|original Seiko Urethane Belt, Seiko tang buckle
|original Seiko box
WRIST ICONS brings you an iconic asymmetrical diver from Seiko as worn by Martin Sheen in the movie Apocalypse Now. This Seiko has been on the wrist of many US soldiers during the war in Vietnam. Here we have a Seiko Captain Willard with an original Seiko Chocolate strap and its original Seiko box.
Seiko is widely known as a company that produces affordable, high-quality diver's watches. One of the reasons why this brand image came to be goes back to the American War in Vietnam – and the Seiko 6105.
The Seiko 6105-8xxx series replaced Seiko’s original professional diver, the 62MAS in 1968. Reference 6105-8110 introduced in 1970 was the 2nd generation of Seiko cushion shaped diver watches. It was also probably the most historically significant Seiko diver watch. The watch was also produced for a relatively long period until 1976. Thanks to its affordability and robustness, Seiko 6105 was popular among the U.S. soldiers in Vietnam War.
In 2021, Seiko introduced SLA051 which was another modern interpretation of the original Seiko 6105.
Before we “dive” into the specifics of the 6105-8110/9, let’s provide you with an overview of the 6105 series of watches. The first of Seiko’s 6105-8xxx series of watches came in two main designs and were produced under four reference numbers, which were produced from 1968 to 1977. For simplicity, we can break these variants into two groups: the Seiko 6100-8000/ 6100-8009 and then the later Seiko 6105-8110/6105-8119. In typical Seiko fashion, two of the reference designations were designed for marketing reasons to differentiate the Japanese domestic market (JDM) variants from the U.S. versions. Outside of the caseback reference between the two references, there aren’t any technical differences between the JDM and the variants that were slated for sale in the United States.
At a quick glance, you may not be able to spot the difference between the two, as they are very similar in design, but the Seiko 6105-8000 possesses a symmetrical case with an offset crown, whereas the 6105-8110/9 possesses a truly asymmetrical case with crown guards that completely secure the crown.
According to the catalogs, the transition between the 2 versions was made in 1969-1970. So, the 6105-811x (the second generation) was made from 1970-1977.
The dial and hand configurations are also pretty much the same with the main differences being subtle. The 8000/8009 versions have “Water Proof” on the dial versus “Water Resist” on the dials and case backs (hence the “Proof/Proof,” “Proof/Resist,” and “Resist/Resist” classifications often seen in for sale postings). Also, the 6105-8009 gains an improvement from the upgraded 6105B movement that added hacking to the 17-jewel base caliber. The 6105-8110 was the first Seiko diver to use an asymmetrical case and integrated crown guards which can still be seen in the modern Seiko Professional divers today, which is one of the main reasons the 6105 an icon of watch design.
The Seiko 6105-8000 with its symmetrical cushion shaped case is very rare today. While it is a serious collector's item in its own right, it simply never made the impact that the later asymmetrical iteration, the 6105-8110/8119 created.
This was the first time that Seiko introduced an asymmetrical crown at 4 o’clock. That asymmetric characteristic is one of the most notable traits on this version of the 6105 and set a design standard that Seiko often chooses to follow to this today. In addition to what must have been a very unique case at the time, Seiko chose to equip the 150 meter water-resistant diver with a bespoke style of crown. In lieu of a standard screw-down, the crown functions more like a bayonet with a “push down and twist” locking it into place. It wasn’t overly effective at keeping things dry, but it is one of the more charming aspects of the watches. Regarding the dial, these 6105’s kept the legible, primarily black/white/silver look that Seiko introduced some 5 years earlier with the 62MAS. The same can be said with the bi-directional external bezel as it kept a design in terms of font and layout. Inside sits a 17 jewel automatic that features a quick set date, but does without hand winding due to Seiko’s “magic lever” system.
From a specifications perspective, the original Seiko 6105 wasn't anything too out of the ordinary – for a diver's watch at least. It was large by the standards of the time, and it was also produced in large quantities from the late 1960s until 1977.
The 6105's were ready for use in harsh environments, and when US soldiers brought them back to the USA when they returned home, Seiko diver's watches gained a well-deserved reputation for offering an incredible value proposition.
As for the nickname “Captain Willard” that defines the 6105 to this day – it was actually a result of Martin Sheen wearing a 6105-8110 in the movie “Apocalypse Now”. This has no doubt raised the profile of the 6105 – especially in the Seiko collecting community.
Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura, also used a 6105 when he crossed the North Pole from Greenland to Alaska by dog sled. He was an adventurer who succeeded in climbing Everest for the first time as a Japanese and is world-famous as the world's first successful climber on five continents He became the first man to reach the North Pole solo. – which took 18 months in the frigid north. This is another example of how Seiko, and the Seiko 6105, earned a reputation for being a tough watch while still being affordable.
All 6105's had a movement that operated at 21,600 bph and contained 17 jewels. Depending on the year a 6105 was purchased, it may or may not have featured hacking. The text on the dial also changed over the production run, with some stating 'Water 150m Proof' – and other stating 'Water 150m Resist'.
All known 6105s had a date complication, and the other standard features a person might expect in a diving watch. Although there was no true heir to the design of the 6015 (until very recently) it isn't hard to see how it influenced the case design that would be used in the SKX.
In 1969 Seiko followed up their first designed dive strap the ZLM01 “waffle” that had been introduced two years earlier. This newly introduced strap has the model number GL721 but is commonly referred to as the “Chocolate Bar” due to the raised pattern on the straps top surface, or as Captain Willard because of the character in Apocalypse Now who wore an example.
The strap was introduced on both models of the first Seiko 300m Professional diver, the 6159 010 and 6159 011 (6159-7000). These models initially was initially supplied with the ZLM01 strap but this was changed to the new GL721 Chocolate Bar design in early 1969 and this continued until the end of the models production run. The only other model this strap was fitted at the factory with was the JDM 61MC 022 (6105-8110) from its introduction in late 1970 until late 1972. Towards the end of 1972 the 6105-8110 was changed to the XGL-731 “Tire Tread” strap.
The Chocolate Bar is made from the same materials as the ZLM01 waffle strap and has a slightly shiny inside surface. It is very soft and pliable and generally has held up over the years much better than the later model vented straps that are produced from different compounds.
This strap was also highlighted in the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now where it was worn on a 6105-8110 by the character Captain Benjamin L. Willard played by Martin Sheen. This is the reason behind the second nickname for the strap where it is sometimes referred to as the “Willard” strap. The watch and strap can be seen clearly in a number of scenes throughout the movie and this has made it popular with fans of both the movie and the watch.
These straps are not commonly found now and when they do come up for sale are usually priced around $400-500 Luckily for people wanting to get an authentic look for their 1969 or later 6159-7000 or 1970 to 72 6105-8110 there are alternatives. If you plan on wearing a watch on this style strap you are much better to purchase a modern version instead of wearing an original as the modern materials are much more resilient and higher quality.
This watch has been serviced by our watchmaker. Watch has not been polished. Bezel turning, crown screw lock, calendar feed, no problem at all. The crown, glass and case packing (O-ring) have been replaced with new ones. The dial is beautiful. (There are no dust and white spots.) The needle is beautiful. The glass is being replaced with a new one. (Thickness: 3.8mm Diameter: 32mm) We will also give you the glass at the time of the replacement. With vintage watches we can not offer water proofness security.
Overall, the exceptional finishing of the Seiko Captain Willard 6105-8110 is noteworthy, both for its design and execution.
As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.
Viewings can be arranged at our office by appointment.