When it comes to historic Seiko dive watches, there’s no shortage of iconic models to choose from, ranging from the very first 62MAS diver all the way up to the ubiquitous and recently discontinued SKX007. However, perhaps none of these are as iconic or as instantly recognizable as the cushion cased 6105. First introduced in 1970, the 6105 quickly became a hit with professional divers and servicemen in Vietnam before a star turn on the wrist of Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now” cemented its legacy in the public consciousness. Now, Seiko has returned to the hardworking affordable dive roots of the 6105 for a pair of new 6105-inspired models – the Seiko Prospex SPB151 and Prospex SPB153.
Unusually for a modern reissue of a vintage watch, the Prospex SPB151 and SPB153 are actually smaller overall than the ‘70s original. While the original 6105-8110 was an imposing 44 mm, the stainless steel cases of these new models clock in at 42.7 mm in diameter. This, coupled with the short lugs and dramatic curving inward taper of the case sides toward the wrist, should help these new interpretations to wear surprisingly compact for a variety of wrist sizes. While no official number has been announced, Seiko also promises the SPB151 and SPB153 are significantly slimmer than the original as well. Another significant improvement comes with the 4 o’clock crown, which now screws down rather than the original’s complicated and unwieldy pin-lock system. Also improved is overall water resistance, with the SPB151 and SPB153 rated at 200 meters as opposed to the original’s 150 meter rating.
The dials of the Seiko Prospex SPB151 and SPB153 are solidly faithful in their reinterpretation of the 6105 formula. The applied square indices and pointed baton hands are more or less identical to their ‘70s counterparts, while most other elements are only slightly altered. The stoplight tip on the second hand has been moved slightly in from the very end, the metal frame for the date window has been removed in favor of a simple cutout, and like so many modern Seiko divers, there’s the Prospex logo at 6 o’clock. Overall, however, the spirit of the 6105 is truly intact in this design. The real substantive change comes with the SPB153, which swaps out the simple black dial and bezel for a deep olive drab color. It’s a fitting connection for a design with both real and Hollywood military history, and the color adds a contemporary edge to the 50 year old form.
Both the Seiko Prospex SPB151 and the SPB153 are powered by Seiko’s in house 6R35 automatic movement. This robust caliber offers 70 hours of power reserve, along with a 21,600 bph beat rate.
Seiko equips both the SPB151 and SPB153 with unique strap options. For the black dial SBP151, Seiko opts for a three link oyster style bracelet with a push button butterfly clasp and diver’s extension. It’s a classic and versatile combination, but perhaps the more attractive option is fitted to the SPB153. The olive dial SPB153 comes with a black silicone rubber strap, patterned as a modern interpretation of the original rubber “tire track” strap fitted to the 6105. This new interpretation is thicker and more dynamically textured than the original, while maintaining some of the ‘70s throwback flavor.
While this isn’t the first time Seiko has reimagined the classic 6105 design (that honor goes to last year’s limited edition SLA033), these new models capture the spirit and dependability of the originals while refining the design beyond the template of the ‘70s. Both the Seiko Prospex SPB151 and SPB153 will be available through Seiko authorized dealers starting in July 2020, at an MSRP of $1,300 for the SPB151 and $1,100 for the SPB153. For more information, please visit seikoluxe.com.