The original Seiko Cocktail Time (SARB065) was a cult classic before it was discontinued a few years ago. It had one of Seiko’s best movements, great proportions, and one of the best-looking dials in a watch of any price. The watch community reeled at the watch being put on the retirement shelf, but the sting of disappointment didn’t last long.
When Seiko reintroduced the Cocktail Time line, it wasn’t with just the original silver dial. Seiko launched a multitude of dial colors, new dial configurations, and is still launching new variants. The model today is the SRPB41, which is identical in appearance to the original except for the dial being blue. I’ve had experience with the original SARB065, and we will find out if it lives up to the original.
On the Wrist
The Cocktail Time sits right on the edge of what many would consider the maximum diameter for a dress watch at 40.5mm wide. I try not to fall into many of the pitfalls of watch rules and etiquette (such as don’t put leather on a dive watch) as you are fully entitled to wear what you like. No one is going to rip out a pair of calipers at your next black tie event and measure the Cocktail Time’s diameter.
With that said, the Seiko Cocktail Time is a great-fitting watch. The proportions are essentially the same as the original SARB065 and whatever your wrist size, you should have no problem with the Cocktail Time finding a home on your wrist. While the power reserve versions of the Cocktail Time tend to be on the thick side, the 3-hand version is a comfortable 11.8mm thick. The domed Hardlex crystal contributes a few millimeters of the height so the case doesn’t look thick at all.
I must warn you if you decide to get a Cocktail Time. You will find yourself walking into walls, signposts, and other obstacles from staring at the dial for too long. The textured sunburst is truly captivating no matter which dial color you choose. Despite the dial’s reflective texture and color gradient, the blue dial variant is far more legible than the original SARB065’s silver dial. The hands would blend into that dial to such a degree that it was often unreadable in any light. That’s not the case here.
Seiko markets the Cocktail Time under the Presage line which encompasses their dress and sport dress models. I don’t typically wear dress watches, but I kept reaching for the Cocktail Time. The texture on the dial creates a charming characteristic that is hard to put my finger on. Even though it is a modern watch, it feels like a classic, almost like something my grandfather would have worn. It’s a captivating watch.
Seiko knows how to make a great dial. Exactly how Seiko manages to produce such detailed dials and sell them in watches for the prices they do eludes me. There is some serious magic happening in Japan at the Seiko factory. The Cocktail Time’s dial is beautiful, extremely detailed, and looks like it should cost 3 times what it does.
The star of the show is the textured sunburst pattern. Seiko has produced this dial in red, green, brown, and my personal favorite as seen here, blue. The dial is light blue at the center and gradually gets darker as it reaches the edge of the dial. Combined with the texture of the dial, this creates an effect that is one of my favorites on any watch.
Seiko’s applied logo is at the 12 o’clock position. Seiko has also added applied markers for each hour. The long, tapering markers are polished and beveled which further enhances the way the dial plays with the light. The marker’s shape resembles a claw and while I do like the shape, they are long. I feel the dial would be more balanced if they were shorter.
A date window is at 3 o’clock. The date wheel is black with white numerals, helping it blend into the dial. A point of contention I’ve read about since the new Seiko Cocktail Time models launched is the branding at the 6 o’clock position. Seiko replaced the script Automatic on the SARB065 with Presage Automatic. I don’t mind the change as it is consistent with the rest of Seiko’s recent branding, but it does add unnecessary text to a dial that is already busy.
Case & Bracelet
The case of the Cocktail Time is entirely polished. Seiko’s polishing is always top-notch in my experience and the Cocktail Time is no exception. The polishing is consistent and even. While the overall design of the case isn’t anything remarkable, it’s well-executed for the watch. Considering how busy the dial of the watch is, a case with a lot of lines and bevels would have been overwhelming.
One major point of contention I had with the SARB065 was the crown. It was too small, difficult to use for winding, and even more difficult to pop out to set the time. Thankfully, Seiko has addressed that with the new variants of the Cocktail Time. The crown is larger and tapers slightly, allowing the wearer to easily grip the crown to wind and set the time.
The SARB065 came on one of the worst leather straps ever created. I don’t know a single owner of that watch who enjoyed that strap. It was the equivalent of tuxedo rental shoes that don’t fit. Seiko now offers a bracelet as an option for the Cocktail Time and while that is a welcome change from the beef jerky strap of old, the bracelet isn’t well-executed.
The bracelet looks good. It matches the aesthetic of the watch and is somewhat comfortable but that’s where the positives end. I found the endlinks to fit poorly and the butterfly clasp never fit right. It was always too tight or too loose.
The Seiko Cocktail Time has been one of my favorite dress watches ever since I first saw the SARB065 many years ago. It is one of the few watches that has a detailed and intricate dial and still works as a dress watch and an everyday watch. It’s a great option for those who work in a business casual work environment as well.
In many ways, the SRPB41 is an improvement over the original SARB065. Some will lament the movement change from the 6R15 to the 4R36 but in my mind, anything is better than a 7S26. The availability of multiple dial colors and the crown change are enough to warrant this as a worthwhile upgrade.
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|Lug-to-lug Height||47.5mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Water Resistance||50 meters||Lume||None|