Seiko SLA033J1 – Does it really needs presentation?

Seiko SLA033J1
Seiko SLA033J1
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Seiko launched at Baselworld 2019 the Seiko SLA033J1. For Seiko enthusiasts, these were great news. For those not knowing Seiko’s history, the SLA033J1 is a recreation (one can say also a homage) of end ’60s launched Seiko 6105. The most notable characteristics being the robust “turtle” case. 

Seiko SLA033J1
Seiko SLA033J1

Review: Seiko SLA033J1

Seiko launched in 1968 the now prominent 6105. The watches were produced for a decade (until 1977). The watch was loved between its user as a robust and reliable watch. The international notoriety came in 1979 with Francis’ Ford Coppola Apocalypse Now.

The 2019 SLA033J1 follows the lines and the design of the Seiko 6105. Of course, some improvements and details were added. The watch has a certain charm. Check the wrist roll below.

Zaratzu on a Seiko (not Grand Seiko)

Seiko SLA033J1 received some extra attention from its manufacturers. The 45mm stainless steel case received a special coating that promises an increase resistance to… anything. Seiko does not specify exactly what the super-hard coating means but one can hope for the best. Seiko has a reputation of a serious brand and I believe they put an extra effort in making the case more resistant to scratches and chemical influences.

The prominent turtle case received extra care
The prominent turtle case received extra care

The case is circular brushed on top, enriching the vintage feel. But the most noticeable characteristic comes from the case side. Here, a zaratsu polish is present.

The SLA033J1 case side presents a mirror polish of the highest quality
The SLA033J1 case side presents a mirror polish of the highest quality. One can notice, in reflections, my hand holding the watch.

The case body also serves as crown protection. It is one of the most protected crowns. Instead of the classical bumps, the crown protection is built by adding asymmetrical mass to the case body.

The case side with generous crown protection.
The case side with generous crown protection

The crown has a nice shape with a good grip. It is adorned with mirror polish in which was engraved “LOCK” and an arrow, indicating the obvious – the locking position.

The profile view of the SLA033J1 with a clear view to the crown
The profile view of the SLA033J1 with a clear view of the crown

The bezel was also delicately decorated with brushed and polished surfaces. The black insert makes a nice team with the black dial. Of course, the luminescent 12 o’clock dot is present. Notice: the bezel’s ratcheting system has a fabulous click sound.

The dial of Seiko SLA033J1 is dressed in black - a serious look for a tool watch
The dial of Seiko SLA033J1 is dressed in black – a serious look for a tool watch

The man dial in black

The dial is quite similar to the original model of the ’70s. The modern watch is decorated with a printed Seiko name, movement type and water resistance (200m instead of  150m of the original model).

Detail of the black dial
Detail of the black dial

The SLA033J1 has a silver printed railtrack for its running seconds. The watch uses generous hour indexes filled with LumiBrite. Please see below a low light example.

The diver watch is fitted with a date aperture at 3 o'clock
The diver watch is fitted with a date aperture at 3 o’clock

Seiko used a bevelled date aperture with black on silver date disk. The date window balances somehow the 9 o’clock indexes and an attempt to keep the dial symmetrical.

The watch is fitted with baton hands filled with Lumibrite
The watch is fitted with baton hands filled with Lumibrite

My favourite detail of the Seiko SLA033J1 is the design of the hands. The baton hands have polished edges that play with light. The seconds’ hand, besides the nice shape, is adorned with a red dot (similar to the original).

The #watchesunderthetable low light shot reveals the glow of the Lumibrite
The #watchesunderthetable low light shot reveals the glow of the Lumibrite

Some notes about the movement

Seiko SLA033J1 has hidden under the steel caseback the Calibre 8L35. The movement has on the paper the characteristics of the ones fitted on Grand Seiko pieces. The decorations don’t rise to that level. Still, Seiko promises an accuracy of +15 to -10 seconds per day.

The watch runs at the usual 4Hz for approximative 50 hours. The movement is capable to withstand magnetic fields with an intensity up to 4,800 A/m.

The case back of the SLA033J1
The case back of the SLA033J1

Some final notes and conclusions

The Seiko SLA033J1 is fitted with a rubber strap with a nice large hobnail pattern. For my taste, the strap looks rather narrow for the watch case dimensions. On the other side, that also is the charm of the vintage or vintage-inspired timepieces. The strap has a steel pin buckle (see in the article’s gallery).

The Seiko SLA033J1 on the wrist
The Seiko SLA033J1 on the wrist

The watch looks nice on the wrist. I am not the biggest fan of the turtle case, but I do agree with their charm. The watch is nicely finished and reflects the relatively high price tag – 4,350Euro/4,250USD. For the money, the market has a large selection. I am sure that the fans will pay the price. The watch is available since July only in the Seiko Boutiques and at the selected dealers. The SLA033J1 is produced in a 2500 pieces series.

Seiko SLA033J1
Seiko SLA033J1

Seiko SLA033J1 Technical specifications

Features

  • Date display
  • Stop-seconds function

Movement Calibre 8L35

  • Movement Type: Automatic with manual winding capacity
  • Accuracy: +15 to -10 seconds per day
  • Frequency: 4Hz, 28.800vph
  • Power Reserve: Approx. 50 hours

Case 

  • Stainless steel (super hard coating) with stainless steel bezel
  • Dual-curved sapphire
  • Anti-reflective coating on inner surface
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Length: 49.7mm
  • Water Resistance: 200m / 660ft
  • Magnetic resistance 4,800 A/m
LumiBrite
  • Lumibrite on hands and indexes

Strap and buckle

  • Material: silicone
  • Buckle: steel pin buckle

Seiko SLA033J1 Gallery

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