Friday, 27 June 2014

The Seiko 6105 8110 / 8119 Diver, Thoughts on Vintage & An Owner's Field Report & Review

there is a purity to vintage watches or watches that have been out of production for a certain amount of time. there is no marketing bs hype, there is no current advertising, articles written by paid voices(magazines or websites) to sell or promote these timepieces coz no one is getting them to do so. so it steps out of the 3 ring circus and lives a life of its own, where watch enthusiasts determine what the value of a watch should be. 

for the piece i am writing about, there are no auction house shenanigans too to muddy things up. list price and discounts from authorised retailers are a thing of many moons back and the value of the item is what prospective buyers believe it to be. factors like scarcity of what you are looking for(what condition it's in) at the right price point, not being able to just pop into a shop to pick it up, and market demand and supply at a given point in time drive the pricing of it.

The Seiko 6105 - 8110 / 8119 Diver

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Seiko's first ever dive watch was the 6217 or 62MAS produced from 1965 to 1968. It's second generation diver is the 6105 that you'll be hearing and seeing more of in this post. 3rd generation down this line would be the 6306 and 6309s(blog post on this piece here LINK). 

The 6105 came in 2 case types the 8000 / 8009 in a more conventional symmetrical cushion case and then came the sexy, asymmetric beauty, the 6105 8110. 

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Looks & How It Wears
  • Is symmetry overrated? Gorgeous asymmetrical cushion case watch.
  • 44mm without the crown and 13mm thickness. 48mm lug to lug. if measured from the crown to the other side of the case, it's 48.5mm. it has great wrist presence and sits very comfortably on my 7" wrists. 
  • Crown at the 4 o'clock part protected by a curvaceous protrusion... beautiful  asymmetry 
  • Applied Seiko logo on the dial, date window at 3 o'clock with a nice metallic frame
 
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What to look out for when buying it
  • Buy them with original parts, especially the dial and hands which are difficult to find in a decent enough condition. the bezel and crystal can be aftermarket parts which aren't a problem but the dial and hands, u gotta do original. after u've owned it for a bit and if it falls apart, then the hands may have to change but till then keep the original parts together as much as possible. 
  • i have seen some asking or selling with relatively high prices with new dials and hands which shouldn't be the case. don't be a sucker and don't pay top dollar for these.
  • Prices for ones with good/reasonable ORIGINAL dials and hands with a decent enough condition movement, case(a little corrosion can be acceptable) will likely continue to maintain or rise [barring any major economic shakeups that is] 

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Specs and Notable Notes: 
  • Manufactured from 1968 to 1977
  • 6105-8110 / 6108-8119 are the same watch just that the 8119 was sold in a different market eg the US 
  • Assymetrical stainless steel case size 44 * 48 * 13
  • lumibrite luminous hands and hour markers with metal surrounds
  • 150m waterproof diver
  • Time and date with quick set date and instant date change
  • 6105b movement reference. 17jewels  21,600bph(3Hz) with hacking(seconds hand stops when crown is pulled to time setting). no manual winding and it is a very robust movement. (mine keeps great time)
  • During the run there were 2 dial types, one had waterproof the next had water resistance on the dials and case backs
  • External coin edge bi-directional elapsed time rotating bezel. click ball with 60 clicks for a full turn
  • Crown has a push and turn to 'lock' mechanism instead of screw down - on my one, this isn't that tight and doesn't instill too much confidence on water resistance. I will not be subjecting this to much water
  • 'Hardlex' mar-resist crystal
  • Lug width 19mm (?!) why 19mm why? excuse the lament, but it's not a huge deal as most 20mm watch straps can be squeezed in on there. it originally came on a really great looking waffle 'pressure vented' strap which suits it oh so well

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I got round to another 'back of my mind to do' as well with this watch and that is buying a watch from my birth year... i honestly wasn't hunting or lookin for it but it kinda was there and it was a no brainer... 

1975 was a good year ;) 


The rocky horror show opens on broadway (it's just a step to the left ;) and the picture show opens in cinemas later in the year... susan sarandon as Janet wet from the rain... an american space shuttle and a russian space shuttle linkup in space for the first time, the apollo soyuz test/soyuz 19 mission. Muhammad Ali defeats Joe Frazier in the Thrilla in Manilla(i loved the rumble in the jungle fight and the documentary of it 'when we were kings' but i am sure this was a memorable bout too) & Microsoft was founded. 

The Vietnam war ended with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. some folks aren't aware of it but that war started in '55, and US soldiers were on the ground from 1965 and were there, in a foreign land for 10 years. One of the landmark films about the Vietnam war is Apocalypse Now, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and having some great actors of our time in it such as Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen. A watch that was sold to soldiers at the time in the PX was on Captain Willard's wrist.

Of Note (please play Purple Haze while reading the next bit ;) 
  • There weren't many watches issued to soldiers for the Vietnam war. Some USAF got issued milspec watches which weren't all too great, but in terms of GIs gettin them, we're talking very small numbers
  • Most of the 'war' watches then were civilian purchases brought from home to Vietnam. Post Exchanges(PXs), sold watches too of course. PXs were kinda like department stores on the grounds and there were big ones and small ones of course with different goods/watch selections available. Zippo lighters were very popular at the PX back then. Other thant the PX, there were Base Exchanges(BX), Navy Exchanges(NEX) and Marine Corps Exchange(MCX) that carried watches at a low cost.

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  • On the watch front, these exchanges also had Benrus, Hamiltons, Elgins, Wylers and of course some wonderful Japanese timepieces... Seiko! oh and some more well off folks wore their Rolexs down too and some Rolex models were also sold at the PXs, so they did grace the wrists of the troops there during the Vietnam war. 
  • A 6105 back then would cost about $75-95 or about 1-2 months of a regular soldiers salary. cheap seikos were there too for $20+.

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In Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now 
  • Contributing to the popularity of the piece was Martin Sheen wearing it as Captain Willard. i believe some folks nicknamed it the 'Captain Willard' because of this but not sure if that stuck. i'll just call it the Seiko 6105 8110 :)
  • Marlon Brando's character Col Kurtz wore a bezel-less Rolex GMT. 

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"Charlie don't SURF!" but if they were to surf they would be well served with one of these Seiko's on their wrist ;)
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Positives
  • Great presence on the wrist and sits well coz of the case shape
  • it looketh incredible
  • it keeps great time and is a robust movement 
Negatives 
  • Lock mechanism may not be the best from a water proofing standpoint
Things to Look Out for
  • Condition condition condition
  • 2 things i had to change on this watch. A bezel with patinaed lume pip sold by Yobokies as the lume pip on the one i got had gone awol and a waffle strap 19mm from wjean to get it to look how it was meant to ;)
  • the hands aren't in the greatest shape but will hold onto them for now. at some point i may change them to new aftermarket hands
 
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looks good on nato too of course ;)

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how does it hold up under real mission conditions? 
  "Insertion of 2 special forces operatives into a kingdom ruled by a mouse"
I had that icy cold feeling when I was briefed on it, that cold grip in the pit of my stomach tellin me to just cut n run. But I hv been trained for this...  The 2 agents were trained by one of the best in the service heck I would say the finest agent in a long time... but time was running out. The mouse king had become aware of our presence and had used strong sorcery to turn the operatives against me... 
 
kidding aside, HK Disneyland was overall a fun time with the family :) we love Disneyland!
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After 6 days on my wrist, never once needing to reset it once, the time was still accurate to the minute. A robust and excellent movement
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glowing in the winnie the pooh ride... uv does the trick
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hope you enjoyed the post on this iconic Seiko diver and all the best in the hunt... i mean assuming you are getting one that is ;) cheers, raph

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Just One Pic To Share First... More To Come On My Latest Seiko Diver Acquisitions In Time

lovin these so much... from left to right, Seiko 7S26-0040 Diver Modded with 62MAS -ish dial and hands... 
6105 8110 made in 1975(which was a really good year ;) another beautiful cushion case steel diver 
and the 6309 7040(blogged about 2 posts down)
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