The 1970 Seiko 6105 is one of the most enduring and revered references in the brand’s long history. The wide, rounded cushion case and classic Seiko diver dial have become icons among enthusiasts, with Seiko releasing both faithful recreations and stylish modern reinterpretations in the past few years. As part of its 2021 novelties, Seiko aims to bridge the gap between these two approaches, bringing together the original proportions and design of the 1970 original with a dramatic new textured dial treatment and a thoroughly modern movement. While the 6105 line may be best remembered in the West on the wrist of Charlie Sheen’s Captain Willard in the seminal war film “Apocalypse Now,” Japanese enthusiasts associate the watch with famed Japanese adventurer Naomi Uemura, who used the 6105 on a solo dog sledding expedition from Greenland to Alaska between 1974 and 1976. Both the limited-edition Seiko Prospex SLA049 and Seiko Prospex SLA051 aim to commemorate the adventurer’s life on his 80th birthday, striking a chord between historical accuracy and modern design with stunning results.
The 44mm stainless steel case of both the limited-edition Seiko Prospex SLA049 and the Prospex SLA051 is a faithful, true-to-size recreation of the 1970 original, with its broad rounded form and distinctive 4 o’clock crown guard. The largest difference, besides modern finishing and a more standard screw-down crown, is the bezel insert. Where the original 6105 used a matte black insert, both new models opt for a glossy anodized finish. The SLA049 interprets this element in a deep, desaturated navy blue, while the SLA051 uses a rich charcoal gray. The other major departure here from the original model is the water resistance, upgraded to a solidly modern 200 meters.
Like so many modern releases from the brand, the dials of the Prospex SLA049 and Prospex SLA051 are showcases for Seiko’s unique dial-finishing capabilities. The dial layout should be familiar to fans of the brand, with wide, lumed baton hands, squared-off applied indices, and the signature stoplight seconds hand. The dial surface itself, however, is a rough and textured pattern that calls to mind frozen rock and hoarfrost. The SLA049 interprets this surface in a deep slate-blue meant to evoke the color of the sky at high altitude, while the SLA051 opts for a charcoal gray tone similar to the original 6105. The 4:30 date window on both models could be considered a minor disruption, breaking up the dial texture and interrupting the visual symmetry of the dials.
Seiko powers the Prospex SLA049 and Prospex SLA051 with the in-house 8L35 automatic movement. Assembled in the brand’s high end Shizukuishi studio, the 8L35 is one of Seiko’s most refined automatic movements, with a solid 50-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
The Seiko Prospex SLA049 and Prospex SLA051 are both paired with the brand’s distinctive rounded take on the three-link oyster-style bracelet. Featuring a push-button butterfly clasp, a dive extension, and a pair of polished character lines flanking the center links, this bracelet should be a solid companion for most occasions. In addition, the SLA049 also includes a textured silicone strap in royal blue. Like the case and dial layout, this strap is a modern reinterpretation of the 1970 original. Based on the iconic “tire tread” Seiko strap pattern of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, this new strap is likely to offer a more supple, luxe wearing experience.
With authentic proportions and refined modern aesthetic touches, the Seiko Prospex SLA049 and Seiko Prospex SLA051 offer high-end Seiko buyers an intriguing middle ground while paying tribute to one of the brand’s adventuring icons. Though the blue-dial Seiko Prospex SLA049 will be limited to 1,200 pieces, the Seiko Prospex SLA051 will be a regular production model. Both the Seiko Prospex SLA049 and Seiko Prospex SLA051 will be available through authorized dealers in July 2021, with MSRPs of $3,100 and $2,900, respectively. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.