How to modify your SARB033 like a pro

There has been increasing interest in modifying the premium SEIKO model, SARB033. A similar but less expensive model with a white dial is the SARB035. People have attempted to change the dial of the SARB033 (which has a large opening on its face and an uncommonly large dial for a watch). However, this modification has been tricky due to its unusual design.

In this article, Seiko Mods will give you tips on modifying your SARB033. Hopefully, after reading this, you can decide if watch modification is the right choice for you:

Remove the Movement from the Watch Case

The difficulty in modifying the SARB033 derives from its construction and design.

The band and case are affixed in one piece, so the watch band cannot be removed. The watch also uses screws that are screwed into metal bars to hold the cover on the case, making the watch nearly impossible to open.

The easiest way to modify the watch is to remove the movement from the watch band. However, the SARB033 is constructed to make this process complicated. The screws that hold the watch band have bars that go down through the watch case and screw into the movement.

The best way to separate the movement from the case is to use a unique tool called a screw bar remover. If you do not have one, you can construct one by taking a screw that is one millimeter longer than the original screw and the same size and grinding off the head so the screw will fit down inside the SARB033.

Remove the Dial from the Movement

The next step is to remove the dial from the movement. This process is relatively easy. However, it is difficult to do this step without damaging the dial.

There is only one screw that holds the dial down, and if you do not remove it, you will not be able to remove the dial.

Once you remove the screw, you can remove the dial. Be careful not to damage the dial, as it can be difficult to replace.

Modify the Dial

Once you have separated the dial, this is where the fun begins.

The easiest way to modify the dial is using a Dremel tool with a cutting wheel. There are four large openings on the dial that you can use to cut away dial sections.

You can also use an Exacto knife to cut away the dial pieces carefully.

Apply lacquer to protect the cut dial before reinstalling it.

If you want to cover up the large opening in the dial, there are two options:

1. You can use a white dial that has a similar opening. The easiest way is to purchase a SARB035 white dial watch and modify it to fit in the SARB033 case.

2. You can cut a white dial to fit the SARB033 case. This is difficult to do and most likely will result in a substandard result.

3. You can use a dial from another SEIKO watch. SEIKO makes several other models with a similar dial as the SARB033, such as the SARB035, SARB033K1, SARB017, and SARB017K1. Be warned, injecting the wrong type of dial may cause the watch to run improperly.

Reinstall the Movement and Dial

Once you have modified the dial, reinstall it. There is no easy way to do this, so you will have to fiddle with it for some time.

Reinstall the movement in the case. Be careful not to damage the crown or the crown nut.

Reattach the Cover

The last step is to reinstall the cover.

There is a tiny hole that you can use to use a screwdriver to tighten down the screws.

Finish it Off

Once you have reattached the cover, you will have to find a new way to keep the crown down. Many people have used a dab of super glue, and some have even drilled a small hole and placed a screw.

Perform a time calibration as you would on any other watch.


As you can see, there are many potential pitfalls when modifying your SARB033. However, with some dedication and patience and high quality Seiko parts, SARB033 can be modified to meet your specifications.

If you are looking for Seiko parts in the UK, Seiko Mods has them for you. Check out the bezels, crowns, cases, and more, that you can try to modify your Seiko to your liking!

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