Seiko has a deep and varied history in the world of dive watches, and none are as iconic and famous as the venerable Seiko 6105-8110/9 automatic - like this exceptional all original Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) 6105 example here from 1975.
It is the definitive Seiko diver, and it holds its own against the other iconic divers of the 1970’s. The 6105-8110 and 6105-8119 - produced from 1970 through 1977 - are the same, with the exception of the last digit in the reference number, which indicates the market the watch was originally sold - either for the JDM or the United States, respectively the 8110 and 8119.
6105s suffered from a less than great crown lock design, which often inadvertently allowed moisture to intrude into the case, resulting in “black rot” on the lume on the dial - the watch does not feature a screw-down crown, but instead a mechanism locks the crown in place to keep it from moving, when the user is not setting the time or date. Thankfully the example here has no hint from this.
Now – on to that nickname During the Vietnam War, Seiko watches among other brands were offered in the U.S. military PX’s (Post Exchanges) on bases in Southeast Asia, including Rolex and Tudor. The 6105 was slightly cheaper during this era than a Rolex or Tudor Submariner, but with a reputation for providing no-nonsense functionality with a build quality that could withstand the harsh climate - Army-issued watches were known to fail in the jungle environment.
In Francis Ford Coppola's seminal 1979 film, Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen’s character, Captain Willard wears a 6105, akin to the one here. He wasn't the only one - many service members, to include U.S. special forces and early Underwater Demolition Team (UDT, predecessor to the U.S. Navy SEALs) members wore the Seiko 6105 during the same conflict. Many 6105s survived combat, with their owners bringing them back after their year tour was up in Vietnam.
This 6105 comes with an Uncle Seiko rubber strap, nylon NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1975 Seiko 6105-8110 JDM “Captain Willard” Automatic Dive Watch
DIAL: Original and exceptional Seiko-signed dial, with no “black rot” on the lume, characterized by a nice even and very faint patina. Hour indices are uniformly tight. Handset featrues a vibrant “stoplight” second hand.
CASE: Original asymmetric stainless-steel case measures a hefty 46mm x 49.5mm. Case is thankfully in non-machine polished condition, and still maintains its original brushed finish. Bezel rotates smoothly with a rather faint "click," and the insert has almost zero wear - lume pip patina matches that of the dial and hands. Caseback has a previously owners name lightly inscribed on it.
CRYSTAL: Seiko 6105-correct hardlex crystal, no scratches or blemishes.
BAND: This Seiko comes with a rubber Uncle Seiko strap, with stainless-steel hardware. It also comes with a black nylon NATO strap.
MOVEMENT: Original 6105 automatic movement, manufactured in February 1975, beating at 21,600 bph.
CROWN: Original crown, locks as designed.