Watch Photo: New shoes for the Alpinist SARB013

The other day while drinking coffee with the watchmaker at his shop, his watch strap supplier showed up to take orders. His sample straps are placed in large strap holders that look like photo albums. While looking through the samples, I saw these rugged strap with big stitches. So, I asked the watchmaker to order some and I got a brown one for my Alpinist which is the first watch in my collection to come to my mind when I saw the straps.

The strap compliments the Alpinist very well and I decided to create a picture of it.

If you watch my blog, you will notice that I don’t emphasize the watch band in my watch pictures. Most of my pictures are taken with the watch placed on the watch stand and I crop them to show mainly the watch head. There are only a few shot that I tried to emphasize the strap and they are taken with the watch resting horizontally.

Here is one from an October 2007 post in which I introduced the Seiko bund strap. I didn’t do very well in this shot because I didn’t really capture the strap. The textured dial of the Samurai is so nice that I placed too much focus on it rather than the strap.

This one below was taken in April 2009. It shows a Seiko 5 Military on a olive Nato strap. This watch is very easy to photograph because it has a matt finished case and does not have much problem with reflections. I think I did okay here except it looks like a 2D picture.

Now, here’s my Alpinist shot. Compared to the two watches above, the Alpinist is much harder to photograph because of its polished bezel. Here are some points that I paid attention to when I took this shot:

  • adopt a camera angle that allows the picture to show the back of the strap as well. Compare it to the two shots above.
  • ensure the strap receives sufficient light in order to capture its texture and the weaving of the stitches.
  • put less focus on the dial but ensure that the gold markers and hands appear darker in contrast with the beige dial. I did this by placing a piece of brown paper in front of the watch.
  • No unwanted reflection on the bezel. I did this by placing a piece of translucent paper over the watch. I don’t use photo tent it makes the watch looks like it had matt finishing.

Please click here to see a larger picture of the Alpinist shot.

20 thoughts on “Watch Photo: New shoes for the Alpinist SARB013

      • Hi Yeoman,

        Unfortunately I can’t seem to locate either individual on the seiko citizen watch forum.

        I am currently residing in SG and would like to purchase the straps with thick stitching from any shop.
        Would appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction to purchase them from.



  1. Pingback: Pulled the trigger on sarb017!
  2. Hi Thomas,

    I think one of those rugged bands would look great on the seiko 5 militaries. What do you think? Gives it a real rugged military look.



    • This post dates back to April 2010. Hopefully the shops at Bras Basah and the Bencoolen still have it. I know K2 has few pieces left. The guy ordered quite a lot of these back then.


    • This post dates back to April 2010. Hopefully the shops at Bras Basah and the Bencoolen still have it. I know K2 has few pieces left. The guy ordered quite a lot of these back then.


  3. Dear Mr Yeo,

    I will like to take this opportunity to thank you for creating this website. As a matter of fact, you are responsible for my first JDM Seiko in my watch collection. Actually, I like it so much, it has replaced my Omega Seamaster Quartz as my daily watch! It’s none other than the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 Green. Yes, I know it is not a new model watch but considering that Seiko is discontinuing the production of this watch, now is a better time than ever to get it!

    I am writing not only to thank you but also to pay it forward. I hope your fans and maybe your followers may benefit from me sharing my day, today, which is an absolute day when bullshit was thrown at me (Right, Left And Centre)! But I am happy to report that I came out relatively unscathed!

    You see, I have been wearing my Alpinist daily for the past week to work. It was only today that I decided that I am making it official that I will wear this watch daily to work. Having to be in the field in the course of my work, a leather strap is not quite appropriate because of the perspiration. So I decided to change my leather band into a stainless steel one. I got off work early and I started sourcing via the internet for a genuine Seiko SS strap appropriate for my Alpinist.

    SOURCE: Internet Watch Forums / YOUTUBE / eBAY / Amazon
    WHY I THINK IT IS BULLSHIT!: Every one knows that the Seiko SS strap for my Alpinist costs anywhere from US$140 To US$180. At that price I could get a much nicer after market (Not Seiko) Strap (Like you did your leather one) with 2 tones / expandable etc. Why settle for that plain SS Strap that was actually initially intended for another JDM model anyway?!? What is worse, I even read somewhere that other model Seiko genuine part SS straps may have the same lug size but the end link will “definitely” not fit in other Seiko models! What?

    So I went to this watch shop that sells Seiko. I was approached first by a lady who asked me if she could help. Of course, I already done my browsing on the net and know which Seiko models have the same lug size and relatively similar end links. I replied, “I am just looking”. She stood nearby and after a while I asked, “Are all these watches from Thong Sia?” She replied, quite innocently, “No”. I was surprised! She then told me that some of their Seiko selection now are parallel imports, even the accessories like straps. IMMEDIATELY, alarm bells went off! So, playing it cool, I asked her if she could help me because I was considering a Stainless Steel strap for my Seiko watch. I showed her the watch and she told that this is a very old model and that she hasn’t seen this watch for at least 5 years! Now, that qualifies for another bullshit right there but I decided to play it cool because I knew the worse was yet to come!

    She got a gentleman to help her and he unlocked a drawer and took out a whole chunk of 20mm Seiko genuine SS straps (with tags). The tags were different from those I see on eBay or Amazon but this gentleman assured me that they were genuine. He then went through several straps that he compared the end links with my watch to give me a selection of choices.

    Now you may think that that is that, I choose the strap I like, paid the money, and be on my way. But NOOOOOO!

    Source: This gentleman!
    WHY I THINK IT IS BULLSHIT!: I recognised one strap that he gave me (that was on eBAY) as a selection. I believe they call it the Seiko Jub—- SS Strap or something. I liked it with it’s polished centre links and matt sides. But it was the gold centre links that really drew my attention in another ‘Jub—-‘ SS strap. So I selected this one and proceeded to ask him how much. To my surprise, he told me it was S$200! I really wanted to high tail out of there! I just couldn’t accept that the strap (genuine or not) could cost more than some of the Seiko watches on their display! So calmly I asked, “Why so much?!?” But before he could answer I asked him how much was the strap with the polished centre. He said it was S$120! Then he explained, “It can’t be helped! THIS IS THE RETAIL PRICE SET BY THONG SIA!” Shaking my head I told him that a new Strap with genuine tags similar to this one (pointing at the polished centre Jub—-) is only US48 on the internet. How does it reach S$120?!? His only reply was, “Can’t be help. Let me fit it on first to see if you like it.” I smiled at him and said, “No thanks, not at $200. I don’t think I’ll like it!” A Longines Genuine Leather Strap doesn’t even cost that much! Not to prolong my anguish and agitation, I hopped into my Subaru (no prizes for guessing that my next JDM, Again thanks to you, Thomas, is an Orient M-POwer!) and split!

    Not wanting to go home feeling rejected, I tried another retailer that sells Seikos and to my surprise, before I can say anything like, “I’m not accepting anything more than S$100!” This retailer told me that it will cost me $60. I rushed him to install it as if he might change his mind or that he might suddenly realised he had made a mistake. Yes, it was for the Gold centre link Jub—–. But while he was installing my strap, he struck up a conversation with me. “You must have seen a lot of straps to know that this strap works for your watch. Then, feeling comfortable with this guy (and that he was unlikely to change his mind about the price) I shared with him my experience at the previous shop. He then assured me that what he was installing was the genuine article but that he got it not from Thong Sia but that the recommended retail price sounds about right except that S$200 price quotation!

    In conclusion, and to sum up in two carefully structured words, “BE CAREFUL!” Do your research! It’s something that watch collectors like the YEOMAN are so in tuned to! I could have bought my watch slightly cheaper online (actually it was just one other seller which was quite suspect). But I chose BIGTIME not only on indirect recommendation by Mr Yeo but because I met Mr Leslie in person and somehow that coffee taste a lot better when you are surounded by objects of such beauty like the JDMs Seiko and the Orient Stars!

    I could have burnt a huge hole in my pocket today paying more than 3 times what I eventually did. The pivotal thing that I did different was to get a feel of the prices not only for the JDM watches but for the genuine parts and after market accessories. And to Thong Sia, if I may be so bold. With the advent of (no not just of Christmas!) but online buying and selling, maybe you should reconsider your stance on RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE. Because…


    Thanks for allowing me to share… BY THE WAY, My first 2 JDM watches are the Alpinist SARB017 and the Orient Star Pearl White Ladies for my wife on Christmas! I guess I can almost call it a Japanese Christmas this year!


    • Hi Joseph, thank for sharing your experience.
      What’s the name of the shop that wanted $200 for the Jubilee bracelet? I don’t think Thong Sia would set that kind of price.


  4. ME thinks so too! Let’s put it this way… Some of the current Seiko 5s (from Thong Sia) uses the same jubilee bracelet. We know the prices of those. Is it possible that the exact same spare bracelet would cost almost the same or only slightly less than a brand new watch?

    I’ll love to share with you the name of this shop but possibly not in this forum. Because an interesting development has surfaced. It turns out this ‘gentleman’ is not a bad guy after all. He was made to say what he did by the owner and the owner is none other than the same person who owns another outlet that I frequent for my Swiss watch collection and servicing.

    The plot thickens!

    Tell you what, Thomas, maybe I’ll chance upon you at Big Time sometime next week and the third week this month (for reasons that we know) and I’ll update you on the developments over coffee! Maybe even Mr Leslie is free to join us! I’ll be wearing my Alpinist for sure!

    BTW! Got my eye also on a very affordable piece by Orient (the Bambino series). It looks so much like the Timex my dad got me all those years ago!


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