Seiko watches have a long and impressive history: the company produced their first watches in 1924 and have continuously produced wrist watches till this day. While often exempt from the conversation about fine timepieces that is typically reserved for German and Swiss pedigrees, Seiko takes quality very seriously. While they now produce some parts overseas for some of their watch lines, all production is done by owned subsidiaries. In Japan they’re still fully integrated, producing any and all parts that go into their watches. The vaunted “in-house movement” has always been a bedrock of Seiko’s timepieces. To us, Seiko represents a fantastic value both in the modern-day market and even more so in the vintage one (our friends over at Hodinkee even wrote a good piece recently about vintage Seiko Chronographs). One of the company’s most iconic vintage pieces, in our opinion, is the Seiko 6105.
Our post continues after the jump.
The 6105 was made in two distinctive body styles: the cushion-cased 8000/8009 (pictured here) and the larger, asymmetrically-cased 8110/8119. Either model is an iconic piece for vintage Seiko enthusiasts. They were the second true dive watch made by Seiko, following the Seiko 6217 (62MAS). Produced from 1968 to 1977, the 6105 greatly influenced the design of the cushion-case Seiko 6309 that succeeded it 1976 — a watch that became a Seiko collector’s piece in its own right. Even the modern Seiko SKX is directly descended from the 6105’s design heritage. Suffice it to say, the 6105 is sort of a big deal in the Seiko dive watch world.
In Apocalypse Now, Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) wears a 6105-8110. This history is the sort of thing that gets us W.I.S. (watch idiot savants) worked up into a delighted frenzy — and that’s before taking into account the 6105’s technical specs.
During the Vietnam War, U.S. troops were known to buy 6105-8000/8009’s at the PXs (Post Exchanges) on bases in Southeast Asia. Many soldiers wore them through the rigors of combat, as Army-issued watches were known to fail in the jungle environment. Lots of pieces made their way back to the States on the wrists of service members after their tours were done. In Apocalypse Now, Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) wears a 6105-8110. This history is the sort of thing that gets us W.I.S. (watch idiot savants) worked up into a delighted frenzy — and that’s before taking into account the 6105’s technical specs.
The 6105-8000 features an easy-wearing 41mm cushion case with a signed crown (a rarity for Seikos of the time) at the 4 o’clock position. The in-house automatic 17 jewel 21,600 bph cal. 6105A powers the watch; some were hacking, others were not, and all had quick-set dates and could not be manually wound. The rumor is that the early models with “waterproof” on the dial were non-hacking, and that the later models with “water resistant” were hacking, but there are conflicting reports. All of the watches were waterproof down to 150 meters.
Combine the 6105’s history with its quality features and you have a winning combination. If you’re looking to pick one up they can be had on eBay, though be wary of watches that have been significantly overhauled with replacement dials, hands, or even new movements. A safer bet is to hunt the watch forums for a good specimen. Try www.elitedealseeker.com, which aggregates all sales listings from different watch forums (tell your significant other we’re sorry we introduced you to that site). For an example that’s all original, expect to spend between $500-$900, depending on its service history and condition.
Don’t be surprised if your first Seiko isn’t your last.