The blueprint for the modern Seiko diver had to start somewhere, and it surprisingly didn’t actually begin with the brand’s very first dive watch. In the latest episode of our video series Under The Radar, Craft + Tailored’s vintage value advocate, Tyler Vanes, digs into the details of a 1968 Seiko Diver ref. 6105-8009 to break down why it represents such an important step in the development of Seiko’s iconic diver design language, and why so many collectors seem to be sleeping on this important piece of Japanese dive watch history.
The first purpose-built dive watch that Seiko produced was the 62MAS, which made its debut in 1965. However, while its design certainly has elements that are distinctly Seiko, its winding crown is at the normal 3 o’clock location and its core aesthetic has significantly more in common with the other early dive watches that were being produced at that time. Consequently, it wasn’t until Seiko’s follow-up diver where we see the brand’s dive watch design language start to come together with the arrival of the reference 6105-8009. This model first introduced a number of traits that still define Seiko’s dive watch design language today, and it serves as the foundation for other iconic models, such as the “Captain Willard” and the “Turtle” divers.
Launched in 1967, the Seiko Diver ref. 6105-8009 first introduced hallmark features, such as a cushion-shaped case and a 4 o’clock winding crown, to the brand’s range of dive watches. However, it lacks the exaggerated integrated crown guard that can be found on the “Captain Willard” and the overall case profile of the reference ref. 6105-8009 is slimmer than either of its successors, making it perfect for those with slightly slimmer wrists. Additionally, production of this particular model occurred right around the time that Seiko was updating the depth rating text on its dive watches. Some examples say “water resist” and others say “water-proof” — and some transitional versions like this particular example (known as a ‘Resist/Proof’ variant) have a dial that says “water resist” with a caseback that is engraved with the opposite inscription.
When you consider that the reference 6105-8009 is the model that first introduced a number of features that would go on to become defining elements of Seiko’s iconic dive watch design language, it’s a bit surprising that it still remains overlooked by today’s collectors. Due to the 62MAS being the very first Seiko diver and the “Captain Willard” being featured in the famous 1979 film Apocalypse Now, the ref. 6105-8009 can sometimes get missed, yet it truly represents the point in Seiko’s history where the brand’s legendary divers first took on their own distinct identity.
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