With the Presage and Prospex line-up using the 6R movements - and even releasing the 6R35 - Seiko seems to have waved goodbye to the SARBs . Prices of course have moved up the scale.
While the inherent value of these new releases certainly is debatable, the SARBs are especially now a great buy (even if prices are rising here too).
As of 2006, when the SARB013, SARB015 and SARB017 were introduced the SARB017 became an instant success, somewhat later the SARB033 developed a cult following.
Each SARB identification number represents a different colour or model, numbers close to one another differ in color like cream, black and green. The SARB017 (green) became by far the most popular because it is unique and can be worn in literally any situation, business or casual. The other two variations (especially the creme SARB013) are now much harder to find, possibly making them more valuable today. The SARB033 however easily matches the green Alpinist and the inky black dial SARB021 is a Zaratsu show stopper rarely seen (no lume of course). The SARBs 001, 002 and 003 on the other hand excel in Vanac like facetted glass and brutish case lines. In all, there are many variations in this product line, but executed with such precision and such quality of application and materials that one can rightly label them legendary.
All of the early 2006 models used an 6R15 Automatic Diashock 23 Jewel movement and provided 20 Bar water resistance. The Alpinist range (to pick a few SARBs) had gold plated hands and numbers. They were the longest running models and continue to gain popularity because of their elegance and versatility. There are only a few subtle differences between them. For example, both the cream and green versions use a more traditional hand system with a cathedral hour hand while the black version uses a more modern look which compliments the intense colouring.
Seiko as of 2013 upgraded the 6R15B movement to 6R15C and even 6R165D. The upgrade includes:
1) Added one jewel on main plate, barrel hole (6R20 has that jewel already)
2) Modified ratchet sliding spring
3) Modified date indicator maintenance plate
4) New balance wheel
5) New barrel
So, early production of 6R15C has 23J, the late production of 6R15C has 24J. Adding a jewel and modifying the ratchet spring are all related to the upgrading of the barrel (to higher power reserve, so higher torque). The modified date plate is due to complaints of date misalignment. Seiko with this upgraded balance wheel might aim to increase long term stability. The previous 6R15s all have difficulty maintaining long term (1-2years) stability in accuracy.