Seiko 6105-8110 Willard

So, along with the Rolex Submariner, the Seiko 6105-8110 is probably one of the most highly regarded diving or tool watches from the 1970s. Like its Swiss cousin, it has history. Seiko has amassed an impressive repertoire of dive watches, with none more recognisable and revered than the Seiko 6105. The 6105 has become the undisputed definitive Seiko dive watch that influenced numerous Seiko pieces that followed. And the example you can see here is definitely worthy of closer inspection.

These watches were very popular from their introduction in 1968 when they superseded the iconic 62MAS (which now sell for £thousands), right through to 1977. In about 1973 the case was changed to Seiko’s first asymmetrical case, like this one. Furthermore, during the Vietnam War, US servicemen sported the 6105 after purchasing it at their Post Exchanges in South East Asia, culminating in the 6105 gaining the nickname of “Willard” after Martin Sheen’s character of Captain Benjamin Willard was seen wearing it in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War epic, Apocalypse Now. Throughout, his Seiko could be seen as he hunted down one Marlon Brando. (Compare and contrast Sigourney Weaver with her Seiko Ripley from another 70s epic, “Alien”).

These watches nearly always had a tough time; consequently, finding ones that are still in good condition or like ours worth refurbishing, can be a challenge. So what’s the score with this one? Ours was manufactured in November 1976. The case has scratches but remains unpolished. Likewise the caseback. The bezel has dinks. The dial and hands have aged; the lume has degraded (known as wabi rot to Seiko aficionados). But that is what makes the watch tell its history. And that is why we have left these elements untouched. Featuring a 41mm cushion case with a signed crown situated at 4 o’clock, with a matte finish on top and polished sides, the watch sits well on the wrist, belying its size. What we have done is give the watch to a very experienced Seiko watchmaker who has given the hacking movement a full service. He also replaced the crystal with a brand new Type II hardlex crystal which makes that aged dial really pop. The waffle strap is also a perfect replica of the original.

Since producing their first watch in 1924, Seiko has become perhaps Japan’s most iconic watch brand thanks to a combination of dedication and innovation. Founded by Kintaro Hattori, the name Seiko derives from the Japanese word for “exquisite” or “success”, conveying an ethos of high quality that becomes apparent upon viewing their timepieces.

The 6105 Willard’s blend of history, durability and style makes for a truly exceptional piece that is perfect for dive watch enthusiasts or anyone who wants a comfortable, tough historic timepiece.