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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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Omega BaselWorld 2014 Novelties in Singapore ~ A Fine Meal With Fine Watches

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thanks to the Omega team in Singapore for a great nite out. Good food, good wine, good company and some very nice pieces to showcase for 2014. this won't be a wordy post as i'll let the pics do most of the talkin. (also check out the 2013 shots here with better co-axial movement pics LINK)


early bird catches the seamaster! 
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very nicely setup venue for our dinner
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David Ponzo, our gracious host, introduced the pieces for the 2014 collection and took us 
through a presentation on Omega's interesting range and 2013/14 highlights. one of the pieces 
shown was a white dark side of the moon which looked pretty cool to me
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as u know i love me some speedys but the highlight of the 2014 novelties was definitely 
the seamaster 1957... it's gorgeous! very nicely done "vintage" lume, a good size at 41mm
and it sits very comfortably... so much that it was difficult to pry it off my wrist ;) retail at S$8,550
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the other piece was the two tone version with 18k sedna gold and steel. it is also very nice but 
costlier of course at list of S$16,300. same 4 years warranty with the co-axial anti-magnetic movement
>15,000 gauss... quite the achievement [note: it could be higher than 15k gauss but that is what the
measuring equipment for this kinda stuff can go up too]
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i think i need to get me one of these ;) a very sweet piece... it has a sand-blasted ceramic dial 
and ceramic bezel with Liquidmetal diving scale
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next up is the Speedy 45th Anniversary... limited to 1969 pieces. case made of sedna gold and titanium 
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the Speedy box it comes in is really nice 
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and has these great logo emblems on the front and on the inside
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comes with loupe, spare velcro strap and strap changing tool
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an interesting variant of the moonwatch in a cool brown, grey, rose gold color combination. priced at S$9,950
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and finally a wrist shot with it's 1968 brother
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next up is a piece that is real nice in the metal. the clous de paris dial and the domed dial and crystal come together 
very nicely. the elegant classy tresor deville master that comes in sedna gold
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with the co-axial, anti-magnetic movement
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and yellow gold. both at retail price of S$17,850... maybe offer it in steel soon perhaps? ;)
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there were other pieces there of course and the ladies pluma range shown on the presentation looked real interesting but the 3 above were the highlights for me :) the pics that follow are random ones taken at the dinner event

first up movement in layers... 
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and it looks like Omega is looking to sell NATO straps... these are going to be priced at the slightly higher end
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the very heavy and fierce Seamaster Aqua Terra all in red gold glory (retail price is S$43,450)
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that gorgeous emblem again... this is done so well on the watch box
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and a food collage shot... some of the dishes were good but others not so
but most of the folks at this dinner weren't here for the food :)
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and that's it for coverage of a fine watch dinner event. thanks once more to David, Pauline, Maria and Fiona for being such great hosts. cheers, raph

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Sign me up for Seikoholics Anonymous ;) Seiko 6309 7040 Turtle Diver Review

potent stuff... a very curvaceous cushion case beckons
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in case you weren't certain or aware, i am very much in the seiko zone right now... i've had some of the good stuff and i wants more ;) and unbeknownst to my beloved wife i have purchased 4 seikos in these past 3 weeks... [waitamoment! ... ah she doesn't read the blog often methinks] the reason this is possible is because as earlier mentioned they are affordable and good, bang for buck watches BUT I AM signing up for Seikoholics Anonymous and putting myself on a program to get myself off this addiction... my friendly watch dealer has suggested a 3 step 'Buy Swiss Only' program but i heard it's a pretty expensive package ;) ok jokes aside. 


"doesn't mean u r a character... means u have character..." this watch has character in spades :) 
i had originally thought of modding it to a 6105 dial but i set that aside pretty quickly after admiring
it's original dial in all it's creamy lume goodness
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there are already excellent resources out there on purchasing a 6309 7040 (a vintage-y or early diver from Seiko as it's not that old at about 30+ years) and i am not for reinventing the wheel so do check these out if you be keen to buy or just wanna read up more but i warn you this is a dangerous road to travel ;)  

  • A good reference on what to look out for and on different dial and case back variants LINK 
  • some buying pointers LINK
and uhm there's this post u r reading for some info on it and pics of course :)

How my watch came to me and what needs to be addressed on it
  • watch came to me in a tupperware not the usual watch box... a tupperware with freshness sealed inside hopefully? 
  • it came on a modern diver rubber strap and sadly with an aftermarket bezel insert wrong for this model. 
  • the movement is running well and keeping good time which is a big plus 
  • the main hope for me was to find something with as little aftermarket parts as possible and i managed to get a pretty decent one. the main issues are that it's been polished before so the original brushed finish pattern is gone and the bezel ain't right(lume pip protrudes and capped 10 and smaller dots). Everything else looks to be pretty spot on though.
some corrosion on the hands but it's 33 years old so some aging is expected
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symmetric and the cushion case serves as a crown guard too 
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and first sign of sadness... it's water resistance is zero metres. some water went into the case likely through the crown and got onto my dial. kinda interesting how the droplets pop onto the lume pips... this is one of the drawbacks of purchasing online i suppose. no water depth testing that will happen. but i got it cleaned up and will keep it away from h20 from now on. 

a watch with... dodgy water resistance :( 150m? more likely 150mm
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my watch is from the last year of production of the first batch of 6309s which were made in Japan from 1976 to 1981. it has "JAPAN 6309 -704L T" on the dial and the Suwa symbol above the 6 o’clock marker as per the below pic. Suwa symbol means that it was made in the Suwa Seikosha factory(now Seiko Epson) in Japan. Suwa is the name of the city the factory is at in Nagano, Japan. the next batch were made in Singapore and then other countries.


crisp clean printed dial... 150m with Suwa symbol below it in nice silver print
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Based on case back serial of 125876, it's from 1981 February as the 1st number is the year of manufacture looking at which decades the watch was made and second number is the month of manufacture. when it hits October, November and December, the 2nd digit is O, N, D respectively. Japan A denoting it's from the Japan factory and the Suwa symbol after

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17Jewels 21,600bph non-hand winding non-hacking as negatives
movement is in reasonable shape overall... 
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Some quick notes

  • Manufactured from 1976 to 1988 
  • Diameter: 44mm Height: 13mm 
  • Lug width: 22mm 
  • stainless steel cushion case with screw down crown 
  • non-manual winding auto movement, which means you got to get the rotor going for it to power up and start running(note: this is pretty easily done depending on the condition of your watch) and non-hacking(seconds hand does not stop when you put it to time setting) 
  • Quick set day date which is always good to have
  • 60 click bi-directional bezel
Water resistance symbols on your Seiko caseback and what it means


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image above from seiko website

and though the higher depth symbols looks like it was inspired from it, there's no direct link of it to the Great Wave off Kanagawa which is also not a wood block print of a tsunami(iirc) but of a great wave but people make whatever associations they like and that's fine by me

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Fuji-san and the people about to be swept away? the horror...(note this is a very easy clue to my next Seiko... well easy for film buffs and Seikoholics ;)
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and since we are talking about associations... this watch was a very widely sold and popular model in the 70s and 80s and has appeared on the wrist of a rather popular English gentlemen who has been knighted for his services to music... u may have heard of him... Sir Michael Phillip Jagger.


i can't get noooo satisfaction... pic from early 80s with Jerry Hall
Do note that wearing the same watch as Mick once wore does not mean you 
get magicked away to the 70s and become the frontman for the Stones ;)
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and it was right to be on the wrist of Ed Harris in The Abyss... although he definitely went past the recommended 150m depth rating in the moviePhotobucket
(above screengrab done by me. his uhm other hand was fishing a wedding ring foolishly thrown in a latrine :)

and on my wrist after it's cleanup from the watery lume dot crises :) 
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and a last shot... if u didn't already notice it, i'm lovin the quick change of look with the nato strap changes

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and to conclude... Seiko has many great propositions new or not so new or vintage-y below the S$1k mark so do check out what's there and see if anything calls out to you out of a very wide selection. 

once it passes 1k though, you've got to think a bit more about where it stands vs other possible choices as it goes up to the 2k, 4k mark and above. I know there are folks into the marine masters(SBDX001 SBDX003 etc) and tunas and the Grand Seikos but once you cross certain price thresholds, there will be other marques to consider(or that you could save up a little bit more to attain) as well which may tick your boxes for the next target so of course choose wisely. and that's it... for now ;) hagwe. cheers, raph

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