• June 13, 2024
  • Watch Gonzo
  • 0

It seems like Seiko has a penchant for discontinuing fan-favorite models. Yes, we’re talking about the Seiko Alpinist SARB017. The series was introduced back in 1959 for Japanese mountaineers which later became hugely popular for its design and robust quality. 

Over the years, the brand has released many variations of the revered series. Currently, the hot cake is the Seiko Prospex Alpinist, which features a classic SARB017-like design, the Seiko Baby Alpinist, and the Laurel Alpinist (re-interpretation of the Seiko Alpinist 1959). All these variations come under the Prospex line-up. All models under this line-up feature a Compass function to help with navigation. 

Whether you’re dressing for a nice occasion or getting ready for outdoor adventures, the Alpinist seems to blend nicely under both circumstances. But the watch was originally created for outdoor activities like mountain climbing, and trekking. There are even some limited edition models within this line-up that pay special tributes to mountain adventures. The Seiko Alpinist Ginza and the Seiko prospex Alpinist Glacier are among the most popular of these. 

Adding a compass function has made the series much more helpful outdoors. However, many users are struggling to set and use the compass properly. Since it is one of the most useful tools in a jungle or on a mountain, setting it beforehand may help you navigate the terrain smoothly. Plus, it can also be used in several other ways. 

If you, too, are wondering how the Seiko Prospex Alpinist compass works, we’re explaining it in the easiest steps and giving you some ideas on how to use it. So grab your sneakers and put on your watch, as you’ll be a pro at navigating the right track the next time you’re outdoors. 

Set The Compass

The compass on your Seiko Alpinist Prospex will provide reliable navigation only once it’s set properly. By following these steps, you’ll easily be able to use the compass. Follow these tips when the sun is highest for the most accurate results. 

Step 1: Horizontal Placement: First, ensure that the compass is aligned accurately toward the sun’s direction. Place the watch horizontally on a flat surface with the dial facing upwards. 

Step 2: Align With Solar Time: Find out the sun’s exact position in the sky. Move the watch until the hour hand points towards the sun’s position. This aligns your Alpinist Seiko watch with the exact solar time. 

Step 3: Adjust The Compass Bezel: Set the South (S) marker to point in the Northern Hemisphere. The crown is located at a 4 o’clock position. Turn it to rotate and align the S marker on the bezel halfway between the hour hand and the 12 oçlock position. 

Step 4: Align The North Marker: Once the South marker is correctly positioned, the North (N) marker will be aligned automatically. The North marker must point exactly opposite to the South marker. Adjust the bezel to settle any difference only if necessary.

Step 5: Know All Directions: The hour hand must still point at the sun. Use the bezel to identify the cardinal directions and align them correctly. Place your map on a flat surface and align it so the North on the map matches the North on your watch. There, you’re all set!

Use The Compass

Now that you know how to set the compass effectively, you may still wonder “Is the Seiko Prospex Alpinist worth it?” or “Does it live up to the hype?” Trust us, it does. You just have to know how to use it. Here are five ways.

1. Navigating Direction: Of course, it is detrimental that the compass will come in handy in pointing towards the correct direction. Whether you’re lost amidst a scenic trek or any other adventure, this will readily point you in the correct direction.

2. Map Orientation: Read all map directions correctly using your watch. Just place your map on a flat surface. Rotate the map until its North aligns with the North on your compass bezel to know which direction you want to follow.

3. Calculate Travel Distance & Time: Find the direction you need to travel using the compass. Estimate the distance to a point using a scale. Estimate your regular travel speed to calculate how long it will take to reach your destination.

4. Locate A Known Point: You can use the compass to return back to a known point easily. Note the compass direction to your destination when starting your journey. Keep an eye on the compass to maintain direction. Reverse the direction by 180 degrees on the bezel to return to the initial starting point.

5. Sun Position Awareness: Point the hour hand towards the sun. Aligning the South marker with the halfway point between the hour hand and 12 o’clock will help you understand the time of day without actually reading an analog watch (for fun).


Now, we know that there are a lot of tools and sports watches available in the market that have been made for the harshest outdoor terrains. But there’s something inherently classic about the Alpinist series. The people of Japan have always been active and disciplined. This watch takes us back to a time before the popularity of smart tools and impact-resistant watches, when people just had the convenience of watches, maps, and compasses to navigate their ways. 

Plus, the dial, the strap, and every part of the watch has a vintage feel to it. It’s perfect for all special occasions where a tool watch just doesn’t cut it. In fact, the Seiko Alpinist green, the Seiko Alpinist blue, and the Seiko Alpinist Black are all among the most popular dress watches of the Prospex series right now. With so many other color variations and such practical features, we think you’re looking at the perfect fusion of a tool and a dress watch.