile than the SARG005, but it's still the fan-favorite. Accordingly, this model will be the hardest to find, and you'll have to pay a premium price for it.
The SARG007 features a black-on-black dial/strap layout that screams tool watch. On this model, the indices & hands feature a silver trim to balance the colors out a bit.
My favorite part of this design is the red arrow used for the North cardinal direction (as well as the 4 intercardinal directions). This is a very subtle touch that adds a bit of life to an otherwise bichromatic watch.
A nylon strap is the perfect way to delve into the military styling of you Seiko SARG. As you can see above, both monochromatic and colorful straps will look great with the SARG005/007. Also, the olive green color seems to be a favorite amongst collectors for its military association.
Not only will your watch look more rugged, but a nylon strap is also super comfortable on your wrist. Additionally, this is the perfect summer set-up since nylon allows your skin to breathe much more than bracelets and leather bands.
Although the SARG005/007 is usually equipped with a leather strap from the factory, the SARB017's OEM steel bracelet (M0TZ111J0) will fit as well.
While it's a perfect way to get a high-quality (solid end links, great finish, etc..) bracelet that fits perfectly with the SARG's lugs, you'll have to pay anywhere from $160 to $200 to buy it new.
Although the OEM strap of the Seiko SARG is subpar, you shouldn't write leather off. As you can see above, lots of collectors get near-identical third-party bands simply to increase the overall quality of the watch.
Most people tend to keep the original color (brown for SARG005 and black for SARG007) so Seiko wasn't wrong about that, they simply didn't make a good enough strap for the price.
In conclusion, I think the Seiko SARG005/007 is an excellent watch, but it's not worth the inflated price. For this amount of money, I would recommend investing in a higher-quality watch with better specs such as the Hamilton Khaki.