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 all original excellent example here from 1976. 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 are exactly the same, with the exception of the last digit in the reference number, which indicates the market the watch was originally sold.
Seiko produced the 6105-811X from 1970-77, which came in two dial variations. Early models from 1970 were labeled “Water 150m Proof” on the dial, and “Waterproof” on the case back. However, and at some point that same year, Seiko changed the text to “Water 150m Resist” with “Water Resistant” on the back to meet U.S. Federal guidelines ahead of a January 1972 deadline. The proof/proof models are rare and command a definite price premium over the resist/resist models.
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.
Now – on to the that nickname. During the Vietnam War, U.S. military soldiers were known to buy 6105’s at the PXs (Post Exchanges) on bases in Southeast Asia. Many soldiers wore them during combat, as Army-issued watches were known to fail in the jungle environment (much like their other gear, to include early iterations of the M16 unfortunately). Many lasted survived combat, with their owners bringing them back after their year tour was up in Vietnam. In Apocalypse Now, Captain Willard (played by Martin Sheen) wears a 6105-8110, akin to the one here.
This history is part – but definitely not the only highly interesting aspect – of the watch’s allure, and that’s before taking into account the 6105’s technical specs.
This 6105 comes with its original rubber strap, NATO strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1976 Seiko 6105-8110 “Captain Willard” Automatic Dive Watch
DIAL: Original Seiko-signed dial, with zero “black rot” on the lume, which is characterized by a nice even faint patina. Original handset, to include a quite nice “stoplight” second hand, which retains its reddish pink hue – a rare find!
CASE: Original asymmetric stainless-steel case measures a hefty 46mm x 49.5mm.
CRYSTAL: Original hardlex crystal has several small scratches, none deep.
BAND: This Seiko comes with its original rubber “tire tread” strap, a quite rare find! This 6105 also comes with a premium “seatbelt” NATO strap.
MOVEMENT: Original 6105 automatic movement, manufactured in October 1976.
CROWN: Original unsigned crown, locks as designed.